Budget-Friendly Wedding in Lodi, California | Nicole & Morgan

Last week I mentioned that we had some extended real wedding features to look forward to – well, today’s feature is bursting at the seams with inspiration! Not only did Nicole and Morgan share tons of details about their wedding day, they also shared their full wedding ceremony and their complete budget breakdown, so be sure to check back throughout the day for even more from this budget-friendly wedding celebration.

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The Ceremony

“My older brother is a pastor and he was our officiant, and he had done a wedding previously with a layout we wanted,” says Nicole. “It was pretty standard but he added some personal things to make it more intimate and we changed a few things around. We wrote our own vows and added a little ‘I Do’ at the end of them because I really wanted to say those two words. Morgan had a few verses in mind and explained to my brother why certain things were important to us (like the foot washing ceremony) and then we just let my brother run with it.”


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Your ceremony in three words:  Personal, Unique, Memorable.

Were there any DIY projects included in your ceremony?  Morgan: One of the details that stands out for me was the arbor. I wasn’t sure how I was going to build it because I am not very handy with tools, and I wasn’t sure where I would find the rustic wood that we wanted. I was able to resolve both concerns when one day I was driving home and saw a fallen tree on the side of the road that had been there for a while. I called a long time family friend and asked him if he would build the arbor for us with wood from the tree. Through the process of cutting the wood and talking the vision over with my friend, I felt that we had a chance to create a stronger friendship and bond too.

Please tell us about the foot washing ceremony.  In the Bible, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as a symbol that no person is greater than another. Jesus also did this as an act of service to his loved ones. It was important for us to show this form of vulnerability and service to each other, and to share with our friends and family this act of submission, selfless love, and care for one another. John 13:12-17 explains the reasoning behind our decision: When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Anything else?  Nicole: During the ceremony as Morgan was about to read his vows, one of his groomsmen started playing guitar and I looked at him and mouthed ‘WRONG TIME’ but he just winked at me. Little did I know, Morgan was surprising me by singing one of our songs: “She is Love” by Parachute. It was the only time that I cried during the entire day. I love when Morgan sings to me but it was so unexpected for him to perform this act of bravery in front of 170+ people!



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The Reception

“We really wanted our wedding to be outdoor and intimate, no matter the guest count. The location and layout of our reception venue definitely inspired both of us. I am super out-going and like to be around people,” says Morgan, “but I also loved the intimacy of the venue and being able to see everyone and know who was there.”


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Menu:  Drinks: Lemonade and Sweet Tea // Entrees: Brisket / Chicken // Side Dishes: Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans with Bacon, Caesar Salad, Dinner Rolls // Dessert: Lemon Sweetheart Cake with Raspberry, Banana Cream Pie, Chocolate Cake, Carrot Cake, Lemon Cupcakes


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Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  Nicole: I did have something old, something blue, something borrowed, something new – old, my Grandma’s diamond in my ring; blue, undergarments; borrowed, my mom’s diamond earrings; and new, my dress. We also had the first dances and cutting the cake.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Nicole: My sister-in-law/Matron of Honor sent me a long text a few days prior to the wedding telling me she was praying for me, that I could be present during the wedding to really soak everything in and enjoy it all. Throughout the entire day I kept reminding myself “be present, be present.”

What advice do you have for other brides?  Hmm, a few things come to mind. Get an amazing photographer (after all, these are the photos that will be passed down generation to generation). Soak everything in (not just the day of your wedding but also the days leading up to it – the season of engagement is incredible so embrace it). Lastly, this is your big day, but learn to let it go on the day of your wedding. Who cares what goes wrong at that point – you will be married to your best friend at the end of the day and that’s all that matters!

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  Morgan: One of the things that I feel helps tell the story for me is the reception venue. I grew up in the town of Lodi and the reception was held at my godparents’ house. This was where I learned to swim, I rode my first horse at this ranch, and even spent a lot of my Christmas Eve’s here. So to have a big part of our wedding here was very warming to my heart and added another great memory of this place.

First Dance:  “The Beauty of Who You Are” by Marc Broussard. Instead of a sparkler exit, we did our first dance surrounded by sparklers.


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Full ceremony right HERE.
Budget breakdown right HERE.







Vendor Credits

Photography: Christina McNeill / Ceremony Venue: Japanese Garden at Micke Grove Park in Lodi, California / Reception Venue: Private Residence in Lodi, California / Ceremony: Micke Grove Park / Event Planner: Liz Wright / Officiant: Pastor Christopher Stites / Dress: Alfred Angelo / Shoes: BC Footwear via Nordstrom / Suit, Shirt: Men’s Warehouse / Tie: Jos. A Bank / Bridesmaid Dresses: Target, Macy’s, Modcloth, JC Penny, Express / Stationery Supplies: Paper Source / Stationery Design: Slojoy /  Floral Design: Paula Lennon / Rentals: Bella Festa Rentals, Lynda’s Balloons / Catering: Dickey’s BBQ Pit / Cake: Ayla Endriss / Sparklers: VIP Sparklers / Mason Jars: Walmart / Hair: Katie Riordan / Makeup: Jessica Scoles

Christina McNeill is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor.

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  • M. Quiroz says:

    The wedding was gorgeous!! As the mother of the groom, Morgan, it was also very special for our family to have the reception at my wonderful “sister’s” gorgeous ranch where we had all spent so much family time together. Also, my absolute favorite moment among so many favorites was when Morgan surprised me by doing our mother/groom dance to the children’s song “You Are My Sunshine” which is such a special song for us.

  • M. Quiroz says:

    Just want to add…thank you so much for such a beautiful and well done article on the wedding!!! What an awesome job!!!

  • Abs says:

    Great and much needed addition to the wedding planning world. Thank you for adding something that shows a few more layers to the wedding process.

    • Kathryn says:

      Glad you’re excited about it too! Here’s hoping we’re able to provide some inspiration beyond all those pretty details we love so much!

  • Teryn says:

    Beautiful! I had to comment for a somewhat silly reason…we had the exact same menu at our wedding this July! Exact. Same. Dickeys. Menu. Ha! Congrats on a lovely day, from your menu twins in MN :)

  • KC McCooey says:

    What a great article. It really helps people planning such a memorable event to have so many details transparent & easy to borrow from. Everyone wants their day to be uniquely theirs, but sometimes you need help on the creativity side.

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