Our Kid-Friendly Elementary School Wedding Was the Most Fun Day


Lauryn, bank teller & Emilio, full-time student

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: A beautiful and fun wedding that went exactly as we hoped it would.

Planned budget: As inexpensive as possible

Actual budget: $8,500

Number of guests: 200


Where we allocated the most funds:

In order: photographer, food, the decorator, my dress, and the venue. Since our wedding was in a gym, I wanted to make sure it looked as much unlike a gym as possible (and our decorator did an amazing job!). I found my dress tucked back on the clearance rack at Becker’s Bridal and only paid $500 for it. It needed a lot of work done on the beading, and since it has such a huge skirt the seamstress added up a bustle. I ended up paying the same for the seamstress that I did for the dress. The gym itself was $750, but we had full access to their kitchen, and the maintenance staff at the school set up the tables and chairs.

Where we allocated the least funds:

Flowers, my veil, catering, our getaway car, dessert, and my jewelry. My sister bought the flowers for $250 and made the bouquets and corsages the day before the wedding, and I found my veil for $50 on Etsy. Florist! My sister bought the flowers (I think she paid around $250 for them) and made the bouquets and corsages all the day before the wedding.

My parents bought all the food, and we had a buffet-style barbecue. Some friends of Emilio’s family kept the buffet full, and a friend of my dad’s smoked all of the pork and chicken. Since it was only a barbecue theme, we didn’t feel the need to have any fancy dishes or silverware (especially because it was a kid-friendly wedding). We figured that guests would probably enjoy the food more than the plate, and they wouldn’t have to worry about not breaking it while they walked between tables and by kids running by. We also rented a popcorn machine for $35 and had different seasonings available, along with desserts and candy. Instead of a cake (Emilio wanted to avoid the attention of cake-cutting) one of my mom’s friends made all different kinds of cookies and sweet treats. My parents also bought giant boxes of brownie mix from Gordon’s Food and Emilio’s mom baked them.

Our car was Emilio’s grandparents’ and they were happy to let us use it. His grandpa even tied up cans to the back of it for our ride from the ceremony to the reception.

We had a very close family friend who passed away about two years before the wedding, and I used a set of her jewelry as my something borrowed. I felt like I had her there with me throughout the day.

What was totally worth it:

The photographer: That was the one thing everyone thought I was crazy for. My mom and sister kept saying, “Why are you spending so much money? You can just have a friend or beginner photographer do it for way cheaper.” But I am super picky about all the details of photography, and I was not about to sacrifice quality for anything. And it was so worth it! We LOVED every picture we got back from Laura. Now we just have to figure out how to get nine hundred pictures into a photo album! Haha. But seriously, she paid so much attention to detail, and was so encouraging and sweet throughout the whole day and even the planning process. Emilio hates having pictures taken and gets in the worst mood, but he actually enjoyed himself the entire time! And the pictures show! Family and friends are constantly telling us how great the photos are and how sweet Laura was.

My dress: I hadn’t planned on spending $1000 total for my dress. But it was my absolute dream dress. I’m just happy I searched for it so hard instead of settling for one just because the price was right (it was actually the third dress I’d bought—long story, but I did get my money back for the other two).

The stress: All the stress I’d had the entire eight to ten months before the wedding was completely worth it! The day was so fabulous and joy filled it was worth every penny and tear in planning!


A few things that helped us along the way:

Family and friends. They helped out with everything SO much! Took so much stress off of our hands. And reminding ourselves (mostly me, since Emilio isn’t that into planning weddings) that as long as you end the day married to your best friend, that’s all that matters.

My best practical advice for my planning self:

Make a list of the minor details—I realized a month later that I completely forgot a guest book!

And: “Don’t forget the rings!” We almost forgot the rings in the church of the basement (where we got ready.) Right as everyone was lined up to go down the aisle one of the best men (we had two) asked, “Where are the rings?” Thank you, Trent!


Favorite thing about the wedding:

How fun and love filled it was. We were just so laid back with everything. Our goal was just to have a “fun” reception and make it our own. We had a sixteen-foot “kids table” with paper, crayons, bubbles, glow-sticks, etc. We had corn-hole boards right outside the door (and the kegs and boxed wine were right inside the door).

I also loved my dance with my dad. We started out with “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw and half way through the song switched to the Hillbilly Hare Square dance. One of my absolute favorite parts of the evening.

Having kids there was awesome too! I feel like it made it so much easier for guests to enjoy themselves without having to worry about how their kids were doing with the babysitter back home. And I enjoyed all the smiling faces and crazy dance moves on the dance floor. I actually didn’t get to visit much with the guests because all those little cuties kept grabbing my hand and begging me to dance.


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