I was trying to get this post wrapped up before Leo’s arrival but he decided to sneak out two weeks early (which I am SO excited about!!!!). SOOOO … Team Jilly is helping me take these posts to the finish line so that YOU have something to read, get ideas, and ENJOY while I’m busy with my new little man. Not to mention this wedding was SO gorgeous I have been DYING to share the secrets and decor tips with you like I promised I would.
According to Choco Studio, a San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographer with photographer packages and prices, wedding planning isn’t easy but it can be A LOT of fun (I swear I should open an events business lol)!! One of the main reasons I wanted to share this blog with you is because there were SO many little details that were so easy to do yourself and they were inexpensive. If you’re like me and have attended a lot of weddings, you’ll know what I mean when I say there’s SO many different ways you can decorate a wedding and on SO many different budgets. It may not seem like much, but every little detail has a lot of thought put in to it, to make it perfect and all come together smoothly.
When Sammy first got engaged to Dusty (and being the Maid of Honour), I of course wanted to be a part of the planning process. We started out by doing a lot of research … on pinterest and other weddings that we had been to, to pin-point exactly what Sammy did and didn’t want. Quick side not, Sammy is the LEAST picky, most chill, easy going, person ever!!!!! She honestly would have been happy with anything. So ultimately, she wanted to keep everything as casual and simple as possible … while still making it beautiful (obviously lol). We managed to not break the bank and everything ended up coming together so perfectly and so beautifully. Follow along below as I walk you through the key steps that we went through to plan this gorgeous, low key, low budget, back yard wedding …
Budget: I laugh when I say designing a wedding on a budget … because EVERYONE needs a budget whether it’s big or small. This needs to be the FIRST and most important step when it comes to planning ANYTHING (not just a wedding). In Sam and Dusty’s case, we were trying to do it on as little of a budget as possible. Their main focus was for the entire wedding to be easy and fun for everyone … nothing over the top … while still keeping it casual. Be smart and get creative …
Venue: Once you determine your wedding budget … you can then see how much money you have to spend on a VENUE!! This is one of the most important steps of planning a wedding … you need to think about photos, how will the venue look in photos?? Is it accessible to everyone, will grandma with her walker be able to join in on the wedding? Is it close to a hotel, where will your guests stay?? Reception .. will you have the wedding and reception in the SAME place?? Or will your guests need to drive from one location to another … TRANSPORTATION!!! These are just a FEW factors that you need to think about when it comes to picking the venue. We were lucky enough to have Dusty’s back yard as the venue which checked that cost off the list … but created more work for the families to get it wedding-ready!!
Rentals: Next up you need to figure out where all of your guests are going to sit when you walk down the aisle, where they will eat dinner, and what they will do after. The timeline and locations need to be determined before you contact the rental company!!! In Sammy’s case, we kept everything simple and had the ceremony and reception in one place. Everyone carried their chairs from the ceremony over to the reception where dinner was then BBQ’d (I told you it was going to be simple!!!!). I thought that this was a really smart idea and not something that everyone would think of … save your money where you can and instead only rent ONE set of seating!!! We rented EVERYTHING for the wedding from Avalon Rentals in Kelowna … and everything fit in PERFECTLY with the outdoor decor …
Decor: There is SO much thought and so much detail that goes into decor. We scoured Pinterest for almost a YEAR … this might sound crazy but it is totally worth it if you are wanting to save BIG!!! We researched inexpensive ways of doing decor on our own while still making it look gorgeous…
- We took every single glass bottle, jar, and candle from around my house and used them on every single table.
- We cut fresh, wild, flowers from around Dusty’s house and used them as the floral arrangements on the tables.
- We hung jars from trees and from the shed roof to add a touch more contrast to the outdoor space (bring the indoors out).
- We hung blankets on a ladder for when guests got cold – and to warm up the space
- We hung string lights wherever possible
- We created our own DIY signs and spent lots of time crafting!!! The food sign, the bar sign, the ceremony … etc.
- We created the aisle that Sammy walked down with a huge piece of burlap and sprinkled rose petals on top …
- We then carried that theme onto the tables as the table runners.
- For the head table, we borrowed wing back chairs from my house and other odds and ends that fit in the with decor scheme.
- We used the wedding parties gorgeous bouquets as the flowers for the head table
- Everything else we kept simple and white and instead used textures, florals and decor pieces to make the entire space beautiful.
Flowers, flowers, flowers, flowers and MORE flowers … you can never have too many flowers when it comes to decor!! So much so that I wanted to make a separate note on this. We couldn’t wrap our heads around ordering something so expensive that was going to die tomorrow. We ordered all of the hydrangeas and roses from COSTCO for $300!!!! I highly highly highly recommend this if you are on a budget. We arranged them in buckets, jars, on the arbour … and anywhere we could see fit. This is SO much cheaper than the alternative and if you want your overall look to be more casual … this is the key!! Fill the rest in with greenery, berries, and flowers that you pick from the forest and you are set. Sammy ordered her beautiful bouquet and flower crown from Classic Creations Floral Design and the bridesmaid bouquets from Bylands Nursery. In my opinion, those are the only flowers worth splurging on …
Food & Drink: We kept this part REALLY simple and it ended up being SO amazing!!!!! We BBQ’d hotdogs, hamburgers, veggie dogs and veggie burgers … the moms made a variety of salads, veggies, and chili to go with it. It was PERFECT, easy and pretty unexpected which made it fun for everyone. I mean … who doesn’t like a good gourmet BBQ??? For drinks they made it a toonie bar … which in my opinion is SMART so that some of your guests stay just a wee bit more tame lol!!! And … it’s only a toonie???
Cake: This is sometimes the most OVER thought part of the wedding on the movies. You know when they’re testing out all the different cakes to decide what they want it to taste like???? When in reality … most people are already on the way to the dance floor by the time the cake is being cut. So KEEP IT SIMPLE!!!! Sammy went with a “naked” cake by Anna at Sweet on You Cakes in Kelowna with cupcakes to match. I love the idea of serving cupcakes and not having to fuss about forks and plates …
Music: This is one of the most IMPORTANT decisions of the wedding … music!!!! You want your guests to get up and dance and have FUN so you need to make sure that the music is going to be good. This is one of the areas that I suggest you splurge on … everyone will remember the dance party you had but not everyone will remember the chairs that they sat on. Live music is ALWAYS my favourite … but sometimes not possible if it’s not planned far enough in advance. SO make sure you start researching this at the beginning of the planning stages. Or you better start making a GOOD playlist!!!
Photography: The last but DEFINITELY not the least … photos!!!! I have said it once and I’ll say it again. This is one of the most IMPORTANT steps of any type of event planning. You want good photos that you can share with everyone (like I am now) … that you will cherish as your lifetime memories. You want to feel comfortable that the photographer knows what they’re doing and be able to trust that they will capture every moment even more beautifully in photos. Make sure you research their previous work so that you know their style … and that it aligns with yours. We LOVED working with N + D Photography … they did an amazing job at capturing everything beyond our expectations.
A huge thank you again to these vendors who helped make Sam and Dusty’s wedding perfect …
N + D Photography – photos
Avalon Rentals – wedding decor and rentals
Show Me your Mumu – bridesmaid dresses
Indochino – suits
Olive + Piper – jewelry
Plum Pretty Sugar – robes
Kaitlin Hargreaves – hair and make up
Classic Creations Floral Design – flower crown
Forever Soles – footwear
Sweet on You Cakes – cupcakes and cake