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Eau Claire Golf & Country Club Wedding – Eau Claire, Wis.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

The first time I met Claire, I knew I liked this girl. She is down to earth, incredibly sweet, and the type of person who just goes with the flow. The perfect bride. Then I met Steve, and I knew I had a match made in heaven. These two are so incredibly in sync with one another, so happy and in love, I could not have been more blessed to have been a part of their day.

We met numerous times leading up to the wedding and discussed in detail what Claire & Steve wanted from their wedding photos and I could not be more happy with the capture of their day.

Steve actually attended Immaculate Conception School in Eau Claire when he was younger, so it was unique that we began the day getting ready in one of the classrooms. Claire also happens to be a school teacher, first grade to be exact so we loved getting ready there and the lighting was phenomenal.

Eau Claire Golf & Country Club in Eau Claire, WI was our reception venue and was beautiful as always. Nothing beats a perfectly manicured grounds and gorgeous sunsets for photos with the Bride & Groom.

I don’t think their wedding day needs much more introduction than that, honestly. I’ll let the photos tell their story. Enjoy!

Mary, Mother of Jesus praying

Bella Bridal Boutique, Woodbury, MN
Claire’s Wedding Dress


Bride in Veil Getting Ready


Bobbie Sue Portrait SquareHi! I’m Bobbie Sue, I love spending time with my family. Travis & I have two boxer dogs, Kane & Atlas, who are my children. I talk to them, kiss them, carry them around the house (YES!) and they even sleep in my bed. They are my babies and one of the most important pieces of my life puzzle. Read more about me!


Chippewa Valley Wedding Professionals May 2012 Meeting

Bella Nozze Bridals & Avalon Floral floral examples
Bella Nozze Wedding Dress & Avalon Floral Bouquet

Hey folks! So, today was my second Chippewa Valley Wedding Professionals meeting at Unity Christ Center in Eau Claire, WI, and to top it off I also happened to be the photographer for this month’s meeting.

For those of you unfamiliar with what CVWP is, I will just share the mission statement straight from the website:

Mission Statement

The mission of the CVWP group is to unite wedding and event professionals in the Chippewa Valley and beyond through providing a positive, supportive, and inviting environment that fosters relationship building and showcases the creative talents of attendees through sponsorships and donations.


The goals of our group are simple:

1. Establish relationships with other wedding & event professionals

2. Increase awareness of attendees’ company, products and/or services

3. Receive & provide qualified referrals

4.Educate others about products and/or services through group presentations

5. Learn about new products and/or services in the wedding & event industry

Today’s meeting featured the following vendors from the Chippewa Valley area, and represented a small portion of  very talented area professionals.

Event Planning:

Chippewa Valley Wedding Professionals, Eau Claire, WI
Eventful Occasions, LLC., Eau Claire, WI


Unity Christ Center, Eau Claire, WI


KB Catering, Independence, WI

Floral Arrangements & Artistry:

Avalon Floral, Eau Claire, WI

Linens & Runner:

Briggs Tent & Party Rental

Live Music:

Frolicking Strings, Eau Claire, WI


Midwest Entertainment, Eau Claire, WI

Bridal Fashions:

Bella Nozze, Eau Claire, WI

Bridal Hair Styles:

Urban Style Hair Salon, Eau Claire, WI

And of course, yours truly as photographer for the day. The highlights for me today were definitely the bridal dresses from Bella Nozze and the floral bouquets from Avalon. They were GORGEOUS. I was totally in awe. One of the floral designs reminded me of a birds nest, it was just so delicate looking and beautiful. The dresses were to die for, and incredibly unique. If you’re an area professional with a business to promote, I would highly suggest making one of the meetings, you learn a lot about local businesses that you weren’t aware of before, and there are tons of networking opportunities. Oh, and I also won a fabulous cookbook from the door prize drawing that I am dying to use!  I’m not going to give you too much info though, if you want to know more, you’ll just have to come to June’s meeting! I’ll be there, and I would love to see your bright & shining face.

Eau Claire, WI Chippewa Valley Event Caterer
KB Catering
Eau Claire, WI Chippewa Valley Live Music, Violinist
Frolicking Strings
Eventful Occasions, LLC.
KB Catering
Bella Nozze & Avalon Floral

Bobbie Sue Portrait SquareHi! I’m Bobbie Sue, I love spending time with my family. Travis & I have two boxer dogs, Kane & Atlas, who are my children. I talk to them, kiss them, carry them around the house (YES!) and they even sleep in my bed. They are my babies and one of the most important pieces of my life puzzle. Read more about me!

Mill Crest Vintage Wedding Dresses

I love Vintage. Anything and everything vintage, and you’ve had me at hello. My work has a very obvious flair toward the vintage end of the spectrum. The soft and romantic looks, floral, the soft and flowy fabrics, bows, ribbons, ruffles. I guess you could say I am a girly-girl. I revel in it, and love it. I am currently lusting after a pair of shoes my brothers would laughingly call “grandma shoes.” They’re perfect in every way. Cherry red, flats, suede, and just gorgeous.

That’s why, when I ran across Mill Crest Vintage today, I almost died. I am so in love, and if you love vintage, you will too! All of these vintage dresses were chosen with care, you can tell. I also love that so many people are beginning to get the love for all that is vintage as well. You see so many more unique details in weddings these days. People are really putting their character and charm into their weddings. And after all, shouldn’t a wedding be about the 2 of you? It really shouldn’t be about anyone else! It’s a celebration of the 2 of you, not about who can throw the biggest, most elaborate party. I don’t care about the price tag, I care about the memories.

That’s why, when I get married my Wedding Photographer will be the most important aspect of my wedding. I am always paying attention to what local photographers are doing, and the majority of the time it’s not to build my business or to compete. I will be totally honest and tell you, that I am looking for my wedding photographer! Before I even thought about going pro, before I even knew that I would, I thought I had my wedding photographer chosen. THE wedding photographer, but then I really started looking and I am so proud and honored to say that we have so many talented, amazing photographers in the Chippewa Valley area. The competition is stiff! And before I knew it, the person I thought would shoot my wedding is no longer. Maybe I will go back to that person some day, but ultimately I realize that the only thing I will have to look back on that glorious day, is my pictures. I won’t remember what the food tasted like, unless it was particularly terrible. I won’t remember if the flowers were spectacular, as long as they reflect who I am then that’s all that really matters. Many brides now are incorporation so many different things into their bouquets as unique fillers to their flowers, that you don’t have to spend a hefty bundle on those flowers anymore. At the end of the day, all I will have to look back on are the memories, and the photos that captured those moments. Those are the moments I want to pass on to my children.

Then, obviously the DRESS. What girl doesn’t spend a big chunk of their wedding budget on the dress? When I really think about the fact, that due to a horrific series of events, I can no longer wear my mom’s wedding dress when I get married, it makes me so sad! I loved that wedding dress, even when I was 8 years old. I can’t even remember the first time I told my mom I would wear it when I got married, because I was so young. Alas, it is what it is, and I will have to wear something else. But Mill Crest Vintage gives me hope, that I might be able to wear something with some history after all. Granted, it may not be familial history, but one can pretend. So, I want to share with you guys! I have some favorites, and who knows? Maybe one of my planning brides can find the dress of their dreams!

The awesome thing about Mill Crest Vintage, is they are in the U.S. They have beautiful, unique, one-of-a-kind, show stopping dresses, and they only charge $12 to ship to your doorstep. So I could get a beautiful dress shipped to me in Altoona, WI for only $12 US dollars. In this day in age, I call that a steal! Anyway, I am off on a rampant as usual, so without further ado, I will share my favorites. Enjoy!

Told you they were beautiful! And they’re a steal for being vintage, beautiful, and one of a kind dresses. Mill Crest Vintage has also won a wide variety of awards and has been recognized by numerous professional organizations, so you can feel comfortable purchasing your dress with a history and a future. If you purchase a dress here, I would love to know about it! Even better, I would love to photograph you in it! Which one of the above dresses are your favorite?

Bobbie Sue Portrait SquareHi! I’m Bobbie Sue, I love spending time with my family. Travis & I have two boxer dogs, Kane & Atlas, who are my children. I talk to them, kiss them, carry them around the house (YES!) and they even sleep in my bed. They are my babies and one of the most important pieces of my life puzzle. Read more about me!

Budget Wedding Planning: Choosing Your Date!

Hello faithful blog followers! Thanks for tuning into another post on budget wedding planning, it makes me so excited to know you’re here and I am not just sitting at my computer screen, babbling to myself for the fun of it. If you enjoy this blog, please come leave me a comment on Facebook, leave one here (comments box below), or click the handy “like” tool at the bottom of the post on the left margin. Your support is what keeps these posts coming. So, if you enjoy them…take a couple seconds and tell me about it.

So, for today’s blog post I decided to do: choosing your wedding date. For some, not a lot goes into this thought process. They choose a date and that’s it. For others, it’s a time consuming process. Choosing a date can be a very difficult thing. When you’re planning on a budget, the date makes a very important difference, and factors into a lot of things. Most importantly, your date will be a very large factor in how much you ultimately pay for your wedding. If you’re looking to save the absolute MOST on your day, following these tips will help you save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Seriously…

First and foremost in the budget saving tips is to book your date as soon as you can with your chosen vendors. Many vendors, such as photographers, wedding venues, djays, officiant’s, and even your bridal shop, will experience price increases every year. This means if you’re engaged in 2012 and you’re not planning to get hitched until 2015 that you have 2 years of potential price increases to withstand. If you book and pay your deposit right away, many vendors will have a clause in their contract with you, stating that even though their prices may be higher in 2015, you will still only pay 2015’s pricing. Major score. Sometimes, that can me $500 or more savings on each vendor who offers this. So, once you have that date, book it. Most people are booking 2 years in advance now anyway, so this also ensures that you have the vendors of your choice and you’re not scrambling to fill that void with someone you’re not quite sure of.

Part B of the above tip is that many vendors will offer you pay as you go, or payment plans. Why put it on a credit  card if you don’t  have to? Paying interest on my wedding day certainly doesn’t sound appealing to me. Maybe you have to do it, okay I understand…but working out an arrangement with your vendors may be possible, so be sure you ask. Speaking from the standpoint of my business, I know I would never turn a person away who is wanting to pay my services off before their wedding.

Next, choose a date that is not near Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. These two holidays make floral prices soar through the roof. If you want to pay top dollar for your floral arrangements, here is a good way to do that. Add to the fact, that none of these arrangements will ever be seen in a church or venue you will be married in and it’s a double whammy. However, on the flip side of that, if you get married around Easter or Christmas the church will be filled to overflowing with beautiful florals that you’ll be lucky enough to take advantage of. Win, Win. Now all you pay for is the bridal & bridesmaids arrangements, boutonnieres,  ceremony decor, and other miscellaneous floral arrangements.

Other holidays to be leery of, not always for budgeting but also for factoring in your guest count: 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. These holidays, many people have other things planned, traditions, etc. These are dates to spend with family, and you will ultimately be missing a good chunk of your guest list if you hold a wedding on these dates. I’ve seen it happen, so many times. However, if you’re holding a smaller, more intimate ceremony this may be the right choice for you. In your area, the more popular dates will vary. Here in Eau Claire, WI and the surrounding Chippewa Valley or Midwestern areas, fall tends to be a very popular time of year to get hitched because of the beautiful fall leaves.

You’ll love this one, or you’ll hate it. Parts of me, HATE it. Hate it. But there are parts of me that love it since I am not overly traditional and some things are really things of the past. So, forget etiquette.  Just forget it. If it doesn’t feel right to you, don’t do it. You hate favors at a wedding because you see it as wasteful and everyone just throws them away anyway? Okay, don’t do it. You’re certainly not alone. I hear it all the time. Favors can also cost anywhere from 1-5 per guest as well, so when you factor that in and calculate your guest count, that’s a big chunk of money you’re spending for something you only feel you have to do. Instead, give a beautiful speech with your husband at the reception. Thank everyone for coming and tell them how much you’ve always appreciated their involvement in your lives. Or, make a donation to a charity you believe in and tell your guests that a donation was made on their behalf. Find a way around the things you dislike and make the day truly a reflection of who you are as a couple, not who society says you are or should be.

Last of all, and probably one of my absolute all time favorites…hold your wedding ceremony in the off months or on a Friday or Sunday. The most popular month to get married use to be June, but is now fighting with the fall months. Especially in Wisconsin, where our fall leaves are glorious and stunning. The true off months for many wedding professionals is November through March. April through October tend to be the very busiest, and tend to be the months they will charge their regular prices. Choosing a wedding date during these off months, or having a wedding on a Friday or Sunday can save you 25% or more on each wedding vendor on an individual basis. How much each wedding vendor can discount you, will vary. Ask them, and see how much you can save. Having a winter wedding can be the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. Especially from your photographer’s perspective. Sure, it will be cold, but if you tough it out the resulting photos will be perfect.

(Photo Credit: Photographer Jenny Haas)

Again, always remember that choosing a photographer in this type of situation is a much more important decision now. It’s not easy to photograph people in snow. It requires skill that goes beyond just being able to take a nice photograph. It’s important you choose a photographer who is comfortable photographing in these conditions, as well as one who has proven that they can photograph beautifully in these conditions.

Choosing your wedding date is very important. It determines many things; your budget, your decor & theme, the weather, your guest list, & even budget savings. Choosing wisely can help you to save 25% or more on your big day. That’s what this is all about, helping you find the very best ways to cut cost without sacrificing quality services and goods. Wedding & event planners, good djays, caterers, and photographers are important. These people will help set the tone for your day, they will create, and they will capture beautiful memories. Just because you’re on a budget, does not mean that you have to sacrifice having a true professional. As always, I am extending the open invitation to ask any and all questions you would like. If you need tips, suggestions, planning help, I am your gal. I also have connections with some of the areas very best planners, photographers, djays, and wedding professionals. If you need help creating the perfect team for your day, please do not hesitate to ask for recommendations. Thank you for checking out the blog, see you next week. Happy wedding planning!

Bobbie Sue Portrait SquareHi! I’m Bobbie Sue, I love spending time with my family. Travis & I have two boxer dogs, Kane & Atlas, who are my children. I talk to them, kiss them, carry them around the house (YES!) and they even sleep in my bed. They are my babies and one of the most important pieces of my life puzzle. Read more about me!


Budget Wedding Planning: Thrift Shopping


It’s been a couple weeks since my last Budget Wedding Planning post, and I figured today was as good a day as any to catch up. Today’s topic is thrift shopping. I love thrift shopping. I remember as a kid, going with my aunt who LOVED thrift shopping. This woman could write a how-to book on thrift shopping. How to find the best places, how to find the best things, how to find the best deals. She always knew exactly how to do it. She still does. Just yesterday she brought me a bunch of brand new curling irons and hot rollers still in their boxes, and the prices? All $6.99 or less. Yes, she’s a handy one to have around, I tell ya!

So where do you start? Well, what are you looking for? Chances are, many of the things you’re looking for can be found at a thrift store for a fraction of the price. So make a list first, then figure out where all your local thrift stores are so you can scrounge and rummage through their items. Always ask if you’re looking for something specific that you cannot find. I am a big fan of asking, you never know what may be hiding in the back waiting to find it’s way to the front lines. So ask.

Some of the best things I have ever found while at a thrift store? Lace gloves, probably from around the 50’s and they were so gorgeous! I have also found some very pretty wedding dresses, veils, tiaras, shoes, decorations, etc. But let’s go back to that dress. Many people see a dress on a rack and they see it for what it is. Not what it could BE. Sometimes these dresses are only about $60. So, you look at that dress and you hate the long sleeves? Well, a good tailor can take those off easily and turn it into the dress of your dreams. Not only that, but many of the dresses today will never be able to copy that vintage look of this dress, or the beautiful detailing. If they can, that dress is going to have a very nice price tag. And when I say very nice, I mean only the Rich & Famous will fully appreciate it, seeing as they won’t have to take out a second mortgage on their home in order to afford it.

In some cities, there are even entire consignment shops dedicated to once used and loved bridal wear, or decorations, etc. Check your local area to see if you have one. You never know what you might find.

One idea I desperately love, that would work perfectly using a thrift shop, is mis-matched china & silverware. Not for everyone, I know. But there are some serious bargains to be had for someone willing to go this route. In addition to china, you could find beautiful vases, canning jars, apothecaries, furniture, bridesmaids dresses, cloth napkins and hankies, candles, etc. Personally, if I was planning a wedding that incorporated canning jars, I wouldn’t go anywhere to get them until I checked out my local thrift store first. So, if you can’t tell…I am a huge advocate of thrift store wedding planning.

Start by making your list, then construct a list of all your local consignment/thrift shops and plan your route. Make a day of it and buy all the things you’ll need to make your wedding unique and one of a kind. FYI, you can use this route whether you’re planning a modern or vintage wedding. We did go through the 70’s after all…and the 70’s were mod.

Bobbie Sue Portrait SquareHi! I’m Bobbie Sue, I love spending time with my family. Travis & I have two boxer dogs, Kane & Atlas, who are my children. I talk to them, kiss them, carry them around the house (YES!) and they even sleep in my bed. They are my babies and one of the most important pieces of my life puzzle. Read more about me!

Budget Wedding Planning: Top 10 Ways to Save!

For this weeks BWP post, I really dug deep for a topic that hasn’t been covered yet and would really be a great source of information for all you planning brides and I finally decided to share my Top 10 Favorite ways to save money on your wedding. There are many different ways to save, and many websites out there to help you but these 10 are my absolute favorite, and I think they are also the most likely to save you the most on your wedding day. So, without further adieu…here you are.

#1. When shopping for your wedding dress, if you go to a wedding boutique only shop the off the rack discounted dresses. Many local shoppes will offer dresses at only $99 and no one will be the wiser. However, if you’re like me and you’d rather a dress that has been handled a little less then think outside the words: bridal, wedding dress, etc. Take anything related to the word “wedding,” out of the equation and begin to look for dresses at department stores. You will be so surprised what you can find, and how beautiful these dresses will be. With minimal searching, ie, about 5 minutes of web searching…I came up with these beauties:

Wedding Dresses, Inexpensive

(Source: Bloomingdales, LM by Mignon Gown $290)

Cap Sleeve Wedding Gown

(Source: Bloomingdales, ABS by Allen Schwartz $90)

#2. Ask friends & family to participate in your wedding in some way. Some of your family members may be more than happy to donate their time, resources, talent, or supplies in order to ensure that your wedding day goes off without a hitch. If you have a family member who is excellent at cooking food, ask them to donate their time in making some cookies or treats to set out as favors. Ask another family member or friend who is great with decorating to help you plan the decor and decorate the day before or day of. Someone who is very talented with decor could help you make the most uninviting of places, a gorgeous and memorable spot for your wedding all while staying within your budget. I love the idea of asking friends & family, because to me, this is what a wedding should be all about. A merging of families, and the bond of your two families will be formed during this time and so much stronger the more involved everyone is, so don’t be afraid to ask.

#3. Have a casual dinner, instead of a sit down dinner. Serve small h’ors d’oeurves and allow everyone to mingle and chat with one another. Have small seating areas arranged for conversation instead of multiple tables. It means less clean up for the dance and less decor. Another option is to serve family style. Have all food served at the center of tables and everyone can eat at their designated table as a “family.”

(Source: Atelier Joya)

#4. Choose foods that are in-season. Check with your local farmer’s markets or butchers for the very best deals. If you’re using a caterer, make sure they understand that you are on a budget. Have a set amount that you’re willing to spend before you even visit with them, this way your caterer can tell you if your budget is possible in working with them, and they can stretch your budget as far as it will go.

#5. Skip the champagne toast. Guests will be just as happy lifting the glass of whatever it is they’re drinking and the majority of people won’t even notice that you skipped it.

#6. When deciding on favors, try to make sure that those favors will work as other things as well. Favors that double as seating place cards are always adorable, and again less clean up as it is likely your guest will take or eat their favor at or before the end of the night.

#7. Use fruits & vegetables as table decor and centerpieces. Typically, they will be less costly than flowers as well as a different and unique way to decorate. You can still have a few buds here and there to spruce things up, but you will save a bundle going this route. Especially if you stick to the in season rule and if you have a grower that you can go straight to the source and negotiate a price.

#8. When decorating, find ways to make inexpensive materials beautiful. Tulle, streamers, and paper are all inexpensive and have a wide variety of uses as decor if you’re creative. I’ve seen pomanders, hanging decorative balls, and a wide variety of other things used with these materials. Also consider materials that are absolutely free to you. Pine cones, leaves, rocks, wild flowers, acorns, twigs, and branches just to name a few.

#9. Purchase in bulk whenever possible, and be sure to hit after holiday sales for a variety of things that will be marked anywhere from 50-90% off. You’ll be able to get Christmas lights, Valentine’s Day heart doilies, candies, autumn decor, and even candles all at discounted prices after the holidays, ensuring that you’ll be saving the maximum amount possible. If the store you’re visiting is out of an item you’re looking for, ask an associate to check with another store. In most cases, another local store will have what you’re looking for and they will set it aside or ship it for you. Same goes if you’re looking online. Never assume that just because the online resource says it’s OOS (out of stock) that it actually is. Call the 1-800 number and see if another store has it available for purchase. In many cases, since it’s not available online or at your local store, shipping will be free. Again, be sure you ask!

#10. Always think outside the box. Never get trapped with thinking it’s not possible. It is always possible. Be creative. If you can’t be, or you’re simply worn out with all the details, call in reinforcements. Bridesmaids aren’t just there to look pretty on the day of your wedding. These are the girls you trust with everything. Ask them for their help. And when you choose those bridesmaids, make sure you’re choosing people you know are going to be there for you. If you have any doubts, even if it will cause hurt feelings…SKIP THEM. You’ll be glad you did. On your wedding day, you want to be surrounded by people who love and support  you, and who have helped make your wedding day amazing. No bad nuts. Choose wisely.

These are my personal top 10. They’re the things that I strongly believe will help you cut your wedding costs down by thousands. What are your favorite ways to save?

Bobbie Sue Portrait SquareHi! I’m Bobbie Sue, I love spending time with my family. Travis & I have two boxer dogs, Kane & Atlas, who are my children. I talk to them, kiss them, carry them around the house (YES!) and they even sleep in my bed. They are my babies and one of the most important pieces of my life puzzle. Read more about me!

Budget Wedding Planning: The Food!

Food, we all need it. We all love it. And at a wedding, there is probably nothing more that your guests will be looking forward to. Some of your guests may have even skipped lunch to make your wedding on time, so it’s always important to feed them and feed them well. Food can also potentially be a huge cause of stress in planning your wedding day, especially if you have to worry about allergies in close family members, picky eaters, vegetarians, etc. etc. But, don’t stress. There is always a solution.

And Okay, so I don’t want to undermine the value of a great caterer here either. So that’s what I am going to start off with. A great caterer (as well as a great wedding planner) is worth it’s weight in gold. Not only will they know off the top of their head, exactly what is in season, how much food to feed your exact number of guests, which foods will stand up well in your environment, the most popular foods, etc. But they will also have access to a wide variety of foods you may not have readily available, and they will also be able to purchase all of these items at a cost much lower than you will be able to. Add to the fact, that in most cases you’ll be paying for a team of people to take care of the food for you. No burdening a relative, friend, co-worker, etc. No renting equipment to hold and heat food, utensils, the list goes on & on. Sometimes these things are overlooked and by the time you calculate the cost of renting everything you need for your big day, and purchasing and cooking all your own food (time is valuable), you’ve far exceeded the cost and expertise of a great caterer.

Some suggestions on dealing with a caterer? Well, you’re on a budget first of all, so tell them that. Hi, my name is Amy and I am on a budget. Phew! It’s out. Good job. The next step, explain to your caterer what you would ideally like at your wedding. Go all out, give her everything that would make your dream day perfect. You want lobster? Tell them. Now, get a price quote. Chances are, the crazier you go, the higher that number will be. But, what happens if your dream wedding day meal is within your budget through this amazingly awesome,  Super Hero caterer? It could happen. So, tell them your plan. Let’s say the quote is much higher than your budget. Okay. No big deal. Deep breaths. This can still work. Find substitutions for your perfect wedding day meal. You wanted steak & lobster, it’s not happening. So, what about a pasta bar with Seafood Fettucine, and Spaghetti & Meatballs? Serve it with garlic bread and a salad bar, substitute the big cake for tiramisu and you have an Italian inspired, romantic wedding day meal.

Another great suggestion when dealing with your caterer, tell them you only want to serve local and in-season foods. This will cut the cost drastically, and chances are your caterer has already cultivated a relationship with a local produce & livestock provider.  If they haven’t already, your request may spur them in the direction of securing that relationship. Above all, remember that this is a professional you are dealing with. If at any point, they are unable or unwilling to accommodate your needs, be sure to check with another caterer. It’s never a bad idea to take your menu to another caterer anyway, just to see if they can compete with the price. But, never choose a caterer BECAUSE of price…their food may come from Sam’s Club, Costco, or any other unsavory means. Unless you’ve ok’d this in advance, you don’t want your professional caterer using these places since after all, these are all things you could do on your very own.

Alright, so let’s say you have checked with a couple caterers and it’s completely out of your budget. I understand. You can still have a fantastic meal that will please everyone. Stick with the hints and tips I gave you for your caterer previously. Check with some local farms and see if they can work something out with you as far as a bulk price on meat. Shop local farmer’s markets, if it’s in season. Check out my list below for vegetables that are in-season for each season of the year.

Of course, these aren’t the only foods available during these times, but they are some of the most popular and well known. It also makes it a lot easier, if you’re aware of these things whether your doing it yourself, or dealing with a caterer. So, now that you know these things, you can build a cost effective menu around them and begin your shopping. Before shopping though, you need to know how many people you will be having attend your wedding. You should plan for 1 full pound of food per person attending your wedding. If you’re having a 4 course meal, that means you need 1/4 pound of each of the 4 courses. Multiply that by the number of guests you will be having at your wedding and you have your amount. You need an example? Okay. Let’s say you are serving steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, and dinner rolls for 250 guests.

Each guest = 1/4 lb. steak, 1/4 lb. potatoes, 1/4 lb. green beans, and 1/4 dinner rolls.

Multiplied by 250 guests, you have 62.5 pounds of each item to serve all of your guests.

Once you know the amount you’re being charged, you can also figure out your grocery bill before you even hit the grocery store. Don’t forget though, you also need to figure in the costs of heat lamps, food warmers, cooking supplies, you’ll need butter, seasonings, milk, etc. You’ll also need to ask friends and family if they will help chip in, since doing this on your own is going to be a little hard. You’ll also need plenty of freezer space, and plan to make things ahead of time. There are many foods that once prepared, will keep very well if they are properly stored in the freezer. This means freezer wrap, freezer safe bowls and storage containers, etc. will all be needed.

I am overwhelming myself just typing this! Are you overwhelmed? Alright, so this isn’t an option. It’s just too much to add to planning your day, what’s another option? I’ve been to weddings where the bride & groom have went this route and the results were nothing short of delicious. Check with your local groceries stores and ask for pricing on catering, as well as the food options that come with catering. Someone else does all the cooking for you, and now all you need to do is rent or borrow equipment to heat and hold your food. The downside to this option, is that you probably won’t have many options. Most grocery stores have a limited selection of things that they will have on their catering menu. You can curb this pitfall by supplementing things you’d like from specialty stores or outside catering services. You could also choose to take on some of the smaller things for yourself.

Last of all, I think the easiest and cutest way to have a DIY meal for your wedding day is if you’re having an outside wedding. I’m giving you a great tip I saw long ago, that I absolutely LOVE. It’s adorable, and it will have your guests talking for days. First…buy lots & lots of ice. LOTS, probably even some dry ice. Rent or borrow a canoe from a friend or family member. Fill the canoe with your ice & dry ice, and ask your closest family members to bring their most popular dish to pass. Potato salad, bean salad, caprese salad, fruit salad, fruits, etc. and put it all in your canoe. Had I known long ago, that I was going to be doing blog posts about this super awesome canoe, I would have saved the photo…unfortunately it’s long gone, as is the memory of who did this. If you’re reading this, or you know who did, help me out here because I am racking my brain. As it is, this canoe filled with beverages from Arkansas Bride will have to serve as the inspiration for now.

So, that’s it for Budget Wedding Planning today! I hope it’s helped you to come up with some creative ideas on how to save some money for your big day. After all, there are so many other things more worthy to spend your money on, right? Like the new house you love, the honeymoon you’ve always wanted, or just to pad the newlywed savings account. Whatever the reason you’re planning on a budget, there is always a way to cut the cost!

(Source: Arkansas Bride)

Bobbie Sue Portrait SquareHi! I’m Bobbie Sue, I love spending time with my family. Travis & I have two boxer dogs, Kane & Atlas, who are my children. I talk to them, kiss them, carry them around the house (YES!) and they even sleep in my bed. They are my babies and one of the most important pieces of my life puzzle. Read more about me!

Budget Wedding Planning: Doing it Yourself

I am an avid do-it-yourself-er. I love looking at something I’ve created and knowing that I have done it all by myself. In fact, a few weeks ago, I decided to do a DIY Spanish Lace candle jar with red rosettes which would be perfect for wedding centerpiece decor. You can find detailed instructions & pictures at the source link below.

DIY Wedding Centerpiece Instructions, step-by-step

(Source: Sin & Soul Blog)

A few of these on your tables will definitely lend a theme and the great thing about them is you can use whatever lace you want, colors, fabric, etc.

This next DIY project can be either favors, place cards, or centerpieces. Plant terrariums are so wonderful, cute, and fun, on top of being something that not everyone will see or do at a wedding. There are so many different options with this as well, and once again a way to pull double duty which I love. There is nothing better than finding wedding ideas that can be used for multiple uses.

Alternative Ideas for Place Cards, double as favors

(Source: Crooked Stove Top)

While I love the idea of doing a wedding cake DIY-style, too often the cake ends up lumpy and misshapen, and just generally not the greatest to look at. I’m a firm believer in leaving it to an expert if it doesn’t look gorgeous. However, this idea is perfect for do-it-yourself-er’s, and it could be inexpensive if you know someone, or a group of people who could give or lend you some canning jars. If you purchase, or given the jars, the convenience in these is they can double as favors and your guests can take them home with them to enjoy their cake at their leisure. I know personally, when attending a wedding I am usually way too full to enjoy a piece of cake even though I want to. This is an easy fix…you can have your cake and eat it too.

Mason Jar Cake with Lace Ribbon & Spoon

(Source: One Stylish Bride)

These next two are great for wedding reception decor, and are relatively easy to do. They would also make great projects to do with your bridesmaids and family. I love paper flowers, I think they’re so pretty and I can envision a ceiling of paper flowers at a wedding reception, suspended in the air by clear fishing line, it would create such a gorgeous and unique atmosphere for your guests, and just imagine the photos!.

This first one gives 7 different ways to make paper flowers, and each one of them are unique and beautiful. I found this handy idea at Curbly, a great reference point for wonderful ideas galore!

Beautiful DIY paper flowers, wedding (Source: Curbly)

The next one, keeps that theme and could equally be hung from the ceiling, used as centerpieces, could be a flower girls pomander, the list goes on and on. These have so much potential. Tissue rosette balls, and truly the only expense you have is the tissue and your time. The site gives a couple different ways to roll the rosettes so you could create a unique look throughout your reception area. The Idea Room is also another fantastic source for ideas and DIY activities. You’ll definitely enjoy it!

DIY creative ideas with tissue

(Source: The Idea Room)

As usual, this is just the beginning of many DIY posts here on VPD. There are so many options and so many creative people out there. Again, I am extending the invitation to you to ask any questions you may need, make suggestions for future posts, or requests on specific DIY activities. I hope you enjoyed the post and pulled something from it! Today, we will have 2 new Budget Wedding Planning posts since last week I had some publishing issues. Make sure you check them both out!

Bobbie Sue Portrait SquareHi! I’m Bobbie Sue, I love spending time with my family. Travis & I have two boxer dogs, Kane & Atlas, who are my children. I talk to them, kiss them, carry them around the house (YES!) and they even sleep in my bed. They are my babies and one of the most important pieces of my life puzzle. Read more about me!

Budget Wedding Planning: Incorporating Fruits & Vegetables

As a person who enjoys trying to find ways to save, there are many different ways to be creative and save money in the process, creating beauty all around you while on a dime. One of the ideas I think is very cool, and one I know I will be using when I get married, is fruits and vegetables. It is, without a doubt, one of the most inexpensive ways to incorporate color and texture into your wedding day. They can be used as place cards, favors, centerpieces, wedding day decor and reception decor, the list and options go on & on.

As I write this, I can envision the gorgeous deep purple of eggplant and the warm orange of pumpkins, the reds and greens of apples, reds, greens, and purples of grapes, the colors are all incredibly gorgeous and unique.

Pumpkins are by far one of my favorites, probably because ever since I could remember I always envisioned myself getting married in October. Pumpkins have so many different ways they can be used, and the size options are never ending. Glitter, paint, lace, cutting holes and circles, etc.


(Source: Skip To My Lou)

As mentioned earlier, apples are also a fantastic way to incorporate inexpensive fruits and vegetables into your wedding day. Whether they are serving as place cards, favors, or centerpieces. Buying local, and making sure you’re buying in season will save you the most. Apples in Wisconsin come into season in fall and many of our local orchards will sell in bulk at fantastic prices. I particularly love the idea of apple topiaries as wedding centerpieces. So gorgeous and classy, and easy to assemble. has a lot of great ideas for edible topiaries, just head to their site and type it into their search tab to find instructions.

Using Fruits & Vegetables ad Centerpieces


Another way to incorporate fruits and vegetables, is to use them as candle holders and centerpiece ideas. The idea of arranging green beans around votives is intriguing to me, and I find artichokes to be one of the most beautiful vegetables I have ever seen. I think once you look at this next photo found at Chic Wedding Candles, you’ll agree!

Unique Centerpiece Ideas

(Source: Chic Wedding Candles)

Back to artichokes, they can also double as bouquet add-ins. This helps minimize the cost of bouquets because artichokes are so substantial, and also extends the life of your bouquet since artichokes have a much longer shelf life than flowers do. Not to mention, it looks so chic and unique. You’re pretty much guaranteed you won’t see this one used very often.

Unique Wedding Bouquet Ideas

(Source: Ashley Maxwell Photo)

Gorgeous, huh?

This next one is absolutely gorgeous, but I would imagine it would require quite a bit of work. However, if you’re hiring a wedding planner or you have particularly crafty individuals in your wedding party, or you are creative, I think that hanging fruits and vegetables in clusters would create  fantastic visual interest and really wow your guests. They’ll be wondering the whole time, how the heck did you do that? These clusters happen to be tomatoes, but you could easily replace them with pretty much anything else. I’m visualizing lemons. Bright, cheery, beautiful.

Using tomatoes for wedding

(Source: Edible Crafts)

Bobbie Sue Portrait SquareHi! I’m Bobbie Sue, I love spending time with my family. Travis & I have two boxer dogs, Kane & Atlas, who are my children. I talk to them, kiss them, carry them around the house (YES!) and they even sleep in my bed. They are my babies and one of the most important pieces of my life puzzle. Read more about me!

Snowy Wisconsin Winter Wedding – Cornell, Wis.

Cornell, WI New Life Alliance Church

This weekend I had the honor of covering one of the most beautiful weddings I have been to to date. I mean, all weddings are beautiful…but this one was just beyond. More because the bride & groom were so head over heels in love with one another that you could just see it and being around them just made you happy to be alive because that love was so contagious. They could not take their eyes (or hands!) off one another. Monica & Ryan were married at New Life Alliance Church in Cornell, WI where their Pastor Jim led a very heartfelt and emotional service. The church itself is gorgeous, log cabin style and was perfect for the photos that Monica was insistent on having. Upon initially speaking with her, Monica said she had to have pictures with the church in the background. Sometimes this can be a scary thing to hear as a photographer, especially when you’ve never seen the church before..but when I pulled into the driveway of the church, I knew that it was going to be perfect. And it was.

Cornell, WI Wedding Photographer

It’s amazing to watch a wedding where all the family members are so loving and in complete and full support of the bride and groom. But not only that, completely invested in one another as a family. Ryan had all of his brothers stand up for him, and Monica had her sister as MOH and Ryan’s sister as attendant along with one of her close friends, and all the girls were so helpful and supportive the entire day.

Formal Bridesmaids Photography

After I looked at all the photos from this wedding, I couldn’t believe all the emotional moments I captured. Of course, I knew there were a lot…but as a photographer and this being my passion in life, when I photograph I tend to go into automatic pilot mode and I just capture images just as second nature. Sometimes I get surprised by the images I’ve created, and this wedding was no exception. This family though, they made it easy for me to do my job. Before the ceremony, Monica’s mom led a beautiful prayer that had me choking back tears as I witnessed it. It truly was a defining moment of this day.

The love coming from this woman, for her children…was something amazing to bear witness to. It’s why I love what I do. Watching mothers on their daughter’s wedding days is such an emotional journey.

A little exciting sneak peek before the vows! They didn’t actually see one another, they just held hands like this and chatted sweet words to one another.

The same goes for Fathers of the Bride.

And parents of the groom…and heck…even the GROOM! Look at them!

Emotional moms.

You may kiss the (beautiful) bride! 🙂

Cutting the cake. Isn’t that cake stunning??

The first dance as man & wife.

So in love after all these years, and 10 beautiful children!
I leave you with this last testament to the love between Monica & Ryan. Again, I was so lucky and blessed to have shared in their end of winter Wedding. We had just enough snow on the ground to really capture that snowy Wisconsin weather on their beautiful wedding day, we were a little worried we wouldn’t have any snow. Congrats again to Monica & Ryan on the beginning of their loves together. I just know they will make a beautiful life together.

Bobbie Sue Portrait SquareHi! I’m Bobbie Sue, I love spending time with my family. Travis & I have two boxer dogs, Kane & Atlas, who are my children. I talk to them, kiss them, carry them around the house (YES!) and they even sleep in my bed. They are my babies and one of the most important pieces of my life puzzle. Read more about me!