See What’s So Sweet about This $11K Southern Brunch Wedding

Realization: DIY weddings rarely involve just yourself


Molly, freelance writer & Chris, Surface Mining Reclamation Specialist

sum-up of the wedding vibe: A laid-back Catholic wedding at a historic venue in Nashville.

Planned budget: $10,000

Actual budget: $11,000

Number of guests: 90



Getting married in a Catholic church was non-negotiable for me, and since the church I loved the most was also the most expensive, most of our budget went toward that. Serving delicious food was also important to us. Monell’s, a traditional Southern restaurant, sat directly behind our reception venue (which was conveniently right across the street from the church), so it was a no-brainer asking them to cater. Although we shelled out more money than we wanted to for catering, it was worth it to not have to cook and set-up food ourselves. We also ordered a variety of bagel sandwiches from Mitchell’s Deli and doughnuts from a Nashville institution, Fox’s Donut Den. We provided our own alcohol—beer, champagne, wine.


Where we allocated the least funds:

We skipped Save the Dates and RSVP cards in lieu of a wedding website with an RSVP form. We used picture frames, vases, candleholders, and other decorative items from my aunt’s, my mom’s, and my house to create beautiful, personalized reception decor. A family friend arranged flowers in vases for the tables. My bridesmaids and I made the photo booth backdrop on site. My aunts and cousins hung signs and laid tablecloths. I hung childhood pictures of Chris and me on strings across the windows.

Tip: Visit a wholesale flower shop for great deals on seasonal blooms. Greenery, like eucalyptus and olive branches, are cheap and gorgeous.


What was totally worth it:

Splurging (sort-of) on fantastic, local, catered food. People still compliment us on it! Choosing local restaurants allowed out-of-town guests to get a “taste” of authentic Nashville fare and made our reception feel even more personal. Plus, it was so helpful having caterers there to replenish the food, top off drinks, etc. We chose a buffet style brunch since our wedding was at 11 a.m. and we did not want a sit-down meal.

What was totally not worth it:

Stressing over RSVPs and small decorative details, because it all came together in the end.


A few things that helped us along the way:

FAMILY AND FRIENDS! Hands-down none of our wedding details would have come together had it not been for the talents and involvement of our family and friends. It’s impossible to throw a DIY wedding by yourself. I cannot express how vital our loving families and friends were to making our dream wedding a reality.


My best practical advice for my planning self:

Breathe, and enjoy this moment. Planning a wedding on a budget is no small task. I frequently got caught up in small details (like finding a specific flower for table decorations or the font on our programs), which threatened to take away from the big picture. The wedding planning period of my life was such a short blip on the timeline. I tried to remind myself to take it one day at a time and remember the ultimate goal: marrying my favorite person in the world.

If I could offer engaged couples one piece of advice it would be this: don’t let other people dictate YOUR wedding. They will try, believe me. Stay true to your style, budget, vision, etc. Sure, feelings may be hurt, but when everyone gathers for your ceremony and you walk down the aisle, all of those previous disagreements fade. Make your wedding the best day of your life and ignore the rest.


Favorite thing about the wedding:

All of the personal touches and wonderful people who celebrated with us. Seeing my wedding vision realized was the most tremendous experience of my young life. Also, our wonderful priest, who was close with my grandmother and a dear family friend, officiated the wedding. He had all the guests laughing and smiling with his free-spirited dance moves and spot-on homily.


Anything else:

Short of catering the wedding ourselves, everything was designed, planned, and executed by my mom and me. Sure, we were crazy busy for most of the six-month planning period, but ask us both if we’d do it again and we’d say “yes” in a heartbeat. I cherish those moments laying out tablescapes with my mom, discussing sign designs with my aunt, and creating bouquets with my bridesmaids. All of the decorating and DIYing were the parts I enjoyed most about the planning process. It was also important to Chris and me that we honor our deceased grandparents. I carried my grandmother’s blue handkerchief during the ceremony, and we used her and my grandfather’s pink wedding crystal for a toast.

The Info:

Photography: The Quiet Kind | Location: Nashville, TN | Ceremony Venue: Assumption Church of Nashville | Molly’s Dress: Reformation | Molly’s Shoes: Schutz | Maid of Honor’s Dress: ASOS | Chris’s Suit: Macy’s |  Chris’s Shoes: Johnston & Murphy | Ties: Tie Bar

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  • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

    Aaah! Those flowers!

    Everything is so beautiful. Gahh! I love everything about this. And Molly, you look like Keira Knightley. That dress is lovely and you both look so happy!

    • Kalë

      Yes to Keira Knightly! And then the Pride and Prejudice quote… are you sure this isn’t an incognito Keira?

      • molly_maureen

        Nope, just a huge Pride & Prejudice (and Keira Knightley) fan ?

    • molly_maureen

      You’re so sweet. Thank you! It was a perfect day.

  • LucyPirates

    You look like the nicest people – your photos are so sincere and honestly happy…
    and you look like Keira Knightley
    AND you quoted Mr Darcy/JA…

    • molly_maureen

      Aww I appreciate that! It was the best day ever.

  • brakell-basicinvite

    From the flowers, to the dress, to that amazing wedding cake, to the donut bar!! I am swooning over this gorgeous wedding!

    • molly_maureen

      Thank you so much!! The donut desert bar was a hit with our guests.

  • Kayjayoh

    Is that a Sucrets tin full of bobby pins? :)

    Raise your hand if you have one of those, too.

    [hand is already up]

    • molly_maureen

      It is indeed ?

  • Ohhhh I love all of this! The flowers are incredible, and I love your dress!

    • molly_maureen

      Thank you so much! I loved wearing a dress that was unique, feminine and consciously-made.

  • toomanybooks

    That dress is gorgeous!

    • molly_maureen

      Thank you!!

  • Bethany

    Your dress!! Oh man, I love it so much it has me questioning my own a little. Everyone looks SO happy and glow-y. Congrats to you!

    • Arie


    • molly_maureen

      Thank you, Bethany! I absolutely loved my dress. Comfort and a unique look were top qualities I looked for when picking out a dress.

  • StevenPortland

    It was really smart to go with your idea of hiring a catering company and reception site that was most convenient, even though they were more expensive. Everything looks lovely! Congrats.

    • molly_maureen

      Thank you! Having the reception across the street from the ceremony made it quick and easy for our guests to get to the food and start the party ;)

  • C

    Gahhh! Germantown and Monell’s, two of the things I loved the most about Nashville.

    • molly_maureen

      It was so important to us to include local businesses in our wedding. I love both Monell’s and the Germantown neighborhood!

  • AP

    This made me nostalgic for my Nashville days! I used to work a few blocks from Monell’s and my office had our holiday parties there:):) Beautiful wedding! And THAT CAKE. Gorgeous.

    • molly_maureen

      Thank you so much! Can you believe those are fake flowers on the cake?

      • Riot

        This makes me feel a lot more confident about using fake flowers for many of the touches at our upcoming wedding… and what a beautiful wedding!

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  • Alex Eichler

    everything is so lovely! i may have to steal the silhouette idea. just curious, what did you guys do with the rest of your day after the party was over? that’s my main question with daytime receptions.

    • molly_maureen

      Well, my husband and I took a nap and a long bath at our hotel then met up with friends in downtown Nashville later that night to continue the celebration!

  • Laura

    I’m dying over EVERY aspect of this wedding. LOOOOOOOVE that dress! Every picture is so full of joy. Congratulations to you both!