Terry & Kristi's Real Wedding - Part 3
Photos Courtesy of Kendra Elizabeth Photography and Terry & Kristi's Family

The Ceremony Venue

My husband and I got married on June 16th, 2012, at the church where we are members. We got to know the pastor very well through marriage counseling. He is awesome! He took the time to tailor our ceremony to our personalities and the challenges we may have in our relationship. It was perfect. My only regret is not having it videotaped.

Our church has a gorgeous, ornamental alter and beautiful stained glass windows, so we didn’t feel the need to decorate a lot. We rented candelabras, white bows and ivy from the church to decorate the ends of the pews, which the church’s wedding coordinator’s took care of.

The Reception Venue

We had our reception at Farmamerica, a venue dedicated to preserving a bit of Minnesota’s farm history. The land is home to a 1850s farm, a 1930s farm, a country church and a schoolhouse. These made great backdrops for our outdoor photos. Our reception was in the Minnesota Agricultural Interpretive Center (a.k.a. visitor’s center). The tables and dance floor were set up in the ballroom. The guest book table, cake table, food and bar were set up just outside the ballroom.

How We Saved

1. When choosing wedding vendors, we did two things to help keep prices low. We used local vendors as much as possible, and we used our connections for the rest. All of our wedding vendors were wonderful.

2. I purchased my dress from a store that includes alterations in the price of the dress. I chose a dress that fit my personality and figure, at a cost that was much lower than most dresses ($671).

3. We are members at the church where we had our ceremony, and that made it very affordable. We paid $140 for the ceremony, wedding coordinators, the pastor and the decorations for the church. We did hire a musician, but she was also a member of the church and gave us a very good price.

4. We chose the local bakery for our cake, and found out she does catering, too. We had a buffet to avoid additional costs of table service. We chose plastic plates, plastic silverware and paper napkins to keep prices low. We bought them online to save even more money. We chose a small, decorated cake for display and sheet cakes for our guests.

5. The caterer’s mother was the local florist, so the caterer recommended decorating the cake with fresh flowers to match our bouquets (super cheap). Our bouquets included inexpensive flowers, such as gerbera daisies, alstroemeria, mini carnations and a variety of greens.

6. Our reception venue did not have a liquor license, so we brought in liquor and beer ourselves. This allowed us to offer unlimited free drinks to our guests. We used plastic cups for the drinks and can coolers, which doubled as favors, to keep the beer cold. The venue had a portable bar we could rent, which had unlimited soda.

7. My stepdaughter works part-time for a DJ. Naturally, she asked him to DJ the dance at our wedding. He also brought the pink up-lighting we used to enhance the decorations.

8. My husband and I set a budget before we started planning and agreed to stick to it, but we both chose one thing that was most important to us to splurge on. That happened to be photography. We felt it was important to have quality pictures to remember our wedding day. We interviewed ten different photographers, but the ones we liked were out of our price range. My sister’s friend, who is a photographer herself, helped us out. She found us five different photographers who were available on our wedding day in our price range. She recommended one in particular, which is the person we chose. Her price was excellent for two photographers, unlimited time and rights to reproduce the images.

So there you have it.  All the things we did to have a beautiful wedding on a $15,000 budget. Feel free to comment!  We’re more than happy to answer your questions.

Photos Courtesy of Kendra Elizabeth Photography and Terry & Kristi’s Family.