“When we started out planning our wedding, we knew our families would graciously help us out with paying for things like my dress, the rehearsal dinner etc, but we knew the biggest chunk of the wedding expenses would be paid for by ourselves. This meant we could make the wedding ours: a simple wedding with DIY details that made us happy.”
Sometimes I cheat when it comes to being a wedding blogger. How, you ask? Well, I don’t have to always track down awesome DC, MD, and VA weddings or wait for them to be submitted my way … because I KNEW the couple and was either invited to the wedding or just forced them to be on my blog ;)
You remember Alex & Jim from their adorable Alexandria, VA engagement session, yes? You might also remember that Alex’s mom and my mom are best friends, so naturally our whole family was invited to Alex & Jim’s beautiful wedding. And what a beautiful day it was – especially since it was practically hand crafted (and paid for) by the bride and groom themselves.
Alex & Jim poured their personalities into their wedding day and it 100% showed. Just wait until you see all the beautiful images by Stephen Gosling Photography, which truly prove you do NOT have to spend a million dollars to have a classy, gorgeous wedding in the DC metro area!
Alex & Jim’s DIY, Classy Small Budget Virginia Wedding at Osprey’s Landing
Photography: Stephen Gosling Photography | Reception & Ceremony Venue: Osprey’s Landing | Bride’s Dress: Ellie’s Bridal | Bridesmaids Dresses: Ann Taylor | Cake: Fluffy Thoughts | Officiant: Rev. Laura with Divine Transformation | Submitted: Two Bright Lights
From the bride & groom, on prioritizing their wedding details and selections:
The one thing we knew that we didn’t want to skimp on was the food and the drinks. We love cooking and we love cocktails so this was a major point for us.
This we think is the most important first task when budgeting to pay for your own wedding: make a short list of things that you are willing to spend money on or that you don’t want to DIY. This helps to prioritize your budget. Want a dual plate like we had? Then be prepared to get creative with flowers and decorations.
All the flowers were DIYed by the bride & groom:
Bouts: Lavender, baby’s breath, silk bout leaves, flower wire, flower tape, twine. Voila! Rustic, simple and inexpensive.
Bouquets: Girls-Baby’s breath and lace. Myself- Dried Lavender and lace ribbon with pearl pins. All made 2 days before the wedding.
On styling the bridesmaids:
Girls dresses- Ann Taylor. No tailoring. What more can we say? I loved the eggplant color and all the girls totally rocked the dress. They all picked their own gray/charcoal shoes which I thought looked awesome.
Girls necklaces- Etsy amazingness. I knew I wanted them to wear a statement necklace and these gray ones knocked my socks off.
That stunning lace wedding dress!
Lace and not strapless. I fell in love with Jim Hjelm and the girls at Ellie’s Bridal picked this one out and made me try it on (by myself…no putting the dress on me and feeling awkward in the dressing room) LOVE.
Advice: I HATED the look of this dress online. The model was stick thin and it just didn’t suit her. Listen to the people in the shop and be open to trying on what they think might work on you.
On their beautiful venue selection:
We picked Osprey’s Landing in Belmont Bay, which was in our middle range for our budget. Their coordinator Jessica Hatter is amazing. She is SO organized and was great at keeping us on track. It was so helpful to have someone young who understood that we didn’t want a traditional wedding.
On their personalized, custom wedding ceremony:
The second thing that we knew we wanted was a great officiant would would let us do a ceremony that was COMPLETELY ours. We had two amazing friends lined up to do our wedding but Prince William county has very strict laws about non-registered officiants so after emailing Capitol Romance in a panic, Bree (ohhh heyyy) gave us some suggestions.
We loved Divine Transformation’s Web page and emailed Rev. Laura Cannon right away. Let me tell you she is straight up cool. She’s done a million weddings and is TOTALLY accommodating to every request.