From the Mag: Fall Color Budget Wedding

Up today is the second styled shoot in my Shoestring Wedding series. My vintage spring shoot had some pretty DIY’s (here and here) and the elopement invitation is still one of my most popular custom invitation requests.  I styled this fall Shoestring wedding for issue 4 of Beloved, and I could not have been happier with the way it turned out.  It really goes to show that choosing the right vendors is crucial to having a successful wedding.  The photography is by Sami Jo Photography, who is beyond talented.  Merit and Vine did the florals, which knocked my socks off.  The shape of the centerpiece, with the tight center and fluid, asymmetrical outer lines, is gorgeous.  Read about where I splurged and where I saved at the bottom of the post.

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First things first, whether you are on a tight budget or not, a small guest list (in my perhaps not-so-humble) opinion is by far the best way to go.  My general rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t cry if a particular guest didn’t show up to your wedding, then don’t invite them.  For my Shoestring wedding series, I’ve limited the number of guests to around 50.  For this particular shoot, I splurged on invitations and photography.  I always splurge on photography.  Honestly, I think this is the one area that every bride should spend some money on.  There are so many talented photographers that can create art out of nearly every seemingly insignificant aspect of your wedding that you’ll be able to create a gallery wall of your wedding, which would be awesome.

With the flowers, I spent my whole budget on the bride’s bouquet, the maid of honor bouquet and a single centerpiece.  This gave me the most bang for my buck, and also made the biggest visual impact.  I saved by making all of the food myself and serving fruit that was in-season.  With a small guest list, I was able to make an inexpensive root vegetable soup and serve it in thrifted bowls that I found for $0.25 each.

I also thrifted the brides peach wedding dress.  I am a fan of colored wedding gowns.  Because this dress only covered one shoulder, it was a little chilly for fall temperatures.  Adding a wine colored knit shawl was the perfect touch.  I asked our maid of honor to wear something out of her closet that fit the color palette, and it worked beautifully.  I saved a bit by using a hair and makeup artist for the day of only.  No trial runs were included, so I made sure to choose a professional whose work I’d seen before and who had a solid reputation.  She was able to do both models in an hour and a half flawlessly!

The cake is a brilliant discovery.  It is a rental.  A rental.  Many brides serve sheet cake to their guests anyway, so spending money on a cake that isn’t going to be eaten completely is a waste when your budget is of the Shoestring variety.  Tiers of Perfection is one of a few cake rental companies that I know about.  This cake cost a meager $75.  Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to ask your local cake artist if they’d be able to do something similar.

I splurged on a custom invitation suite with a pretty liner and hand lettering with watercolor fruit.  It really sets the tone for the whole celebration and gives guests their first glimpse at how beautiful this wedding is going to be.

The remaining details are all DIY.  I gathered clippings of small tree branches from the mountains near my house and tied them to a wooden closet rod and draped with torn strips of sparkly, sheer fabric.  All-in-all, the hanging backdrop cost me $5 and a little hike in the hills.

My best money saver was the table top.  I wanted a white washed table, but couldn’t afford to rent one.  My solution was to purchase a 12 foot plank of wood, have it cut in thirds at the home improvement store and white wash it myself.  I used a basic 4 foot table, draped simple white fabric over it and placed the wood planks on top.  The entire look cost me under $15, which was a lot less than the $80 table rental.

It goes to show that a budget wedding does not have to sacrifice style and beauty.  You can still have the wedding of your dreams by knowing what to splurge on and where to save.

Credits:  SAMI JO PHOTOGRAPHY, photography  |  PETER LOVES JANE, styling & stationery  |  MERIT AND VINE, florals  |  TIERS OF PERFECTION, rental cake  |  CELISE ARTISTRY, hair and makeup



  1. Sara Feb 18, 2014

    Loved this feature – such gorgeous colors and styling!

  2. Jessica (Coco/Mingo) Feb 19, 2014

    Awesome job, Nikkol! I love this shoot – It reminds me so much of Fall – can we rewind and/or fast forward and go straight to that season?!!!

  3. Sofia Feb 19, 2014

    Absolutely beautiful flowers and colors!!! Perfect styling and photography!!! Bravo!


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