Wedding of the Week: Nikole from Stubborn Delight

Hi, I'm Nikole, and we spent less than $1,500 on my wedding :) INCLUDING the dress and photography!

Taylor and I got married in a beautiful public park, we rented a pavilion (for free) and just put up signs to keep unwanted visitors away. Our reception was held in a dear friend's backyard. Her family and friends set it up very nicely and got tables and chairs for free from their local church.
Venue: $0

I had the bridesmaids and groomsmen assemble their own attire. I thought it was fitting, considering that most of what I wanted they already had (for the groomsmen especially). I didn't want anything to0 casual or fancy, and mismatching went well with my vintage carnival theme! For Taylor, we just bought him a nice vest to go with the shirt and trousers that he already owned. I found my dress long before I was engaged. I wanted a mermaid fit with lace overlay in ivory. Bam. Perfect dress found! I found several that fit my criteria, and truthfully, I liked an expensive one more than the one I wore. I figure that I looked good in the cheaper dress, I loved it, it fit my theme, and no one would see the nicer one to compare. So why not save the money?? I am so glad that I did!
Attire: $400 
We served a lunch before the ceremony and carnival food at the reception. My sister works at a party store and was able to score us a cotton candy machine! My aunt lives next door to a man with a hotdog cart that he rented out to us. We had a candy bar, and a lemonade stand to top it all off! Instead of cake, we served Pan Dulce (which is ridiculously inexpensive). We had a cake for looks that we got at a grocery store for about thirty dollars.
Food: $200

Photography was hard. We had to change our date last minute, and our photographer could no longer do our wedding. We looked and looked and were lucky enough to find Carrie with Carrie Lee Photography. She did our photography (ceremony, reception, bridal/groomals) for $600 and let us make payments! No one else could offer  us that!
Photography: $600

My grandma and Aunt made tulle balls in our colors for the luncheon and we borrowed a lot of lights for the reception, and odd this and that's from a very generous friend. My Uncle's mom had a ton of silk flowers in our colors, which we used too! Lucky ducky us! My Aunt gave us all the decorations (including picture frames and a canvas) for free as our wedding gift :) It was incredibly nice of her and really helpful. I made a few signs and a card box (out of my great grandmother's hat box), to add a little somethin somethin.
Decorations: $20 

I made my own bouquet out of my great-grandmother's pins and silk flowers. I also made a silk flower boutonniere for Taylor. The bridesmaids had vintage pinwheels that I made using scrapbook paper and sticks. The groomsmen's boutonnieres were little  pinwheels that I glued to hair pins. I thought it was rather clever.
"Flowers": $15


When it came to my ring, wellllll... I was picky. I just wanted something completely unique. NOT the unique that everyone gets (if you know what I mean). Taylor designed my ring all by himself! And because of some free money we came across from a very stupid business (haha!) my ring was basically free. Taylor's ring has a very touching story. His dad passed away the winter before our wedding, and Taylor spent a lot of time at a lot of jewelers trying to find a ring that was just like his dad's. At one point, we took his brother to see what we were thinking of getting, and he told us that he had his dad's ring, AND he very generously offered to let Taylor have it. It was so sweet of him, and now Taylor's ring really means a lot to him.
Rings: $0


A beautiful wedding doesn't have to be expensive! I had my dream wedding for cheap! Take advantage of connections, even ones that seem super distant. I got help from my old friend's neighbor, my grandma's best friend, and even my sister's high school friend's mom. Look for connections and take all the help you can get! Also, your bridesmaids are there to help you, take advantage of that. And remember, a cheap dress can look just as amazing as an expensive one, and you don't have to have an expensive caterer or a pricey reception center. With a little creativity, you can have the wedding you've always dreamed of, without breaking the bank! ~Nikole



You can find more of Nikole here: Blog//Facebook//Twitter
or email her at timelesslove50@gmail.com

32 comments:

Chris Wiggins said...

Amazing!!! I would never have thought of getting married in a park.

mumudragon said...

Love it! Mine was $2000-$3000. Not sure of final bill since I was not keeping tabs over the 4 months I was shopping. Ours was a destination wedding, church, flowers were silk DYI and we paid for rental tables n chairs for reception at family ranch, 3rings Lunch was BBQ pulled pork rustic. clothes 2me 2hubby 1bestman 1bridesmaid 2teen daughter plus dollar store was my friend pictures were free, cake was from store, DYI cake topper. It was a lot of work but I got a lot of help too.

Kimi R said...

Hi where was your venue located?

Jamie Faussett said...

sounds like a lot of luck was involved in this. I love the DIY aspect of a lot of it, and will be doing the same myself, but tips on planning a wedding on a low budget shouldnt include the fact that you got lucky and your rings were free. You borrowed lights, clever, and you again got lucky with the food cart and cotton candy machine. I was looking for how to save on your wedding! I'm happy for you, and it was a beautiful wedding by the looks of it. You were very lucky!

Courtney Dydek said...

Ok, sorry, but that ring story does not count! Just because you didn't expect to get money you used to pay for your ring doesn't mean you don't include it in the total costs! Come on now, be honest, how much did it REALLY cost you.

Jessie A. said...

I agree with everyone else. Looks like you had a beautiful wedding but besides the tip on renting your local park for free, seems like the tip is that you have to know people who can get you things for free/make you things for free. Also, how many guests did you have? Food and drinks for only $200?

maddemay said...

What I love above all the great ideas here is that your wedding was actually about whats most important, committing to your best friend for life. I have a feeling that even if all the other stuff fell apart, you would still have had the best day :) No "bridezilla" vibe from you at allll!~ Congrats!! :)

Alexandra Everley said...

Where did you get your dress?? It's perfect.

Amanda Louise said...

Although there were some ideas on how to save, this was completely unrealistic for everyone. Too much luck was involved. I don't want to beg others to donate to my wedding. However, I liked the tip on the wedding dress. That, in my mind, makes sense.

Jamie Dalton said...

It looks like you had a beautiful wedding! Congrats! My own wedding was around $1500 as well. We bought my husbands ring at Walmart for $50 and my ring was my great grandmothers. Before we decided on that we were going to get a used ring from a consignment store that was really cheap. Less than $100. My dress was on clearance and because I was having it shipped from the store out of state I didn't have to pay taxes on it. Venue was completely free since we did it at our church and used the tables, chairs, and dishes from the church. My cake my aunt made and I bought the lights for our wedding on clearance after Christmas. Our food came out to around $250 for around 150 people. We bought some pork in bulk and slow cooked it and did home made mac and cheese, rolls, and fruit and cheese trays. The best deal that we got was our photographers. I had found a photographer on craigslist who was a student looking for a few weddings to do for free for her portfolio. She asked if she could bring her mentor and I agreed. This was our bit of luck for our wedding. He was a photographer that I had looked at but was a several thousand dollar deal. We got him for free as well as my husbands grandfather was able to come out from California to NC for our wedding and did it as well. We ended up with 3 photographers for our wedding without meaning to and without paying for it. IT wasn't the fanciest of weddings but everyone had fun and we didn't break the bank doing it. http://brightbride.blogspot.com/

Giselle Valles said...

This isn't really how to plan an affordable wedding, it's basically how you got lucky and didn't have to spend that much money. It's misleading for people who are expecting to find tips on how to truly save on their wedding costs because obviously what worked for you will not work for others.

Dexter Louis said...

It’s really amazing. I’m also trying to celebrate my day pleasantly and my total budget including bride’s dress and photography is $ 2500. I hope it’ll be done easily.
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Shannon said...

For all the people who are commenting that this was just a lot of luck and doesn't really help you save money on your wedding, I think you're missing the big picture here. This bride clearly took what was available to her and made it work. She had a budget wedding because she was willing to use what she had or could get inexpensively to make her wedding special. She did not demand what she had to have for her special day. And that's the best tip anyone could get on having a lovely budget wedding.

Cypress Valley Farms said...

Calm down ladies. I think the point is that everyones wedding is uniquely theirs. In order to pull that off on a budget sometimes you have to examine the resources you have at hand. This woman did and it turned out fantastic. Everything she had in her arsenal won't be available to you. Cash in on those that apply and drop the others, they don't pertain to you. If someones daddy is the town jeweler would you scold her for getting her ring cheaper. It's not a saving source for most but, good on her if she has the option. Love the park idea--genius.

The Geeks said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)

stephen louis said...

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Vanessa Barney said...

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morgan Fahey said...

Wow lucky lady! Photographers where I live start at $2000.00 :/. The cheapest we have been able to do our wedding and still be happy with it all is $15,000..

princessalica said...

For my brother's wedding, my mother and I made the bridesmaid dresses, the wedding dress, and we looked in clearance and found cute dresses for the flowergirls. I made the rehearsal dinner and the invitations. I also made the ties for the men. Mom made the unity candle. Mom made the grooms cake. We used our church and so the fee was minimal. The bride's family paid for the cake which they got at walmart and hairdressers for the girls. Mom used to work for a florist, so she made all of the bouquets, corsages, boutineeres, etc. We made the flower girl basket from cool whip containers. I editted the wedding video, and my aunt took pictures. I know that we spent less than 1,500 because we are crafty and have knowledge of the different crafts that go into a wedding.
I believe that I also made the cream cheese mints.

Liza said...

Thank you for sharing your wedding photos with us. I also need some unique wedding venues for my friend’s wedding in Los Angeles. Please suggest me some venues.

celeste c said...

I think what the bride was trying to say was utilize the connections you have and don't get too stuck on how your wedding day should look. Everyone knows somebody and ur friends and family are willing to help. You can save a lot of money by just asking questions and inquiring. Also, if you r on a budget you have to have an open mind about how things may look and your dress. You can still have a beautiful wedding day and not break the bank. That's what I got from this.

Michelle Seymour said...

I like the idea of the carnival food. I'm planning my in the rustic country theme. A lot of second hand finds and Pintrest pinning!

Hely Fell said...

Loved your blog page!!!The stuff that you have remarked up here is superbly wonderful and I vigorously thank you for the same... just branded please

levice willson said...

I am really impressed with your blog! The wedding pictures are looking spectacular and really it was a great day for you! All the best for your upcoming life!

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sonakshi kapoor said...

this was the great blog. your wedding images are very impressed.
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Jessi Ruf said...

Omg....lol Im so lost on even were to start. If you have any ideas for us please contact us at jessi3136@gmail.com

Thanks Jessi and Darcy

sardin3 said...

These aren't really tips. Like everyone else said, you got lucky with most of it. And the ring was not "free money" lol you could have spent that money on something else so technically you bought the ring and should have included it in your end total. Sorry your photographer canceled! And sorry you paid $600 for the photos you received! They don't seem the greatest. A high schooler with a camera could have done the same so you could have gotten LUCKY again if you knew someone with mediocre photography skills.

Bekah S. said...

I have to ask, WHERE did your husband design your ring? I have the free set stones from my grandmother's ring and a pearl that my parents got me in Hawaii. However, I can't find any where that has the BAND I want. I've been looking for a place that would let us design my ring to be perfect.

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benilhalk said...

Great wedding ceremony! I am glad to read your wedding post and watching photos from your big day. I know how stressful and nerve wracking weddings can be. My cousin just got married at one of wedding venues in LA and I arranged her wedding of my own.

Give Lovely said...

Well really appreciated on your economical marriage arrangements i am sure you had got lot of Lovely Gifts on your special day thumbs up.

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