Our $2.3K Casual and Colorful South Dakota Wedding At Home

Magically ballin' on a budget

June CopperStad (Copperfield), Group Counselor + Mitchell CopperStad (Ohnstad), Director of Content
One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: Our wedding was colorful, casual, playful – and entirely ‘us.’
Planned Budget: 2,000
Actual Budget: 2,300
Number of Guests: 19
Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Photographer: Mkaye Photography

Where we allocated the most funds: Home improvement. Once COVID swept the nation, we knew that we could no longer have the 250 guest barn wedding we had spent two years planning. It was a tough choice, but looking back on it, we know it was absolutely the right one.

After being pretty bummed—like really, really bummed—June had the idea to have a wedding on our front porch. We always talked about doing a few home improvement projects and saw this as an opportunity to finally put some action behind all those daydreams. Our house was built in 1915 and is still in really great shape—we just did some aesthetic things. June handmade wooden shutters (replacing dingy white plastic ones), the porch got stripped down and hit with a fresh coat of paint, I moved about 2 tons of rock for the landscaping, and we spent the most money on hanging 150ft of string lights over our driveway.

All in all, we spent about $700 turning our quaint home into our perfect venue. It truly was a win/win—as we not only had the wedding of our dreams, but we get to benefit from our handiwork and relive the magic we created every day.

Where we allocated the least funds: In another buck of tradition, June’s outfit came in as the least spent in a single category. She spent $45 on her dress, $30 on the shoes, her jewelry was handmade by her mother, and June hand-dyed her veil – spending only $13 on the hair comb she attached it to. All said and done, her wedding lewk was about $88. What was totally worth it: June had a vision (that I wasn’t always privy to) of pulling the colors from her wedding dress and splashing them on everything she could get her hands on. We thrifted all of the tables and chairs for our intimate (yet distanced) reception—and June went to town painting everything she could to create a cohesive look that really set the mood.

So even though every piece was a little mismatched, it all felt like it belonged together. Totally worth it.
What was totally not worth it: The stress. We really had our ups and downs planning this wedding. We had a gorgeous barn wedding that we had been planning for two years that just fell apart in a matter of days.

We really thought ‘wow, we should have just gotten married six months after our engagement like everyone else.’ But, in the end—every challenge that we faced led us to an outcome we couldn’t have dreamed up. We realized that COVID actually gave us permission to have the wedding we wanted to have from the very beginning (but just couldn’t socially get away with until a global pandemic hit).

If you’re planning a pandemic wedding, don’t stress – if you stay positive, you might just be surprised at how everything goes your way.

A few things that helped us along the way: Our keep-it-simple attitude was everything, but stress can have its way of creeping in anyway. During the planning, we were always there to remind each other that we wanted this to be easy—and if something felt like too much, to let it go. We were really hellbent on enjoying this process as much as possible—and we think it shows.

Support from friends and family was so vital to us pulling this off too. Our moms both made the desserts. June’s mom made the jewelry, including my bolo tie (we didn’t even lay eyes on it until the day of—having folks that we could trust that explicitly was priceless). The day of, our friends really kept us calm. They helped us set the tables, set up the livestream, create the flower arrangements, decorate the porch, keep our heads on straight and remember to eat. June’s friends even did her makeup for her and came in clutch with the powder and the lipstick throughout the night—things she hadn’t even thought of.

We also have one of the best neighbors you could ask for. We don’t have a garage and he let us take his over to do all of our projects. We even set up games in his yard, really expanding what our little property was capable of. We can’t thank him enough.

My best practical advice for my planning self: The only people you have to make happy are yourselves. From the very beginning, we’ve been doing things differently. June proposed to me, we decided on a long engagement, and to top it off we combined our last names into one so neither of us had to sacrifice that part of ourselves completely.

A lot of people, especially here in the Midwest, think our choices don’t make sense or are downright wrong. But, we are so excited about the unique life we’re creating and can’t wait to see what we do next. You don’t create the world you want to see by trying to make everyone happy. Stick with your vision—if it makes you happy, it’s the right one.

Favorite thing about the wedding: June might say her favorite thing was getting to stay at home and memorialize our first house together by having our most important experience to date right here. I, however, would say it was riding off on the motorcycle into the sunset (which was my grandfathers who passed away fivw years ago, just before I met June). It was just so badass, which I am not traditionally…

Anything else: Two years ago, before the pandemic, June and I would say that our dream wedding looked like the two of us—in the middle of nowhere—getting married by one of our good friends. We didn’t think that our ideal wedding was anything we could actually get away with—because of moms, dads, aunts and uncles, etc. It literally took a global pandemic to give us permission to have the kind of intimate wedding we thought we always wanted.

But, that shouldn’t be the case.

Whatever your dream is—whether it’s grand or simple—do what you want. It’s your day. We were so thrilled with ourselves and the day we were able to craft with our family and friends—and we just don’t think that feeling would have been the same with an additional 220 guests. We got to personally thank every single guest. We got to hear beautiful speeches from everyone who wanted to speak. We got to play flip cup and be our own DJ—we made memories that are incredibly unique and will last forever.

So whether its now, during the rona—or down the road when hopefully things are a little bit more simple—always give yourself permission to do things your way.

You won’t regret it.

PS: We are looking forward to having our big party in 2021 (fingers crossed)… everything is already paid for after-all.


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