When you’re planning a wedding, one of the first things that comes up is The Budget, and it can be incredibly helpful to see how other couples allocated funds for their own wedding celebration. Nicole and Morgan have graciously shared their full budget breakdown with us… You can see their full wedding feature here.

From Nicole: “It was important for us to stay within budget because we didn’t want to start our marriage in debt. Yes, it was our wedding day. Yes, it only happens once. But we don’t come from families that have a lot of money, so for us we really wanted to stick to the budget my parents so generously gave us. It was a huge blessing for them to offer what they did. At the end of the day all that mattered to us was that we were husband and wife, and we really tried to focus on that more than not being able to get linens that touched the floor, for example. We actually tried going under our budget because my parents told us they would give us any leftover money we didn’t use!”


Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink



Saturday, June 7, 2014
Lodi, California
175 Guests

Ceremony: Japanese Garden at Micke Grove Regional Park in Lodi, California, $670
Reception: Groom’s Godparents’ Ranch, $0
Tables/Chairs/Misc: Bella Festa Rentals, $650
Total: $1320

Linen Rentals: Lynda’s Balloons, $175
Paper Straws: Paper Source, $15
Mason Jars: Walmart, $150
Total: $340

Catering: Dickey’s BBQ Pit, $2235
Cupcakes, Sweetheart Cake: Ayla Endriss (bride’s friend), $320
Drink Dispensers: Walmart, $60
Total: $2615

Invitation Materials, $185
Personalized Silhouettes: Disneyland, $20
Save-the-Dates, $100
Program Materials, $30
Design: brother of the bride, $0
Total: $305

Lights, $200
Wood signs + paint, $30
Centerpiece jars, $40
Miscellaneous Items (lighters, doilies for bunting, bug spray, yarn, burlap, lace), $200
Total: $470

Flowers, $500
Guest Book: Shutterfly, $30
Sparklers: VIP Sparklers, $55
Total: $585

Earrings: mother’s diamond earrings
Dress: Alfred Angelo, $1250
Shoes: Nordstrom, $50
Hair: Katie Riordan $100
Make-Up: gifted by bride’s friend, $0
Total: $1400

Suit: Men’s Wearhouse, $150
Tie: Jos. A. Bank, $15
Socks: Kohl’s, $10
Total: $175

7 hours of Photography: Christina McNeill, $5000
Officiant: bride’s brother
DJ: Jeriah Coller (groom’s friend), $0
Day-of-Coordinator: Elizabeth Wright (groom’s friend), $0
Total: $5000

GRAND TOTAL: $12,210


Some budget tips from Nicole and Morgan:

Plan ahead! On Black Friday this past year, we woke up early to head into Fred Meyer and purchase 200 boxes of string lights that were half off. We saved so much money by doing that (and it was such a fun adventure).

Beg, Borrow, and Thrift. Call in your favors with family and friends while prepping and planning your wedding day. So many of our vendors were actually loved ones that gifted us by using their talents for our big day: wedding coordinator, DJ, florist, officiant, cake and cupcake baker, and not to mention the hosts of our reception site. All of those key items saved us a lot of money, plus it was fun to have friends and family playing such a big role in our wedding day. // Make weekly thrift store trips, ask around to see what you can borrow from people, and DIY your heart out. I’m part of we a “Deals and Steals” Facebook group, which is where we found our wine glasses and bottle vases. The small jars with sunflowers and burlap were all given to us from another friend’s wedding.

Think outside the box. We went through quite a few options for catering and I felt like giving up, but eventually we sent an inquiry in at Dickey’s BBQ Pit (somewhere we actually love to eat) and their options were surprisingly affordable. Look for catering from places that you wouldn’t normally expect to do catering.

Prioritize splurges. Since I am a photographer something that was top priority for us was photography. I knew the style I wanted and that I wanted someone who shoots film. We didn’t care how much we spent on this aspect as long as the product was what we desired. These are the photos that can help us vividly remember what happened and how happy we felt the day of our wedding, these are the photos that will be passed down to our kids and their kids, etc. It was so important to us that we chose to spend less in other areas.


Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink


2 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Budget Breakdown, Budget Friendly

I love the way the ladies of Rad + In Love look at weddings. Their photos are full of love and emotion captured in a way that is beautiful and fun and totally unique. Melanie and Michael’s wedding is no exception, with so many sweet moments caught on camera. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that the bride and groom are a fun loving pair who wanted their day to be all about friends and family – definitely take the time to read what the lovely bride wrote about the day. It’s truly inspiring.

Says the bride: “We made these little books for everyone entitled YOU YES YOU. In it we included every single guest that was in attendance. We wrote each person’s connection to us, as well as a little something about them. Some were funny, some were sweet, others were downright inappropriate. It really made people feel like they were there for an actual reason, not just another name on a guest list. It was such a huge treat to see our guests find themselves in the book and read what we wrote for them. It took us about four months to complete.” The programs also featured a red and white YES button with the instructions to “Pin this button over your heart as a symbol of support for this union.”

Shares the bride, “A great moment for me was during the vows. My bridesmaid Jenny had written a song for me years ago and when Michael began his vows, she and our brothers softly hummed the tune in harmony in the background while he spoke. It made an already emotional moment almost unbearable. In the best of ways. Also, although we wrote our own heart wrenching vows, we followed up with the traditional exchange of vows, which are so simply perfect and do not get enough credit.”

Favorite part of the day? “Right after the ceremony, we invited all of our guests to take part in the recessional, which is a Sicilian tradition. We all walked together down a big dirt road to the reception, as our brothers played the accordion and fiddle and my sister sang traditional Sicilian folk songs. It was unreal. We were there surrounded by every single guest at our wedding. The excitement and love were so thick it felt like it was propelling us forward.”

From the photographers: “Many of Melanie and Michael’s friends performed for them at their wedding. Everyone sang and danced late into the night. I was high on love from this wedding for days.”



Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Orcutt Ranch could accommodate our huge families and our tiny bank accounts. It is a city park, so at any moment a couple weekend hikers could waltz through, but the more the merrier. Also, it was super gorgeous and unpretentious as hell.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  The one thing we kept coming back to was “community.” We wanted everyone there to feel like they were a part of our union. That and the song “Love Story” by Randy Newman. It essentially is a play-by-play of our wedding day, and hopefully our life.

What other music was part of your wedding day?  During the ceremony, Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s “Hello My Baby” played while guests of note processed, and Jenny O played “Sun, Moon, and Stars” while the wedding party processed. She also played “Love Story” by Randy Newman for our first dance and “Forever” by The Beach Boys for the Father/Daughter dance. Luke Rathborne played his song “Solon Town” for the Mother/Son dance. Becky Calinsky played “Old Kentucky Home” by Randy Newman while we sang it for addendum to the first dance.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  To get a day-of coordinator. Allie was indispensable. Talk about giving yourself an effing break already.

What advice do you have for other brides?  1. Get a day-of coordinator. 2. That thing you’re stressing about?… NO ONE IS GONNA NOTICE.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  We, like everyone, had a tight budget. And we stayed within it. We designed our stationery and invitations – our invites literally cost us $75 total. / If you can find one vendor that you trust and that works for your budget, find all of your other vendors through them. They will lead you in the right direction. / Look into public spaces! Our venue ended up costing us $2000 for a 12-hour day. / Anywhere we could cut a corner, we did. Chairs for example: we used the same chairs from our ceremony for our reception. We just asked 10 of our male guests ahead of time if they would move the chairs after the ceremony for us. They were so happy to help and it only took them 10 minutes to move 175 chairs. Saved us over $400. / Find a small local chain to cater. Local means you can trust the quality and the people. Chain means it’s gonna be more cost-effective. Ours was Stonefire Grill. It was buffet style and it was perfect and we spent $4000. No one cared that it was BBQ.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  Yes. We encouraged our guests to bring their kids. This was so important. The kids made everything light and loose and fun. Any table that had a kid at it had a big basket full of crayons, tattoos, stickers, paper, bubbles, etc. so the kids felt special. / We never left our guests. A lot of people told me to take some time after the ceremony, but we really did not need or want to. There was no grand entrance or separation between us and them. We were all in it together and it felt so right. / The other thing that made it so special was the involvement of our guests in the entire day. Our friends performed our first dance songs, my high school youth minister was our DJ, my uncle made our simple gold wedding bands, a friend did our flowers, all of my aunts and cousins brought the desserts, my 10 year old nephew and my best guy friend filmed the entire event, and we did all of the clean up. Michael and I changed into tennis shoes at the end of the night and cleaned the heck outta that place. It was so important to us to see this thing to completion. It felt great. I can’t explain it. There was something very emotional about being the last to leave, knowing that we had taken care of all of our guests, all of these people that were so important to us and had been there for us on our first day to help us take our first step.

Photography: Rad + In Love / Venue: Orcutt Ranch in West Hills, California / Day-of Coordinator: Allison Shane, Pop the Champagne Events / Bride’s Dress: Nicole Miller / Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens / Veil: Gilded Shadows / Groom’s Attire: J.Crew / Stationery Font: Molly Shiot / Stationery Printer: NonStop Printing / Rentals: EZ Party Rentals / Classic Guitar: Albert Diaz / Cello: Becky Calinksy / Singers: Jenny O, Luke Rathborne / Catering: Stonefire Grill, Brent’s Deli / Custom Stamp: Yellow Owl Workshop / Hair, Makeup: Page Mahon / Photo Booth: Photoboothology

Rad + In Love is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor.

  • Orcutt Ranch Wedding from Rad + In Love

    13 March 2014
  • 5 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Budget Friendly, Real Weddings

    Gorgeous rings don’t have to cost a pretty penny! Between boutique designers, Etsy sellers, and vintage and estate curators there are plenty of unique engagement rings within budget. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites in varying styles, all under $2,500!

    BULGARI gold, pearl, and diamond bypass Ring via 1st Dibs, $1,800 / Victorian gold, pearl and diamond ring via 1st Dibs, $2,450 / Early 1900’s moonstone ring by Erica Weiner, $340 / Graduated diamond and opal band by Erica Weiner, $1,200 / Baby pearl bud ring by Alex Monroe, $200 / The Beatrix ring via Brilliant Earth, $2,400

    Five stone pear cut sapphire diamond band by Sam n Sue, $1,390 / Chrysalite 5-stone ring via 1st Dibs, $1,950 / Sensual antique natural pearl and diamond band via 1st Dibs, $2,500 / Radiant diamond and natural pearl band via 1st Dibs, $2,300 / Crescent diamond ring by Bario Neal, $2,222 / 18K Champagne five stone band by Sam n Sue, $1,050

    Hermes diamond “H” yellow-gold ring via 1st Dibs, $1,700 / Square diamond stackable ring via Nordstrom, $1,395 / 18K yellow gold Yasmine ring with white diamonds by Stone via mytheresa.com, $917 / White diamond band ring by Blanca Monros Gomez via Shop Bop, $1,630 / Diamond bubble eternity band by Rebecca Overmann via palasjewelers.com, $1,730 / Baguette diamond band by Bario Neal, $2,475

    Cordate ring via BHLDN, $420 / Round rose cut diamond ring by Conroy & Wilcox, $2,240 / “Wheat” diamond ring by Anna Sheffield via greenwichjewelers.com, $2,000 / Rose cut diamond stack band by Dawes Design via palasjewelers.com, $1,575 / Diamond engagement ring via 1st Dibs, $2,200 / Avens ring by Bario Neal, $2,200

    The Bolero Ring via Brilliant Earth, $2,450 / Viola’s treasure signet ring by Elisa Solomon via Cat Bird, $1,260 / Savoy art deco ring via Trumpet and Horn, $1,800 / Dover art deco ring via Trumpet and Horn, $500 / Victorian-era “MIA” cigar band by Erica Weriner, $600 / Art Nouveau diamond ring via 1st Dibs, $1,800

    Rose and vine ring by Alex Monroe, $200 / Knot ring by Gabriela Artigas via Shop Bop, $198 / Horseshoe ring by Erica Weiner, $500 / White topaz scallop ring by Jamie Wolf via Shop Bop, $1,200 / “Loved” ring by Nora Kogan, $576 / Rose gold bezel heart ring via Rare Earth Etsy shop, $365

    Pavlova pink sapphire ring by Elisa Solomon via Cat Bird, $2,318 / Edwardian amethyst and seed pearl ring via Doyle & Doyle, $985 / Square turquoise ring by Mociun, $2,250 / Victorian Etruscan Revival coral ring via Doyle & Doyle, $2,400 / Wood nymph ring with tourmaline and diamonds by Megan Thorne via greenwichjewelers.com, $1,685 / Sapphire and diamond white gold cluster ring via 1st Dibs, $2,500

    Do you have or are you considering a unique engagement ring? Which one is your favorite?

    22 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Budget Friendly, Kathryn Loves

    As she plans her upcoming wedding, my little sister has asked me for resources that show real couples’ wedding budgets, and the truth is that they’re not easy to come by! Today, Jessica and Jamie have shared their charming carousel wedding with us, along with a complete breakdown of their real budget (scroll down for the details). But first, some lovely photos by Jillian Mitchell (who shot the wedding as a gift to her brother, the groom) and details from the bride!

    We knew we didn’t want a standard country club wedding. Originally I had my heart set on renting a carnival ride and having the wedding in my parent’s backyard. After their objections and (legitimate) concerns and discovering that it’s prohibitively expensive and difficult to rent a carnival ride we decided a carousel would be even better. After visiting a few in the area we saw the one at Battleship Cove and knew it was perfect. It had a beautiful patio right on the water as well as a back drop of battleships and vintage trains, and the carousel was located on the second floor of the building—allowing for plenty of room for the bar, candy buffet, appetizers and the cocktail hour inside.

    I called my mom everyday while planning, really just to vent. It was such a wild time and I was hanging on with my fingertips. I don’t even remember what I said or she said exactly, but I’m pretty sure it was something to the effect of Calm down, it’ll be okay. It was.

    I love anything that is quirky, fun and a little out of the ordinary. Going for a 1920’s carnival just seemed to fit what we wanted and gave us the option to bounce between casual carnival and formal 1920’s glamour. I got to have my vintage looking dress and fascinator and we got to get all sorts of fun accents and accessories. There were colorful fans, bunting, paper windmills, bow ties, and feather boas.

    Favorite moments from the day? Catching each other try very hard to not get teary eyed during the ceremony. Sneaking a drink and a cigarette together before we joined the reception from behind the building and having the cop (that we hired!) tell us we couldn’t be there. Dancing with Jamie and all my friends (we aren’t dancers!). Hugging everyone. Riding the carousel in my wedding dress. Making hilarious faces in the photo booth. Holding hands in our getaway car.


    Here’s the full budget breakdown and vendor list for Jessica and Jamie’s carousel wedding for 130 guests:

    Venue, 8 hours (Carousel at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts): $1600
    Park Fee: $35
    Tent, Tables, Chairs, Lighting (Central Mass Party Rentals): $2535
    Party Bus / Hotel Transportation: $1600
    Getaway Car: $200
    Security: $250
    TOTAL: $6220

    Bamboo Dinner Plates: $120
    Cornstarch Appetizer and Dessert Plates: $50
    Recycled Napkins: $20
    Paper Straws: $30
    Birchwood Cutlery: $50
    Cornstarch Drink Cups: $50
    Compostible Coffee Cups: $50
    TOTAL: $370

    Catering, 2 Bartenders (Smokestack Catering): $3500
    Bar Accessories, Drink Dispensers: $80
    Appetizer Platters (Shaw’s): $300
    Soda, Water, Mixers: $150
    Alcohol: $600
    Cake, Cupcakes (Alicia Albernaz): $500
    TOTAL: $5130

    Invitation Materials: $100
    Save-the-Date Printing: $20
    Program Materials: $40
    TOTAL: $160

    Bunting Materials: $200
    Vases, Candy Containers: $200
    Pinwheels (Paper Polaroid on Etsy): $150
    Tablecloths: $120
    Miscellaneous: $500
    TOTAL: $1170

    Bouquet, Boutonnieres: $350
    Birdcage Card Holder: $20
    Candy: $100
    Streamer Poppers: $20
    Fans: $150
    TOTAL: $640

    Camera: $350
    Printer, Paper: $70
    Software: $60
    Booth Materials: $35
    TOTAL: $515

    Feathers: $50
    Earrings (Classy Lady Jewelry): $25
    Dress (Allure Bridals): $1100
    Shoes: $150
    Hair, Makeup: $320
    TOTAL: $1645

    Suit (Hugo Boss): $650
    Shirt, Accessories (TJ Maxx): $50
    Bow Ties: $50
    TOTAL: $750

    Officiant: $500
    DJ, Tent Uplighting (B-Sharp): $2300
    Day-of-Coordinator: $1200
    Photographer (sister of the groom, Jillian Mitchell): $0
    TOTAL: $4000

    GRAND TOTAL: $20,600

    Jessica’s budget tips? “Figure out how much you can realistically spend and always know that number. Your wedding will be wonderful even if you can’t get the farm-to-table plated catering or the hand-beaded couture dress. Don’t compromise your finances or your real life for your fairytale day. Because really, while it’s wonderful and it’s yours, it’s just one day.”
    For another real wedding budget breakdown, see Kate and Billy’s wedding feature.
    See more photos from Jessica and Jamie’s vintage carousel wedding in the gallery.

    10 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Budget Friendly, Real Weddings

    Mood: charming elegance
    Palette: seashell pink and white

    {click image to enlarge}

    Top row from left: Kate Spade “Nico” dress from Nordstrom, foldover clutch by Claire Vivier, save-the-date from Paperless Post, cocktails with drink stirrers from Martha Stewart Weddings
    Row 2: tulip-topped square cakes and scallop hors d’oeuvres both from Martha Stewart Weddings, glass candelabra from CB2, tulip bouquet from A Country Farmhouse
    Row 3: pocket squares from Martha Stewart Weddings, grosgrain ribbon ring from Doyle & Doyle, art space from Airspace via The City Sage


    The Idea:  Food is one of the biggest places to save in a wedding budget, which is why these inspiration boards have largely focused on alternatives to traditional sit-down dinners. Today’s board presents the idea of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as an elegant way to make nice with your wallet.

    The Paper:  Though I think formal invitations are appropriate and appreciated, digital save-the-dates are perfectly acceptable and a great way to save money. Paperless Post offers a number of charming designs, some of which are even free (their pricing system seems unnecessarily confusing to me, but bottom line is: they have attractive, customizable options at affordable rates).

    The Fashion:  “Bridal alternative” is basically a term for a white dress that doesn’t cost as much as most wedding gowns, and lots of department stores carry them. All I know is, it’s a great option if you’re willing to think outside the box when it comes to traditional wedding wear, like with this adorable Kate Spade dress for $468. Bella Bridesmaid is another great place to look for less expensive bridal gowns. This gives you a little wiggle room for fun accessories like a chic foldover clutch from Claire Vivier for $156 (that you can definitely use again!).

    The Decor:  Candles are a beautiful way to light a room, and they can be significantly cheaper than flowers. If your venue allows, decorate the room with glass candleholders from CB2 for a modern look – the one pictured here is only $20, and can double as a gift for your bridal party.

    The Flowers:  When Ryan and I had our civil ceremony at City Hall the day before our church wedding, my cousin’s partner brought me a beautiful bunch of white tulips to carry that she had picked up at the grocery store that morning. If a professionally designed bouquet isn’t a priority for you, opting for whatever’s in season (and available at your local market) and tying it together yourself is one way to help out your budget (this is especially true if you have lots of bridesmaid who will also be carrying flowers). Let pocket squares take the place of boutonnieres, and double as groomsmen gifts – you can find some for under $20, or if you’re the crafty type, you can make them yourself with a favorite fabric.

    The Food:  As with a dessert reception, as long as your guests know what to expect, and the reception is held in between meal times, it’s perfectly okay to serve passed hors d’oeuvres instead of a full meal. Small bites are also a way to include more expensive ingredients that might be cost prohibitive in an entree, such as scallops or truffles. If your caterer and/or venue allows you to BYOB, find out if you’ll be able to return unopened bottles to the store – why pay for what people don’t drink!

    Other Details:  As I’ve said before, I’m a big fan of easy DIY projects. The drink stirrers in this board are made by simply folding a piece of washi tape over a wooden skewer to create a cute little flag. Easy peasy! Make enough to adorn all drinks, or just a signature cocktail.


    Today’s the last day of this budget-friendly series. I hope you’ve enjoyed them! I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section – did you enjoy these inspiration boards? Were they helpful to you? Do you have some budget-friendly tips that I missed?


    If you like this budget-friendly inspiration board, you might also like:

    Board #184: Cocktails & Hors d’Oeuvres
    Board #276: Keep It Simple
    Board #355: Apricot and Rose Gold


    Bella Bridesmaid is a sponsor of Snippet & Ink.

    7 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Budget Friendly, Inspiration Boards