How We: DIYed Our $1,500 South Carolina Wedding

Doing what felt right for us

Kim, Legal Secretary & Jarod, Customer Service and Sales

One sentence sum-up of the wedding vibe: A very charming DIY wedding celebration that made everyone feel welcome.

Planned Budget: $1,500

Actual Budget: $1,500

Number of Guests: 40

Where we allocated the most funds

Clothing, rings, food, and flowers. I spent $300 on my dress, $30 on my hairpiece, and $50 on my shoes. Jarod spent less than $100 on his clothes from Urban Outfitters.

All of the food was vegan and done by us. We purchased most of the snacks like hummus, vegetables, fruits, pretzels, and crackers from Walmart. I purchased a nine-inch vegan cake from Whole Foods and fifty mini vegan cupcakes from a local bakery in Charleston called Cupcake. My friends and family helped to prep and set up the food outside. Our friends own a local soda company called Cannonborough Beverage Company and, as a wedding gift to us, they set up two different custom sodas that our guests could self-pour from a vintage soda spout. We also decided on one “signature” cocktail for the day—a strawberry rum punch. That definitely helped us keep the costs low since alcohol is so expensive. Our guests were excited by the unique soda and signature alcoholic drink. We spent less than $200 on food and drinks.

My budget for flowers was $100. I pre-ordered them online from a wholesale florist in town and then arranged them by myself the night before. I had already purchased the blue glass mason jars and vases from Amazon and Michaels. I kept the color palette simple: white, yellow and green. I think the Billy Balls and Mums were the most expensive flowers. I used a lot of baby’s breath and greenery to fill in. I did end up running to the local grocery store and grabbing a few extra flowers for fill for about $20.

Where we allocated the least funds

The venue. By using a friend’s property we were able to save on the location and still have a beautiful celebration outdoors. She lives on several acres of her father’s land on Johns Island. She and her husband live in one house, and her father lives in his own house. This was helpful because Jarod was able to get ready in one house and I was able to get ready in the house next door without him seeing me. The houses face a large field with pecan trees, which made for nice shade and also served as different “stations” for the wedding. For example, one tree served as the welcome station, where we set up the guestbook, our gifts to our guests, and the Yay! flags guests could pick up and wave during the ceremony. Another tree served as the area for the photobooth where we were able the hang the backdrop I made out of the 45 records. (I found over a hundred vintage 45 records at a store for one dollar!) The property was large enough that we could have the area for the ceremony tucked back in an area surrounded by trees and the reception was focused further out in the field near the different stations. Our friend also had two large six-foot tables and the supplies for the backdrop at the property already, so we saved on how many tables and chairs we needed to rent.

We reused a lot of my friend’s hand-painted wedding signs, and I made almost all of the decorations by myself. Because we both love music and have a band, a music theme started to materialize. We also chose to use records that our guests could sign instead of a traditional guestbook, that way we could frame them and have something cool and unique to remind us of our day. Finally, our wedding favors were mix CDs that had our favorite songs. We had a custom couple stamp made and stamped in on the front of the CD envelopes. Our guests loved them!

Everyone was so happy to pitch in and help to make our day easy and special. I think seeing how eager people were to help us is a big part of what made our day so special.

What was totally worth it

Being able to hang out with all of my favorite people at one place at the same time! It was such a happy day for all of us.

What was totally not worth it

Doing the flowers by myself the night before as well as building the record backdrop by myself. Those tasks were both a little overwhelming but they definitely were worth it both for the unique factor and to save money.

A few things that helped us along the way

Making a lot of the decorations myself and planning ahead. I made a lot of lists and spent a lot of time crafting after work at night. It was fun to make the details for our special wedding one by one and seeing everything come together.

My best practical advice for my planning-self

Make lots of lists, use Pinterest to your advantage, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Stop comparing your wedding to others and do what feels right for you.

Favorite thing about the wedding

Seeing Jarod for the first time and spending time taking our “first look” photos together before the ceremony. Hearing the music start and walking toward him. It was so quiet that I could hear my feet crunching the grass beneath me. Everyone was smiling and I was so excited to marry him.

Other Notes

Jarod and I are thirty-somethings who work during the day and play in a dream-pop band called Tape Waves by night. We are both fairly shy people who don’t necessarily like being in the spotlight. When we were dating we would talk about our dreams of going to Paris one day and decided that when we got married, we would elope there. When Jarod asked me to marry him on our one-year anniversary, that dream started to feel like it wasn’t right for the time being. When a friend offered to host our wedding on her property on Johns Island, we were a little reluctant. After she convinced me how easy it could be, the planning began.

While I was hesitant to have a wedding because of our tight budget, I am so glad that we did! It was such a special, happy day for us, and I had so much fun planning my wedding. In fact, I had so much fun that I am planning on starting my own wedding planning business for those who want a unique wedding on a budget.


Featured Sponsored Content

Please read our comment policy before you comment.

The APW Store is Here

APW Wedding e-shop

go find all our favorites from around the internet, and our free planning tools

Shop Now
APW Wedding e-shop

Planning a wedding?

We have all the planning tools you need right now.

Budget spreadsheets, checklists, and more...

Get Your Free Planning Tools