September 7, 2008 my wonderful boyfriend of 3 years asked me on bended knee to marry him; a year and nineteen days later, we had the most beautiful and budget friendly fall wedding in our very own back yard.
My Fiancé (Chris) and I decided a small and intimate wedding was best. Since it was a fall wedding, we went with the obvious burnt orange, dark reds, browns and dark greens. We also decided to do as much of the wedding ourselves as possible to save money. I recruited my very talented and creative best friend Janis and here is how we had a beautiful fall wedding for under $3000.00.
1. The Wardrobe
Chris and I must have looked at literally thousands of rings online and in stores; we went to JC Penney at the mall one day when they were having a sale. There it was the most beautiful engagement ring ever. He got it for me and it was less than 1/3 the regular price.
We found one equally as beautiful for Chris with black and white diamonds in it. I got his for about half price. We found my wedding band with white and black diamonds (to match his) on sale at another store. We got three gorgeous rings for roughly $1500. Not bad!
After dragging Janis and my daughters around for weekend after weekend, I finally bought a beautiful ivory satin halter style dress that gathered with ties. It cost $160.00 dollars. My shoes were another find at 14.95 on sale at JC Penney. I hand made my own earrings from pearls given to me by another friend.
I found the perfect fall wedding bridesmaids’ dresses at Kohl’s website for $25.00 a piece for a total of around $75.00. Pretty fall colored print dresses that flattered all three of my bridesmaids. I only had to buy one pair of shoes since my oldest daughter had shoes that worked and Janis bought her own shoes so I bought my youngest daughter’s shoes for $25.00, on sale of course.
My hubby paid around $300.00 total for his outfit, which included his jacket, vest, shirt, tie, trousers and shoes. The groom’s men were responsible for their own wardrobe.
2. The Stage
We needed a stage to perform the ceremony so we found a beautiful metal pavilion with an off-white top and mosquito screen, which worked perfectly. I got it on a clearance sale for 70 dollars.
I happened to have a massive amount of sheer fabric that I made a curtain out of and we pinned fake fall leaves randomly all over it. I strung it up on heavy-duty clothesline to conceal the neighbor’s back yard. Fall leaves 15 bags at a dollar a bag and clothesline was 7 bucks at Wal Mart. It made a great backdrop for pictures.
The wedding runway fabric, $35.00, sprinkled with left over fake fall leaves from the curtain. We borrowed chairs from Chris’ work for seating on either side of the runway. I borrowed four huge Boston ferns from Janis to set under the pavilion behind where the notary (who asked to be paid in cake)would be standing to conduct the ceremony.
I made my own flowers for the wedding party too. I bought all the flowers and floral tape, wire, ribbon and pins for 5 boutonnieres, 4 good size nosegays, flowers for my mom and a throw away bouquet for around $150 on sale at Hobby Lobby as well as my invitations, which were half price. I paid 20 dollars for two boxes. The garter was also on sale 7.50. Gifts for three groomsmen and three bridesmaids totaled about $100.00.
4. Food and Cake
Our friend Sam made our cake for us as a wedding gift, on top of which sat our pretty porcelain, double heart cake topper, we purchased for $20.00. The cake was beautiful and tasty!
I had a local deli make a platter of finger sandwiches, which cost about 45.00 and I made dip for crackers and veggies. We had ginger ale to drink instead of alcoholic beverages. Altogether, groceries for the wedding were about another 45-50 dollars.
We used our own dining room as the reception area (standing room only). Chris bought the tablecloth, plates, napkins, plastic ware and plastic wine glasses. He didn’t tell me exactly how much it cost but I figure about 50 dollars. We borrowed punch bowls and platters to serve the food and drinks.
5. Photography and Music
Our friend Mary Wood of Mary Wood Photography took pictures for us before, during and after the wedding as a gift. She did a fabulous job and she even edited them for us and made a disk for us to keep!
Chris best man gave us the wedding music for a wedding present and since they are in a band together, we got to use their PA to play the music.