Today's featured budget wedding features photography by the uber-talented Emily Katharine Photography. Shannon and Paul had a wonderful ceremony at Walsingham State Park where they gathered with their closest friends and family under an arbor that Paul crafted himself. After they proudly walked up the aisle as husband and wife, everyone enjoyed sandwiches and a delicious and elegant cake made by Shannon’s sister-in-law. The picnic tables were decorated with burlap, lace, wildflowers, and lanterns. After a few toasts, Shannon and Paul escaped through a sea of bubbles and into their antique Jeep. From there, they were off to their honeymoon in Tennessee!
I know that y'all are going to love this wedding (plus the budget breakdown and tons of tips!) because Shannon and Paul simply go together. They both love being outside – they are adventurers and explorers. They love to camp and go off-roading in Paul’s antique Jeep. You can just tell that these two hit it off right away and instantly knew this was it. Forever. So, without further ado, Shannon and Paul's laid back, picnic Florida glamping wedding for under $5,000!
***Read through to the bottom for some AWESOME budget advice from photographer Emily on how to work with your dream photographer on a teeny tiny budget!***
Paul proposed in early December. He told Shannon they were having a “winter” day. He couldn’t make it too romantic because, of course, he didn’t want her to catch on. They drove to Orlando to the Gaylord Palms hotel and walked through ICE, an impressive ice sculpture exhibit. They drove back towards Tampa to see the the lighting of the Christmas tree in Largo and stopped at the Bellaire Causeway, where they went on their first date.
Paul scooped Shannon up into his Jeep, on this “winter” day (while it was 70+ degrees outside) and proposed to Shannon. She was shocked! She and Paul and talked about getting engaged, but still thought they were a few months away. Of course she said yes. Paul had planned to have all of their friends join them for a tree lighting to end the evening in a celebratory fashion. It was the perfect proposal for such a wonderful couple. (Extra bonus points: Paul didn’t realize it, but his parents also got engaged at the Bellaire Causeway – how sweet is that?)
Our vision was "glamping"! We love to camp and be outdoors and we wanted our wedding to portray that. We also did not want a big production we wanted our wedding to be a wedding - an exchange of our vows and for everyone to know that us being united as one was the biggest part of the day.
What 5 things were most important to you?
What was your favorite memory from your wedding?
I loved everything about our wedding day but I think it was so perfect my husband's dad had a hanky when I needed it and was able to hand it to him just as I was tearing up. I also loved the moments I had with my Dad while walking down the aisle.
Did you do an DIY projects and if so, which one was you very favorite?
My husband (Paul) made the arbor it was amazing and 100% free! He made it from twisting piece of wood together and tying it.
Can you share a little bit about your feelings during the day?
I was feeling surprisingly calm all day, Seeing my husband as I walked down the aisle - the feeling of knowing I needed someone and I was okay with it for the first time ever! That was my favorite part of the day, too. I have always been very independent so being okay with needing someone was huge for me.
What one thing surprised you cost-wise?
I was surprised by the cost of invitations! It was way more than I wanted to spend I could have saved $100.00 if I went with a kit and printed them on my own.
// Download a copy of Shannon and Paul's wedding budget breakdown (including tips and advice from Shannon!) //
Images Courtesy Of: Emily Katharine Photography
// BONUS TIPS: Photographer's Thoughts on Working With a Budget Couple //
I knew Shannon was a special girl from her first emails. Her words gave me goosebumps and made me want to get to know her. Immediately. She had taken the time to look through my website and made remarks that showed me she had done her research. When she told me her budget, my heart sunk because her budget was less than a quarter of what I was quoting other brides. I offered to help her find other photographers, but something in my heart knew she was my bride. Thomas (my business partner) and I talked it over and decided we wanted to participate in their day. He and I both have full time jobs, so photography is "fun" for us, and yes, one day we hope to make a living off of it, but when an opportunity arises like this one, we have flexibility to work with a budget. Shannon and Paul are such special people and we're so glad we did.
Side note, my advice to brides looking to bargain with a photographer (which I know I shouldn't say because the photography industry [including myself] will hate me) - is to take time to write a thoughtful email. Show that you care. Take time to review their website. Acknowledge your budget. Make it clear that you'll be a chill bride.
In Shanon's email she said: "I truly appreciate your response and think your photos are amazing! However, your price is way over my budget and what I can afford would be insulting to you and the photos you produce. Due to my short engagement I am on a strict budget and was looking to only spend around $500.00 on a photographer. I have found some in the $500.00 price range but I am not as crazy about their style. Either way I am sure I will have the wedding of my dreams because I am marrying a man who blew my dreams out of the water and showed me how great love can really be :)"
To me, that said, I could have a good time. This wasn't a high stress wedding. This took five hours of our day and I had no anxiety. Shannon was a chill bride and so thankful for everything that I just got to have fun and take risks (by shooting more film throughout the day). For us, it also helped that their day was short. They were also an ideal client for us - they were getting married outdoors which is what we are trying to narrow our focus to. In addition, we actually took their bride and groom portraits after the whole celebration was over. We spent about an hour across the street at the Florida Botanical Gardens. So it was nice that they were willing to help us build our portfolio the way that we wanted to. Finally, they booked us about 2.5-3 months before their wedding, and I knew the chances of me booking a full budget wedding in that time frame was slim to none. If she had reached out 8-12 months before her wedding, I wouldn't have been able to say yes.
The way she talked about her fiance, Paul, touched my heart. With a short engagement timeline and a tight budget, Shannon recognized that she may need to cut a few corners, but she told me, “Either way I am sure I will have the wedding of my dreams because I am marrying a man who blew my dreams out of the water and showed me how great love can really be.” How can you not smile after reading that?
// contains affiliate links //
Photography: Emily Katharine Photography
Venue: Walsingham State Park
Cake: Shannon’s sister-in-law
Food: ACI Catering Personal Chef
Film Processing: Photo Vision
Chair Rentals: Gulf Coast Party and Event Rental
Bride’s Dress: Alfred Angelo
Bride’s Shoes: Nordstrom
Florist: Lori Larson Flowers
Hair and Makeup: Stephanie Toole at Salon Lofts