bod Creating a Beautiful Wedding For Lowest Possible Cost

Creating a Beautiful Wedding For Lowest Possible Cost

Posted by Debra Carmona on 17 October 2012 | 3 Comments

Beautiful Wedding For the Lowest Possible Cost

Rachel CarmonaThe day has arrived. My daughter is engaged and it is time to put on a wedding. According to a Google search I find that the average cost of a wedding runs betweed $25,000 - $27,000 but the majority of couples spend between $19,000 and $30,000. From people that I have talked with who are more budget conservative the average cost for them is $5,000 - $12,000. It seems such a waste to invest that amount of money, even though it is a special day, on an event that only comes once in a lifetime. Saving money in our household has become a way of life. We love to do things ourselves and take great pride in saving money. There is great satisfaction in doing the job ourself.


So we have gave ourselves the challenge to keep the price of this wedding as low as possible. We did it for less than $2,000. She picked her theme of a winter wedding incorporating snowy trees, ice, and the colors of lavender, purples and soft blues. She loves nature and desires to include lots of natural elements into her wedding decor. We went window shopping to gather ideas to spark inspiration for some of the decorations. With our two creative minds we planned to make this wedding unique and beautiful without spending a fortune. It was her special day so we wanted it to be everything that she desired. This page is dedicated to sharing our journey with you as we endeavored to reach our goal in keeping the cost down.  Our aim was to prove that cost has no bearing on the quality of the event.  Everyone said it was a beautiful wedding and our decorations were unique and some of the things we did they had never seen done before. Goal accomplished!


Mother & Daughter Team

My daughter and I are both artists and love to make things. We are always coming up with new ideas. She may look like her father, but in many ways she is more like her mother. She has followed my footsteps in becoming an accomplished artist and a successful art teacher. Her art students have earned awards just as mine have including Best of Show awards. Our two creative imaginations  are coming together as we plan to make her special day as we celebrate her marriage to a young man that we are proud to call a son-in-law. This page was started in the early phases as we began the process.




Money Saving Strategies For Wedding Planning

  • Because we are faithful members of our local church, there was no charge for the preacher who performed the ceremony
  • Our church is fortunate to have a good sized fellowship hall and again since we are participating members there is no charge for the use of the building for the reception
  • Our church also has a well stocked kitchen with fine dishware, glasses and silverware that can be used for the rehersal dinner if we so chose.
  • We are fortunate that the fellowship hall is well stocked with all sorts of decorative items from baskets to liquid refreshment dispensers, plus food warmers and all sorts of gear for most any occasion.
  • If we choose to cook, the kitchen has four stove/ovens and all the cookwear and utensiles one may need. I learned it lacked a good mixer and a rolling pin so had to bring my own.
  • The ladies of the church were excited about my daughter's wedding and so they were more than willing to help provide a dish for the reception. That was a huge help.
  • With some savy shopping we found a lovely but inexspensive wedding dress buying it a little large and then having it altered so that it has the right fit for her
  • The dress was embellished with an off the shoulder lacy Bolero jacket. These are hard to find in the U.S. so we had to import it. It added a nice modest but elegant touch to her dress.

Bride's Wedding Dress at Piano
 We ordered the dress and the Bolero online

  • We found a website to make a rubber stamp for the wording on the invitations so we could make our own personal invitations
  • Much of the decorations we made ourselves reducing the cost
  • By utilizing elements from nature there is less exspense in the cost of the craft supplies
  • Donated craft items from friends also helped cuts costs
  • Borrowed items from other members of the church who recently put on a wedding gave us access to some nice things without the added cost
  • Asking for help from the bridesmaids in making the decorations maked the task easier and further cemented the friendship bonds.
  • Rachel very wisely assigned duties to each of her brides maids to help her. One maid will do her hair and make up, another planned the special music, one did the bridal shower, another helped with the decorations, etc.
  • Since her fiance's family is musically talented they can provide the music for the reception without having to hire musicians. One lady from our church offered to play the piano for the wedding. We realised that we had put on her bridal shower. What goes around comes around. This time is was our time to be on the recieveing end.

Rachel Carmona

Here the bride is searching through YouTube videos finding the right selections of music to include in her wedding. She purchased the sheet music from online. Our church is fortunate to have several musically talented ladies that can play the piano. One of them volunteered to play for Rachel. So in summary it is advantageous to be an active member of a local church. We have been members of this church for seven years.


Making The Decorations Ourselves

Winter Wedding Silver Glitter Tree

Making Snow Covered Trees

After we spent some time window shopping and searching on line for ideas.  One person's good idea begets another person's creative imaginations. We began by gathering craft supplies, some of which come from the woods near our home. The cut trees, vines and twigs need to be dried before use. A forest of trees began to grow in my back porch as we began this process.  We bought samples of spray paints, snow spray, glitter spray, and ice spray to test how the products work so we could make our bigger plans and choose our supplies wisely. The following video is the first test in making small snow covered trees. The glitter spray malfunctioned so we are not sure how that will work. May have been a defective can but it seemed to clog itself almost immediately but we loved the snow spray. It worked fine. I really liked the metalic silver spray. Do not choose flat or matt paints when you are going for a shiny look. One spray can is not enough to thoroughly cover a 12 foot tree. I figure it takes about a can and a half per tree to do the job.



Gathering Craft Supplies

So we started gathering all our supplies to make the Wedding and Reception decorations. I searched through my store of craft and sewing assessories to see what I already had that may be used. We even received some donations of items from other people who had some things they thought we might be able to use. One dear man from our church recently lost his wife due to a kidney failure. He gave us three boxes of crafting stuff that he did not know what to do with. We certainly made good use of those supplies.

Mom Glittering Tree
Dad Glittering Tree
 We glittered real trees.
My husband also helped.

I scavanged in the forest behind our house to see what things I could find that we could have used for some of our creations. One thing I immediately started to stock up on was the snow spray because the trees would be the first phase of my projects. Hobby Lobby sells a 15 ounce can of snow spray for $2.99. Dollar General sells a ten ounce can for $1.50. The Dollar General find saved us four cents per ounce so I cleaned off their shelf. I hope they restock soon because I may need some more and they are just down the road. I began painting trees while we still had warm weather to do the job outside. When the weather cools we should have everything ready to work on our projects inside. As the trees were painted I stored them in my back porch which was starting to look like a winter wonderland. We have mostly white snowy trees and a few shiny silver ones. I pondered differnet methods for standing them up because I wanted to string lights on the silver trees and test out what decorations we may use on them. When my son visited he made some tree stands out of some peices of wood we had lying around. At the last moment when it was time to set up in the church I had cut down a few additional trees that did not have stands. So in a pinch a stacked two cynder blocks. Put the trunk of the tree in one of the holes then filled in the remainder of the hole with plastic bags. Since it would be hidden by the choir wall nobody would see it. That worked great.

Decorating Trees for that Winter Appearance




Winter Wedding Blue Iced Tree
Winter Wedding Iced Lavendar Branches
 We painted and iced blue branches
We painted and iced purple branches

In the evening when I was listening to something on the internet or watching YouTube videos about Wedding decorations I started cutting out paper snow flakes and experimenting with what I might be able to do with them. I like to look at other people's ideas to help get my creative juices flowing but I almost never copy anyone elses ideas verbatum.  I usually embellish them with my own ideas. For almost three months I think I was obessessed with wedding decorations because I was constantly thinking about what we might be able to do. In the end we did not do everything that we had thought of doing. We had to prioritize what was most important and made sure those things got done first. What did not get done was not so very important. When it all comes down to it the most important to the bride was her dress and the ceremony.


Yarn Snowballs

Snowballs Made From Yarn

These snowballs were fun and easy to make. They could be made out any color yarn but we chose white because we were going with a winter theme. We did spray paint half of them silver after they were dried. They were placed randomly in different places for extra decor along with painted pinecones.




Making the Brides Wedding Bouquet


We had looked at silk flowers and considered fresh flowers but one day I was searching YouTube videos for wedding decoration ideas and came upon this new trendy idea of a bouquet made from brooches. I showed it to my daughter who immediatly thought that is was a cool and an interesting idea. We had never been to a wedding where such a bouquet has been done. She looked into it further and decided that is what she wanted because it was such a unique idea. When I first started looking into the cost of making this type of brooch I saw that is could be more exspensive than fresh flowers.


I visited a local antique and second hand store and collected a few brooches to start off with.  I was delighted to find so many for only one to three dollars a piece. When I went to cash out the store owner said, "You are making a Brooch Bouquet." Then he explained to me how the idea is really an old school tradition. In days gone past the bride was given family jewels and brooches arranged in a bouquet by means of a dowry. They were gifts of monetary value to help the young bride start off her life. I had read that others like to share the family jewels as an heirloom to pass onto the next generation.



Brooch Bouquet Brooch Bouquet
 The finished Brooch Bouquet
Made from a collection of donated brooches from friends
Brooch Bouquet
Brooch Bouquet Handle
 I spread the colors around evenly among all the silver pieces.
The handle of the Brooch Bouquet


When I brought home the treasures I had found ranging from one dollar to twenty-eight dollars a piece she went through them and divided them out for her different brides maid attaching specific thoughts to each maid. That is when I realised how personal this could get. I then started an event on Facebook asking my friends, my daughter's friends and family to donate one brooch to add to the bride's brooch bouquet. Within one hour there were already 10 commitments of people willing to do so. This adds an extra special touch and memory to her bouquet. Some people responded with photos of what they had or questions about an odd earring they could not use anymore because the other one was lost. I arranged the bouquet from all the jewels collected. A brooch bouquet can be made using brooches, pins, earrings, rings, almost any sort of jewels even beads. Below is video of the makings of this brooch bouquet.



Purple Brooch Bouquet Blue & White Brooch Bouquet Blue Brooch Bouquet
 Julia's Bouquet
Amber's Bouquet
Megan"s Bouquet
Purple Brooch Bouquet in Vase
Blue & White Brooch Bouquet in Vase Blue Brooch Bouquet in Vase

Lavender Brooch Bouquet

I found these colored vases

for $2 a piece they

worked well as a stand

to display the

brooch bouquets

Burgandy Brooch Bouquet
Ruth's Bouquet
  Melissa's Bouquet
Lavendar Brooch Bouquet in Vase
Throw Away Bouquet
Burgundy Brooch Bouquet in Vase
  Throw away Bouquet with Buttons



Beaded Tree

Wedding Cake Plans

In keeping with my daughter desire to be unique she firmly told me she does not want cake and she hates frosting but she loves cheesecake so that is what it shall be. She is practiced making cheese cakes. We just need to perfect preventing it from cracking. Cheese cakes crack when they are cooled too quickly so it is best to leave them in the oven with the door closed for several hours to prevent crakcing. One of Rachel's friends offered to lend us the spring form pans so we did not have to buy any. Another friend loaned us a three tiered tray for the three different sized cakes we were making, Cheescakse are too soft to stack so they had to be on their own plate. My sister suggested making snowflakes out of melted white chocolate and sent me some etible sparkles to give them a shimmer. We searched for a unique wedding cake toppers and found trees ornamented with beads. I was surpised at the cost of 7" - 9" tree running anywhere from $50 to $250 depending on the materials used. I already had some wire from the Art Camps I do in the summertime so all I needed to buy were the beads. I chose some shimmery glass-like beads that would reflect colors so it would have an icy appearance. Below is the video of me making the tree. It took me a couple of hours and was really a fun and easy project.



Rachel's Cheesecake
Rachel's Cheesecake
 In the rush on the last day we forgot about the cake topper
It was delicious though!

Wedding Invitations


The  Average Cost of Wedding Ivitations can range from $300 - $2,700 depending on your choices. I remember spending $400 for my invitations years ago. We wanted our cards to go along with our winter wedding theme but themed invitations usualy cost more money. See link above to learn more about the cost of choices in invitations.

It was obviously clear that making our own invitations would save us a lot of money. We started with the idea of making the wedding invitations using a rubber stamp. When we looked for a wesbsite for ordering the Custom Rubber Stamp we discovered they had the option of printing the letters on quality paper for a reasonable price. So we had the cards engraved with raised ink using two colors on plain cards so we could decorate the card ourselves. We chose to make a silver glittered tree for the card front and stencil snowflakes inside the card. The video below shows our process.



Working With Gift Registries

Gift registries is such a wonderful idea. I wished they had such things when I got married. The bride-to-be goes shopping for things she likes and makes a list in her store of choice. The store keeps the list and when shoppers go to that store they can ask fora printout of the list and choose the item they wish to pay for depending on their budget. When the items are purchased they are removed from the list so the bride does not get duplicates unless duplicates are requested. The bride can also monitor the list online being aware of which items have been purchased. For the sopper, they have the satisfaction of knowing they are purchaing exactly what the bride wants without having to spend alot of time deciding on what to buy.


When my daughter registered for her gifts at Bed, Bath, & Beyond they offered free inserts to include with the invitation but it took two weeks to get them. They will give you the number of cards you request that are nice cards. With my daughters busy work schedule she registered for her gifts online and so we did not get the cards in time for the mailing of the invitations. It would have been faster to go to the store and have them print out the cards in the store for us on the spot. Target offered a template that you can print at home. Since she registered at two places and we did not have the card inserts we decided to make our own insert from our home printer including both places.


The benefit of viewing your online registrant is that you can track the different stores that you registered at monitoring what is being purchased. If the gifts are mostly being purchased at one store over the other you may want to add to the list from the store where people like to shop. For example if you added a toaster on your list you probaly would only put it on one of the registry lists so you do not wind up with two toasters but if you see that everyone prefers to shop at Bed, Bath, & Beyond over Target then you may want to include the toaster to the preferred store and remove the item from the store fewer people are shopping at and add more itmes to the preferred store as well.


Josh & Rachel Engaged

Choosing A Gift Registery

You may want to consider location and choose stores that are closer to each other so the shopper can choose between the stores. Another consideration is when you have guests from more than one town try to select stores that are common to each town such a Wal-Mart. A third consideration may be to select from the stores your friends would prefer to shop and avoid the store they choose not to patronize for religious, moral or other reasons. If you are not sure about that just do a Google search for your preferences and you will find websites more than willing to publish such lists of those preferences.


Do not be afraid of adding exspensive items to your list. The registery company may offer you discounts on the items not yet purchased even after your marriage date. Keep in mind that when registering online some items can only be purchased online so balance out the items with instore purchases. More people today are choosing to shop online.


Setting Up A Winter Wedding Backdrop

We wanted to keep the backdrop simple yet give the impression of a winter outdoors with trees, snow flakes, and icicles. This set up took only twenty minutes to put in place. The silver tree took a whole day to make because the glue was painted on with paint brush and then hand sprinkled with glitter. Taking the time to get a thorough coverage really paid off to make a beautiful glittery tree. We also sprayed on a clear coat of Glossy Mod Podge to prevent the glitter from falling all over the place. We chose not to have any lights in the trees upfront as that would mess with the focus on cameras so simple was best. The colors would come into play when the bridal party stood up front.

Winter Wedding Backdrop

We placed the silver glitter tree front and center ornamented with silver snowflakes. On the ends we placed the white snow sprayed or iced trees with white snowflakes and glass icles. To fill in the gap between we added wild trees that were unpainted and undecorated. We wanted the backdrop to be simple yet look like winter. The plain trees were loaded with numerous tiny branches so they really helped to fill up the space. It was fortunate for us that the choir banister would hide the tree bases. If the trees needed to be taller we set them up on a box. For the raw trees that had no base we simply used two cynder blocks and stuffed the gap with plastic bags to hold the trees erect.


Do It Yourself Wedding Decorations

I am certain we saved a ton of money by making our own decorations. I have priced some of the trees that we decorated that costs me less than ten dollars to make but if purchased premade sell for over $80. We tried to work with supplies we already had or the things that were donated from others. We used trees and branches found in our own back yard.




Winter Wedding Purple Tree Centerpeice

 This is how we used the purple tree branches
 The cotton plant in full bloom looks like snow.
Winter Wedding Black Glittered Branches Winter Wedding Table Centerpieces
 Black glittered tree in jar with colored rocks
White Iced Tree Branches with silver beaded wire in a crystal vase

Winter Wedding Decorative Glass Contianers
Winter Wedding Gingerbread Cookies
 We picked up these glass containers at second hand shops
Gingerbread Cookies work well with a winter wedding
Unique Wedding Guest Book
Winter Wedding Silver Leaf Arrangement
 We used a window for a Guestbook signed with a paint marker for writing on glass
Just something I threw together from left over supplies I found

See More Winter Wedding Decorations

The Makings of A Wedding Arch

We gathered branches, twigs, and vines from our own back yard to form a natural looking arch. At first we thought to spray paint it and give it a snowy appearance but when we saw the Christmas decorations at the back of the church auditorium we chose to keep it all natural so that it would blend well with the church's Christmas decorations. It took about three different excursions into the woods gathering supplies and two full days to assemble it. I thoroughly enjoyed making this project. The vines we found were very long so I wove them in and around the branches, wire, and limbs giving the whole thing a natural look.





Rachel Carmona

More videos to come so check back here to watch our process  . . .

Even though the wedding has past I am still working on finishing up more videos to add to this page.

Watch the Live Streamed Wedding  Here

Or better yet watch the fully edited High Definition video below which also includes clips of us preparing for the big day.












  • Wonderful website! You both have done an amazing job and you should be proud of each other :-)

    Posted by Stephanie Kienzle, 04/11/2012 2:33pm (8 years ago)

  • What a lovely way to help other brides while celebrating your daughter\'s beautiful day. I love the site. Keep the updates coming! :)

    Posted by Tammy Velasquez, 02/11/2012 4:28pm (8 years ago)

  • Rachel your wedding day is going to be BEAUTIFUL keep me informed Lourdes

    Posted by Lourdes martinez, 26/10/2012 1:28pm (8 years ago)

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