Wedding Photos: Ceremony & details


I love that our photographer got some great shots of the little details of the day. From the handkerchief that was carried by my mom, grandmother and great-grandmother to the special perfume I chose (Miss Dior Absolutely Blooming) to the handmade signs.


Our ceremony is such a blur in my mind. I was so nervous/excited/happy/trying not to cry that the entire thing feels so foggy. Eric said he feels the same way. We were on our honeymoon and we both admitted we can’t remember all of what was said during the ceremony because we were so nervous.

The bridesmaids and flower girl walked down the aisle to Cannon D and I walked down to the traditional bridal march. Everything went so smoothly. My four-year-old niece rocked it as the flower girl. The whole ceremony probably last about 20 minutes or so. We just did the traditional wedding vows instead of writing our own. Although our pastor was Christian, we had a mostly non-religious and non-denominational ceremony.

Since everything was done in the same venue, we walked out to the bridal recessional and the bridal party took their seats. Then we waited for the pastor to announce us as husband and wife and we walked in and immediately went into our first dance. We chose the song “Sanctuary” from the show Nashville.

It was perfect and I finally shed a few tears of joy and relief that all the pressure was off and we were finally married.



The final chapter of the wedding recap, the reception, is up next.



How we had a wedding for less than $10,000


Photo by Liv Hefner Photography

I always knew I wanted to do a breakdown of how much our wedding cost because I wanted people to know you can still have an amazing wedding on a budget.

And our wedding was just that — amazing.

It was everything we had envisioned and went so smoothly. Everything was on time, done correctly and it even stopped raining in the afternoon — just in time for photos before the wedding — after storming all morning.

I always enjoyed seeing breakdowns of affordable weddings when I was looking, but often times found that couples were gifted a lot of big ticket items. That wasn’t our case. We were really only gifted a couple of things (which I’ve noted in the breakdown below). And, as I’ve mentioned before, we had a very small wedding with only 40 guests after postponing it.

It was really satisfying to know we paid for everything ourselves. We also paid cash for everything except the hotel room we stayed in for the wedding weekend. So we have come out of it basically debt-free.

We ended up spending around $8,000 for everything all said and done. We didn’t take a honeymoon right away, but we are planning to go to Niagara Falls later this month. We wanted the extra time to save up some money. I’ll save that for another post.

Wedding cost breakdown:

Dress: $1,500 (including alterations)

Veil: $108

Shoes: $50 (From Nordstrom Rack)

Eric’s suit: $200 (Dress shirt, tie, suit coat and suit pants all from J.C. Penny)

Eric’s shoes: $50 (gifted)

Food & alcohol: $1,800 (Appetizer buffet, coffee, tea and beer/wine)

Venue: $350 (gifted) The cost included linens, dishes, table clothes/chair covers and an integrated sound system.

Hotel for the wedding weekend: $800

Cake: $175 (included delivery to hotel on day of wedding)

Flowers: $300 (My bouquet, plus three babies’ breath bouquets for bridesmaids. Price included delivery to the hotel on day of wedding)

Centerpieces: Roughly $50, but paid for with gift card to Michaels (Glass vases with fake flowers and floating LED candle)

Other various decorations: $100-$150 (This includes mini chalk boards, mr & mrs banner, Fujifilm instax camera for guestbook, plus film, etc.)

Guestbook: $30

Hair: $75-including tip

Makeup: $450-including tip (I paid half of the cost for each bridesmaid to have their makeup done, plus mine)

Photography: $1,700 (This included an engagement session, two photographers at the wedding for 8 hours, rights to print our photos, plus a printed book of photos)

Favors: $30


Where we saved money:

No DJ: We made a Spotify playlist and played it through the integrated sound system in our venue. This easily saved between $500-$1,000.

No flowers as decorations: We used fake flowers in our centerpieces, which saved us so much money. It just seemed like such a waste of money for such a little amount of time.

Not serving a full dinner: We decided to do an appetizer buffet instead of a full dinner and I think it went over really well. We still had plenty of food. We served a garden salad with rolls, chicken sewers, mini meatballs, spinach dip, a cheese platter and pinwheel sandwiches. We also had some easy snacks that were left out all night like pretzels, nuts and chips and french onion dip.

DIY favors: We made little bags filled with wild flower seeds that people could plant as a way to always remember our wedding.

Let me know if you have any questions or want to know anything more specific. I hope this helps

I’m back (and married!)

bouquet 2

(My wedding bouquet)

Well, I didn’t mean to take two months off from blogging, but here we are.

Life got busy with work and wedding stuff this spring, and I just didn’t have any extra time for much else.

We’re married now (yay!) and finally settling into a less stressful and less busy routine.

Married life is great so far, but more on that later. I’m planning several posts about the wedding. The first post, going up on Monday, will be all about how we paid for it (mostly) ourselves. So, stay tuned if you want to know how we still had the wedding of our dreams for less than $10,000.

I’ve been brainstorming all kinds of posts to do over the summer, and I’m so excited to get back into it. I’ve been trying lots of new beauty products and would love to share my thoughts on them. I’ve also picked up some new summer reading, so I’ll be sharing my best pool-side reads.

Speaking of pools, I’m so excited that it’s almost summer. I’m very much looking forward to some lazy days by the pool – the first of which will be this Sunday because it’s supposed to be 95 degrees.

See you next week!

Wedding Wednesday: Planning again


(Our new venue)

It’s been months since I did a Wedding Wednesday post, but I’ve been in full-on planning mode since we decided last fall to reschedule our wedding for this May. In case you are new here, we had to postpone our wedding last year after it became clear we couldn’t afford what we had been planning. You can read about that here.

We’ve been busy since about November getting all of the new details together. We changed our venue, cut our guest list and have generally approached the new date with a fresh perspective. It has been so much easier and we’ve really enjoyed the planning process.

We switched to The Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg, WV, for both the ceremony and reception. They have been amazing to work with so far. It is actually cheaper and a better venue than our original one, so we couldn’t be happier with the switch.

We will be having everything in their patio tent, which is so gorgeous. The price of the venue includes table linens, chair covers, set up and tear down as well as an integrated sound system. We are able to save a ton of money by basically being our own DJ.

We cut our guest list down from around 75 people to 40 in an effort to save money. While it was hard to cut down the list, I think the day will be so much more special and intimate with just those that are the very closest to us.

We have also decided to go with an appetizer buffet instead of a sit-down dinner. We want everyone to mingle and feel relaxed and we felt this option fit best with how we envisioned our reception. We’ll have meatballs, chicken skewers, spinach artichoke dip, a cheese tray, pinwheel sandwiches, a garden salad and some other small snacks like rolls, chips, pretzels and dips.

We’re still doing cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake. Eric and I will have a small cake to cut. We decided to go with The Village Cakery, which has a great reputation in the area. I was able to try some samples last weekend when I went home to do some planning and they were so good. We decided to go with an assortment of chocolate, vanilla and red velvet cupcakes with butter cream icing. Our small cake with be chocolate with butter cream icing. I’m really looking forward to how it will come together. Her prices were very reasonable as well, which was great for us.

We still have to decide on a few things, but overall I am so looking forward to our day. Although it was a hard decision to postpone it, I think it was ultimately the best decision we could have made.

Wedding Wednesday: Postponing our wedding

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Photo by Liv Hefner Photography

Yes, it’s true. We are no longer getting married this fall.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Wedding Wednesday post and that’s because I wasn’t sure what to say. A couple of months ago Eric and I {painfully} decided to postpone our wedding because of financial reasons. I’m not going to lie, there were definitely some tears shed. It was a hard decision, but one that needed to be made.

We were getting down to the wire and realizing that we just didn’t have enough money for everything. We are paying for the whole thing ourselves and we were getting to a point where we were going to have to start putting things on credit cards or take out a loan. We thought both of those sounded like terrible ideas since we (and by we, I mean I) already have plenty of debt to go around.

So, we are pushing it to 2017. We haven’t picked an exact date yet. Putting the planning on the back burner has alleviated a lot of stress. For the first few months of the year we were constantly worried about money and stressing about how we were going to pay for everything. That has settled down a lot.

Although it was hard to call all of our vendors that we had booked already, most of them were very understanding. We did lose a couple deposits, but most of them we either got back or were retained for when we pick a new date. Luckily the big ones, the photographer and the DJ we were able to retain.

So, for now we are taking a pause and rethinking some of our plans. We’re trying to figure out what exactly we want to do. For me, a lot of the glamour of wedding planning has worn off and I think that’s a good thing. It’s so easy to get caught up in what you “should” do or what you think you need.

Weddings are expensive and sometimes it can overshadow what the day is supposed to be about—celebrating your love and committing your lives to each other.

The good thing is I already have my dress and veil, the invitations, our bridal party picked out, decorations and some of our vendors booked. This next year just gives us more time to save money.

We want to have a really nice ceremony and reception, but maybe it’s just not in the cards for us. We might have to massively scale our day back to be able to afford it. But if we are married at the end of the day and we are surrounded by the people who love us most then that’s all that matters.