My beautiful sister, Charlotte, got married last weekend. We are so excited to welcome her new husband, Chris, into our family! And I’m also excited to share these photos with you.
Due to some extenuating circumstances, we had to change the location and plan the entire wedding in about eight weeks on a strict budget. We made almost all of the decor ourselves with inspiration from around the web. I think it turned out fabulously!
The ceremony and reception were both held in The Barn at Grimmel Farms in Jerretsville, Maryland. It is by far the most gorgeous barn venue I’ve ever seen. Charlotte had such cool ideas for personal touches, and we were able to give her the sunflower-themed barn wedding of her dreams.
Check it out.
How amazing is that architecture? Answer: very. The vast majority of our budget went toward the location fees and food. 100% worth it, but leaving us with little wiggle room room to work on ALL OF THE THINGS that still needed to be done.
We wanted to keep the wedding itself very casual, so she chose a buffet catered by a company that does bull roasts, Beefalo Bob’s. (If you are a Maryland native, you know what a bull roast is. I’m not sure if it’s a custom widely known outside of our area. Its basically a party with a buffet of many meat products, cooked over an open flame, or “pit”. Some schools and churches sell tickets as fundraisers.)
Looking into bull roast caterers is a great affordable option if you are looking to host a wedding. Our budget allowed for us to have a menu of pit beef, ham, and turkey, shredded BBQ, vegetarian lasagna, mac & cheese, roasted potatoes, green beans, corn on the cob, tossed salad, fruit salad, cookies and brownies, tea, lemonade, coffee, and a full open bar for about $35 per person.
Char designed so many great personal touches. There was no photographer and no DJ, we handled those aspects on our own. It did save a lot of money, but forced us to get creative. We created a photobooth area by hanging black fabric from the rafters. We used an Instamax camera to create this awesome photo board. If you’d like to order one through my affiliate link, you can find the camera on Amazon. We put it on a tripod. When the pictures came out of the camera, they were displayed on this awesome pallet wall Chris created.
Char loves sunflowers, so the whole theme centered around them. I made her wedding bouquet and then we wrapped it in a handkerchief from our late grandmother. (The clips in Charlotte’s hair are also something I saved from our grandmother’s jewelry collection. I planned to give them to my own daughters for their weddings. In the meantime, they made a great “something borrowed.”)
I ordered the vintage-looking disposable cameras and the sunflower kissing balls hung in the doorway from Etsy. I made the sunflower petal sign-in frame out of construction paper, sharpies, and a frame I bought at Target.
We ordered the small pots of honey we gave out as favors from Amazon as well.
I bought the sunflower lollipops from Oriental Trading company, and we ordered the cupcakes and individual wedding cake for the couple from the bakery at our local grocery store, which is a great money-saving tip!
Char also had such a cool idea. She strung a thin rope across the wall on each side of the barn and hung photos of herself with friends and family from infancy to adulthood on one side of the barn, and photos of Chris on the other. The guests were able to go to the wall and find themselves in the pictures, sometimes from about 30 years ago!
We made very simple table decor. Each of the centerpieces was created by putting 5 sunflower stems into a mason jar with a small bunch of baby’s breath. I ordered 150 individual sunflowers and ten bunches of baby’s breath from a local florist, which was more than enough to decorate the entire venue and make Charlotte’s bouquet. In order to stay on-budget, I purchased the mason jars pre-decorated from Craigslist. We also used a burlap runner on each table. I printed the menu/ceremony cards myself on my home computer, and we put them on the table with a vintage-inspired disposable camera and a cowbell people could ring to get the newlyweds to kiss.
We made one of the tables into a “Kids’ Zone.” We decorated it with a roll of black construction paper that the kids could draw on with chalk and a few baskets filled with Dollar Store goodies to keep them occupied. My kids were fascinated by the disposable cameras (these white ones were left over from a bridal shower). My Digital Era kids had never seen cameras that use actual film and need to be developed before. Way to make me feel super old!
The real winner with the kids, though, was the glowsticks we displayed near the dance floor! By the end of the night, the kids had used every single one. I just bought those from the Dollar Store. We also put out some complimentary flip flops for sore dancing feet. I love these barrels the barn let us use in our decor!
I also loved my sister’s simple yet elegant dress. It was perfect for this casual barn wedding. We picked it up during the $99 sale at David’s bridal.
Since we didn’t hire a DJ, we rented sound equipment and hooked up a playlist Chris created on his phone. We did make sure to have a cordless microphone and extra batteries available for any announcements we wanted to make and for use during the ceremony.
That basket on the floor is filled with light-up tambourines, my #1 new favorite thing. They were also a big hit with the kids and are a great way to get people onto the dance floor! And are you drooling over the giant pallet sign Chris and Charlotte made to display the verse they chose? She said it took forever to make all of those letters with a vinyl cutting machine, but it was worth it.
Look how happy she is walking down the aisle.
Congratulations, Char and Chris! Thanks for letting our family share in your special day!
And just in case any readers are wondering, I bought my dress, the girls’ dresses, and the boys’ bow tie and suspenders sets all from Amazon!
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