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Budget Savvy Bride: Vintage Amor by the Shore


A Beachy Bonfire Rehearsal

Instead of spending money on a big rehearsal dinner we are inviting all our guests to a beach bonfire.  Friends are staking out the bonfire pit on the beach all day for us and there is no rental fee!  Our wedding is in San Diego so friends who live locally will be spending the day at the beach to make sure we get our perfect bonfire spot.

My fiance is an incredible lawyer by day and baker by night.  He is making homemade heart shaped marshmallows.  :)  His dad sharpened sticks from fruit trees in their backyard and we collected discount chocolate bars in all flavors from our local Grocery Outlet store.  We bought the beverage fixings from Costco and bought in bulk.  We will have hot cocoa and spiced brandi drinks to warm up the beachgoers.

Purchases:  marshmallow making ingredients, graham crackers, chocolate, hot chocolate, coffee, brandi and spices.

Total Cost


Wedding Ceremony

We found out getting married in our home parish saved lots of money.  Our wedding will be held in an old Mission.

A florist wanted to charge us over $1,000 to decorate the church...we found some low cost ideas which will personalize our ceremony and make it truly our day.

The entry way will hold (instead of expensive floral arrangements) a large basket of vintage handkerchiefs which I found at local swap meets and Goodwill stores.  I am displaying them in a pretty basket that I borrowed from family.

The church will be decorated with candles instead of flowers.  I found wrought iron candle holders (thank you to another bride getting married at our same location) online at a closeout web store ( for only $1.00/each.  I bought 24 (every other row) and bought ivory ribbon which I threaded through the top of the wrought iron candle holder and will hang from the rows.

Friends who had leftover votives and jar candles donated them to our wedding and those will decorate the church entry and altar.

Votives votives everywhere...seriously.  I found some in our supply closet at work which our events director is letting me borrow, friends had old Ikea votives in their garage and friends had some left over from their weddings.  By borrowing and getting votives gifted we haven't had to buy any!  Look around and you are sure to find a supply just waiting to be borrowed.

Total Church Decoration Cost


Wedding Party

I found my dress at an end of season sale for 65% off then the dress had minor damage on the lace so we got an additional discount (which we are having fixed).  The regular price was heavily marked down and I walked out with a designer wedding dress for only $200.  I am wearing my Grandmother's crocheted hairpiece (a doily that she turned into a veil headpiece) and her fingerless ivory gloves purchased during World War II.  I bought my wedding shoes on for 50% off and walked away with wedding shoes for only $40.  I am doing my own hair with big rollers and pinning it half up to save on day of beauty cost.  I will also do my own makeup.

My bouquet is made of vintage crocheted doilies made by my Grandmother.  We tucked them and arranged them to look like flowers...vintage and different.

The flower girl will be adorned with this adorable doily corsage which we are making out of vintage doilies.  Her dress is a vintage first communion dress passed down in our family.

The groom and his party will be wearing...their own black suits!  We are having them wear their own suits with darling green ties in various patterns that we bought on Ebay for only $10.

Total Cost of Wedding Party


Cocktail Hour

For cocktail hour we are serving homemade white sangria.  We are buying discount bottles of white wine at Grocery Outlet ($1.99 each) and adding fresh fruit from the farmer's market (peaches/apricots and grapes) we are serving them in borrowed sets of wine glasses and sangria glasses from friends and neighbors.  We are decorating the cocktail hour area with luminaries that we made out of white lunch bags with paper doilies glued on them.  The "sign in table" will be a white clothesline strung up that guests can write messages on heart doilies and hang them up after.  We are decorating the cocktail area and reception area with papel picado which we bought in the Mission District of San Francisco (my hometown) for only $9.99/each 10 ft. string.  Each banner is custom designed with different wedding pictures.  For food we are having a fresh salsa station with three kinds of fresh homemade salsa and chips all of which we are purchasing at a local discount Mexican grocery store.

Total Cocktail Hour Cost for 50 Guests



We are having our reception at a local is an old Spanish building and the reception is outside under the stars overlooking the ocean.  By having our wedding on an off night (a Friday) and off season (fall) we are getting an incredible discount and get our location for only $500.  For food we are renting a local taco truck to come and bring food for guests.  There will be homemade tortillas and all the fixings and guests can get tacos to order.  We will continue to serve sangria and also cold Mexican beer in cans and bottles served in vintage steel tubs borrowed from a friend.  The table centerpieces are made of paper flowers purchased in Mexico and arranged across each table.  Placecards will be placed in antique hobnail milk glass bud vases collected by me and my fiance at local swap meets.  We will be putting tiny bouquets in each one with the placecards which are attached to popsical sticks.  We are donating our bud vases flower arrangments to a local millitary hospital after the wedding night.  Our DJ is a school teacher by day and a DJ at night so his cost is only $250 for the evening.  Our cake is a tres leches cake (from a local Mexican bakery) adorned withmore of the white paper flowers from Mexico. Other costs like rentals are minimal since we aren't doing a sit down dinner.  Favors are homemade Mexican wedding cakes put into tiny gift boxes baked by (you guessed it) my fiance.

Reception Costs


Our Wedding

To start off...I have never picked up a glue gun before planning for our wedding started.  After some minor glue burns and some fingers stuck together...we have a beautiful wedding planned with lots of fun crafty details and vintage pieces.

I am not a crafty all.  Something about this wedding has inspired the craftiness in me.  After the first project was completed I just kept going...and it has been so much fun.

The most fun part of our wedding has been looking for deals and finding old family treasures which can be used.  We are having my fiance's step-granmother play the organ for us (free) and his cousins will be singing at the wedding (free).

We have just asked everyone we know for their love and support and have been blessed by so many people in our life.  Friends going thrift store hunting for us, family giving us vintage pieces of their collections or items from their weddings or celebrations and even family friends donating their time to make our wedding perfect.

The best part about a vintage budget wedding...our wedding has a low impact on the environment and we have a wedding celebration filled with family memories.

Wedding Tips:

-A long engagement gives you longer to plan/collect/borrow and save...we waited two years.

-Keep your wedding small.  Ours is 50 people which cuts down on food/beverage costs.

-Tell everyone you know about your plans...we did and so many people offered ideas and assistance.

-Budget doesn't mean bargain basement and boring.

-Get ideas from weddings of all budgets.  We clipped ideas from magazines and then took little ideas and made them our own (and within our budget).

-Men's stainless steel rings are much cheaper than white gold or platinum and can be purchased for a fraction of the cost online.

-Shop around for your ring and find the lowest price and tell your local jeweler.  We did and they matched the low price we found online and still have the convenience of a local jeweler.

-Replace pricey flowers with homemade crafts and beautiful non traditional ideas like paper/lace and tissue.

-Hire vendors who are just starting out and building their portfolio.  They are more willing to work within your budget and will use your wedding to learn and grow their business.  We have found many of our vendors seem more creative and ready to try things and take chances.

-Shope sales.  I went to all the top couture bridal salons...tried on the most expensive dresses just to figure out my style and what I wanted.  Then I watched and waited and shopped sales until I found the perfect dress (and perfect deal).

-Buy a glue gun and learn how to use it.  I got mine at Walmart for less than $5.

-Get to know your local swap meet...there are deals to be had and amazing friends to be made.  We purchased one woman's entire hobnail milk glass collection for less than $20 because she was so excited it would be used at a wedding.

-Shop local.  Using local organic produce and purveyors will not only support your local will save money.

-Dig through discount stores.  Grocery Outlet, Costco and your other local discount stores have treasures waiting to be discovered.

-Don't get overwhelmed.  Make lists and set out on tasks.  Buget wedding planning takes time and patience.

Our wedding motto...recycle...reuse and borrow.

Total Wedding Costs

Under $10,000


Last Updated: October 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm
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