09 June, 2010

challenge accepted

so here's what happened.

levi & i had a way to pay for our wedding & honeymoon. it was all set and ready to go. we never intended to spend more than $5,000-8,000 on the wedding, so our ideas never got out of control.

and i have always intended to basically do everything myself, including the food. (i know. i'm crazy.)

but life is unpredictable, and sometimes things just happen.

no one knows that better than we do.

so here's what happened - as of now, we no longer have a way to pay for the wedding.

i don't want to go into what happened because i really just want to let it go and move forward. but i will say this - we are okay. we're fine. neither one of us has a gambling, drug, or alcohol addiction. no one needs major surgery. we didn't lose it in the stock market or through bad investments.

like i said before, life just happens. some things are out of your control. and that's just the way it is. you can either excessively mourn your losses and dwell on the things that don't happen. or you can accept it and move on - find another way.

i am choosing the latter. i will find another way because this wedding is very important to me. i have been dreaming about my wedding since i was 12 and got my first wedding magazine. i have been planning, writing down ideas, saving pictures, dreaming. i'm not going to skip the wedding. i know i would regret it. it's a rite of passage and a celebration. it's a chance to share our love with our friends and family.

we will make this wedding happen.

so here's the challenge that has been extended to me - have an amazing wedding with a very tiny, unknown budget.

everyone talks about budget weddings in articles and blogs saying things like "budget wedding under $10,000."

yeah. that's not a budget wedding. i know that it is according to today's standards (remember, i was a wedding coordinator. i've seen it all.), but $10,000 is a lot of money.

the good news is that i already have my dress. and i'm creative. we already have a lot of good ideas. i know we can do this. i don't know how yet, but i'm going to trust that it will happen.

the major costs will be:

1. reception site
(we found one for $800, including a killer sound system, tables, chairs, dance floor, etc.)
2. dress alterations & my bolero
3. photographer
(this is the one that i'm the most nervous about. we really really want great photos.)
4. food
(which i will still be doing myself)

so are you guys ready?? i'm going to show everyone that we can put on an incredible wedding for close to nothing. watch me go!!


  1. I'm proud of your attitude toward the situation. it's a bummer when plans change so suddenly. You should check out apracticalwedding.com meg is a genius and there's tons of smart, practical ladies over there making decisions that are right for them and standing up for those decisions. For photos, check out photography students, people who don't have big portfolios they'll be eager for the experience but be really talented.

  2. That is fantastic! I can't wait to see you pull it off with style! I did my wedding for just under $2500, so I know you can do it!

  3. Our wedding was small but we did it all for 500 dollars. The Carolinas are cheaper than California though. :(
    I know you guys can do it!
    It will be awesome!

  4. What a fantastic attitude you have through all this!! I can't wait to see your ideas and what you come up with... you are so multi-talented, I know you will do something amazing... and your wedding will be beautiful : )

  5. I have an on line friend in San Diego who is an amazing photographer. I think she is reasonably priced. I don't know how far you are from her though.
    (I am sending her an email to ask her how much she charges.)

  6. cool, can't wait to see what you come up with!! :) you can do it!!



  7. It is possible! I had a sweet little wedding for around 5,000. We found a cute lake with 7 cabins around it and had our guests stay in the cabins. We got married next to the lake, and reception in the grass under the ramada. It was simple and sweet. Don't stress too much. It is possible to have a cheap wedding that is still special.

  8. your positivity and perseverance are so inspiring. I know I'm not alone in saying I am SO excited to tag along on your journey to married life.

    and of course, HAVE FUN.


  9. Maybe you could look at Photography students work and get one of them to do your wedding, they'll do it for free or Cheap just to add to a portfolio

  10. How exciting!!! I think you can definitely do it!!!I can't believe how much people spend on weddings!

  11. You two are SO creative, you can do it! If you're interested in DIY decorations, I have tons of how-tos and DIY Weddings on my site. I was going to link to them but I have about 30 posts total. Here's the most recent one and if you want more, just hit Next In Category at the bottom. I can't wait to see what you two come up with.


  12. On the bright side, an on-the-cheap wedding fits in with your blog's theme perfectly. Plus, I'll be looking for ideas since I'm probably heading towards marriage myself, in an eventual sort of way.

  13. I was the maid of honor in a wedding that costs $3,000. It was beautiful amazing and romantic. Do it girl!!
    Ramblings of a Small Town Girl

  14. Jasmine, I love that you always have a positive attitude, and I know that it will carry on into how you plan your wedding and I know that as a result it's going to be gorgeous. I'm also excited to see how you do it, because one of my close friends is planning her wedding, and they're doing it on a small budget as well! Good luck! :)

  15. not only is it totally possible... but u will do it!
    just talk to everyone about everything u never know what connections u will make!
    &... if u need help with anything let me know! i am just down the street from u!!! i can help u with pretty much any aspect of it ;)

  16. I can't wait to see how this goes! I'm not engaged, but I have always planned on having a very budget friendly wedding because I just don't see the need to spend so much! Like those women on TV who drop $8000 for a dress! JESUS, I would never. 8000 will get much more in the way of food and fun, pretty things.

    the only thing I'm willing to spend a lot on is a photographer too. maybe you guys can find an awesome yet unknown and therefore cheap local or have a friend do it? :)

  17. YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!! I can't wait to see how everything turns out

  18. Your attitude is awesome, and I think you'll probably find that you'll appreciate everything even more because you have had to be creative and think of ways to do it for less money.

    I would second the notion to look into photography students or even people who do it as hobbies. My roommate's sister, Mikelle, is looking to get more experience and she lives in Southern California. Her photo blog is: www.mikellenewman.com

    Good luck!

  19. Of course you can do this. And I had to do practically the same thing, so if you'd like ideas, let me know!

  20. hey jas-

    email me sometime.


  21. you go girl! I don't know you personally but from following your blog I can tell how driven a person you are! You guys deserve a great wedding so good luck getting it!

    p.s. you have TONS of blog friends, surely one of them is a photographer and wants to donate their time! :-)

  22. I love your positive attitude and I know your wedding will be amazing no matter what :)

  23. You are AMAZING. You have tons of good friends and family. It will be RADICALLY wonderful and AWESOME. I cannot WAIT. And you let me know if you need anything. (I'm still shocked by other people's generosity from our wedding!) LOVE!!!

  24. you can do it!!! i am totally cheering you on in this . . . i completely believe it is possible to have a frugal AND beautiful wedding!

  25. I so wish I could come and photograph your wedding -- not that I'm trying to say I'm the best or anything ;)
    Just, ya know, I wish I could!

  26. barter barter barter!! Think of other ways to PAY for services...know what i mean? Can you offer dance lessons to someone in exchange for dress alterations....how about Levi doing some hair stuff in exchange for a photographer??? As for a reception location check your local parks...i got married in a small quaint private park that offered all the chairs tables etc for only $500.
    Good luck! You can do it!!

  27. The best wedding I ever went to was a cheapie - a very small service, a blessing on a local beach, and then a big buffet meal where people brought dishes. Even the music was free - a salsa lesson given as a gift! The cheapest weddings have the most personality. I can't wait to see the result!

  28. Ohhh i'm looking forward to details as I research my future wedding! So far budget tips i've found include

    -make a list of what is most important (that everyone you love is there, good photographer etc)

    -cut out the non-essentials (don't have to have a 3 course meal can possibly do cocktail party, maybe skip the videographer or fancy cars etc)

    -lots of people have flowers in their garden ask for some or start planting soon!!

    -enlist the help of talented friends (someone may be good with a camera, others may be excellent bakers)

    -make your own decorations on the cheap with vintage fabrics, borrowed fairylights etc

    -choose a theme and work around it whether it's eclectic, vintage, 50's, elvis or whatever! This makes it easier to co-ordinate things

    Most of all everyone says DON'T STRESS and focus on the fact that your in love and getting married - not on having the perfect day! Things will go wrong - if you can laugh about it it's a good sign!

    Keep us updated!

  29. My husband and I also didn't spend a lot of money on our wedding. We asked guests to bring a dish instead of a gift, and had a potluck reception. It was wonderful except everyone brought a dish and a gift which made me feel bad.

  30. Awesome attitude. When life throws a lemon, turn it into lemon meringue. (Lemonade is too old-fashioned.)

    You can do it!

  31. Check out the 2000 Budget Wedding blog... if you haven't already. Sara and Matt's wedding was beautiful! I too am getting married this year and budget has been very important. I must say we wouldn't be able to do this without the help of my parents...and I do realize how lucky we are... Before that we were going to do a potluck at his parents house, and honestly, that would have been enough for us. Whatever you do, it will be wonderful, and you'll have a great day. Just have fun and good luck!

  32. girl. you've got this.

    cheaper the more creative.. i say.

    we skimmed on flowers. because they die anyhow.

    my uncle did my cake and flowers {those that we did have.}

    pool your resources. you've got loads of blog friends. don't be afraid to ask for help. services. or ideas. that's what we're all her for! ;)

  33. A wedding is a celebration, so good job at not cutting corners. My wedding is in 2 weeks. I focused my money on the things that mattered most (mainly my photographer) and cut corners on a lot of other things. Basically my wedding is a thrifted wedding. All the table clothes, vases, and decor were found on Ebay, savers, or DI (local thrift stores). One thing i've found is that people are so willing to help. Ask for that help! Ask for favors! Bargain with the price of the reception center! but mostly, just be excited that you are getting married. the marriage part is so much more important than the wedding.

    can't wait to see what you come up with :)
    i know it'll be amazing :)


  34. Jasmine, I know you can do it! We just got married, had a beautiful wedding and went on a week-long honeymoon in Costa Rica- all for 3k. As soon as we were engaged, we saved a little each week, and paid for it all in cash, all by ourself.

    I found this really helpful: http://2000dollarwedding.com/2008/07/from-conception-to-reception.html

    I did a Homemade Wedding series on my blog. here's a link to those posts: http://experimentinpoverty.blogspot.com/2010/06/challenge-accepted.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AnExperimentInPoverty+%28An+Experiment+in+Poverty%29

  35. I'm sure you'll remember this since you worked in the wedding industry but just keep in mind that all guests care about is the food, the booze, the music, and YOU! So, don't waste money on teeny tiny details that no one will even remember seeing.

    But I totally have faith that you can pull off a killer wedding on a teeny budget! GO, GIRL!

  36. there has got to be a culinary school around you. let one of them do the food. barter with people. maybe reach out to your church or surrounding churches looking for photographers willing to donate to a lovely couple.

  37. also...


    and a honeymoon registry maybe even where your faithful online readers could give a few bucks?

  38. I absolutely believe in you. And I can't wait to see photos. I know it will be stunning.

  39. Oh my goodness, girl, I SO feel you! Haha. My fiance and I are trying to pull a wedding off with a budget of less than $2,000 in about 2 months, and we STILL don't have the money. By the way, besides just being creative and cutting out the unnecessary, that cost is with having family discounts, other connections, and the location and photographer "gifted" to us in order to help out (people really are so generous). Eek! lol Anyway, good luck, and I'd love to hear what you come up with!

  40. I have a secret. I've been married twice. The first one was a gorgeous full-blown wedding in a backyard of a historical mansion. The second one was in my house. Both cost just about $3,000. You can totally do it.


  41. Definitely doable. I've been to several frugal weddings in the last few years and they're always very lovely and simple. Decorate with wildflowers, get your family to help you cook, etc. If you had to pay a lot for just one thing, I'd say splurge on the photographer.

  42. I know no matter what it will be fabulous! Yall are so creative and such positive people! :) I hope you share lots with us, the Love and I would love to see what you come up with!


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