A Frugal Little DIY Wedding

At first my son and his fiancee were considering a big wedding, but in the end decided on a small, casual affair with just their closest family & friends.  A friend of my son’s was able to arrange for them to rent a clubhouse in his housing division and the wedding date was set for May 31st.

This sort of thing might not be what would work for or appeal to everyone, but this couple deals with five children between them, and had the choice to have a wedding with 500-750 guests and spend a fortune that they’d never recoup, or whittle it down to about 90, have a honeymoon, and still be able to make the next house payment on their new home. I think that they made a wise choice for their situation. It turned out wonderfully and everyone had a marvelous time. Their frugal little DIY wedding was a lot of fun for everyone :)

Here are some of the ways that they cut costs :

  • Guest List : Only closest friends and family attended, and the wedding invitation suggested casual attire. It also let them know not to bring their children ( there would not be room…only the wedding party children would be there ). Guest list total : 90.
  • Beverages : Limited beverages : fruit drinks or water for the wedding party children, beer or bottled water for guests, with a limited amount of hard alcohol and mixers.
  • Food : Family & Friends provided food. The photo below shows one table…there was another beyond it with more food and cookies, cakes, etc. There was more than enough and there’s not much to compare with home made. The only purchased food was chicken from a local restaurant.

food table

  •  Beverage cups: purchased online at the best price.


  • Decorations : The bride decorated the mantle in the clubhouse and made little painted bird house decorations for the tables. I went and picked lovely sweet-scented phlox in the early a.m. out in the country while it was still drenched with dew, then stored it in buckets of water for a few hours. When we went to arrange and cover the tables, I took the phlox and arranged it into vases and mason jars for the mantle, alcove, dessert table and dining tables.

phlox for bouquets

Bridal Bouquet: I made it. I simply purchased one dozen cream colored roses to go with her gown and left them sitting in water for a day. An hour before the ceremony, I cut the stems, wrapped them tightly in painter’s tape ..no need to purchase floral tape..then layered ivory colored fabric over that and pinned it, and finished it off with some ribbon and a bow.

Music: they did something with an Ipad or Ipod / not sure but there was music :)

Tables and Chairs: the clubhouse provided a certain amount / a family member rented the remainder through an American Legion or similar club.

Photography: They asked me to do it. I am not a professional nor do I have a studio, but if a person has a family member or friend that likes photography, and if that person is able to relinquish the thought of photos in a studio, then much money can be saved. I took 208 photos / the majority were edited and on FB in an album within 24 hours.  They can be saved to a drive or CD from my computer and the couple can get the photos that they would like printed after that.

Fashion: Before I show you the bride, here are the grand girls in their Walmart dresses…9.00 each.

Kate and Twins

Now the girls with their little cousin:

liyah in front on this one

While the little girls couldn’t wait to pose for pictures, the boys were not interested. We did manage to get them into a few group photos and I usually tell them not to laugh, or not to make faces, which of course results in lots of hilarity and fun photos since they start to laugh, smile, and of course, make funny faces :)

Two favorite photos from that day :

Catching the bride’s twin sister ready to take pictures of folks at the same time as I was doing so:

Chayane with Camera

The bride and her best friend in the ‘dressing room’.  The best friend is supposedly due in July but she is so huge that most of us are quite sure that baby is coming earlier! :)

Best Friends T and M

My son and new daughter-in-law after the ceremony.

Kiss in front of fireplace collage

T in Scotts arms collage

My son’s favorite photo :

T in Scotts arms sepia

I had done a post about this wedding gown back in April. She found it at a consignment shop and purchased it for 50.00.  She brought it here to be altered a bit, and I went online and found the exact same dress at a couture shop ( They wanted 750.00!)


Dressing Room Collage

A radiant bride :

tallica 6

A very happy couple:

scott and tallica 3 cropped

And a little grandson who really liked these cake lollipops that the bride and my niece made for the wedding :) Yours truly did too…they were delicious!

Brent with Cake Lollipop

You might also enjoy : Wedding Gown  or Sloping Ceilings in Older Home : Moving Update

Sharing with : Cozy Little House / A Stroll Thru Life / French Country Cottage / Rooted In Thyme / Frugal by Choice / Savvy Southern Style / Self Sufficient Home Acre

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29 Responses to A Frugal Little DIY Wedding

  1. Nana Diana says:

    THAT is the VERY BEST kind of wedding. One where there is close friends and family and where everyone feels connected and relaxed and comfortable.

    They are a dear couple and you all did a wonderful job bringing their dream to life. Her dress is GORGEOUS-you can tell it is worth 20 times what she paid for it. What a pretty girl and your son is handsome and looks so very happy! A perfect day for a perfect couple. xo Diana

    ps. Did you know that you are No Reply blogger again? You come through as No Reply when you leave a comment.

  2. You did a terrific job taking photos. The wedding looks like a fabulous time with so many memories made on a realistic budget!
    Mary Alice

  3. Joyce says:

    A heavenly wedding! Everything important was in its perfect place! You did a fabulous job as photographer and saved a fortune. The guest list was meaningful and food was presented in such an easy, comfortable way. I adore those pictures of handsome Scott with his new- and very beautiful! – bride. And the grandkids – wow! – so sweet. What a day. One that the entire happy family will cherish always! Thanks for sharing all of your wise tips. I’m sure this post will become the “poster child” for doing a wedding right without foolishly compromising one’s financial well being for years to come!
    Congratulations on your new daughter and new grandchildren!

  4. Glenda says:

    Beautiful wedding! Wishing the newly weds a lifetime of happiness together!
    I personally think they made the right choice – not that my opinion counts. LOL I have attended huge, very pricey weddings, and small, more personalized ones, and can honestly say enjoyed the smaller ones the most.
    Thanks for stopping by and nice comment!
    Enjoy your evening.

  5. Rose says:

    This is definitely the way to go…you took some great photos. And I must say that the bride looks like someone I know but I just don’t know who. I look at her and feel like I know her. But cannot think of any of my daughters’ friends that she reminds me of.

  6. audrey says:

    Love the diy wedding! Fabulous idea and so fun to not sweat the small stuff. They look very happy together!

  7. Oh my! Everything is so beautiful! The bride…she is lovely! Her gown is GORGEOUS and I love the way she did her hair, oh and her choice of colored shoes! WOW! And your son is very handsome and so cute to pick her up and hold her. He looks like he’s on cloud nine! It was so well done and I’m sure more fun for everyone. You took amazing photos my friend! I’m going back to look at them again! Best wishes to the happy couple! Blessings to your sweet family! Hugs, Diane

  8. sally says:

    How wonderful! The photo’s are perfection; love everything. The grandchildren are absolutely adorable!

    (My granddaughter had a small wedding last year, and we all enjoyed it so much as I know you and your family did at theirs)

    You are surely multi-talented. :)

  9. what a wonderful couple and great wedding. You lifted my day.

  10. Judy Miller says:

    I love this! Her gown is absolutely gorgeous!! You did an awesome job on the photography–it sure looks professional to me! Maybe you could go into business?

  11. Poppy says:

    What a happy happy day! Everything is absolutely perfect and the photos are excellent, Debra, you truly captured the fun and charm of the beautiful couple’s special day! Can’t get over how much those grands, and your son, of course, look like you!! The food looks scrumptious and the bride’s dress dreamy! Thanks so much for inviting us via your amazing eyes!


  12. Grandma Kc says:

    It was wonderful! I love this post as I felt like I got to relive the whole thing with you and with them! They sure did all the right things — including finding one another. Oh and Kate — she looks so sweet and so grownup….. I’m crying. I admit it. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

  13. Great post that others can use to make a ‘real’ family wedding that makes for a wonderful day with tons of great memories and photos but doesn’t break the bank. Kate looks so grown up and Brent looks like he is in a sugar coma. Love it. :-)

  14. Deborah says:

    Beautiful photos! the granddaughters are precious. I love the bride’s dress and those shoes are gorgeous. I think a small DIY wedding is so much more meaningful. Back in the day (my grandparents’ day), there would just be a coffee and cake reception with maybe some punch and cookies provided by the ladies of the church. You could save your money for a house or other needed things, and not break the bank. Lovely wedding, Deb. Like how you took care of the flowers too.

    • debralynnpugh says:

      Deborah you are so right…back then only the very rich would be expected to have a huge and lavish wedding

  15. Rhonda says:

    beautiful photos of a beautiful and wise wedding. Best wishes for a lifetime of happiness to the new Mr and Mrs.

    the $9 walmart dresses are great, very pretty girls!

  16. The wedding will be remembered as extra special since so many played a part in it with food, photography and the like. I hope the new family has many wonderful years together.


  17. Carol Cook says:

    Weddings do not have to cost a fortune to be wonderful. Your son and his bride look so happy!

  18. I think people spend so much money on that “perfect” wedding. With so many friends and family contributing made for a much special and happier wedding. The little girl dresses are so pretty and one would never think $9, the brides wedding dress is so pretty. A very special, beautiful wedding day.

  19. Victoria says:

    Popping in from FNF…wow, now this is my kind of wedding! When my boys decide to get married, I hope they marry girls who want this type of ceremony. Everyone looks so happy and beautiful!!!

  20. I remember that dress and wow she looked gorgeous in it. What a sweet and lovely wedding they had.

  21. Bex says:

    Love this little wedding! Everyone looks so happy, and you’re right. Homemade food tastes way better than anything you can get catered.

  22. olive says:

    Well done all of you. A charming wedding all around. I just cannot see spending scads of money on weddings. Put a payment on a house instead. Olive

  23. I smiled through this entire post, Debra! A beautiful bride, happy couple, adorable kids…what could be better! Usually food at weddings is mediocre. There’s nothing better than homemade, in my opinion. Your pictures are fantastic…every bit as good as a professional! Just curious – what kind of camera do you use? I am hoping to buy a good camera soon.

    • debralynnpugh says:

      Amy it’s a Nikon DX…I bought it when my grandson was born so I’ve had it for close to five years now. I wanted one that took good pictures and videos since my son was in Iraq ( here for the birth / had to return ) and I could post on FB for him to see. It just has a standard lens that zooms a little…( Nikkor 18-105) and I’d bought it at Best Buy where as long as I paid on time monthly, it was interest free for a year.

  24. Nancy W says:

    Frugal is best! Looks like out was a perfect wedding and the bride was absolutely beautiful! thanks for sharing your post on the HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you again tomorrow! – Nancy
    The HomeAcre Hop

  25. kim says:

    I loved your one food shot. Do you have anymore pics of the second food table or tables that you did not post? I would love to see all of the food selections.


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