Stephanie & Ryan’s Fun and No-Frills Summer BBQ Wedding
Happy Monday, everyone! Today’s feature is a true family affair — literally everything was done by the bride, groom and their family & friends, from catering, details, and music. The entire wedding also cost less than $5000, which proves that you can have a gorgeous, happy, and heartfelt celebration without breaking the bank.
Meet the adorable Stephanie and Ryan! Steph is actually a pro wedding photographer and is no stranger to this blog — yup, you’ve already seen her beautiful photos via Brittani & Scott’s Fun and Feel-Good DIY Wedding so I’m delighted to present her on the other side of the lens this time. When I saw her wedding photos (photographed by Chris Cudney Photography) on her site and learned that they had a “true budget wedding”, I just had to ask if I could feature it! Their wedding is truly creative and inspiring! I’m really glad she said yes so without further ado, please enjoy the eye candy as well as their awesome bonus advice!
I adore how happy and laid-back this celebration is! Let’s get to know the beautiful couple a little better, shall we? Over to you, Steph!
Ryan and I met almost 10 years ago when we were both working for Hollywood Video. We dated for a few months, said I love you before we had even kissed and eventually I followed him to his parents’ alma mater, Humboldt State University, 6 hours north of San Francisco, tucked away among the redwoods and the Pacific Ocean. After graduation, we moved to Seattle, knowing that we would get married in Humboldt, as it was the perfect halfway point between our hometown in the Bay Area and Seattle. We were so surprised that so many made the six-hour drive for our wedding — we’re blessed with amazing family and friends. Today, we’re full-time wedding photographers; we’re launching a wedding invitation line later this year!
The theme for their wedding is Family BBQ and, as mentioned above, their wedding was done for less than $5000! Here’s Stephanie to tell us more about it:
We wanted a no-frills and fun celebration. Our wedding was a LONG time coming; we felt like we were already married, having lived together for 6 years.
Our entire wedding was done for less than $5000, which looking back blows my mind. I was recently unemployed and was just beginning my own career in wedding photography — Ryan was working for Target. Two weeks before our actual wedding date was when my store in Seattle closed, so it was both a blessing and a curse. We spent a lot of time on finding the best bang for our buck, whether that was details like vintage candlesticks, candles, table runners, etc. What took the longest was finding the perfect venue — we wanted to be close to the redwoods, in a meadow, and be able to get to the reception with a 5-10 minute drive. Eventually we went back to the cabins we had rented for our graduation celebration two years earlier and ended up renting two cabins for the weekend in Orick with an open backyard that looked over the elk meadow. This was the largest cost for the weekend — $800 or so.
All the crafts in this wedding were made by the bride & her mom, and everything else was made possible with the help of friends and family:
My mom and I did the details ourselves — we made the pompoms, etc. We collected mismatched vintage plates in our color palette (orange, aqua and yellow) from friends and family, borrowed Mason jars for all of the drinks, she and my aunts did all of the cooking, my 16-year old brother baked the cupcakes and made a swiss buttercream frosting, my uncle played All You Need is Love on acoustic guitar and my dad and my cousin Zach played and sang Jason Mraz’ I’m Yours during the reception.
Here’s some very helpful budget wedding-planning advice from Stephanie:
A couple of things we learned: if you’re doing catering yourself, buy extra food. You may think you have more than enough, but you probably don’t. We could have used another 10 or so chicken breasts. Decide what’s most important to you — your venue, your photography, dress, etc and spend the bulk of your money there! Our photographer dropped out at the last minute and couldn’t make the trip to California.
Finding a wedding photographer in a rural area is incredibly difficult, especially for a summer wedding with two weeks notice! I took to Craigslist in Humboldt and found Chris Cudney who was looking to expand his portfolio. I went through his entire Flickr, noticing his composition, use of off-camera lighting — and decided to take a chance. I asked if he had any interest in shooting and if so, was he available? Being journalists, we knew we had many friends who would be documenting the day — I had worked with some of them on the newspaper! I was comfortable bringing Chris on and being his first wedding. You have to start somewhere and I am so thankful to my first couple that took a chance on me, so I wanted to do the same for someone else I believed in. I trusted Chris’ ideas and he came away with some really great portraits of us, and I hate being photographed! Lesson learned: trust your vendors! You won’t be disappointed. We were so, so pleased with Chris and his assistant, Shannon!
Finally, don’t be afraid to let family help! If you’re truly on a budget — take your time to plan and don’t rush it. Be prepared to do virtually everything yourself and rely upon family for their help.
Thank you so much to Stephanie & Ryan for sharing so much inspiration with us through your amazing & beautiful wedding! Congratulations to you both.
Photographer: Chris Cudney Photography (his first wedding ever!)
Invitations: Stephanie Haller
Ceremony: Prairie Creek State Park, Orick, California
Reception Venue: Elk Meadow Cabins at Redwood Adventures
Officiant: Andrew Smith (best friend of the couple)
Dress: Sottero and Midgley VIA Blue Sky Bridal in Seattle (bride’s note: consignment bridal store that is AMAZING)
Centerpieces: Arcata Farmers Market
Bridal Bouquet: Wildberries Marketplace
Sunflowers: Haller family garden (Stephanie’s dad planted them 6 months prior!)
Catering: Haller Family
Cupcakes: Jack Haller (the bride’s 16-year-old brother!)
Ceremony Music: Bill Haller
Reception: Mike and Zach Haller