DIY Wedding Budget

June 27, 2011

Total Budget: $15,500
*This is for my ideal wedding! Use it as a guide for your own.*

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Ceremony @ Five Mile Chapel
Reception @ Moonlight Gardens

  • Ceremony: = $500 Chapel + officiant + DIY isle décor+ licenses
  • DIY Flowers & decor = $800 (White dahlias & olive branch & herb centerpieces)
  • Attire = $500 (Slim dress w/open back and navy pin stripe suit w/hats)
  • Photography = $2000 (with DIY dress-up photo shoot for us and guests)
  • Gifts & DIY Favors: = $500 ($200 [family] $200 [guests] $100 [eachother]) No attendants OR family only (as attendants)
  • Wedding bands = $600
  • Transportation = $500 (limo rental)
  • Reception = $6000 (150 ppl  – includes venue/coordination/service/tips/plated dinner/signature drinks/champagne/beverages)
  • Entertainment = $1500 (Ballroom dancers [1 or 2 couples] and music from the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s – DIY playlist during dinner; live band after dinner)
  • DIY Desserts = $200 (mini cupcakes and other assorted mini desserts)
  • Wedding night accommodations = $150
  • Honeymoon = $2500 (not included in pie chart below)

*DIY Budget total = $1200 [9%] (flowers, décor, favors, and desserts)


Budget cuts!!! This budget is for an ideal wedding.  In all reality, most DIY brides won’t have $15k to drop on a wedding (nor do we really want to spend that much).  I’d prefer to spend about a third of that, plus the honeymoon.   Some of the items that will likely be down sized are listed below.  These are common areas where you can make cuts to save money.

  • DIY Flowers & Decor – save $400 by using artificial blooms and borrowed vases for centerpieces
  • Photography – save $1000 by booking the wedding on a Friday or Sunday
  • Wedding bands – save $600 by financing rings
  • Transportation – save $400 by replacing a a limo with a cool car driven by a friend or family member
  • Reception – save $2000 by booking the wedding on a Friday or Sunday, reducing the number of guests, and choosing a buffet instead of plated dinner
  • Entertainment – save $1500 by sacrificing hired entertainment
  • Honeymoon – save $2500 by financing honeymoon

Total savings = $8,400!

New, lower budget = $7,100 (54% less than “dream” budget)

(note – you’ll be paying monthly for wedding rings and honeymoon expenses charged to a credit card)

I can handle a $7,000 wedding budget!!! If you still can’t swallow that much, I would suggest a major downsize of the wedding guests to just close family and friends.  This is what wedding planners call an “intimate” wedding.  If the venue is too big for a small wedding, consider going to a local restaurant with a party room our large outdoor deck/patio.

Key point – the percentages of your wedding budget should stay roughly the same even with budget cuts.  The reception, food, and beverage costs should be roughly 50% of the total budget.  The next largest spending category should be for photography, right around 10%.



DIY Wedding Dresses

June 20, 2011

The following dresses are on my list of what’s hot for this year.  I love the slimming designs and simple sophistication.  Between me and my mom, we are hoping to create a version of the first dress from La Femme (15027) for my wedding day.  For more inspiration and some amazing designs, check out New York Dress.  I am completely obsessed!

La Femme 15027 back viewLa Femme 15027

La Femme

Beautiful wedding dress patterns 


Justin Alexander
Justin Alexander

Crocheted wedding gown by Claire Pettibone

Crocheted wedding dress from Claire Pettibone


Related articles

Photo sources:
 Olive branch and herb centerpieces
Carillon Beach Meeting house
Dahlia bouquet
Wedding dress
Rae Leytham Photography 


DIY Thursday

June 9, 2011

Hi Folks,  Today marks the start of something new.  Something fresh.  Something cool.

I thrive on themes and when Charlie from approached me about contributing on the blog for her DIY Thursday theme, I didn’t hesitate.  Once a week, on Thursdays, pop by Charlie’s blog and see what cool DIY project I’m sharing.  Oh, and tell your friends!  Today’s blog: DIY Wedding “Cake”

The Fifties Wedding blog is designed for vintage-inspired brides who seek a little retro 50’s style in their big day.  Whether it be the dress, the decor, the music, or the whole theme, Charlie and her mum are full of great ideas.  Charlie has become one of my newest friends from the world of Twitter and I look forward to sharing some of her great finds with all of you!

Garden Inspired Favors

June 4, 2011

Garden inspired take-aways from the lovely gallery at Martha Stewart Weddings


Handmade Table Linens

June 4, 2011

Table runner to suit a shabby chic decor

Image by Decorative Towels - Created by Cath. via Flickr

Shocked by the expense of luxury table linens?  Make your own!

Go to the fabric store and search for clearance fabrics or on-sale items that can easily be transformed into beautiful, luxury table linens.  I found a gorgeous orange taffeta fabric with embroidered flowers for less than $7/yard and created a runner for each of my dining tables for way less than buying or renting them.   I had my grandmother do the hemming and she loved being able to contribute!  After the wedding, the runners can be sewn together to make gorgeous drapes!

You could also make miniature quilts to use on each table for the event and then sew them all together afterwards.  You’ll end up with a blanket big enough to cover a king-size bed or a memorable picnic blanket!

Paper Napkin Rings

June 4, 2011

I made paper napkin rings out of  large handmade papers.  One large sheet was enough to make about 60 napkin rings and only cost about $6.  Mine were for Thanksgiving, so I used a pearly orange paper.

Simply cut the paper down to strips, wrap the silverware (or plasticware) with a napkin (I used linen-like paper napkins), and wrap the paper strip around the napkin. Use a hot glue gun to seal the ends of the strip together and wah-laa…a DIY napkin ring!


Related articles

I love Martha Stewart

June 4, 2011

If you don’t get Martha Stewart‘s email for daily DIY inspiration, you are possibly missing out on the next greatest thing since sliced bread.  A recent favorite is the basket-themed decor and sweet treats.

Martha Stewart does weddings like it’s her sole purpose in life.  The DIY projects she suggests have a wide range of difficulty from super easy to not so much.  I suggest reviewing all comments on a given craft before getting started.  For example, my DIY craft attempt last year involved creating a leaf shaped bowl from tweed and felt.  Martha’s felt projects are super cute and easy but the oak leaf bowl proved more challenging than I originally thought.  But there are hundreds of other great ideas so I didn’t give up.

Devote some time today to Martha Stewart Weddings and you’ll be inspired within minutes.  Whether your planning a wedding, birthday party, or need gift ideas, Martha’s got it all.

Tissue Paper Flowers

June 4, 2011

I am absolutely in love with these tissue paper dahlias!  Use them for place settings, centerpieces, bouquets, napkin rings, flower pins, and more.   They can also be made out of a light fabric such as chiffon.

Probably the coolest way to decorate your cake these days is using fondant and lots of details.  For the DIY-er that may be a little on the risky side.  Airbrushing, however, is not so scary.  You’ll still use the fondant for a smooth and polished look, but the colors achieved with airbrushing are amazing.

One of my favorites was a small sunset-colored cake with palm tree silhouettes.  A professional baker may not always have the ability to offer airbrushing but if they do – check out their work samples.  The lines of the design should be natural with well blended colors of various shades.

Recently on TV, I saw an airbrushed wedding cake with a coy-pond theme.  The decorator used the airbrushing techniques perfectly to create waves that seemed to roll and crash all around the cake and provide an overall blue-green piece of eye candy adorned with happy orange fish all over.  From the Amazing Wedding Cakes show, here’s the link to the cake.

Tutorial: Watch the video on!