That was our hashtag. For those of you unfamiliar with hashtags (mom & dad), a hashtag is a special word, theme, or phrase in which any picture linked with it can be found in one location. Great, now that the social media lesson has been covered, let’s get down to the details.
For some time now, I have been meaning to post about our wedding day because it was an absolutely incredible day worth sharing. However, I also wanted to talk about our approach and more specifically, the budget surrounding that occasion because the expenses can easily get out of control if you let them. Jordan and I were extremely frugal throughout the wedding planning process and realized that there really are so many ways to save money. We are very thankful for the help our parents provided us, and we also decided that we did not want to go into any debt from one day of our lives. Overall, I was beyond pleased with how everything turned out and how special that day was.
Getting married inside a church was a no brainer since we both desired that and since we knew the temperatures in Iowa during November would be less-than-bearable outside. I had many people ask me if we would be getting married at my dad’s church since he is pastor, but I never really attended the church he is currently on staff at, so I did not feel comfortable doing that. During the year I lived at home in between undergrad and grad school, I became a member and frequently attended Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa. Knowing their sanctuary holds an absurd amount of people, plus having a strong liking for the more intimate chapel inside the church, I decided that was the place. Hope was the first place we called once we decided on the day, and thankfully, they had 1 opening in November…on that exact day. It was definitely a God thing. So we swooped up that slot, paid our deposit, and fast-forward 6 months, had a beautiful wedding ceremony for an amazing price. Finding the pastor was easy…thanks dad :).
We looked around at several reception sites while we were in Iowa for a week before both moving down to Dallas. Nothing caught our eye. It was either way too expensive, out-dated, already booked, or just not our style. While we were slightly discouraged and having lunch at the Des Moines Art Center, their chef who was chatting with us, recommended the Des Moines Botanical Garden. I had been there a couple times for conferences and what not, and honestly didn’t get too jazzed about her suggestion. She continued to mention that they were about to undergo a huge face-lift on a large portion of the center. Feeling more encouraged, we headed over there immediately after lunch and talked to the wedding/events coordinator. She was very thorough in explaining all of the construction details and assured us that it would be ready by November. We all felt right about it and the price was right in our budget, so we pulled the trigger. It ended up being absolutely perfect and they took such great care of us. I was extremely pleased and would recommend it to anyone! Not to mention, the gardens are gorgeous!!
Honestly, finding a dress was obviously something I needed to do because that would just be weird if I showed up not wearing a dress, but I wasn’t crazy into it. Ever since my oldest sister purchased her stunning consignment dress for her wedding, I held onto that idea. I mean, wedding dresses are so darn expensive and you only wear them one time. Once, that is it. I just could not swallow spending that much money on something I would never wear again. Mom and I looked at one bridal shop before I decided I wanted to borrow one. Thankfully we knew exactly the person to contact and she generously let me purchase it from her. I wanted straps, a neat back, and no bling, bedazzles, or distracting material. After taking everything out of the sides we possibly could in order for it to fit (the girl I got it from is a string bean, literally) it was ready for me. I had my final fitting 2 days before the big day and sure am thankful everything worked out! It was simple, comfortable, and all that I needed. My gold shoes were on sale at DSW and my jewelry was less than $20 from this place down here called Charming Charlies. Oh, and then the shawl that I wore was from an Etsy shop. Contact me if you’d like their information! BRIDESMAID DRESSES
You guys, this deal is amazing. Get ready for it. After (quickly) walking in and out of David’s Bridal empty handed, mom suggested we just peruse through Von Maur. Several of you know that Von Maur is my favorite store, but I had never thought to purchase bridesmaids dresses there. Sure enough, we spotted beautiful long, pink dresses on the sale rack in the junior’s department. The original price was $169.00 which was way too much in my opinion, but then they had been marked down to $42.00 which caused my brain to say “duh, sold.” So I try one on to make sure I like how they fit and then we take it up to the cashier to ask her if she can find us 5 of them. She makes some calls, orders them for us, and then rings up the one we brought her. “$17.00” she says. Excuse me, what? So yes, we ended up paying $85.00 for their dresses, plus 1 extra for good measure. Great idea mama!
For hair, I let the girls decide how they would like to do their hair and they all looked beautiful. We used my mom’s stylist up in Des Moines and she had a friend come help. They were talented, fast, and super fun to hangout with. My friend Kelsey came and grabbed some pictures of us girls getting ready which are such great memories to have! My sweet sister-in-law did not only my makeup, but generously did a couple of my bridesmaids makeup. I am comfortable around her and knew she would do an awesome job!
My “something old” was my veil which was the one my mom wore in her wedding. I loved the uniqueness of the head piece and flowers along the edges. Since it was two pieces, I wore the veil over my face and then had my dad lift it back. Jordan said he preferred to see my face when I walked up towards him. Getting it to stay in my thick head of hair involved way too many poppy pins, and after the ceremony my head hurt a bit, but I am so glad I wore it.
My advice on this is one get quotes from at least 4 different places. It amazed me how some places doubled the previous places I went to, for the exact same bouquets. Don’t get me wrong, flowers are beautiful, they really are. But I just did not want to spend a large chunk of our money on them. I wanted bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages. Basically my strategy throughout the planning process, was to obtain a quote, and then find it for half of that. I ended up going with Hy Vee in Urbandale and they did a great job! They went with my vision, and created beautiful arrangements.
As a lover of all sweets, this was a must for me. Jordan wanted an ice cream buffet, but after reminding him that our wedding was in November and in Iowa a few times, we went with the non-frozen foods. Conveniently, my sister’s friend who used to do candy buffets for various events, decided to sell her large jars. When I look back at the timing of everything and how the Lord really had his hand in it all, blows me away. We purchased them from her for a very reasonable price and then I ordered plastic scoops off Amazon. When it came to purchasing the candy, mom got most of it at Costco, and then a few of the pink candy items from Oriental trading. Although I never actually went through the candy buffet line, I loved how it turned out and hope everyone enjoyed it!
A tasty cake was very important to us. In case you haven’t picked up on the trend, our priorities were food & fun. Since my sister had used Glorias’s Desserts for her wedding and knowing how delicious her almond cake was, we went with her. She was also able to make J a really cool Groom’s cake which incorporated a few things that are special to him. His choice of flavor was chocolate. She did an amazing job and we could not have been more pleased with how it tasted. FOOD
We went with Embassy catering in Des Moines because they worked with out budget, and we were able to get a nice platted dinner for all of our guests. They are some of the most experienced caterers in the area, so I knew they would take care of everything. And they sure did. We did not have to worry about one thing during the entire reception. Although we were unable to serve a fancy fish or steak entree, the feedback about the food was great. So, for the cost, I was beyond pleased. They served drinks, cake, coffee, cleaned up, and were very pleasant the whole evening.
Most of the items were either made by myself or one of my family members, or thrifted. There were very few things that we paid full price for. We were super blessed to catch some incredible steals and through word of mouth, we were able to find some perfect decorations. Thank you to my family who used their creativity to make the banners! I made our candy favor bags out of white paper sacks and stamps. MUSIC
Good music and dancing was another priory for us. We love a good dance party, and although we are not good dancers, other people are and it is just fun. Our DJ was amazing. He is actually a friend of both of ours and somebody we skied with last January. He drove from Colorado in bad weather just to be there for us. Everyone loved him and his energy! Trenton, we can’t thank you enough for putting on a really awesome party that we will never forget. For the ceremony music, I walked down to “Holy/Wedding Day” by City Harmonic, the congregation sang my favorite hymn “In Christ Alone” and we exited with “Oceans” by Hillsong United. They were unique, but meant a lot to us, so we loved how it turned out. I get chills just thinking about those moments. Thank you to everyone who joined in song and worshiped with us.
The majority of the pictures (besides those done by Kelsey) were taken by Leah with Sentimental Soul, who was recommended by a family friend. She was awesome! Her personality lit up a room and she knew exactly what moments to capture. We all just loved her work and I would pass on that recommendation to anyone!
Our ultimate goal for our wedding day was for the guests to walk away thinking “that was a God-honoring wedding.” It was not about us, my dress, the food, or the decorations. Sure, those things are important and mean a lot to people who travel a long way, but that wasn’t the point of it all. We wanted to treat them to an enjoyable evening and show them how much their attendance meant to us. But what we learned that evening, is that an awesome wedding is all about the people. Our guests had so much joy, energy, and love for each other. There was no drama, hostility, or awkward tension in the room. We were showered with more love than I could have imagined. Our intentions in it all, was to bring Glory to the one who brought us together and everything centered on that. There is nothing I would have changed about that day and I am thankful for everyone who was part of making it so incredible. Sticking to a budget actually brought about so much peace in the end knowing that nobody was in debt over it.
Also, I know weddings are a really big deal to some people and so I hope I don’t take anything away from that for you. This is just one couple’s approach to planning a wedding.
Abby Dawn #imout