Hi, honeys! I’m SO excited to share today’s Real Wedding post with you all. Today’s post is about one of my oldest and dearest friends, Emily. Emily is the sweetest nurse, wifey, and soon to be MAMA!! I can’t stop saying that, it’s just so exciting! I wanted to share Emily and Logan’s story with you all because one I love them, but two they pulled off an AMAZING $5,000 wedding. You heard me right. $5,000! This post will be a teeeeny bit different than our usual Real Weddings posts because it’ll primarily focus on budgeting and how to pull of a wedding like Emily and Logan’s. So if you’re looking for ways to save big $$$ when it comes to your wedding, you’re at the right place!
I’ve known Emily since freshman year of high school. We had classes together (Em – do you remember that utterly horrifying Spanish video we had to make?! Ha!), we had lots of mutual friends, and towards the end of high school we even worked together at Hallmark.
PS – Make sure to read allllll the way to the end of this post because I share a super secret tip about Hallmark and how you can save big $$$ on envelopes!
My favorite part of Emily and Logan’s love story is that I was there the night they met! So, you’re welcome, Emily (hehe, kidding). Without further ado let’s jump into their love story and hear about how their dreamy budget wedding!
How Emily and Logan Met:
Logan and I met at a house party my little sister was throwing and I was supposed to be chaperoning (embarrassing!!). We ended up hitting it off right away and stayed up all night talking. We made plans to go to a concert about a month later and the rest was history. I knew that Logan was “the one” within the first month of getting to know him, and Sadie was actually the first person I told that to! Logan left for the military a week after we officially started dating.
How Logan Proposed:
Logan proposed in 2016 on the Fourth of July, one of my favorite holidays. We actually won a proposal contest through the Peoria Chiefs. Logan submitted an essay about our story and they chose his. My family has actually gone to the Chiefs game on the 4th every year for about five years, so it has special meaning to me! He proposed on the field in front of the big crowd and our family and friends. A fun fact about that is that it was so loud I couldn’t hear what he said! Thankfully Logan is extremely thoughtful, so when we got home, he had the drive lit up with tea lights, flowers and there was a big banner with pictures of us that spelled out “marry me.” This time I could hear what he was saying!
It’s hard to choose, but I’d have to say my favorite part about the wedding day was after the ceremony when we got to drive away to where we took pictures. The day of I didn’t realize that it was my favorite, but looking back, it was the only time that we got to be alone! My second favorite part was my wedding dress, which you’ll get to read more about down below.
Were you saving up for your wedding before your engagement? Is it something you did on your own or as a couple? And if you DID save up, any tips on how young, broke couples like us can save #weneedanswers??
We were not saving up for the wedding before we got engaged. We paid for everything as we went. Logan and I paid for the majority of it on our own, but we were gifted some things along the way! We did our best to save money from each paycheck to go towards the wedding, but I was a full time student, so we only had one full time salary which made it hard. I think the best tips I have for couples who need to have budget weddings are to DIY as much as you can and to use your friends and family’s talents! Our musicians were all family and friends, and my sister did my makeup.
What was your wedding budget? Did you go into your wedding knowing your budget? Was budgeting a tough conversation to have with Logan?
Logan and I didn’t have a set budget when we started planning but once we got started we decided to try to stay around 5-7 thousand. We ended up spending around 5,000 ourselves, and our with the help of family our wedding total was about 7,000. Logan and I decided to get a joint bank account right around our engagement, so that it would be easier to pay for everything. I think the hardest part about budgeting together was that I wasn’t able to contribute as much, it felt like I was spending his money! Logan is very generous and never made me feel like it wasn’t ours though. Since we were long distance, we got really good at communicating, so we had lots of conversations about budgeting. I’d have to say that budgeting was what stressed me out the most about wedding planning.
Once you knew your budget, how did you proceed?
We talked about what we would ideally like to spend in each category so that we knew which vendors we could afford and which ones we shouldn’t spend time looking into. We wrote out a list so that we wouldn’t forget it, and I did use it throughout the planning process.
How did you manage to cut down costs? Give us allllll the deets!
We cut corners in about every area that we could. The first thing I realized that we needed to cut back on was the guest list. The reception was at a VFW Hall, which saved us A TON of money. It cost us 150 dollars for a full day of set up on Friday and the whole reception day on Saturday. They had all the chairs and tables there already. I also saved money on decorations by doing my own flower centerpieces. I bought the flowers in bulk from Kroger. My most expensive reception decorations were the tablecloths, but I offered to give them to a wedding venue my sister used for free if they would let me borrow their table runners (for free), and they accepted! I bought the twinkly ceiling lights at a garage sale, made the hanging pennants, and either borrowed or used things I had for the rest of the decorations. Our caterer was awesome. We knew him through a friend, and when I met with him he asked me how much I thought we could afford, and he worked with our budget!
We had a taco bar, which ended up being an inexpensive option. We had a cookie bar and we asked a few of my bridesmaids and a couple friends to each make a dozen or two. Our DJ was running a special at the time, so we ended up only paying $750. Our rehearsal dinner was in a family friend’s backyard. She was kind enough to decorate it for us, and we served pizza and beer, and my mother in law bought the pizzas. That was an inexpensive, easy meal! We got married at my home church, which meant a lot to me, but also saved us money. I bought the church decorations on the Facebook buy/sell page, and the ceremony musicians were two of my friends, my sister, and my brother in law (free!). We were gifted things throughout the wedding process. My awesome sister and brother in law hired our wedding photographer for us a wedding gift, because they knew that pictures meant a lot to me. My aunt/godmother paid for our wedding cake. I really wanted a naked cake, and we found a lady in town who made one big enough to serve all our guests for $150! My parents paid for some wedding things throughout our engagement, but the big one was my florist. We only ordered flowers for the bridal party, parents, grandparents and musicians. We didn’t use a florist for any decor. My mom splurged on my bouquet, but we cut cost on the bridesmaids bouquets by doing greens and baby’s breath.
Tell us all about your super sweet, sentimental, and SOMEHOW LOW COST dress.
My dress was made out of my mom’s wedding dress, so it had a lot of sentimental meaning to me. My mom is my best friend, and I knew that I would never regret wearing something that means so much! I bought a dress from a resale shop that had recently gotten a bunch of weddings dresses donated to it by a local bridal store that went out of business, and we used it for the skirt of the dress and for some structure for the top. I paid $200 go it. The bodice of my dress was my mom’s. She had the 90’s poofy sleeves so I decided to chop those off(with the help of Julie Moobery, my awesome seamstress), and create halter style top. My mom’s dress had a neckline that I really liked, so we were able to keep it! It had a high beaded neck strap and then it was sheer from there down to the sweetheart neckline. The resale shop dress had a really full skirt so we took lots of layers of tulle out to achieve a more a-line skirt. My mom was 90 pounds when she got married, so we had to make the back look like it wasn’t too small. Julie was able to make a keyhole in it that looked like it was meant to be there. I wore the veil that my older sister got married in. She bought a plain veil and then Julie had used lace from part of my mom’s wedding dress to line the bottom of it, which meant it matched my dress perfectly! In total my dress cost me $700.
What parts of your wedding did you splurge on?
I don’t feel like Logan and I splurged on anything, really. My flowers and photographer were probably the biggest expenses, and we were lucky enough to have family that helped us with those! Everything that we paid for, I tried to find the cheapest option that fit the theme we wanted.
What did you completely cut out from your wedding? Is there anything you wished you had spent more on?
We cut out an open bar and only served beer, which we bought in cases from the VFW. The bar that they had in the basement was cash. We didn’t have transportation, like a party bus for the bridal party. They all just carpooled to pictures and the reception. There’s really nothing I wish we had spent more on. When I think about my wedding day I don’t remember a lot of the details anyways. I remember the big moments that are special no matter how much you spend! Like the vows, seeing my parents the first time after putting on my dress, our first dance, and my sisters’ wedding speech/song. I feel like we did a good job knowing what we could realistically afford and sticking to our budget. I don’t think we overspent on anything!
Anything else you’d like to share?
1. Again, I would just say use the talents of the people you’re close with! A lot of your loved ones are willing to help DIY, sing, bake etc, and I don’t think you should be scared to ask! Also, remember that the wedding isn’t the most important thing, and it’s okay to cut things out, find cheaper vendors, shorten your guest list, because at the end of the day it’s about you and your fiancé and what makes you happy and comfortable.
2. Summer weddings are SO pretty and the florals are awesome, but prepared for heat!! My wedding day was about 90 degrees and I was definitely feeling it in my big dress!
3. I got engaged at 21 and married at 22, which probably explains our tight budget! I believe that when you know someone’s the one, you just know! Getting married at our age is definitely not for everyone, but we were ready to start our lives together.
List all of your vendors below:
Wasn’t their day a total dream? I love Emily and Logan and I love their love story! Next up: Parenthood!!! Eeep! If you want your special day featured too, click HERE. And keep reading for the Secret Hallmark Tip!
Secret Hallmark Tip:
If you’re looking for extra envelopes for any of your wedding announcements, invites, or thank yous, try stopping by a local Hallmark because they usually have extra envelopes lying around. Some will give you as many as you need, while others will charge a few cents per envelope. Either way, it’s still WAY cheaper than buying them in bulk!