Our $11K, North Carolina Wedding With A Gold Dress

Pie parade FTW

Ashley, traveling nurse & Nathan, tech support

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: The best party of our lives with all of our favorite people in one room.

Planned budget: $10,000
Actual budget: $11,000
Number of guests: 65
LOCATION: Morganton, North Carolina

Where we allocated the most funds:

The biggest expense of our wedding was photography. You only get one day to capture your wedding magic, and we had heard so many horror stories of people who were disappointed with their wedding photos because they had decided to choose a cheaper photographer. We did our research and made sure we were happy with who we chose. Tip: Check out their website, social media, etc. In the end I have no regrets about the money we spent. The pictures turned out better than I could have imagined and helped to capture the entire day perfectly.

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Where we allocated the least funds:

Probably our wedding ceremony and decorations. We had a friend officiate for us, the rental of the courthouse was less than $100, and we decided against details like programs, flower arrangements, aisle runners, etc. We really utilized the natural beauty of the building and kept things as simple as possible. The wedding ceremony was less than an hour. Although it was special we were more focused on spending our funds on the reception. In general I tried not to buy items unless I thought they could be repurposed for something after our wedding. Luckily the brewery had a nice vibe so we mostly hung up paper decorations, photos, and wild flowers from a local flower farm. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on things like decorations that were going to be trashed the next day.

What was totally worth it:

We rented a trolley from our town’s tourism office to shuttle our guests from the local hotels to our wedding site/reception and then back to the hotels at the end of the evening. The trolley driver was a gracious host, pointing out local tidbits since the majority of our guests had traveled from out of state, and it gave us some peace of mind knowing that no one was drinking and driving at the end of our beer-themed shindig.

What was totally not worth it:

The stress. There are a lot of details and planning going on, and it’s inevitable that there will be something to stress out about no matter how well you plan. Your family and friends will drive you crazy with questions no matter how easy you make it for them. I made a website, sent out reminder emails and texts, and I still had people asking me questions on the day of the wedding that I had already answered.

A few things that helped us along the way:

A solid girl squad. I was initially hesitant to take up any of my friends or family for help with wedding details because I wanted them to enjoy their time visiting North Carolina, but quickly I realized I needed a village of helpers. Even with the best planning there are going to be TONS of tiny details that you didn’t account for. I was eternally grateful for all the ladies in my life for stepping in and helping me out.

My best practical advice for my planning self:

Chillax. There are going to be things that won’t go as planned. The day will still go on, and you will still have so many wonderful memories, you’ll forget that the purple ribbons never made it onto the bouquets.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

EVERYTHING! It really felt like a weeklong celebration. Having everyone we love travel to see us, rocking out to the biggest, best party of our lives filled our hearts with so much joy and so many unforgettable memories. Can we get married again? Just kidding!

Something else we’d like to share:

Be creative. We wanted a great wedding but didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg for it. We were flexible and had our wedding on a Monday. We utilized as many local businesses we could and did some thinking outside the box. Some of my biggest steals for the wedding were in stores that were NOT selling wedding supplies.


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