7/12 Real Wedding: Raechel + Joel’s Autumnal $8,000 Wedding Bash

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. By clicking on the links and making a purchase, you're helping to support the site so we can keep bringing you badass ideas.

The adorable Raechel and Joel are the perfect example of a couple who used their wit, creativity, and awesome friends to rock their budget savvy sensibilities to the max, and have themselves a “cheap wedding” that was in no way cheap looking.

To start with, just look at their insanely creative save the date video.  (Caution: be prepared to fall in love)

Ok, so while you’re wiping the drool off your keyboard, let me hit you with this mindboggler: these two cuties threw a wedding fully funded by themselves for only eight thousand dollars. $8,000, people!

Raechel works in visual sales at Anthropologie and worked her store discount for her hair piece and earrings, and she picked up her dress from J. Crew, which she ordered online at Christmas time to capitalize on the seasonal discounts… What a smarty pants! Her bridesmaids were asked to find dresses inspired by champagne colors, and they ended up ranging in budget from $30 to just under $150…. while the groomsmen and the groom all wore mixy-matchy vintage inspired suits.

Raechel and Joel knew that they wanted to splurge on their venue so they reserved a good chunk of their budget for the art gallery where the reception was held. Their evening reception featured drinks and desserts only, the couple saved a pretty penny on catering that way.

Now get this: They actually bought all of the desserts at Costco, which was a big money saver and thanks to Raechel’s creative arranging skills, you can hardly tell they’re store bought! Another one of crafty secrets? All of the wedding decor was from Raechel’s favorite hunting spot, “Wanda’s,” an old grocery store which converted to a thrift store in the ’80s. She scored loads of old crates, silver platters, wooden hat boxes, and milkglass vases for around $50 buckaroos. Talk about getting bang for your buck!

They went the friend-or route by buying all of their flowers wholesale and enlisting the help of a buddy who loves doing floral arrangements. The bouquets were tied together and finished off with some vintage champagne lace that Raechel scored at a thrift store for super cheap, and they looked like the bomb diggity. Getting your florals wholesale is a very simple fix if you’re a broke-ass DIY bride.

Our favorite part? Raechel’s words hit deep in our hearts when explaining the day: their wedding was much more of a community event than a random mix of vendors. Every one of her friends were an essential part of something special by helping the wedding come together. Raechel and Joel sure know how to pick ’em!


So what have we learned from Raechel and Joel? Work at a cool clothing store simply for discounts, have friends who are photographers, culinary experts, and floral lovers, and live off of desserts and sweet treats only! Just kidding, but trusting in your own creativity and leaning on your loving and crafty friends is a lesson from which we can all benefit!
How are you using your friends and family to make your big day special? Are you decorating the space yourself? Are wholesale flowers calling your name? Let us know and send us some wedding porn of your own for us to drool over!

** On an administrative note, we know you love our real wedding features (yay!)… but we want to give our couples more of a chance to share their mindset and process with you, personally! So we’re working up a brief questionnaire to have future featured couples fill out, and we want to know what you want to know. To that end, please share a question or two in the comments below, and maybe you’ll see it answered in future real weddings on The Broke-Ass Bride. Thanks! **

  • i love her dress! and i love the community spirit. : )

  • The guys' suits are made of win.

    One thing I think would be helpful, for the couples who are cool with it, would be some sort of budget breakdown. I know a lot of people don't want to put it on blast for all the world to see, but for brides who are just staring the process, seeing where the money goes in a beautiful budget-friendly wedding could help them conceptualize where they do or don't want to go for themselves.

    • Ditto Rachel. I know that the venue is the biggest killer, but would love to see real life examples of budget breakdowns.

  • oh wow – great wedding photos! lovely!

  • Love that video!

  • Stephanie St.Claire

    Joel and Raechel are so adorable and creative! You can always tell when there's a GREAT BIG LOVE fueling the relationship. That kind of sweetness and love inspires generosity from friends and family around. Everyone wants to be part of that kind of magic. Good job guys! I wish you a lifetime of Sunday Fundays, fabulous feasts, and starry skies. xoxo

    • jessica

      ha, or it makes people jealous, as is the case with some of the bridesmaids (one single, and one in a less-than-great marriage).

  • Woooow wow wow. This entire post made my jaw drop. I adore their video. Love her dress (I've been eyeing it, too, but love the way it looks on a cute non-model type person). Their whole vibe is just beautiful and wonderful. Very well done!

  • cara

    The budget breakdown would be super helpful (but also really personal so might not be doable). Also sources for the crafty projects are also helpful.

  • This is so cute!!! wow, I have got to send this to my non-blogger getting married friend!

  • In terms of the budget breakdown, perhaps break it down by percentages? This is such a lovely wedding though.

  • Drinks, desserts, who cares about the food! I like this couple.

    But ya, like suzanne, I'd like to know how much of their budget was dedicated to the reception art gallery and the desserts/drinks and how many people attended.

  • argh!!! the video is SO darn cute!! :)) ….one day. one day.

  • My goodness, I have that dress in red and love it soooooo much I'm always looking for excuses to wear it lol! That is one serious budget wedding and it looks like it cost far more than that. I too would love to know how many guests there were…

  • Christina

    I’d love to know if there’s anything the couples wish they had done differently; what their favorite or most memorable moment was (for each); and how they allocated their budget, including guest numbers.

  • Miriam

    $8000! Sheesh, I want to plan mine for $3000, and so far it's looking like that might actually happen. Most of my budget will be going to invitations, photography, and food. I also would like the same questions answered that everyone else mentioned: budget, # of guests, favorite moments, and things they wished they would have done differently.