In My Journal, Tips on
November 18, 2014

How I Planned My Wedding

rebecca kelsey and chris' wedding

Hello Kind Friends!

As you are reading this I will be on my honeymoon. I’m so looking forward to this break! Wedding planning is very stressful, even when you think you have everything done. In this post I’m going to explain how my wedding planning took place, in the hopes that it will help you when you are putting together this special day.

Let me know in the comments if you have any tips you’d like to add that helped you put together your special day and make sure to check out all of my wedding how-tos and details to see more of our special day and how it all came together.

1. Establishing a budget


As you may expect, a wedding is expensive. What you may not expect is that a $15,000 wedding is actually considered low budget (we spent around $13,000 by my estimate, About $10,00 for the wedding and $3,00 for our honeymoon). According to The Knot, an average wedding is generally around $30,000, with South Florida (where I live) being number 14 on the top 15 most expensive wedding averages.

The pros of having a small wedding

We had a small intimate wedding of 50 guests, bought my dress second-hand, ditched party favors, and it was actually difficult to keep costs low. Don’t worry though, I have a more in-depth how-to on keeping weddings $10,000 and under exclusively available on VisiHow.

To put things into perspective, the cost of our wedding was the same as the down payment on our apartment. Be prepared and start saving now, even if you don’t think a wedding will be in your future for another ten years. Many people take out loans to pay for their wedding, so you do have that option if you have good credit but low savings. Thankfully with the financial support of our families we only had to cover the cost of our honeymoon, because all of our savings went into that apartment down payment the year before our  marriage.

Visiting wedding locations!

A photo posted by Rebecca Kelsey Sampson (@rebeccakelsey) on

2. Finding a wedding package


At first I didn’t know wedding packages even existed. In January 2014 when I started the planning process I tried to find the venue, flowers, and everything else separately. Every time I tried to get some planning done, I would end up crying. Do not get anything separately if you can help it. I loved the convenience of my wedding package because then I only had to worry about the finer details.

After doing some Google searches for low-budget Miami weddings (and weeding through the pages upon pages of beach weddings) I eventually found my dream venue, the Grand Salon Reception Hall.

Everything came together once Chris and I visited the Killian Palms Country Club, our venue with Grand Salon Reception Hall. It has been a perfect experience. They have wedding packages to suit all occasions and since we booked our wedding in February, we got to add in the gazebo ceremony for a discounted fee. The gazebo was the real selling point for me. I have always wanted an outdoor wedding while Chris was only interested in indoor weddings, so with this deal, we could have both by getting married outside and having the party inside afterword.

We just booked the date! See when we are getting married on my blog!

A photo posted by Rebecca Kelsey Sampson (@rebeccakelsey) on

With Grand Salon we got our wedding location, reception hall, food, open bar, photographer, DJ, invitations, and florist all for one base price. Then they gave us a checklist where we ticked off the options we wanted and met with the photographer, florist, etc. during a certain timeline that Grand Salon establishes on the checklist. It was really easy to follow and mostly stress-free.

How I planned my wedding and all of the events leading up to it

3. The little details and get togethers


With the help of my family and bridesmaids, everything else came together. My Maid of Honor (MOH) hosted the Coed Bridal Shower and helped me make our DIY table numbers, my Mom helped me with the vendors that only spoke spanish and with putting together a few other DIY accents, Mom and MOH coordinated My Bachelorette Party, my Mother-In-Law sorted out The Rehearsal Dinner, and much more. Chris helped me so much with decision making, handling his and the groomsmen’s tuxedo’s, and with a lot of the smaller things I’m working on now (the week before the wedding) to help keep my stress level low. I still freaked out and cried often (having Aunt Flow visit the week before my wedding paid a toll on me) but it would have been so much worse without the help of my family.

Update from November 17th: My bridesmaids were such a help the day before and day of the wedding. I got so nervous!

I am so very grateful for all of the people that helped Chris and I put together our special day. I couldn’t have done it without them.

In a separate post I’ll talk about my wedding dress and picking the bridesmaids dresses. Stay tuned!

What are your planning tips for future brides?

 {Photos via Grand Salon Reception Hall and omghow on Instagram}


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1 Comment

  • Nivika

    Love this, you looked so amazing, I can’t believe your mum found this dress for the price she did. It’s gorgeous! Can’t wait to hear more about the day.

    November 24, 2014 at 7:00 pm Reply
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