A Sweet Handmade Church Wedding for 3K: Sara + Steve

bride and groom

I love this wedding for so many reasons…the couple are super adorable, majorly in love AND it is the perfect wedding to show you can have a personal + unique wedding on a limited budget. This couple did their wedding for 3k!! Way below the national average of 26k. Sara was sweet enough to share how they did it along with some tips for couples planning now also. Thanks Sara and congrats to you + Steve!

Our inspiration was to make the wedding feel as unique, comfortable, and homemade as possible! If the word “traditional” ever popped up we threw it out the window and created our own way of doing things! For example, instead of a unity candle or sand we tied a knot with rope on the wooden fence during the ceremony and had music play from that point all the way through our first kiss as man and wife and the processional. It created such a big moment!

first look

bride and groom

bride and groom

black and white bridal party

Our Favorite Memory From The Wedding

My first favorite memory of the day was actually taking our bridal party photos .There was a specific moment when I was standing in a group of my best friends singing “Chapel of Love” and I saw Steve surrounded by his best friends who were all laughing and being boys and I just knew that there was no place I’d rather be than with the man that would soon be my husband and the friends who have loved us the most.

My other favorite moment was peaking in on the wedding behind a black curtain 5 minutes before the ceremony. I saw my groom, I saw the ballet, I saw our slideshow… all things I thought I’d miss out on. To keep myself from welling up with emotion I danced along to the songs that played until I made myself laugh.

bridesmaids in black tights

Before the wedding ceremony, we had our friend dance ballet to “La Vie en Rose ” accompanied by Steve’s sister on the violin and then right before the ceremony showed a funny video of Steve singing “Marry You” by Bruno Mars to lighten the mood and bring joy to our guests.


indoor church ceremony, bunting altar

I walked down the aisle with my big brother to Ingrid Michaelsons cover of “Somewhere over the rainbow” because I thought I was Dorothy when I was little and the song meant a lot to my entire family. The bridal party walked out to “The Winner is” by Devotchka. Our processional (and tying the knot and kiss) was to “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros.

DIY fence altar, bunting

DIY fence altar, bunting

DIY fence altar, bunting

DIY fence altar, bunting

bottle bunting table decor

flowers in bottles table decor

One way we saved money was by having a dessert reception. I had 10 of the ladies who played significant roles in my life (mom, mother in law, past next door neighbor, aunt, godmother, sisters, etc) bake their favorite type of cookie for our dessert reception. This was very dear to me because I got to involve so many women who’ve helped get me to my wedding day… and I just really love cookies a lot.

We also had the entire bridal party share a short story about us as opposed to the traditional toasts so our guests could feel like they knew us as well as the friends we’ve grown up with did.

bride and groom exit

Our DIY projects:
• My 2 matrons of honor and I handmade each bouquet out of red and black seersucker material. It was very tedious but SO worth the unique look! It was also a great alternative to the traditional (and costly) floral bouquets.
• We also made topiary balls out of tea-dyed coffee filters and Styrofoam balls for the centerpieces and tissue paper puff balls for the aisle runner. There really isn’t anything cheaper than coffee filters and tissue paper!
• My groom made a fence for our altar that was actually constructed from wood from his parents house. It was very sentimental for us to incorporate that because that was Steve’s home for 20 years.

Our Advice To Those Planning Now

We were less concerned about table linens and more concerned about THE REST OF OUR LIVES. We bought a house instead of a fancy venue. We planned our entire wedding for $3,000 and had over 300 guests. Just find ways to be frugal! We borrowed décor (Steves mom had hundred of doilies!), we made practically everything ourselves, we made iPod playlists for the reception, we had a dessert reception instead of dinner, we had coffee donated, and spent time being creative. Our guests all told us it was the most unique, beautiful, and creative wedding they’d ever been to. I was so proud to tell people we only spent $3,000. IT CAN HAPPEN! AND YOU CAN DO IT! :)


photography: Tim and Jess // venue name: High Desert Church // wedding dress: Davids Bridal // videography: Kyle Harbour