Wedding Update, House Update, & Several Trips to Savannah!

Hi, Everyone!

Welcome to the first Monday recap blog of 2020! ♥️ I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. I’m still trying to get myself back on a good routine. I don’t know what it is about the holidays, but it has a way of kicking me off track and taking my mind on a joyride. There’s been a lot going on the past week! I’ve been to Savannah twice, our house has gone up quickly, and wedding planning has driven me up several walls. After my trip to D.C. this week weekend, I have nothing planned, and I look forward to saying “no” to everything that comes my way. I need a good month where I just sit at home and catch up on my life. 
Before I get started with this recap, I wanted to share something.

make sure you read until the end for the update**

These past few months have been stressful when it comes to wedding stuff. To be honest, Kyle and I planned on eloping at first. Unfortunately, we saw that it would hurt a few family members and decided we’d have a small wedding instead of our closest friends and family members. Even with the wedding being so small, I’ve had such a hard time planning it. With us buying a new home and putting our money towards the build, the elopement was a smart idea because our wedding budget was pretty small. As I started getting numbers for our small intimate wedding, the total started growing…

wedding planner $2,000
cake $300
catering $3500
florals $2000
photographer $4000 (someone even quoted me $10,000)
videography $2000
venue $7000 +
dress, tux, lodging for guests, save the dates, and literally, it does not end.

The elopement thing started to sound good again…

What’s been frustrating is that because I started my planning so late in the game (I was going to elope at first), the venues have all been booked. The past few days, I’ve just felt defeated with it all.

Last week, I saw that one of the venues I had inquired about was running a giveaway. They’re giving one couple a dream wedding, and it’s almost like I was meant to see this. It was right after four of the venues I inquired about told me that there was no availability until 2022. I decided to enter it. The venue, the flowers, the vendors, and all of it is exactly what I had in mind. It would be so fun to get married there, and of course, I’d share each moment with you all. If you can, please take the time to head over to their website (click the link here!) and vote for Kyle and I. It would mean the world to us! 💜 And of course, if I do not win, I’m going to go right back to the chopping block! So if you guys have budget-friendly wedding ideas or hidden venues you think I’d love, please please please share them with me! Right now, I basically just have a wedding dress, a potential photographer, and nothing else planned😞 That’s why I haven’t replied back to people asking about my wedding date/wedding plans. They are pretty much nonexistent.

*****UPDATE******PLEASE READ*****

I want to thank ALL of you who voted and even took the time to ask your family and friends to vote. It was insane how many messages and comments I was getting from people about voting. I really felt the love! What I didn’t do (and should have done) was take the time to read the stories from the other applicants. I was just so focused on not having to plan or even think about a wedding and wanted an easy fix. I just asked for you to vote for me, and not for who you think should win. After making the top, I started reading the stories from the other couples and came across Laura and James. My heart broke, and I didn’t feel right. She deserved this, I didn’t. It crushed my heart knowing that she’s home planning a wedding all by herself while her fiance has been in Afghanistan serving the country on a one-year deployment. And she didn’t complain about it at all, instead, she was excited. If anyone deserves it, they do. They deserve to have a wedding all planned for them, and for him to come home safely and marry his bride. I wanted to make things right but was afraid I ruined any chances. I reached out to the McAlister house, the venue holding this contest, and asked them if they could transfer my votes to her. I think anyone would agree that she deserves it, and without hesitation, they let me do it. How incredible are they? That moment when they said “yes” felt better than if I would have won. Now, I’m hoping you can do one more thing for me! If you have not voted yet, please please please head over to the site and vote for Laura and James! If you already voted for me, your vote will be transferred over to her! I really hope they get this because they deserve it. ♥️ & again, thank you all for being there for me! I think you’re all pretty amazing.

As for my wedding plans, don’t you worry! I’ll figure it out! 😊 you all have left some pretty amazing suggestions in the comments!

ok- enough being a Debbie Downer! Let’s get to the recap blog!

Last Friday, Kyle and I headed down to Savannah, Georgia, for a few nights. His mom came from up from Florida, and we had so much fun showing her around Savannah, looking at potential wedding venues, and eating all the delicious food. I blogged all about our trip, which includes a new bed and breakfast and restaurants that’ll I’ll have to add to my Savannah guide! I hope to have that blog post up next week. And yes, I still need to finish the California and Hawaii blogs. That is precisely why I can’t wait for a month of doing absolutely nothing but catching up!

If you’re wondering, it’s a cappuccino with almond milk and a vegan cranberry orange gluten-free muffin from The Coffee Fox, one of my favorite spots in Savannah.

The night before New Year’s Eve, Kyle and I had dinner together at The Lucky Duck in Baxter Village. For my meal, I ordered the salmon with rice, aioli, and a side salad. The food was fantastic! We were going to go to a movie, but we decided to watch one of our current shows at home on the couch. We’ve been watching Servent, and it’s such a great show.

We did pick up a few chocolates to take home with us at the chocolatier up the road, and they were delicious!
We had a fun photoshoot planned with Becca on New Year’s Eve! She took a few engagement photos for Kyle and me. 😊 She’s honestly so good at it. I’ll be sharing all of them soon 😊

On our way back, we stopped out at the house to check things out. We are kind of obsessed with doing drive-by’s because every time we go by, they’ve made so much progress! In a few weeks, I’ll do another dedicated blog post talking about more detailed things and our plans for selling the house we live in now! 
I had some leftover Chopt for dinner, caught up on work, and Kyle and I headed to bed early! I didn’t feel like staying up to watch the ball drop. I wasn’t so festive this year, but that’s OK!
Even though we were invited to a couple of New Year’s parties, all I wanted to do was finish my book and take a hot bubble bath. Now, that’s MY kind of party for sure.

Oh, and I did end up finishing my book! It was incredible. It’s called “The Last Thing, I Saw.” I started it when we went to Savannah and finished it in the same week because I could not put it down. I have been reading a couple of hours before bed every night or in the morning, and I love it. I also just finished “Someone We Know,” which was also fantastic! Both books left me shocked at the ending, and I did not see it coming at all.

In the next few days, I spent writing blogs, cooking some recipes, and just hanging around with Kyle before he had to go back to work. It was nice ♥️

On Friday, I headed back up to Savannah with Becca to meet Meighan for her engagement photos! I was so excited when she asked me to take them, and it was an absolute blast. The day couldn’t have been more perfect.

Becca and I needed to be back on Friday night because of some plans on Saturday, so we made the drive all the way back to Charlotte that evening. We had Zunzi’s (one of the greatest spots in Savannah) in our bellies, so we didn’t mind. Photography has been something Becca and I have loved doing together recently 😊 
On Saturday morning, Kyle helped me shoot some things for some upcoming campaigns. After, we headed out to look at some furniture stores for the couches (still haven’t made a decision) and rugs for the stair runner. I know it may seem early to look for furniture but sometimes it takes months for them to build or deliver so we want to get a head start on certain items. The couch we have now is built for the opposite direction of the house we are building so it will not work in there, which is why we have to get one sooner. It’ll go upstairs in the loft instead.

My breakfast lately has been avocado & egg on repeat! I toast gluten-free bread and top it with my avocado, everything but the bagel seasoning, chili flakes, and fried egg. It’s delicious!

And just like that, we have an upstairs!

They are putting our stairs this week, which is so fun! If you want the latest updates, you can follow my new account for the house 😊 @cottagestory The reason we named it that is because the home model we are building is called “Plank Cottage.”

I think watching the dogs getting to run around in the backyard is going to be the best part.
We had Chopt for dinner on Saturday evening, and I finally ordered something different! I had their harvest bowl with cranberries instead of pumpkin seeds. It was delicious, and I may just have to order the sone again, but with falafel! It had everything I like, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, rice, avocado, and kale!
I spent almost all of Sunday editing the engagement photos (LOVE HOW THEY TURNED OUT!!), cleaning the house, and chasing around a stray dog. I don’t know what it is, but dogs have a way of finding me. It’s like they know I will do everything I can until they are safe.

When I got inside, I made my homemade granola for the week but used goji berries instead of cranberries. If you do this, make sure to add the goji berries AFTER, don’t bake them! They’ll get super hard and bitter.

I ended the night at 8 pm in bed watching the Golden Globes! ♥️ I’m excited to get back to a regular workflow! 😊 I hope you all have the best week! & Happy Bachelor Monday!

Questions for you!

  1. Are you in need of a “stay home and catch up” month?
  2. How 2020 going for you so far?
  3. Wedding advice!

If you can, please take the time to head over to their website (click the link here!) and vote for Kyle and I.



  • Rachael

    Having just gotten married I feel you on the expenses. We were going to elope but didn’t because it would hurt feelings, however we planned it on a low budget and it’s totally possible! I loved planning ours- doing it yourself saves a ton! We kept it simple, our ceremony and reception were at the same place and they did the catering as well. As for dessert we don’t like cake so we had brownie shots and chocolate strawberries instead. To find a good photographer, videographer, DJ, etc. go to wedding shows! It seems silly BUT it saved us thousands of dollars! We got epic deals at the show. We got a DJ and photo booth for less than the price of just the DJ. For a photog and videographer shop around. Our videographer ( was AMAZING and so reasonable. He’s not local but does travel and we are obsessed with our video. Good luck and honestly don’t stress, remember it’s your special day and not anyone else’s!

    Reply to Rachael
  • Mo Larson

    Hi there……

    I am wondering if you could give up the name and author of the book you just finished???
    I can’t seem to locate it anywhere??? Kinda weird🤪

    Reply to Mo Larson
  • Lindsay

    Wedding planning can be stressful, but try to enjoy this time rather than let it get you down! At the end of the day, you and Kyle will be married and that is all that matters! My husband and I had a limited budget and ended up getting married at a beautiful restaurant in New Orleans. They had an awesome courtyard area that yielded great photos. The trick to keeping it inexpensive is that we did brunch! The restaurant opens at 11am, so they let us do a quick ceremony in the courtyard before opening, and then we had a reserved room for a seated pre-fixe brunch. Since we were spending money on the food, there was no additional charge for the venue. And we were able to bring in our own flowers, cake, etc. After brunch, the folks that wanted to continue the party with us all went together to a few different bars, and some of our friends who weren’t included in the family-only brunch came and met us. It was so fun! Also, our photography was really cheap because we found someone who would just give us the pics digitally so they didn’t have to spend any time editing. My husband is a graphic artist so he could do all the photos edit work himself (as could you)! Just some things to consider! Best of luck!

    Reply to Lindsay
  • Alden

    Keep your wedding small and intimate! Do a a brunch wedding somewhere small! I know Savannah has some small ones. A lot of boutique hotels will do brunch weddings and you and your guests can stay there too. Its just a few thousand. You can add more food on top of that but do a cookie cake like you did for your friend! Add mimosas, fruit, etc. You don’t need 3k+ catering for a small wedding. Or 7K for a venue.

    On another note, you really might want to hold off on purchasing the huge stuff for the house until you live in the space. Most people feel WAY differently about what they want once they are in the space. (I work in real estate with 50+ clients a year) I would 1000 percent recommend keeping the old couch and moving in then purchasing. Have a few options then pick what you want after you live there a few weeks. You might totally change your mind on size and style!

    Reply to Alden
  • lauren sparks

    Hi Taralynn!
    I am getting married this march and live in a wedding/winery hotspot in california, so when we looked at the typical wedding venue, it was WAY out of our budget!! We ended up booking the local community center. Its not as idealistic, but it will allow us not to go into debt over a wedding but still give our families a fun celebration (we thought of eloping too! but like you said our family would have been hurt). My co-workers made me feel so much better about everything, one of them even got married in the redwood forrest and just turned on a bluetooth speaker and her family had a great time dancing! I am still a little stressed having DIY projects, but i know in the end not stressing over money will be a huge benefit to our marriage. Most of all, go with what YOU want and don’t let people pressure you into buying/doing things that you can’t comfortably afford or don’t want to do. Its YOUR DAY! <3 Best wishes to you and most of all i hope you two have a happy happy marriage <3

    Reply to lauren sparks
  • Susie

    Just got married December 7th, so I’m dying to talk all things wedding! My #1 thing I would say is to decide what means the most to you. Then throw all tradition out the window. We had a local restaurant cater breakfast for dinner and had a mimosa bar. And people LOVED IT. Having a restaurant instead or a caterer saved us so much money, plus it was so fun and different.
    Because it was a December wedding, we decided against all flowers and just went with greenery. Garlands down the aisles and farmhouse tables, all the bouquets were greenery too. So definitely try to stick with what’s in season, flower wise.
    My last piece of advice is to write your own ceremony script. I searched Pinterest, books, and blogs picking my favorite bits of ceremonies. I mixed in some lines from poetry and books. It ended up being the most incredible ceremony. It was fun, sweet, funny, and so much us. It was so untraditional, and I might be a little biased, but I think it was the happiest wedding I’ve ever been to 😉
    Planning a wedding is HARD!! So many people have so many opinions, but this is all about you and your man. Every thing about your day should scream that it was decided by and made for you two.

    Reply to Susie
  • Amanda

    I think you could definitely do cheaper than those prices. Maybe do a courthouse wedding followed by brunch or lunch with close friends and family? You could save on flowers by ordering paper flowers (look at Etsy -they are beautiful). Or recruit friends to help. I thought Becca’s wedding was lovely. Was she able to keep the cost under what you were quoted? You could do something similar!

    Reply to Amanda
  • Kimberly

    Some venues only do one event per weekend… I know a few people who were able to track down whoever booked with the venue and split the cost. Essentially they shared table/chair/ etc rentals and did separate Saturday and Sunday ceremonies.

    Reply to Kimberly
  • Hannah

    I voted for you and Kyle when I read your recap post yesterday…. and I just read your updated post now. Maybe it’s because it’s early morning here in the uk but I nearly cried reading you had transferred your vote ! I think that’s a really kind, beautiful thing to do. The gift of giving can often waaaay outweigh if we have things ourselves.
    I got married in September 2018, parts of it were stressful- girl who knew you had to pay to hire chairs ?! but I really tried to embrace and enjoy the whole process. I shared time with my mum and girlfriends in a super special way. Seeing my mum so happy in planning stuff with me made me even happier than doing it by myself. I hope you find your dream venue….. and I have no doubt you will because ultimately it doesn’t matter where you are, or what food you have – You spend the day surrounded by people you and Kyle love, and you marry your best friend. Not much else matters after that 💛

    Reply to Hannah
  • Katie

    I had already voted for you but I just wanted to say that I think it’s awesome what you did. Do you know if they were planning on telling her what you did? Or were they just going to keep it anonymous?

    Again, that is so stinking awesome of you <3

    Reply to Katie
  • Melissa Vaughan

    What a beautiful gesture, this is why I love your blog and your content. Just Voted 💕

    Reply to Melissa Vaughan
  • Zoe

    My number one piece of wedding advice is don’t over do it! You don’t need anything you don’t want. It’s a single day. Have fun, celebrate, but don’t spend like crazy on things you didn’t necessarily want in the first place!

    Reply to Zoe
  • Maureen

    Hi Taralynn,
    First, you are the best! I’m so inspired that you spread the love to a couple whom you recognize to need the wedding contest more than you. You know you’ve already secured your dream wedding by saying yes to Kyle, ❤️ and I’m so proud to see a bride with the perspective to pay it forward like you have.

    1. YAAASSSS! I love winter because I feel less worried about catching up after the holidays, then getting ahead before springtime comes and I want to be outside all day.

    2. So far I’m feeling the energy of the new year and looking forward to tracking a few new goals and habits (replace my afternoon goldfish crackers with fruit or vegetable, use my time at work more efficiently, add a 10-minute yoga sequence before bed).

    3. Keep it simple! Invite everyone you want there. The best part of my wedding was saying to (no exaggeration) nearly ALL of my guests “I’m so happy you’re here!” and truly meaning it. You don’t need to provide favors. Maybe consider a public park for the ceremony, especially if it’s and intimate group or take your photos there. They definitely keeps cost low. If you’re able, maybe have the reception at a restaurant (withOUT mentioning that it is for your wedding, which seems to increase the cost exponentially) or even your home or that of someone close to you.

    Best of luck! Enjoy this special time!!

    Reply to Maureen
  • Lisa

    I just got married last year and know how overwhelming it can be all too well! One thing we did to save money was use mostly greenery (eucalyptus) instead of flower pieces. We also didn’t do a videographer and I found a Lower priced photographer by searching Instagram hashtags! Your perfect venue will come along and everything will eventually work out the way it’s supposed to! Hang in there and remember it’s you and your fiancés day, and do it the way you guys want to do it!

    Reply to Lisa
  • Taryn

    Well if you need sprinkle favors I can do those for free lol- sprinkled with love? Eh, eh?!?! LOL. Are there only two choices to elope or to have a wedding? Could there be a third where you get married somewhere private and then meet everyone for a party at a pretty outdoor restaurant or something? I always think the third/undiscovered option turns out to be the best 😉

    Outsider opinion…you have some great friends. Maybe they can make a cake, put together a playlist and give some pretty funny speeches. It seems like that would mean way more to you. Weddings tend to turn into a party for the guests rather than a celebration of the wedding couple huh? I’m sure it’ll work out the way it’s supposed to 🙂

    Reply to Taryn
  • Sasha

    Long time reader of your blog 🙂 Everyone already contributed such good advice but I also wanted to comment because we planned and paid of our wedding ourselves. First of, put yourself in the mindset that you can totally have an amazing wedding and not spend tens of thousands of dollars. Its totally possible. Google budget friendly weddings in your city or “I spent $1000 on my wedding” type articles. They are helpful.

    We planned for and paid for our wedding ourselves because I am veeerrryyy budget conscious person so I wanted full control of every dollar being spent. Don’t take the vendor quotes as written in stone – things don’t have to cost that much to be good. It’s only a trick by the wedding industry.

    1. Order bulk flowers from a distributor and make the flowers yourself. We paid maybe 800$ total for A LOT of greens and flowers and we had too much at the end. Took myself and 1 more creative person to put all the flowers together in a few hours. There are so many youtube videos on how to put flowers together. For my bouquet, I went and bought a few special roses to add in to stand out. I also took a small course on making bouquets from a fancy flower shop that would have charged me $20,000 for flowers for the wedding.

    2. Photo and video – we went with a husband and wife team. The styles are similar and they did ALL of the videos and photos for our engagement and wedding. The cost was less expensive hiring a “team” than each thing individually. Instagram is a great place to find them.

    3. Look at renting unconventional places. I know a few people who rent out restaurants for their reception and it comes out cheaper than conventional wedding places. Also look for places that have quite a bit of character so you don’t need to dress up the place too much and save on decorations.

    4. Why not ask your favorite cafes or restaurants to cater? If you are doing mostly vegetarian, it should be less expensive. All you would need to do is rent plates, glasses, etc. Its less expensive than conventional catering.

    5. DEFINITELY get a day of coordinator. You need someone to take care of everything you planned on the day of so you can enjoy your wedding day. Worth every penny.

    6. Design your own invitations and get them printed online. I think mine cost maybe 40$. Do an online website where people can RSVP and also have all the info about the wedding.

    7. Thrift your decor. I also bought a lot on facebook marketplace and craigslist.

    8. I asked one of my mom’s friends to make me a cake. It was the best cake ever and was less than 100$.

    I basically planned the entire wedding in about 1.5 years and was super burnt out at the end. It was like a part time job. If you find that your schedule is already full, I would do the wedding planner because its important to enjoy the process and I have to be honest that a lot of times I felt more stress than happiness about the wedding.

    If you enjoy a big challenge, there are so many things you can DIY yourself and save money.

    Don’t be afraid of vendors quoting you a large number. I found that anytime you add the word “wedding”, cost went up magically. Its a free market and you can find other places who would be extremely happy to work with you for less. I had one caterer try and shame me for being “too poor” because I asked questions on a $15,000 quote.

    Also remember that its just one day, you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a good time. Better to put that money into the house you will have for a long time.

    Congratulations!! 🙂

    Reply to Sasha
  • Nadya

    My husband and I eloped and then hosted a dinner with family and friends! I read an article in the NYTimes a while back about a couple that eloped then over the course of a year traveled to different parts of the country where their family lived and hosted dinners with the group in that area. They expressed how lovely it felt to have intimate meals With their loved ones and celebrate their marriage slowly over the course of their first year of marriage! Maybe a fun idea:)

    Reply to Nadya
  • Casey Corbett

    I voted! Hope you win. I had a stay home new years eve as well, loved it! Wedding advice: don’t over think and expect everything to be perfect. Think about this: when you attend a wedding as a guest, do you look around and say to yourself oh no everything is not perfect, I’m leaving. No, most guests go to a wedding to have fun! Most people don’t notice little things. My wedding planning I was so stressed. I remember I wanted everything to have a peach theme: bridesmaids dresses were peach color, my flowers were peach roses (which were gorgeous), I even had Peach Schnapps in the punch! Crazy when I think of it. So don’t overthink everything, it causes way too much stress before and during the wedding.

    Reply to Casey Corbett
  • Janna English

    Hi Taralynn, Just voted. Best of luck to you both. You guys are just the cutest.

    Reply to Janna English
  • Susie

    Happy New Year! 2020 began with awful colds for the entire household, but we are all overall healthy so I won’t complain. This year I’d like to focus on gratitude more.

    I never had a big wedding so can’t offer you advice, but I did just vote for you! I hope you win – good luck!!!

    Reply to Susie
  • Milena

    Hi Taralynn,

    I voted for you guys, I really hope you win this beautiful place 🙂

    I see you are a big fan of thriller books, so do I! Santa brought me Kindle for Chrsitmas so now I getting use to this new thing insead of traditional book. Anyway, I still prefer the traditional books! 🙂

    2020 is going good so far and something tells me it’s gonna be a good year. I am sure for you too! Try not to stress to much about the wedding because it’s still gonna be a wonderful day, no matter how much money you spend on it. My boyfriend and I aren’t planning a wedding so far but imagine that we live in Barcelona but he is from Venezuela and I am from Poland. I think the best solution in this case would be the elopment, isntead of trying to make our families from different continents happy. So I totally understand why you dediced for that first! Good look with everything, fingers crossed 🙂

    Reply to Milena
  • Jessica

    Everyone has already given you so much great advice on wedding planning, but I wanted throw in my two cents also. Don’t let wedding planning stress you out! Especially this early in the planning process. Make it fun and keep it simple 🙂 There is honestly no rush to have the actual wedding either. My husband and I were engaged for almost two years before our wedding day. Take your time planning.

    We were definitely on a budget and our day turned out beautiful. Here’s some advice on specifics (and apparently I have a lot to say so this will be long lol):

    Venue –
    This was the toughest one for us. How we imagined our day seemed impossible with our budget. I highly recommend joining a wedding planning facebook group for the city you are planning to have your wedding in. Stalk the “in search of/ISO venue” posts and post what you’re looking for. You can definitely find gems.
    My husband and I LOVED our venue, but we do wish we had picked a venue that was mostly all inclusive (the upfront sticker shock is what steered us away). It would have ended up being about the same amount and less work.

    Photographer –
    I know the cost of a photographer varies by city, so this can be tough. However, again join a wedding planning facebook group for the city you are planning your wedding in. People are constantly looking for affordable photographers. But DO NOT sacrifice the quality of work for a lower cost. There is a fine a balance. I actually found my photographer through my city’s local photographers facebook group. A photographer had posted that a couple was looking for a wedding photographer on a specific date and what their budget was. Their budget was about my budget, so I looked through the responses from photographers. I looked at their websites/portfolios/social media and decided on a photographer who had been a second shooter for a very popular photographer in my city. She was mostly just starting out, but I could tell that she was very dedicated to her work and I loved her style. We have continued to work with her even after our wedding 🙂
    Also, don’t be afraid to “interview” a few photographers. We had met with one photographer who stared at her laptop the whole time when we first met her. I liked her work but we definitely did not click with her.

    Save the Dates and Invitations –
    Save the Dates really aren’t necessary. I was only going to send them to out of town guests, but then realized everyone would really love one. If I hadn’t sent them though, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. I ordered them through Vista Print. Nothing fancy, but they were beautiful.
    For invitations, I ordered them through Vista Print as well. I kept it simple and it was affordable. I did not do the whole “invitation suite” and I didn’t even tie a pretty ribbon around them. The accommodations info and directions to the venue I printed at home on plain paper. No one cares if this is pretty or not 🙂

    Favors –
    I was not going to do favors. They’re a “nice to have” but totally not necessary. We were going to put together a simple s’mores bar because there was a bonfire at our venue. However, my cousins wanted to help with it and had the great idea to make s’mores favors. These were easy, but I let them take on the task after getting some of the supplies. They turned out very nice and everyone loved them. But again, not necessary.

    Food/Catering –
    Buffet all day. It’s easier and more cost effective.

    Cake –
    I was fortunate that my cousin is wonderful baker and she wanted to make a cake for us. So, I had her only make a cake for me and my husband. We then ordered a sheet cake and some cupcakes through a local baker for our guests. Very cost effective! You don’t need the big tiered cake.

    Flowers –
    I only ordered flowers for bouquets and boutonnieres for our bridal party, parents, and grandparents from a florist. We kept it simple and used in season flowers. It cost us about $400 or less. As for flowers for centerpieces, I ordered bulk flowers from Sam’s Club. They arrived on Thursday for our Saturday wedding and they were absolutely perfect. My mom, aunt, uncle, and cousins arranged the flowers in mason jars the night before. They turned out perfect.

    Videographer –
    This is one thing I wish I had spent at least $1000 on, maybe a little more, However, I went through Wedding Bug for about $500. Is our wedding video the most cinematic video ever? Absolutely not. Can we relive our wedding ceremony and some of our day (we only had the videographer for about 4 hours) whenever we want? Yes! The photos from our photographer are beautiful, but to see the day in motion still makes me emotional. It goes by so quickly and my memory of the day is pretty blurry.

    We chose suits for the guys because it was cheaper and they could keep them. My maid of honor ordered her dress from Azazie and it was perfect. You shouldn’t have to pay for lodging for your guests. You will just need to coordinate a hotel block (never book a hotel block where they require you to pay for any unused rooms).

    You don’t need a wedding planner. I used The Knot for their timeline (and not everything on their timeline is necessary) and their wedding website. It would have been nice to have a day of coordinator, but we survived without one 🙂

    I loved wedding planning, but I know it’s not everyone’s jam. My husband and I tried to keep it as low cost as possible and we ended up having a beautiful day with about 100 guests. If you need any advice beyond what I’ve included here, don’t hesitate to reach out 🙂

    Reply to Jessica
  • Jen

    Just voted for you and Kyle! 🙂 I hope you win, but at the same time… take a breath and re-FOCUS. The wedding is all about you and Kyle and no one else! You are building a house and that is crazy expensive. Decorating your new home will eat up a lot of money too. You’re blessed to live in an area with so many beautiful and inexpensive wedding venue ideas. (parks, charming Bed and Breakfasts etc.) You already have a dress, and a photographer. You’re off to a great start! What if you got married on a beach or similar? (My Husband and I did a vow renewal on the beach and it was $100 for the officiant and $50 for my dress on Amazon). He wore a super nice cream color Hawaiian shirt ($30 at Costco) and it was so simple. We went out to a nice dinner afterward. What if you did something similar? Simple venue – (a park, beach etc. something with meaning to you and Kyle) with under 20 guests if possible. Then all go out to eat (many places have small banquet rooms). Our original wedding was a huge cathedral, long flowing dress, flowers, limo etc. and crazy expensive with over 150 guests! In retrospect I wish we would have chose something way more simple. I know whatever you decide your wedding will be beautiful and meaningful. Good Luck!!!

    Reply to Jen
  • Hillary Hall

    I just got married recently in NC, and i can provide you with a wealth of knowledge on budget friendly ideas. Please reach out to me via email and I’d be happy to help. My best friend is also an amazing photographer in your area, and i know she still has some availability left this year. Her pricing is AWESOME too.

    Reply to Hillary Hall
  • Shantel

    PS. I want to add that at my church they don’t charge to be married there if you or a family member goes to church there. Maybe start with churches where people you know go and see what the pastor says?

    Reply to Shantel
  • Shantel

    Try not to stress about your wedding being a big deal <3 My mom has done all of my sisters and I's weddings (7 of us total) for $1,000 they were all beautiful and many commented on how nice they were! My littlest sister just got married in November and it was a beautiful ceremony and still the same budget. Be creative. Don't focus on it having to be done traditionally. Trade services where you can (like a photographer). Think outside the box! My brothers wedding was in a backyard of a church member it was GORGEOUS with a dream gazebo and just so pretty and cost nothing. keep it simple and it will all work out <3
    I agree with the above poster saying a wedding is 1 day and a marriage is a lifetime. My husband and I are going on 16 years in May and our wedding day is all a blur! It hasn't lasted near as long as our time together and it definitely wasn't worth thousands of dollars and stress over 1 day out of the many we've had together. Keep it simple. It doesn't have to have all the traditional bells and whistles to include others that want to support you and share your special day.

    Reply to Shantel
  • Shannon C

    Have you checked out this place?
    Great venue and great people!

    Reply to Shannon C
  • Shannon

    Have you checked out this place?
    Great venue and great people!

    Reply to Shannon
  • Kelly

    Well with all these people (including me) voting for you, I sure hope you’re the winner!! Wedding planning sucks. It just does.. I mean unless you have a zillion dollars. I’ve read basically all the other comments and everyone is right. You don’t have to spend a crap ton of money to have a beautiful wedding. The wedding planner probably isn’t necessary and a less expensive venue could be just as gorgeous as the super pricey ones. I sure hope it all works out for you! You’re gonna be a beautiful bride no matter where/how you get married.

    Reply to Kelly
  • Cassandra

    Voted for you! YAY!

    Ok. I wanted to elope. We didn’t, and we regret it.
    We let the opinions of our family and friends decide OUR day. We had people demanding that we have a traditional wedding, meanwhile I begged and begged to elope. The people who were demanding a wedding were mostly on my husbands side, so my husband was constantly getting the brunt of it. We gave in…. sorta 🙂
    We had a secret morning ceremony in my parents front lawn with just our immediate family and friends – 15 people. It still wasn’t what we had originally planned but still a little rebellious! We then had the traditional wedding. We had it on a Friday night at 6, hoping that no one would come. Out of the 150 people that were invited 375 came. Yep, you read that right – over double invited themselves. Since then, there has been a huge fallout and we don’t speak to any of the people from the evening wedding. So all of the pictures that we have from our evening wedding have people that we either don’t know or that we don’t speak to.

    But if you do decided to have a wedding here are some of my money saving tips:
    1) Only spend $ on things that are important TO YOU! Not important to your friends, your great-aunt or even your parents.
    2) Invite your guests to be your photographers. We had 4 amateur photographers in the audience and it really pleased them to know that their photographs would be our memories. BONUS: they usually won’t let you pay them – it’s their pleasure to do it!
    3) Ask you family and friends about venues. Someone might know someone who knows someone who knows someone, who has the perfect venue!

    Lastly, as long as you get married at the end of the day, you’ve accomplished your goal! Your wedding day is one of the best day of your life, but don’t obsess about it. You didn’t plan the day you met Kyle and look at the life you’ve built!

    Reply to Cassandra
    • Taralynn McNitt

      THANK YOU!!

      Thank you for sharing all of that with me. I can’t even imagine what you must have felt like when THAT many extra people showed up! WOW!!! Our list is narrowed down to super super super small.

      I appreciate all of your advice!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • dee

    Hi 🙂 Voted for you, hope you win!
    i’m from Europe and don’t know if these wedding tips could be useful , but here are they ways my friends cut down the cost:
    wedding planner -skip it
    save the dates – diy
    party favours – get something small like nice chocolates
    cake -see if you can get 3 (or more normal cakes) and a cake stand off amazon
    catering -buffet instead of sit down, and bring your own alcohol bottles if possible
    florals – use potted orchids instead of centerpieces ,and have a friend make your bouquet out of flowers from the floral market,
    photographer videography- no tips here , except diy your own photobooth with a polaroid camera and a nice background off of amazon
    venue :-sunday daytime weddings cost less here than saturday night ones or see if you can rent the local park , or some museum/ public building , or someplace by a lake
    hair and makeup , just don t specify that they are for a wedding when you make the appointment

    Reply to dee
  • Kayla

    I can’t recommend Elope Asheville highly enough! They’re all-inclusive officiant/ceremony venue/flowers/photography for a super reasonable price, and you can have anywhere from 0-28 guests. We paid like $2500 for a 28 guest wedding with a bunch of add-ins (premium photography, bigger cake, extra flowers). Then we rented the loft space of Market Place in Asheville (and there were tons of other restaurants that did the same). It was great!

    Reply to Kayla
  • Harriet

    Wow was a busy week, also the wedding planning sounds stressfull no wonder you are thinking of eloping and need a month of doing nothing. I will defantily put a vote in for you and kyle. I also need a month or two of nothing, even though it was a quite holiday season, I was so busy with house renovations that I haven’t stopped, but I did manage to get 3 three blissful sunny days at the beach to relax. 2020 is off to a crazy start, work is slowly picking up, my car broke down and the reno feels like its never ending. For your wedding have you thought of going ahead with the elopement with yours and Kyles parents and siblings there, then having a fancy dinner party that all your friends and family can come to later on. hope you have a great week and you get some time to relax!

    Reply to Harriet
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Harriet!!

      I bet your house is lookin’ great so far!! Sorry about the car! so darn frustrating.

      That’s kind of what we are doing, but having a ceremony with them.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Chassidy

    Voted for you guys ❤️Hope you win !!

    Reply to Chassidy
  • Jenna Rall

    Idk about a stay home month, but I definitely need a stay at home few days.

    2020 has been rough, I’m dealing with severe lower back pain, my boyfriend’s granny is in renal failure due to cancer, and I actually just moved out from living with my boyfriend so things are crazy.

    Wedding advice… idk too much but only do what YOU want.

    Reply to Jenna Rall
  • April Jo

    I’m in the same boat. Getting married on Halloween this year. I reached out to local colleges that have photography & videography classes to see if any students are intrested.

    Also, wedding planners are way cheaper if you just hire them for day of. Dresses are way overpriced. I want a gray one, found the dress of my dreams & still 1300. I am only wearing this dress maybe 3 hrs tops. Having a more comfy dress for reception.

    Reply to April Jo
  • Allie

    Happy New Year! I also did my wedding on a small budget (we were moving across the country 2 months later!)….Some ideas for you: (1) if photos & video are important to you, by all means spend the money and have them done right. But if you’re cool with having a few good pictures (you’ll have more pictures your whole life! 😛 ) like I was you can save a lot by skipping that. I actually had a caricaturist at the reception and I love that picture the best 🙂 My friend had a relative take his wedding photos, It was the relative’s gift to the couple and worked out well! (2) For flowers, I arranged with a Farmer’s Market vendor ahead of time to basically buy their Saturday stock (loose, not in bouquets) at a slight discount and then a bunch of family and friends helped me to make bouquets, boutineers (sp??), flower crowns (of course!), table arrangements, etc. the day before the wedding. It was actually a fun craft/bonding time! (3) For cake/dessert — again, if you know a baker (even a good at-home baker) see if they will gift you guys the cake! My husband had an aunt that did this. I also had a cousin that just had all the aunts/her mom make pies (the couple liked pies more than cake) in leiu of a big fancy (expensive) wedding cake. It is SO hard because even with all these little ‘saves’ it ADDS UP quick! For me, food and venue were the big costs and everything else I tried to minimize…No matter what, you’re getting married which is very exciting and you 2 (and the license!) are really all that’s necessary. Just think of the rest as extra 🙂 It will be great!

    Reply to Allie
  • Meg

    My husband and I did a destination wedding in Riviera Maya, Mexico and saved a tremendous amount of money. At first we were worried about hurting peoples feelings and then decided the only people that HAD to be there were our parents. You will be surprised how many people will actually jump at the chance to go to a wedding out of town. We used a local travel agent that specialized in destination weddings and for an extra $200 she became our wedding planner. I really didn’t have to do anything except show up. I’m not saying there wasn’t any stress involved but it was way less stress than all of my friends have endured planning their weddings. We were able to spend a week in Mexico with family and friends AND have a low key reception/picnic for 300 people at our neighborhood park for $8000. Many hotels that specialize in destination weddings will have kick backs to the bride and groom if you end up with a certain amount of guests. We actually got our entire wedding ceremony free (which would have been $1500). I say go for the elopement if that is what you really want. It’s one day and the day is about you and Kyle. and if you don’t end up eloping…go to a farmers market for flowers. 🙂

    Reply to Meg
  • Abbey

    I’m sorry you are feeling the wedding stress! I know its so hard to have a day you dream of while also trying to please everyone else too! I fully support the elopement idea… you can never please everybody else, so you really may as well do it the way you want! But I understand the pressure of having a wedding. My husband and I felt the exact same way! Our wedding was about 80-100 people… it wound up being bigger, trying to please everyone else!

    But my biggest tip is that we hired a taco truck for our food! It was sooo much fun and everyone got exactly what they wanted! I think it was only $600.

    Good luck. I think if you elope and then have a big party when you get back maybe everyone will still be happy. Sorry for the long response weddings tend to bring up lots of advice! Your photos look sooooo beautiful.

    Reply to Abbey
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you! Yeah, the good thing is they don’t care what we do as long as they get to be apart of it, so it’s really just ME stressing over it all.

      I love that you hired a taco truck!!!! so so so fun.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Mandi

    1. I am going to use Feb as that month. This month I have 2 workout challenges, 1 workout competition, 1 leadership test and 2 possible job interviews (WHAT AM I THINKING!?!)
    2. 2020 has been a great week so far!
    3. Instead of wedding presents I actually asked family to cover certain wedding expenses. My Aunt and Uncle secured my DJ, my grandparents my cake and my bridesmaids made my flowers. It was the perfect way to have everyone involved and take some stress off!

    Reply to Mandi
  • Melinda

    Hey Taralynn! So I just got married on January 1 and I completely agree with how stressful and expensive it is to have a wedding. What really helped me what having some one who was a really good friend do our day of coordinator. Unless you’re dead set on getting a wedding planner, I would say skip that extra cost and get some one you trust to help out day of to make sure everything runs smoothly. Most wedding planners will even charge you a small amount to set up your day of time line, do that so you have everything ready. Also, I found a wholesale silk flower business and DIYd all of my floral, it ended up costing me $80 for everything. Also, look into any Facebook groups in your area for B/S/T between brides, I found a lot of my decorations for cheap that way! For linens, use Efavormart, I got mine for $60 for 10 of them! I voted twice so I’m hoping you guys win and you get the wedding of your dreams. At the end of the day, do what you and Kyle want. Try not to stress bc it’s not about the florals or the perfect cake, its about the love between you and your future hubby!

    Reply to Melinda
  • Halle


    I’m currently planning my wedding too, so I appreciate being able to read all these suggestions 🙂

    So far to keep it budget friendly, we are going to forgo a wedding planner and just have a family friend handle day of coordinating (our venue is also helping out). We also went with a December date because our venue offered a significant discount to choose a date in their “off-season”. I’m definitely with everyone else about doing fake flowers and DIY projects (and even use decor from your personal collection).

    Best of luck!!

    Reply to Halle
  • Tiffany

    Don’t let other people guilt you into a big wedding &/or debt. My husband & I eloped, have been married 5 years, and have a toddler. We don’t regret our decision to elope at all! Unless all those guests offer to help pay for it, they don’t get a say in how you spend your money. 💚

    Reply to Tiffany
  • Andrea

    Hi Taralynn! Wanted to let you know I voted for you and to wish you luck on the planning process. I got married in November and wanted to elope but my husband was set on a wedding. Because of that, I didn’t hesitate to delegate tasks to him or ask for help. Likewise, I’m sure your family/friends would love to help if given the opportunity. Just remember that years from now, no one will remember what your centerpieces looked like or the small details brides usually stress over. They’ll remember a smiling bride and groom and a good time. This ‘day’ is about you two so don’t lose focus on that. 🙂

    Reply to Andrea
  • Katie

    Just because you feel like you have to have a wedding to please family members doesn’t mean you have to have a super fancy or traditional wedding! Do what makes you happiest. At the end of the day all that matters is that you marry the person you love. Maybe you could do a court house ceremony with just the most intimate family and friends present, and then inquire with your favorite restaurant and see if you can rent it out for an evening to celebrate with the bigger group of people. Or look for less typical wedding venues and caterers since those tend to be two of the biggest expenses. For example, my hubby and I got married at a 100+ year old barn that ended up being absolutely stunning and literally a quarter of the price of other venues in our area. And we served chili from the restaurant that we had our first date at, which was also WAY cheaper than traditional wedding dinner foods.

    Reply to Katie
  • Stephanie

    Costco has great flowers!! Grab some cheap vases at the dollar store and you can have friends/fam help with arrangements the day or so before, then have one of them set them out at the venue.
    If it’s going to be small and with the people who truly mean everything to you and love you, they won’t care about anything other than seeing the two of you say I do. Try not to stress it!!

    Reply to Stephanie
    • Courtney

      I second the Costco flowers! I had a wedding this past April with 75 guests and used costco for all of our bouquets, as well as centerpieces. I made my own centerpiece lanterns out of scrap wood. Everyone loved them so much, they took all of them home. I bought a cake the day before the wedding at the grocery store for $50, which everyone raved about. I’d be happy to show you pictures of my wedding or help with anything. I got married on the Blue Ridge parkway, and researched so much how to have a budget friendly, beautiful wedding.

      Reply to Courtney
    • Taralynn McNitt

      ♥️ thanks girl!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Julie

    I definitely need some time to get caught up as well! I have blocked off Saturday to do all the random little things that are unchecked on my to do list. My money saving tips for weddings would be to not use a planner – I got most of my ideas from Pinterest and I also saved money on the videography by asking them just to record everything but leave out the fancy editing. Their big cost came with a 3 minute long mini-movie that they would create which showed all the highlights (and thus required a lot of their time), but I did not need that. Doing away with that cut the cost in half. Good luck with it all! It will turn out great in the end even though it is stressful now.

    Reply to Julie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That is great! blocking off days is so important. I also like to make checklists early morning on those blocked off days to get me on track!

      Thank you for the amazing tips!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lo

    Voted!! We got married young, right when the recession hit. My budget was $1500 for the whole wedding. It was small (like 40-50 invited) and a potluck style dinner. My mom and I made different sides and little deserts. A friend of hers made the cake (it wasn’t fancy, but it was good). I made all the bouquets out of buttons (WAY cheaper than flowers plus they last for eternity). Everyone wore their own black dress/black slacks and button downs. Our venue isn’t necessarily what I dreamed, but it was $300 – my parents’ church.
    Sure there were things at the time that I wanted to spend more on. Or family members had expectations. But we prioritized spending as little as possible and I’m still happy how it went. If anything, I wish we had just married at the courthouse and then had a backyard party after 🤷🏻‍♀️ If you elope, they will get over it. It’s not their money being poured into it, it’s yours and kyles. If they want it – they can pay for it!
    Good luck!!!

    Reply to Lo
  • Nicole Jenkins

    Hi Taralynn! I voted for you and Kyle and I am keeping my fingers crossed for you 🙂 I’ve never had to plan a wedding, but I’ve heard how expensive and stressful it can be. I hope you two win and get the day of your dreams!

    Reply to Nicole Jenkins
    • Laura

      My advice is to skip the wedding planner. Most venues will have someone to help day of but otherwise you definitely don’t need it, especially for a smaller wedding. For flowers, do them yourself and keep to a minimum. You can do centerpieces of baby’s breath or a single large flower- both big impact, small cost. At the end of the day, if there is food, alcohol and good music, then everyone is happy. It’s your day- do what you want with what you have!

      Reply to Laura
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Nicole!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lauren

    Voted for you guys! I hope you win!!

    Wedding planning is very stressful. When I was planning my wedding people made me feel guilty for not “loving” the wedding planning, but it was honestly a part time job in addition to my full time job so I was exhausted.

    Reply to Lauren
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you so much, Lauren!!

      I think that’s what shocked me. Everyone seems super excited about wedding planning, but I haven’t felt that way at all.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Aileen

    Taralynn, I voted for you guys and hope you win. I had a wedding planned with a beautiful, whimsical venue and ended up cancelling it all and instead, I had my immediate family and two friends watch as my ordained uncle married us under a tree in a park (completely free). My dad played the guitar and then we went to lunch afterwards. Cheap, and everyone who expected to see a wedding GM was satisfied. Just a thought! Wedding debt is somethings we chose to avoid, and I can say that after it was all done, it was the right choice and I was so happy we decided against spending a fortune.

    Reply to Aileen
  • Emily

    Wedding planning can be super stressful but I promise you can do it! For my wedding, we did DIY for as much as possible and found invitations/save the dates on Etsy which were cheaper than I saw elsewhere! We also didn’t have a videographer (on the advice of friends) or a wedding planner which helped to cut costs. Some of my friends have made their own centerpieces and invitations, and have also used fake flowers to cut costs. Fake flowers can be FANTASTIC, plus they won’t die/break and Hobby Lobby always has sales! As far as a venue goes, I’m not in your area, but I would look to see if any local colleges or universities have venue spaces they rent out. Our ceremony space was a chapel at our alma mater and it was way cheaper than what our reception venue wanted to charge for a ceremony! We were lucky enough to receive some financial assistance from my family for the reception, but if we hadn’t we had our eye on a venue in a nice log cabin/garden setting at our alma mater as well that was affordable to rent for the evening and had a full kitchen available for food. At the end of the day, just remember that your wedding is just one day and you have the rest of your lives to spend together! Everything will end up the way that it should and it will be a magical day!

    Reply to Emily
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Emily!

      Thank you for all of that! I think if I can figure out WHERE I’m getting married, I’ll be able to plan it all! lol

      I appreciate all of your tips and advice.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Heather

    My husband and I eloped and I would do it all over again. I too had some family members who were hurt by it but in the end I wanted the wedding to be about he and I and no one else. Also, no family helped us out financially with the wedding so it was simply not up to them. I hope you two do what you want to do and don’t go into debt for a wedding because that is what everyone else wants. Best wishes.

    Reply to Heather
  • Patricia L

    We eloped. Best decision ever! We did end up hurting feeling but at the end of the day it was about us. It’s our marriage and our life so we did what we wanted. We spent $800 and stayed at a beautiful historic hotel, they provided the minister, they had a small wedding cake and champagne waiting in our room when we returned. It was amazing. Anyway.. if you decide you want to do an actual wedding, which I totally get, there aren’t rules. It might just be where I am from but 90% of weddings I attend don’t serve food except cake afterwards. I know every area is different though.

    Reply to Patricia L
  • Ellen

    I didnt read through all the comments so someone may have mentioned check air bnb for venues! I remember seeing some cute ones labeled as “suitable for events” but couldnt hold the 150 people we had coming. Also day of wedding planners are way cheaper, and I have friends who had more luck with just doing that. My mom had her work friend act as day of and paid people and made sure things were on schedule. It helped out a lot! You can deffinately do a small wedding for cheaper then what you listed 🙂 I spent less on everything with 150 people in SC so I know you can too! (Except the photographer) Good luck! 🙂

    Reply to Ellen
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Ellen!

      Yes, I have totally been doing that! I may have to look outside of the Carolinas to find the right one, but it’s a great idea. I definitely won’t have anywhere near 100 people coming so that could work for me 😊

      Thanks for the ideas! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Rachael

    I was in same boat about feeling bad family wise, and while I love the wedding I pulled off I would’ve been just as happy had I not. I had a friend who did a shotgun wedding- let their parents (his we’re from Australia)/siblings know and if they could make it great if not, it’s a 2 second event shrouded under the guise of an overpriced party haha. A few months later they had still lowkey a celebratory reception of just cocktails with friends & family.

    As far as saving money on a wedding- SKIP the planner. Your vision wi affect cost too- going forma with tuxes naturally elevated the expectations of everything else (food, decor, etc). I got bridesmaids dresses and suits off of ASOS. I did all of the florals (sams club & ikea!), seating charts/table numbers, etc (venue had signage which was a plus), did BBQ for catering and bought multiple dessert platters from Amelies instead of a cake. I absolutely loved our photographer, but even went budget there bc I had having my picture taken and only hired him for ceremony/majority of reception (instead of having him there hours early for getting ready pictures). Remember the day is about you both, not anyone else. Do what is right for y’all- You will never please everyone regardless

    Reply to Rachael
  • Liv

    Hi Tara! I used to be a wedding planner until I left to start my own business. There are SO many ways to DIY things and save money when planning a wedding, but my biggest suggestions are:

    1) always planning a cocktail-style reception with hours d’ouevres or a buffet instead of a formal sit down
    2) doing your own flower bouquets with silk flowers from Hobby Lobby or Michaels (they look just as good and you can save them for the future! I would keep your bridal bouquet fresh)
    3) if you have any flexibility in dates, most venues have on/off season rates which are often at least 50% off.
    4) if you are looking for an intimate venue, try a local bed and breakfast! They usually offer packages that just do it all, and they aren’t as expensive as some other venues as they are often locally owned.
    4) opt for a cutting cake, but serve cupcakes for the rest of your guests! They’re easier to eat and less plates, etc to worry about.
    5) remember that it is YOUR DAY. What you and Kyle want is the most important thing to consider. I understand it’s hard to try to make family feel included and welcome, but it’s better to just do what feels right for you rather than cater to what other people want. Don’t make your wedding day stressful if possible—it’s supposed to be the best day of your life!
    Happy to answer any questions or anything you need as a wedding planner veteran! I’ve done it once or 100 times, lol.

    Reply to Liv
  • Nicci

    Voted for you. Good luck!

    I am definitely in need of a stay home and catch up month. December just seems to be twice as busy as the rest of the year and fly by in a second. I think it’s a great way to start the year.

    2020 is going great so far thanks, we’ve just started planning our wedding for next year.

    As someone who is eloping, I think it’s important to be true to yourselves and have the wedding that you want. It’s your day and you don’t want to look back on it and wish you’d done things differently. We’re having a party later on, so that we can celebrate with family and friends, but our wedding is just for us. Family can be complicated, but I hope that they’ll respect whatever you and Kyle decide to do!

    Reply to Nicci
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you so much, Nicci!!!

      Thank you for sharing your advice. You’re absolutely right about it all, and good luck to you with your elopement. I bet it’s going to be magical!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Elodie

    Voted for you 🙂
    When I got married, we had a small budget so wanted to do something small but meaningful, we were paying for it ourselves pretty much. I must say I really didn’t enjoy the whole planning process and was glad when it was all over.
    We did not have a wedding planner, we had the reception in our local church which was lovely (think modern church building rather than older church type). A lot of our friends pitched in, one of them was our photographer with a friend of hers, only had to pay for her fuel expenses to come to us, another friend made our cake, another sorted out the flowers, etc. If your friends are willing to help you out, that does take lots of the costs down.
    Hope you find the best way of doing it for you two, and that stress levels will stay as low as possible!

    Reply to Elodie
  • Shelby

    I voted for you! I have always held the belief that unless people are contributing to my wedding, they do not get a say in the decision making process. Too often family and friends place a ridiculous md unfair amount of pressure on the couple getting married, which should ultimately be such a special and wonderful time of their lives. I know it’s easier said than done, but I still think you and Kyle should do what feels right for you ♡ I can imagine it would be tough to make a decision knowing some people will be upset but I think it’s better than stressing yourself out and not enjoying this incredible time. It’s ok to be selfish – its YOUR wedding. Wishing you lots of luck! You’re going to make a beautiful bride xxx

    Reply to Shelby
  • Candace

    Why are you having a small wedding shouldn’t your parents pay for your wedding

    Reply to Candace
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I don’t think it’s fair to put all the expenses on my parents. They’d definitely pitch in as much as I needed, but I don’t feel right to do that.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kendra

    My wedding was in one of the squares in downtown Savannah…. if you don’t mind an outdoor venue it is a super affordable way to go! The setting is nice and it’s great for small weddings, ours was less than 150 people. Bistro 45 is fairly inexpensive for the reception (or it was 5 years ago)…

    Reply to Kendra
  • Alicia

    We had 50 ppl for our wedding. We didn’t want a big venue or anything like that so we had a beautiful outdoor ceremony in Rose garden by the beach then went to a restaurant that had a function room upstairs. We got the balcony for cocktail hour and because it was a restaurant our guest picked what they wanted to eat. Because we didn’t have to pay a venue fee we were able to have an open bar the whole time. Also we only had a photographer for the ceremony and cocktail hour. So many people take pictures throughout the day we didn’t want to pay the photographer for the reception. Hope some of these ideas help! Best of luck and congratulations!

    Reply to Alicia
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    It’s so exciting keeping up with your wedding planning! Seems like everything is coming together for you. Congrats! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Stephanie

    Voted for you! I SO hope you win!!

    Reply to Stephanie
  • Rachel

    I’m right there with you! I feel so behind on life this week after the holidays and being sick for a week! Wedding planning is so stressful! And expensive. I got married last year. I can’t imagine doing it in the middle of a build and selling your home. Crossing my fingers for you guys on this contest! And of course I voted..twice once for my husband 😉

    Reply to Rachel
  • Breeanna

    Voted—good luck!

    My husband and I planned to elope too, but we felt the same sort of “guilt” about disappointing our families. We got married in court with a super-small reception after. We saved a ton of money, though. It was more important to us to be able to get a solid start on our life together without the debt, but I sometimes get kind of sad we didn’t do a bigger celebration.

    I second the idea of looking into state parks or forest preserves. It’d be a gorgeous location for photos and some even have cabins/reception rooms to rent. Whatever you end up doing, I’m sure it’ll be memorable and lovely, so wishing you the happiest times!

    Reply to Breeanna
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Breeanna!!

      I think looking into state parks may be a really great idea 😊

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Tricia

        Hi Taralynn,

        I’m in the same boat as you are in the wedding planning. I just recently got engaged last September and all I’ve done so far is have the church and venue date set. I have no idea what type of dress, color scheme, flowers, photographer, music etc Everyone keeps asking me questions and and I don’t really have any answers yet. Plus I just moved in with my fiancé right before Christmas my family wasn’t to happy about that they are very old school they don’t believe in living with someone till your married. So I’ve been all over the place but I needed to decide what was best for me and my fiancé. So to one bide to another I totally understand what the stress feels like plus we are also looking for furniture for our home as well. We haven’t even had a full week with out the holidays interrupting everything. We can finally focus on us which is the most important think. Good luck with everything and I look forward to reading your blogs and seeing what the future has in store for the both of us and our soulmates.

        Reply to Tricia
  • Stacie

    Voted!! Good luck!!

    Reply to Stacie
  • Jessie

    I voted for you I hope you win

    Reply to Jessie
  • sarah

    Wedding planning can be super stressful! I just planned mine, so I have a few tips that may help you out.

    Have you considered doing an earlier (daytime) wedding? It sounds odd, but a lot of venues offer less expensive rates for earlier times. And a “brunch wedding” could be cool! You can always keep the party going after if you want. Maybe also consider a Friday or Sunday wedding, those also tend to be less expensive.

    You could also do your own flowers (or have a trustworthy friend do them) for much cheaper. One of my girlfriends did this. She bought flowers in bulk at a few of the local stores, the bridesmaids made the bouquets the night before, and they were stored in a refrigerator. They were beautiful and were only a fraction of the cost! It was also pretty cute because the bridesmaids were able to get a little crafty. You can also get a few different colors of ribbon to wrap the stems if you want. Boutonnieres are also pretty easy to do yourself, but I would do a practice round ahead of time.

    Another thing I’ve realized is an easy money saver is favors. Do your guests really care about favors? Probably not. I can’t remember the last time I actually took one from a wedding, and then the bride and groom are left with a ton of little trinkets. You can save a bit of money on that!

    Last thing: look into doing a “boutique cake” for you and your groom to cut, and then have a larger sheet cake for guests to be served from. My husband and I did this. We had a small, 2-tier cake for us to cut. Our top tier was saved for us to store for our first anniversary, and then the bottom tier and a sheet cake were served to guests. You’re guests will only care about how the cake tastes, not if it has the same decor as the cake you cut. I read about this in a magazine while we were planning and it saved us a few hundred dollars.

    Hope this helps! Try to remember that this should be a fun experience. It’s stressful, but exciting!

    Reply to sarah
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Sarah!

      Thank you for all of that!!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Gina

        Happy New Year! I thought I’d share what my husband and I did for our super budget-friendly wedding. When deciding what we wanted, we both agreed that we’d rather put our money into an epic honeymoon instead of the ceremony and reception. So we booked a 7-day Caribbean cruise followed directly by a 10-day trip to Paris and planned our small, intimate wedding consisting of us and 20 of our closest family members. We used the Thomas Stone National Historic Site as our venue, which cost us $0. My husband’s dad became ordained online so he could marry us, so our minister was also $0. My younger sister is a professional photographer and very generously took all of our photos and video, so that too was $0. We had the reception in the backyard of my sister’s very large and gorgeous home (think Father of the Bride) where my parents graciously supplied the flowers and decorations. My husband and I are huge southern BBQ fans, so we paid for catering from a popular BBQ joint that provided INCREDIBLE food for around $300. We didn’t need a large cake since we were a small crowd, so we ordered a small cake for around $50 as well as mini cannoli, mini cream puffs and Italian cookies (I come from an Italian family, so these were a necessity) for another $50. My husband’s family provided the wine, liquor, and other incidentals, so we were covered there as well. Since our wedding was in June, I was able to find a beautiful white lace knee-length dress for $50 and my husband wore his Army dress uniform. So in total, we paid under $500 for our small, beautiful, intimate wedding and had the honeymoon of a lifetime. We don’t regret a thing. The whole day was so relaxed, stress free, and we had such a great time with our families. Now I don’t know if you want to go QUITE as budget friendly as we did, but a dream wedding doesn’t have to have a nightmare price tag. Honestly, the whole day is going to go by so quickly that there might be some details you’ll eventually realize weren’t worth the time or effort, so invest in the details that you know you’ll be able to enjoy and reminisce about for the rest of your lives. Congratulations to the both of you–I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you win the giveaway! Good luck! And sorry this comment wound up being so long!

        Reply to Gina
        • Taralynn McNitt

          Wow!!!! sounds like you had the ultimate set-up! I love the idea of having someone get ordained online! 😮 Thank you for taking the time to share all of that with me, Gina!!

          Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Erica

        Voted!! Good luck 🙂

        Wedding tips! I planned our entire wedding with the help of my mom and friends. The entire wedding was on a farm, luckily my aunt owned this farm. We rented a wedding tent and decorated ourselves and made the meals. I booked a photographer and DJ, we did the rest!! Everyone said it was the best wedding they have been too 🙂 weddings should be about you, we wanted an intimate relaxed wedding and we got just that.

        There are so many ways to cut cost, keep the guest list small and intimate, we had 110 people attend, trash favors, it’s a waste of money, have finger foods instead of a full dinner, do your own wedding cake, do the bouquets with bridesmaids. Keep things simple. Honestly as a guest of many weddings this last year, no one cares what the decor looks like, how fancy the venue is, all that matters is the bride and groom are happy, friends and family are there and the food is good!

        You’ve got this 🙂

        Reply to Erica
  • Meg

    Just got married in September so here is my advice!!

    Honestly most people do a year or two engagement, so venues being booked out until 2022 would be good if you’re worried about a budget. It gives you plenty of time to save and ENJOY THE PROCESS! What’s the rush!? Wedding planning doesn’t have to be stressful!!! Also, a planner isn’t necessary so save your money there.

    Look at venues that aren’t actual wedding venues — coffee shops, farms, libraries, etc. My friend got married in a rustic coffee shop with vegan tacos catered. Rent faux flower arrangements (or don’t do flowers!) There are NO rules to follow!

    You just have to think outside the box and be creative with it!

    Reply to Meg
  • Emily H.

    Haha I have the same issues with stray dogs. Someone has even tried to dump their dog on me and I couldn’t say no….it was terrible and there were a lot of tears (from me) but it worked out!

    Reply to Emily H.
  • Molly

    My husband and I got married at this gorgeous little rural winery. They had a beautiful patio set up, and we had a summer sunset ceremony. We used the picnic tables as seating on the lower level, and made a floral archway. We were married by my husband’s best friend. It was small and simple, but so intimate and perfect. You’ll find something! Dont be afraid to look outside the box! A patio, rooftop, garden. I’m sure there are some hidden gems out there.

    Reply to Molly
  • Tabitha Dacal

    I live in the Charlotte area and got married this past August! Check out Vesuvius Vineyards in Iron Station,NC as a venue. It was $4500 or somewhere close to that. Also, Jennifer Duncan with Celebrate Event Planning was my coordinator and she was ON TOP OF IT. She was $900-$1000 and she also does florals (separate cost of course).

    Reply to Tabitha Dacal
  • Sarah Cain

    This is definitely a stay home & catch up month for me! I feel like I got nothing accomplished in November or December lol

    We are planning an elopement. but so our family and friends don’t feel too left out we are doing a one year anniversary party and inviting anybody who wants to come. My fiance has a ton of friends and I wanted to keep the wedding budget pretty small. We also considered a family only ceremony but most places we looked were going to charge us the same as if we had a larger group. Wedding planning is stressful!

    Reply to Sarah Cain
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I feel ya girl!!

      That is what we have been facing, too. We only want a few people at some of the venues but they are charging the same as if we had 200 + guests. That’s why I love the idea of looking outside the box when it comes to venues!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Ashley

        My husband and I got married on the rooftop of the seattle courthouse and then reserved a “party room” at a favorite restraint in Seattle for our friends and family (it was very small though). Then him and I went out alone to a fancy Italian place we loved. It was the perfect day.

        One good piece of advice I got was to not use the word “wedding.” Ask about large party rates for places that might not typically be a wedding venue if you are looking at places like that.

        A wedding planner is a waste of money IMO. I bet you’ll be great without one. 🙂

        Photos are worth the $$$$.

        Last but not least try not to let the pressure to please your entire family and to be family ruin your experience. It’s your wedding in the end and really that is what matters. 🙂

        Reply to Ashley
  • Erin Hitchens

    I agree! Have a “house warming” and make it a surprise wedding. Your parents backyard looks pretty cool too!

    Reply to Erin Hitchens
  • Jennifer

    I just had quite a few days off for the holidays where some days I didn’t even leave my apartment, so I’m ready to get out! Lol

    2020 is going well so far! Nothing too terribly exciting has happened, but that’s okay 😊

    I still think you should elope! And have an informal reception when you get home 😉 Mark and I aren’t engaged yet but still talk about going to Sunset Beach to get married, with only our immediate family and closest friends there. Literally get married on the beach, then maybe rent a big house and have a potluck style reception! Then we would have a reception when we got home a while later. I already voted for you twice as that giveaway sounds PERFECT. I really hope you win 🤞🤞🤞♥️

    Reply to Jennifer
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I definitely thought about that, but not sure if I’m a beach wedding gal! But maybe something similar! 🙂 We will definitely have it just close family close friends 🙂

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jessica

    Hi Taralynn, my wedding advice is Las Vegas. My husband and I were married there 17 years ago. Best thing ever. He had never been but I had and it was my idea. Family came and close friends. We had 18 people. It was perfect. We were married at Caesar’s Palace on a Sunday. I purchased a wedding package so planner, dinner, flowers, photography, etc were all included. The photographer took time with us. I got all pics in color and black and white plus negatives for less than 500 dollars. Flowers were beautiful. Plus we had a suite that was part of the package. I would totally do it again and highly encourage everyone. I wasn’t a fan of big weddings. Still not my thing. I can’t wait to see what you choose!

    Reply to Jessica
  • Olivia

    Hey Tara! I might of said this before but I’m so excited for the two of you! I have to say I was almost exactly where you are now. I think that expectation from friends and family to have a wedding is super stressful in itself. Just remember that the people who actually care just want to witness you saying I do. They dont care about the meal, dancing, pretty decor or flowers. And remember you dont need all of the things. It’s your wedding, stick to what you guys want. I got trapped into thinking I needed everything. You dont, only if you want it all. You do you guys. Find a pretty park and a nice restaurant for a sit down dinner. It can be as simple or complicated as you want. But please whatever you do, take in every special moment because it’s such an amazing thing to experience in life. And in the end your married to the one you love. Best of luck!

    Reply to Olivia
  • Janet

    For my wedding, we approached our favorite restaurant and asked if they would cater. It was not something advertised, and they said yes! We had a small wedding (under 50) and it was perfect. For flowers, check for fillers at your local grocery store. We got all our centerpieces from our grocery store and people loved them (I just had peonies in jars that I had to set up myself with my bridesmaids).
    Also, do not waste the time and effort on programs and personalized napkins. No one cares about them at all, except you. Just keep it simple and it’ll be a breeze!
    Finally, have you thought of just a day-of coordinator? You put the work in planning your wedding and on the actual day, hand the reins off to them. They make sure everyone shows up and is in the right places, but it’s a whole lot cheaper!

    Reply to Janet
  • Amber

    I hope you get a chance to catch up with work! I’m the opposite, the holidays were so slow work wise so now things are picking back up. It feels good to be back in a routine! When I got married we were broke and there was so much family drama going on. We got married downtown and then had a meal with our families! Maybe you could do something like a reception with all your family? Hope it all comes together!!

    Reply to Amber
  • Melissa Shock

    We were on a strict budget for our wedding because we were paying for it ourselves ! All of his family wanted beach wedding because we are both from Florida and didn’t want a beach wedding like everyone else and all the venues we had in mind were way to expensive ! We also wanted to do the whole elopement thing ! It sounds so fantastic even to this day but we actually found an Air BNB place ! It was a cabin on the lake in Harrells, NC it was amazing! We got to stay there for 3 nights and the price was like thousands of dollars cheaper than an actual venue cause we wanted something small as well! I know you may not think or anyone may not think Air BNB for a wedding venue ?! Huh ?! But it was absolutely a dream our photographer is actually a savannah photographer now and she is so amazing and has great prices ! If you want to see photos please let me know but our venue was amazing and we paid for everything ourselves and it turned out the best day I could have ever imagined. Just a thought on wedding planning. We didn’t have a wedding planner or anything cause it was too expensive and we also were buying a house. If you want to see photos let me know ! And our photographer was so amazing it’s tiffanyphotographyco if you want to see photos here is my insta @elaineee.shock. But wedding planning is stressful but it doesn’t have to be. I had so much fine with it !

    Reply to Melissa Shock
  • Kim

    Oh gosh I got married this past June. I also wanted to do something small and it morphed into something much larger and more expensive than what I had originally wanted. While I loved my wedding day, I still wish we had done something smaller like I had originally wanted. If you want to elope, just do it!!! Sandals resorts are all inclusive and offer free weddings…

    Other tips:
    1) Facebook marketplace for used wedding decorations! I saved a TON of money on decor this way
    2) I hired a college photography student as my photographer, she did the whole wedding for $1500 and did an AMAZING job
    3) I made my own desserts- cookies and cupcakes— I should mention that I don’t have any real experience with cake decorating, but we did it the morning before the wedding and they came out amazing. Probably spent $50 on desserts.
    4) I did not pass out programs for the ceremony
    5) I contacted a local university’s music department and found a master’s student studying violin to play before and during the ceremony- $150

    Have fun!! Congratulations!!

    Reply to Kim
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Kim!

      That’s exactly what’s going on for sure. Thanks for sharing your experience & I bet your wedding was gorgeous.

      I love all of your tips! Thank you!!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Sam

    How many guests will you have? You all could do an outdoor ceremony at a local/state park (pretty affordable and if it’s not a huge crowd you probably don’t need chair rentals) and then rent out one of your favorite restaurants (or part of one) for the reception – decor is taken care of/you could add simple centerpieces to the tables and you can pick a pre-fixe menu that isn’t super pricey. I also opted for a day-of coordinator to just help with things the day of the wedding saved me a lot – and if you do something more low key you likely don’t need a planner 🙂

    Reply to Sam
  • Justine

    We had a small wedding, 50 people. I don’t think you need a wedding planner. $2,000 saved right away. Wedding Paper Divas for invitations and save the dates. I ordered bulk flowers from Sam’s Club and made our own arrangements. Guests didn’t know that we put them together. We got married at a small chapel for a few hundred dollars and had our reception at a restaurant. I didn’t think that spending thousands on a venue was necessary. You can still have an amazingly gorgeous wedding without spending thousands and thousands of dollars. Everything was completely paid for at the close of our reception. Don’t put yourself in debt for a wedding, especially when you have a house to pay for, etc. We splurged on the photographer and especially the honeymoon. You and Kyle are such a beautiful couple and would no doubt have a beautiful wedding no matter what.

    And I could always use a month to catch up and I hope my 2020 gets better.

    Reply to Justine
  • Chelsea B

    Voted for you guys, hope you win so you won’t have to stress.

    For a version of a “wedding” that is kind of like an elopement: my college roomie recently got married in a state park in Colorado with just family attending. She got great pictures and then simply rented a private room at a restaurant for a “reception” and brought in Nothing Bundt Cakes mini bundts as the cake option.

    Reply to Chelsea B
  • Madison

    Hi! We went through the same process. We wanted to elope, but knew some people would be sad. So now we are having a small ceremony with close family and friends. We found out that wineries in North Georgia are very affordable and love doing small weddings. They’re also beautiful. Just a thought! Good luck

    Reply to Madison
  • Jessica

    Voted! Have you thought about a small intimate wedding in your parents backyard? Good luck!

    Reply to Jessica
  • Daniela Reinhart

    I went to college in greensboro and go back almost yearly (I live in NY now) to visit my best friend. I’m not sure how I never knew about that venue but it looks gorgeous. You have my vote to win. Good luck!

    Reply to Daniela Reinhart
  • Michalina

    Skip the wedding planner – I am getting married in June and we organise everything ourselves. Think of what you can get for those 2000 dollars. Good luck!

    Reply to Michalina
  • Kayla

    Hi Taralynn!

    Have you thought about a backyard wedding? Like setting up a tent? I bet you could make it look really pretty!

    Reply to Kayla
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thought about it, but it would be too weird with neighbors being able to watch lol

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Lisa

        Hi Taralynn, I had the same problem when planning my own wedding two years ago – elopment was very attractive but family and friends would have been sad to miss out being able to celebrate with us. As soon as you say wedding, everything is double the cost, and living in a metropolitan city, it’s even more expensive. Try looking at restaurants and buying them out or book their party room. Restaurants will have a set menu to pick from or would work with you. Also, look at brunch reception instead of a dinner reception. Depending on the restaurant, decor may not be needed. I had my wedding ceremony and reception at a little French bistro where the decor was quite rustic and didnt need any more except for flowers as centre pieces. They also had a little garden for the ceremony so our guests didnt have to travel between events, and beautiful back drop already built in. My entire wedding came out to be under $10,000 (including a very generous bar tab) for 63 people. It is possible to stay under budget; prioritize what is important and think outside the box. Hope that helps.

        Reply to Lisa
      • Jill

        Hi, as a bride that wanted to elope but gave in and had the wedding to not disappoint family, all I can say is DO NOT FEEL BAD!! I was so stressed out planning it and then things went wrong during the day that stressed me out so much that I didn’t even enjoy MY day. I was constantly fixing things and dealing with issues. It seemed like everyone was enjoying my day but me… I absolutely love being married to my husband, but I wish I would have held my ground and eloped. We also could have used that wedding money on our house downpayment… we would have had the full 20% downpayment to avoid paying PMI. Weddings are ONE day, a marriage is a life time. Whatever you choose, make sure it is the decision that will bring YOU and your future hubby the most joy😊!

        Reply to Jill
        • Taralynn McNitt


          Reply to Taralynn McNitt
          • Carol Kneen

            TC, friend of my son Kris, told me about your blog. Congratulations…. it’s awesome! Several years ago, our daughter and then fiancé didn’t want to wait for their venue of choice to become available to get married. So, they had a 15 person, family-only backyard wedding which was beautiful in every way! It was intimate and so touching- tears of joy flowed from us all! We were so happy to forge the bonds of love between families and savor those special feelings that we never would have had at a large wedding. The focus was on the couple and the new relationships that touch us all. It was followed by a backyard BBQ which was stress- free and relaxed. For flowers, if you like hydrangeas, check out dollarhyrangeadotcom- 50 large stems for $55, delivered right to your door- the best secret for inexpensive and beautiful flowers! A year later, they celebrated their one year anniversary with a large dinner and reception at their venue of choice. Again, it was stress-free and fun because we all had plenty of time to plan it. Perhaps you could plan a large party/reception in conjunction with a house warming party? At least you could take your time planning and would have a much better idea of which items you’ll want for your bridal registry. Whatever you choose to do, I wish you both all the love and happiness you deserve!

            Reply to Carol Kneen

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