Love Is All You Need

Guess what?! Today’s my 2nd wedding anniversary! Yay! Unlike pretty much every other girl in the world, I never had any desire to have a wedding. No dreams of a princess dress or…um…whatever else girls dream about. Even though I’ve never really understood the whole wedding obsession, I know other girls really like wedding porn, so I figured this was a good occasion to share some of my favorite photos from my own big day – because it was awesome.

Now before I get to the good stuff, let me just say I don’t mean to offend all the women who spend tens of thousands of dollars on their weddings, but for the life of me I will never understand it. By all means, if your life will be ruined without a big, expensive, textbook perfect wedding, don’t let me stop you! But if you’re recently engaged and starting to feel the pressure of the wedding industry crushing you like a swan-shaped ice sculpture, I’m here to tell you: DON’T GIVE IN! You will never look back on your wedding and think, “I wish I had spent more money.” Figure out what’s important and what you can do without. In our case, what was important was having a wedding that reflected us a couple, having a kick-ass time with our closest friends and family, and doing it all for about $5,000. Unique and cheap.

I’m happy to say we succeeded! So with that background in mind, here are some highlights from July 23, 2011, complete with some tips for anyone else who’s trying to plan a unique and cheap wedding. Enjoy!

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Oh, and in case there’s any confusion, yes, I am married to another lady. Well, the state of Indiana doesn’t think so, but we do. And yes, I wore black. Because I’m cool like that. You know what else is cool? We made these little cake toppers!

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Unique wedding tip: We went with a game night theme, including a table of games at the reception. Because who’s going to care whether you have peony or ranunculus centerpieces when they’re busy playing Apples to Apples?

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We started the fun early with these Mad Lib-style RSVP cards – which we printed at home on Target stationery, by the way.

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The fun and games continued with these personalized crossword puzzles that were passed out with the programs. Oh, I made the programs too. Just had to buy the paper and ink, and then a cute stamp and twine for decoration. (That’s a cheap and unique wedding tip!)

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Cheap wedding tip: Make your own bouquet! I found lots of instructional videos online, then went to a florist who gave me some unsellable flowers for free so I could practice. Then we both made our own bouquets the day before and kept them in water in the church fridge so they stayed fresh.

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Cheap wedding tip: We found a friend of a friend with an affinity for photography (see her blog here) who took our lovely photos. We didn’t need to spend thousands on a professional wedding photographer to make our wedding party look awesome because they did it all on their own. So I guess another tip is to have good-looking friends like these!

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Unique wedding tip: Everyone and their sister has the same staged wedding party pics. Come up with something truly original and it may just turn into one of you favorite memories. I call this one “Shakespearean Ending.”

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Cheap wedding tip: We bridged the gap between open bar and cash bar by buying the first 2 rounds for everyone. No one went thirsty, and no one got wasted. That I know of, anyway.

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Cheap and unique wedding tip: We didn’t start our ceremony until 6:30 so everyone had time to eat dinner before. Then at the reception we just served an array of tasty hors d’oeuvres, including a late night snack of popcorn.

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This one isn’t a tip. These cupcakes were just freaking delicious.

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Unique wedding tip: To tie into the game night theme (and to avoid the hassle of making a seating chart), we set up a table for DIY place cards with colored markers and stickers.

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Unique wedding tip: We had guests sign puzzle pieces instead of a boring guest book. And wouldn’t you know it…puzzles are also a type of game! When we do a theme, WE DO A THEME.

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We used a lot of Scrabble tiles and old photos to decorate various tables. It was also a good reminder of whose wedding it was. In case anyone was lost.

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There you have it! Our special day. Happy anniversary, babe!

If anyone has any questions, please leave a comment below and I will be sure to answer it.


39 thoughts on “Love Is All You Need

  1. Happy anniversary! I love that you wore a black dress. It must have been such a fun wedding. Thanks for sharing this with us. 😀 Best wishes to your wife as well!

  2. So many things about this post touch my heart and make me want to click my heels. First, that you celebrate your LOVE! Someday…someday…marriage equality will reach all states. Second, your philosophy of marriage expenses (“You will never look back on your wedding and think, “I wish I had spent more money.”) Thirdly, your theme! (“who’s going to care whether you have peony or ranunculus centerpieces when they’re busy playing Apples to Apples?”) Thanks for sharing! (ps am sending this to several friends for inspiration for their upcoming nuptials)

  3. What a cute wedding! You have a bunch of great ideas. I love what you did with the bar – it’s nice to give a couple free drinks but having an open bar adds up fast! xx

  4. Your cake toppers are absolutely adorable! I love all the little details of your wedding. So important to not spend too much money on the big day—save it for your life together! Happy anniversary to both of you!

  5. I’m obsessed. You two are perfect. The programs & RSVP cards looked fantastic, I never would have thought of buying stationary and printing them up myself! I just might have to do that. Same with the bouquets, they look VERY professional and beautiful. Which bakery did you use for the cupcakes, or did someone make them?

  6. Happy Anniversary! I love all the details! This blog being all about personal style, beyond just being super cool, why did you wear black? How did you pick out the style/fit? Were either of you tempted to wear a veil? Although, I love Kristin’s flower! And I love that your bridal party wore their own style of outfit! I wanted to do that for my wedding, but my mom and MOH were against that idea! Congrats on two years!

    • Good question! Well I didn’t have black in mind when I went dress shopping; I just knew I didn’t want a “wedding dress.” I never stepped foot in a bridal shop (thank god). I shopped mostly at nice department stores in the formal dress sections. I did actually try on one white dress, but when I found this one it just felt right to me. It fit well right off the rack and it looked beautiful. The photos really don’t do it justice because they don’t pick up the ruching and floral detail down the side. I guess that’s the one downside to a black dress, but I have no regrets!
      And the bridesmaids were told to pick out any dress that could be classified as coral. That way everyone looked cohesive but no one had to spend more than they could afford and they could pick something they would actually wear again.
      Thanks for your comment, Amber!

  7. What an awesome wedding! I’m also not super into the idea of big flouncy weddings that seem to cost about as much as a degree, but I love the look of yours – quirky and personal and unique, just what a wedding should be. Congratulations!

  8. What a beautiful day you had! Love your celebration of love and your theme. We went really DIY on our wedding too (which was over 7 years ago now, yikes!) and most of our decor actually came from the dollar store – which is a great tip if you don’t mind taking things apart and remaking them to make something more “you” out of them.
    But it seems like you and your wife (and your guests as well) had a great day and at the end of it all, that’s what matters!
    When we were planning our wedding I’d ask The Hubs what he thought about this thing or that thing and he would say “Are we still getting married? Then I don’t care.” His philosophy of focussing on what was the most important (us being married at the end of it all) helped me to keep things in focus.
    Happy Anniversary Sarah & Kristin! Keep focussing on the important things 🙂

  9. You really showed your personality in your wedding. Your day looks like it was beautiful and unique! I can’t believe you did all that DIY and spent so little. Way to go!

  10. That was such a fun, happy day! I’ve gotta throw in the name of that friend-of-a-friend with an affinity for photography: Emily Murray! Check out her beautiful work at!

  11. I’ve been married 3.5 years and I already wish I could redo everything, but this has GOT to be the best wedding I’ve seen. The theme is PERFECT and so are the colors. LOVE it. And happy anniversary 🙂

  12. Happy Anniversary! I too don’t understand spending a life savings on 1 day. While I did spend a bit more than you, I think the end result was the same… an awesome time, creative details, tons of love and something personal to you. Thanks for sharing your special day!

  13. Happy, happy anniversary!! You have the right philosophy about weddings for sure! When I got married I picked up a few wedding magazines and was so turned off by almost everything. I had way more fun making it my own. Although, I wish I had thought of the games idea! What a fun way to get your guests doing something other than staring at each other 🙂 I also like your idea of buying the first two rounds and then going to a cash bar. You should submit this post to a wedding site for sure!

  14. Happy anniversary! Loved this post and all the gorgeous pics. ❤ My husband and I will be celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary next week, and we also got married on a budget. And we came in UNDER budget — by doing a lot of the things y'all did, with the handmade invites and family pictures as decorations and holding it at night so we had snacks and drinks instead of full-on dinner. 🙂

  15. For not caring much for fancy weddings, yours sure looked nice! You both look very happy, and all of the pictures are gorgeous. I hope that someday soon the state of Indiana will recognize your marriage. I think it’s silly that they recognize mine, but not yours. Anyway, cheers to many more happy anniversaries!

  16. Happy Anniversary!!! And nice tips for brides on a budget, i agree its dumb to stress about “the perfect wedding” (then again, I will probably be that girl if I ever do get married!)


  17. Ahh! So many great tips here! I will definitely need to remember some of these ideas for my potential future wedding. It looks like ya’ll had a great time and I love all the photos! Happy anniversary!

  18. OK, this stuff just totally made my day!! Thanks for sharing, your pictures and ideas are awesome. Congrats on your anniversary too (super belated, but hey, you don’t know me anyway)

  19. Than you for sharing. Very gorgeous 🙂 I really like your idea of using puzzle as a guest book. May I ask where did you get the puzzle from? Thanks in advance

  20. Pingback: The Wind Beneath My Wings | Sarah's Real Life

  21. Sarah–I’m new to fashion blogs, and just found yours. Amazing! Also, congrats to you and your love, not just for finding each other but for creatively celebrating what hopefully will someday be a right that all can share. My hubby and I eloped 25+ years ago, and it was the best idea ever for us. Many happy years and two lovely girls and tears and joy and everything.

    I’ll be checking out your blog–and letting my college daughter know about it too!

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