Today I’m sharing a great budget friendly DIY wedding from Jennifer Van Elk. This couple planned a wedding for over 350 guests, sticking to a tight budget and focusing on handmade details. I’m in love with their ceremony location, the Indiana State Capitol building. It is a gorgeous venue with tons of character.
There were two things really guided our wedding planning process. The first was that we both have a strong faith in Jesus, and we clearly see the ways that God brought us together. We wanted people to know that about us and about our story because it is what we really wanted to celebrate—not how awesome we think we are but how awesome we think God is for blessing us with each other. I mean, my husband is one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me, so on my wedding day, I want people to know how thankful and ecstatic and blessed I feel to have him as my man!
Our priority #2 was that everyone we wanted to attend our wedding would at least have the chance. We have watched so many friends struggle through their guest list because venues were limiting or budgets were limiting, and we understood that struggle! But for us, the idea of telling a close friend from college, “Umm hey, I’m sorry you can’t come because our $1000 a plate reception only allows us to invite 5 people,” sounded horrible. I’m obviously exaggerating, but that tension of money and guests is a very real thing these days! In the end, we invited near 600 people. People told us we were crazy, but we would have not done it any other way. Our wedding was ultra-DIY and took place in unique venues (Indiana’s Statehouse and a convention hall that was basically a blank slate for us to work on). We said no to some formalities like two envelopes for each invitation and said yes to the things we really wanted like this awesome string globe lighting structure my dad and I engineered. In the end, we lacked nothing and had so many people we loved around us. It was awesome.
While it was a lot of hard work and planning, one of our favorite parts of our wedding was that almost all of it was DIY (truly, everything but the appetizers!). From the flower arrangements to the drink menu, programs to the music playlist, everything had the touch of myself, my husband, or someone from our family or friends. It was a lot of detail work that not every bride is into, but for our 350+ guest wedding, the DIY and the details made our day personal. We hope and think that everyone who was there would have walked away knowing us better as a couple. Whether it was a song we all sang during the ceremony or a tea-cup tower for truffles our future sister-in-law helped build, we made our decisions not because they were always easy but because they were us.