My bride, Steffanie, who I call my Mac Book Pro bride, is back to share some really valuable information about how she made her wedding choices. I love hearing her thoughts on everything from websites to prioritizing her budget. As much as I love the flowers, I have to agree with Miss Mac Book; if you do not have a remarkable photographer on the job, you are SOL.  The above invites and RSVP’s are a huge part of the inspiration on this wedding, so we thought we would share those as well. Have fun reading this really great post!!
Why Being A Blog Lurker Made My Budget Rock 
The bad news: we are getting married on an Indiana wedding budget.  The good news: I figured out how to work around it!

Before approaching my parents with how we were going to pay for a wedding in the DC area on two non-profit salaries, I looked up the average cost of a wedding on There is a $30,000 difference in the highest average between my home zip code and where we currently live. After finding this, I knew I was entering “budgeting fun time.”

With all of my research I found ways to cut expenses. First, we stopped looking within the beltway for a location. There are some deals to be found in Maryland, but we weren’t sure if our first officiate (more on that later) was able to perform ceremonies in other states, so we only looked in Virginia. 

Lots of googling paid off when we found the Inn at Vint Hill. They have a website from 1990 (I am marrying a web designer…), so we couldn’t tell a lot from the site. We decided to take a look after inquiring about their pricing. We liked what we saw; they were MUCH friendlier than the other sites we had visited, and they disclosed everything upfront. I still wasn’t totally sold till I was on a flight to Detroit. (A little odd, but Brides talk!) I was talking with one of the people I was traveling with, and she told me she had been to a wedding at the Inn. Her friend loved getting married there, and they enjoyed themselves. Sold!

Now, I just needed to get my champagne tastes to coincide with my discount beer budget. Where could I cut? What would make the rooms look like Platinum Brides but not kill my budget? The first thing I did was cut the flower budget. Who needs flowers? I didn’t even like them….at the time. 

Then, I found Holly’s bog. I started showing my fiancé her designs. I developed an appreciation for flowers. I didn’t realize how important they were to a wedding till I saw her pictures and her brides. Sadly, I only allocated $300 to flowers when I first made our budget. After seeing her pictures, I started to realize that I could use the linens the Inn already provided, purchase table runners, and spend a bit more on the flowers to get the look I was going for.  I am actually saving more by not renting extra linens, upping the flower budget, and getting a look that we are going to love.  It’s the perfect solution for us. After reallocating the budget, we now have sexy flowers! 

For us, the key has been to be strategic budgeting. What are people going to remember about the wedding? Chances are they aren’t going to remember the linens, as much as I love them. My grandmother, though, will talk about the flowers for years. I am sure she will have 5 rolls (yes, rolls) of out of focus pictures to show people as well. 

More on choosing vendors 

I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so home based businesses and women who own their own business speaks to me. I try to support these types of business whenever possible. Through the blogs, I found, which allowed me to take this to a whole new obsessive level.  Artists in communities that really need help have crafted most of the products we needed for the wedding. All of our paper products, the cake topper, wedding party gifts, and so on has been purchased through Etsy. 

Through our wonderful planner we have been able to find a baker who works from her home and a make-up artist that does make-up as a side job. This allows us to get a better deal and stay within our budget and get about the same quality of work we would find elsewhere for double the price. It does take a bit more effort to find these vendors because they are hidden gems.  Also, because they aren’t as known within the community and they don’t have reviews on, I thoroughly research them before any money is involved. Before we book them, we do ask for references, google them to see if their story checks out, and triple check all contracts. It takes a little more effort and so far it is paying off. 

I had a big learning curve on this next part. I judge quality of work by the quality of the vendor’s website. I know the flaws in this and it is something I have struggled to overcome. It is something for vendors to take into consideration. How many people hit your site on a monthly basis and maybe turned off by it? Many of today’s’ brides, like myself, have grownup on the web.  If it weren’t for my planner, I would have overlooked several of my fantastic vendors because I wasn’t impressed by what they were showing on their site. 
There is one vendor that we purposely chose to meet with because of their site, our photographers. This was the one vendor that HAD to impress me when I first went to their site. Their information was actually passed along to me from a friend who works with one of the photographers. He is a CPA during the day and shoots with his wife who runs the photography business.  
When I looked at their site, I found that they run it on the same platform my fiancé and I run our personal blogs on (brownie point 1). When we met with them they used the same back-up system we use at home (brownie point 2)! Fiancé was sold and all of the photos I had collected as examples we were looking for were basically their shots. 
It started with a simple recommendation from a friend, and spawned into us loving their site and having to have them. I should disclose that our photographers are the one vendor we completely splurged on. A good photographer can make anything look fantastic and I remind myself of this when I have no fun money each month because I am paying for them and they are worth it. 

Just for fun Steff sent me her old inspiration board. I have to say it is funny for me to see this now that we are done designing the wedding. I don’t think we are doing any pink flowers, unless I have something really wrong on our flower contract. Where did the pink come from and where did it go? It just goes to show that as the theme and plan develops, a bride’s ideas will change and develop as well.
I hope you enjoyed Miss Mac Book Pro.

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