How We Planned a 200-Guest Church Wedding in St. Louis for $14K

With a legit dance party with everyone we know

Bride and Groom Portrait

Andi, Campus Ministry & Jeffery, Department Store Assistant
Sum-up of the wedding vibe: Our wedding was a celebration of our commitment to each other, bringing together our loved ones and highlighting our favorite local spots around St. Louis.
Planned Budget: $15,000
Actual Budget: $14,500
Number of Guests: 200

Groom writing noteBride opening card while getting readyGroom opening gift while getting readyGroom with notebook gift from bride

Where we allocated the most funds:

We wanted friends and family to experience our favorite spots from around St. Louis, so we decided to allocate most of our funds to the venues and dinner.

Bride getting buttoned into dress Excited guest with babyGroom and groomsmen walking down streetBride and groom outfit portrait

Where we allocated the least funds:

DJ, invites, and centerpieces. Our community was so supportive and willing to help in any way possible. Our friends DJed using Spotify, Andi’s sister painted the invites, our family shared their sound equipment, and we borrowed items and ordered flowers in bulk for the centerpieces.

Wedding ceremony in church with bridesmaids and groomsmenFlower girl in churchBride, groom, and officiant laughing (groom air-punching)

What was totally worth it:

Asking our family and friends to contribute their talents was amazing and totally worth it. Also, we chose a local restaurant to cater the dinner, and we’re stoked that we did.

Courtney (our photographer) was great. She worked with us to hear what we wanted, but we also totally trusted her and her talent to give her creative freedom to capture the small moments of our day. Finding a photographer was important to both of us, and we are so glad Courtney was able to do it.

Bride and groom laughingBride and groom portrait in front of ivy-covered wallBride and groom portrait in front of wood, air plants, and concrete

What was totally not worth it:

Wedding favors were not worth it for us. We needed to make decisions based on our budget and how we wanted to allocate both our time and resources, so we opted to not do more traditional wedding favors. Instead, we decided to go with a local vendor to have a popcorn at the reception for guests to enjoy while at the reception or to take home with them after the evening.

Three-tiered white wedding cake with raspberriesWoman scooping popcorn into a bagBrown paper packages tied up with string on the gift table

A few things that helped us along the way:

The support of our family and friends, both in offering their talents and emotional support, helped tremendously throughout wedding planning. Also, reminding each other of our excitement for marriage and not just focusing on wedding details helped us throughout engagement.

Bride feeding groom first cupcakeBride and groom kissing, with cupcakeGroom dancing with his mother

My best practical advice for my planning self:

Wedding planning is what you make of it and will take the amount of time you give it. You will never feel like you have enough time to get everything done, and there will always be moments of stress in the planning. Take time together to figure out what you want in your wedding day and then set a date and go for it.

Dance partyBride and groom laughing at receptionBride and groom on dance floor

Other important things:

We wanted our wedding to highlight our favorite spots around St. Louis so our families could see why we love this city. We realized our wedding day would be a full day, and since most of our family was traveling from all across the country, we created space for our extended families to gather an hour before the reception at the same venue so they could connect with each other and so we could have more time to connect with them before the reception started.

My favorite thing about the wedding was how personal our ceremony was. We asked our pastor to officiate, and he did an amazing job of sharing our story—how we went from a long-distance relationship connected by mutual friends to living in the same city and starting our married life together. The ceremony was personal, hilarious, and showcased who we are as a couple.

The dance party at the reception was also legit. We had so many family and friends travel from across the globe to attend our wedding, and it was crazy to see people we’ve known for years out on the dance floor celebrating with us.

Bride and groom portrait at sunsetBride and groom on roof at sunset


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