If you've followed along here for a while,
you know that thriftn' is my middle name ...
always has been ..
turning the forsaken, forlorn, and objects
of interest to lovely is what makes me tick.

Last fall I had an inkling our youngest daughter was on the threshold of engagement.

Thrust into the arena of wedding planner, I broke out in a cold sweat.
Like the cobbler who has no shoes for his children, MOB was about to wear the hat 
the wedding planner.
The chipper chicken and all that jazz.

No problehm-o planning and beautifying the life of others ...

but now expected to rise above and beyond the call of duty!
With Franc (parisienne farmgirl) at my side
AND tasteful suggestions and wishes from the bride ...
I set out on my quest
pull together
the million dollar look for a bucktm ...
~the dress~
~the details~
~the day~
~the dollar~


Mr. Savvy and I came up with what we thought was a reasonable
Reasonable, that is until we met with the 
tent folks ...  all the fixins' ... chairs, tables, linens, lights ... 
and so on and so forth.

Hanz and Franc dove in.
No life boat, no life jacket ... 
... a plunge into the deep, uncharted waters
of wedding planning.

the engagement was announced November 16 ...
we were off and running ...

it's all about the dress

as Frey girls we shop at one store
and one store only ...
in Barrington, IL
Samples from New York suppliers ...
one of a kind
cash and carry
you like, you buy ... that day.
No holds, no layaways
no nothing.

Nothing except one on one attention
in the setting of an historic home ...
well trained motherly
women, the likes of which have worked for
the house of Givenchy and Oscar de la Renta
  they know about body types,
runway modeling,
and validating the bride to be.

At Wedding Belles,
taste trumps trend!

The motherly mavens interview
 the bride, and find out what she's seeing in her imagination ...
then swoop in with what they see her wearing according to their well trained eye ... they nail it every time.

We bought the third dress she tried on.

As was the case with my daughter in law
also, three years ago.

Think of it. Off the rack, designer copies ... 
most likely a couple of thousand dollars.
We left as happy as a clam ... knowing we would
make a few changes ... with our friend and expert
seamstress-tailor, Kay.
Is this not one of the most beautiful gowns?

It was now time to pick the wedding party.
best friends
and lest we forget,
all the babies.

it's all in the details

Chels has ALWAYS loved Tiffany Blue.
We scoured the net, looking to and fro
for ideas and inspiration ...
and I must say,
we were very inspired ... but 
had quitely resolved not to copy.

Planning sessions flowed, fragile feelings were sometimes
frayed ... apologies were accepted
and on we trudged!

One day Chels asked,
"Mom can we use all the rusty iron
from around the house and garden"?

Trying not to act too excited
Hanz squealed ...

"why, yes of course"

with that lightening quick response
the whole event came together in my little pea
 ~romantic woodland ~
~one room cottage~
~bride and bridesmaids brought in by boat~

The bride and groom had already secured the summer
home-one room cottage
of good friends of ours.
the course was set ... 
no stopping Hanz and Franc  ...
was born.
We rowed ahead looking for the "chipper chicken"

fast forward to a month before
wedding day ...
out came the glue guns ...
We bought out our supplier of moss, glue sticks and white twigs ... we salvaged the white birch stumps
from the firepit,
loaded up the truck
with "all the rusty stuff from the yard"
and headed on down to the river.
(four miles away)
quite honestly,
we made everything with our 10 hands,
Ang, Victoria(sil), Chels, myself and Mr. Savvy ...
which included
the ring bearer pillow

bridesmaid bouquets

paper flowers strung all over the tent

baby girls headresses

bridal headress

shoe clips


altar flower arrangements
the money/card box
designed from a vintage Tiffany box

and champagne brunch on wedding day ...

 Hanz and Franc steered true to course ...
a vintage high chair from my dining
completed the mood at the parents' table ... 
how could we not??

hang on ... 
we're almost there ...

a fairy tale in every way

what can I say ...
We had believed all along for a sunny, windless day ... just one please!
From the moment the sun rose that morning
to the last candle blown out at 11 p.m.
the fairy tale
was perfect in every way.
I do believe
as MOB
that the bride's face tells all.

Would you look at that smile!!

 purchases were made in this order
I kept a daily updated ledger ...
cash and carry, no credit cards

85.00  4,000 white lights (half off after Christmas)

750.00 Chelsea's dress
27.00 save the date cards
70.00 postage
40.00 envelopes for save the date
175.00 dress alterations and  custom sash
78.00 hobby lobby supplies, rose petals etc
420.00 limo rental
170.00 invitations ordered on line
70.00 postage for invites
44.00 hobby lobby shower supplies
112.00 inserts for invitations
167.00 port a john
460.00 bridal bouquet and mother's flowers etc
185.00 Joann/ supplies for head table
500.00 DJ
43.00 sample bouquet
127.00 red wine /Aldi
1600.00  Monterey Pizza/food
3233.00 tent and all rentals
610.00 custom cupcakes and cake topper 
123.00 supplies/moss/twigs, gluesticks
68.00 wholesale/white bedding plants
309.00 champagne from Trader Joe's
19.00 Michaels glitter
50.00 centerpiece containers
35.00 bridesmaid roses, Costco
83.00 Michaels ... guest book, birds, candles
150.00 tux rental for DOB
507.00 wholesale flowers  for centerpieces and rusty tubs

was a gift from Aunt Julee and Uncle Mark

grand total

each bridesmaid had their own expenses
we purchased their dresses and mine
off the rack at Carson's ... 85.00 each
MOB ... 69.00
Baby girls white dresses
15.00 sale rack at Target
flower girl ... 60.00 Nordstrom Rack!!

A good friend of mine
who catered for fifteen years in the Barrington neighborhoods 
commented to me right before the wedding ...
her comment ..."Joy, if you would've catered this wedding
with an open bar and delegated all of the projects you did
this would've cost you right around $40,000 ...

Thank you Hanz
and thank you Franc, Angela
(ficticious characters from Father of the Bride)
you understand the inside of my brain ...
thank you BIG DADDY, JOEL 
for the countless hours of role playing Mr. Mom

thank you Mom and Dad ... $
thank you Juls for all of your wedding wisdom
thank you Mr. Savvy for selflessly doing every task we requested
thank you Ruth, for hostess-ing the shower
thank you Uncle Dave for chauffering to Midway Int'l
thank you Victoria for working so hard off site
and powering thru the Saturday morning 6 hour setup
AND thank you 
Chelsea and Derek
  for entrusting us with your day ...

we accomplised what we set out to do ...
"the million dollar look for a buck" ( or two)
I wish I could experience the day just one more time
in slow motion ... tears now

I know this was longer than any post I've ever written, 
thank you for staying with me til the end.




Snappy Di said...

The hats on the little ones are just the cutest! Love the colors as well.


Janice said...

Beautiful! I love how you pulled it all together and sticked to a budget!

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

I knew you would rock it Joy. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful photos. Love those hats and all the decorations. Great ideas from that brilliant mind of yours. Yes, the bride looked very happy, as did everyone else. Victory! How is recovery going?

Rebecca said...

Congratulations to ALL! What a beautiful wedding within a sensible budget!

Pondside said...

Wow - that was an amazing accomplishment. We're hanging on, expecting an announcement any day now and this post is very inspirational!

Kathysue said...

Joy what a beautiful gift you gave to the bride and groom with such a lovely wedding of their dreams. I have done two weddings so I know it is no small undertaking to say the least. Your daughters wedding looks like a storybook wedding. Best of all it was exactly what she wanted. Now rest in the after glow of all your hard and loving work, Kathysue

kpaints said...

Just beautiful! Sticking to that budget is a feat in itself! I've done it and thought I would die! lol The little girls hats are just the BEST! Your daughter looked so lovely and so happy! Great job, Mom!

Laura @ 52 FLEA said...

Unbelievable! Everything was so really did an amazing job and with a budget that didn't put the family in debt! Congratulations to you and of course to the happy couple! :)

Classic Style Blog said...

oh this is just beautiful, I love weddings and I love the way you put this photos togheter..
beautiful beautiful..and..Im your 1001 follower /Marie

Jane said...

I enjoyed every word and every picture of this post! It looked like the perfect wedding! Congratulations to the bride and groom and congrats to you for pulling it all together.

Becky C said...

What a wedding! Nice job on the budget. And no debt? Even better :) It was a beautiful wedding! You should be a wedding consultant ;)
Becky C

The Gilded JunqueYard said...

I think i see another "profession" in your future.....Such a beautiful wedding....beautiful family....BEAUTIFUL budget!!
Thanks for sharing.....will there be more pics of the ceremony coming? I really want to see the bridal party arriving in a boat...what a cool idea

vignette design said...

As a former M.O.B. and amateur wedding planner, all I can say is Wow! You really pulled it off my friend! It's so much fun creating such beauty on a budget, isn't it?
Everything is perfection. Thank you for sharing. I am a little envious, as I don't know if #2 daughter will ever get married! Congratulations to you and your lovely family. Chelsea and Derek are adorable! ~Delores

BonjourRomance said...

Congratulation Joy, a beautiful day and a beautiful bride! I need a nap just reading your list. Well done to the whole family who pitched in to make it a special day.
Now get some rest!

WhiteWhispers2u said...

Simply Beautiful! Simply Fabulous! Way to go~Cheers Kim

Deneen said...

Congratulations on a beautiful job. I know you are proud. I just finished my sisters and it is a lot of work. Happy but tired.

Tamra said...

Thank you so much for posting your list of costs! Our middle daughter will be getting married next year and we at the start of how to pull it off on a "freyed barn rope budget".

I have been asked to help others with their weddings and showers but this will my firt time for one of my own girls. Exciting yet scary especially in this economy the budget is sooo limited.

Beautiful job and thanks again for sharing ALL the details.

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

How nice and you did save a boat load of money. My daughter's wedding was $30,000 and that was without a live band and not a ton of flowers or it would have been a lot more. It is ridiculous what the prices are for weddings and that was five years ago.

Theresa said...

Oh my gosh... Joy, what a beautiful wedding. I have loved seeing every single photo, every touch was just so sweet and well so beautiful. The fact that you all put so much love, and time and thought into every detail shows in all of the photos.
Now lets talk budget... girl, you are a rock star! That is amazing and I will be taking notes for one day when I too will be a MOB! That is I'm sure a long way off, but lucky for me my daughter is also a DIYer through and through... thank you for sharing all of the photos and details, I have enjoyed it so much! xoxooxo

Petie said...

What a beautiful wedding you put together. Having just put on a wedding last summer for our daughter, I related to everything you said. Weddings are not cheap. Love the music in the background, you are so clever. Love this post and your blog.

Kate said...

Joy again I must say since I do this for a living BRAVO BRAVO good job mama!!! Hanz and Franc are amazing. I crunch numbers constanly and work miracles with small budget and you did a beautiful miracle with your talent and creativy. What an inspiration to those DIY brides out there. Great follow up post!!


Amy Kinser said...

What a beautiful bride in a beautiful gown. You all did a spectacular job!!!! Of course, I am not surprised in the least.

Karena said...

It all started with that most fabulous dress and everything with the Tiffany Blue theme. So gorgeous and I KNOW how much work you put into it!

A day to remember forever!

Art by Karena

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Dearest friend...I have been back to this post 3x, going over each photo and loving each and every detail. I have never seen Chelsea look more beautiful, and I LOVE the big grin on her face in nearly every picture! She is so blessed to have such uber talented family so willing to go the distance. You all did a most fabulous job!

Farmgirl Cyn said...

PS...I well remember the day you came home with all the Christmas lights!

Pattie said...

Joy, I think you all did an amazing job, thanks for sharing this beautiful day with us....


STORIES Photography said...

It WAS an awesome day and remains a beautiful memory.

I'm beyond happy with out the photographs turned out. Truly, every wedding has a story to tell, as I edit them, each and everyone whispers to me.

Hey savvycityfarmer friends! Come on over and "follow" our blog and then "Like" us on facebook at STORIES Photography.

We appreciate the props and love to talk about weddings/love stories. ;-)

Gracie's Cottage said...

Wow...what a glorioiusly amazing job you did. Love the dress too. Congrats to the entire family!


Olde Tyme Marketplace said...


Anne Lorys - Fiona and Twig said...

It all looks just beautiful, well done. You should be so proud. :-)

A Vintage Green said...

What a beautiful, loving wedding. Thank you for sharing.
- Joy

Burlap Luxe said...

Hi Joy!
Thank you girl what a planner/designer over here but we all know that about you! The wedding was fabulous, and the little tot's hats are amazing so steam punk, altered with perfection :)

Now girl my daughter is in her first year of college and I am already planning for the day she tells me I am getting married, I am racking and crunching the dollar signs in my head $$$

Like you and how I am I will be creating all that I can, I better hold onto my lates creation, The birdhouse wedding cake, it can replace the cost of a real one, cupcakes anyone :)

Girl!! you so need to have wedding rental supplies right from the shed, I will come knocking!!
and don't be afraid to borrow my wedding cake for your next event!! :)

See you soon girl!
You have inspired me more and more with every visit.

Burlap Luxe said...

PS... Joy you should come to visit again and read what a blog site PSYCHO guy!!! left me on my comment list on ...'BOYCOTTING AMERICAN WOMEN' Eeeeh! gads!! whats a lady to do???

I wish I knew how to delete it, and maybe its for the best that it is posted, I could do a post on this comment alone kind of like when we all went to battle on the Fifi book thing ugh!!!!

Oh I hope friends who visit don't think it's my EX- lol!!!

love yah girlie!

Ido said...

BEAUTIFUL WEDDING! all the people looked fantastic, the bride was stunningly beautiful, the arrangements and accessories soo pretty, everything was perfect, be very proud of yourself girl.
Love, Ido

Victoria said...

Thank you for the thank you =) I had fun making the rosettes and especially Sofia's hat.. I would like to make a ton more of them.
One commenter said they were very "steam punk" .. that's what I was going for - hooray!

It was wonderful how everything came together. It wasn't too "bridal" or cutesy for sure. Just visually very pleasing. Too bad you have such an icky picture of me!! But S looks adorable.

AndeM1 said...

Perfection....this was a lovely wedding...and so true to what the day is all about....i hope to follow your example (some day)when my daugther is ready to and simplicity...absolutely perfect.....well done!

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

I have been there with you gf. I have done 3 weddings and have 3 more to go... I loved your daughter's wedding, the little hats were the cutest thing I have seen in a long time. You did a wonderful job and I know first hand how much work goes into it. 5 stars my friend.

A Cottage Muse said...

Bravo...this post is a keeper for me!

Olive Cooper said...

It was beautiful and elegant and done on a budget! Well done Joy! Paying huge prices for a wedding to me is just craziness. I would rather put a down payment on a house!

High Street Cottage said...

What an entirely enchanting wedding! And you did a wonderful job on the budget! How beautiful everything looks and the colors divine. I especially am fond of the baby headresses, too too darling!

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...


Privet and Holly said...

Oh, I wish you'd
have stretched out
"the reveal" over
a week or so in order
to have a better look.
{Bigger pics...of
well done because there
was LOVE, each step of
the way. And how
adorable IS the new
mister and missus??!!
xx Suzanne

Upscale Downhome said...

Your beautiful wedding post brought tears to my eyes with all the love that was poured into that day. A family coming together to celebrate is such a beautiful thing and you did an absolutely amazing job with your budget. I loved all the personal touches and the Tiffany blue was gorgeous. I could go on and on. Thank you for sharing your very personal day with the rest of us!

La Dolfina said...

Hello Joy,

Well where do I begin?
How about G U L P
You pulled off an amazing feat here.
Your talent astounds me.
Everything was just perfection.
I am so very proud and happy for you and your entire family. You truly pulled off an incredible wedding filled with sweet memories that will be cherished forever.
Great job Mama!!!
You da bomb

A Perfect Gray said...

wow! what a beautiful day. I know your heart is so full of joy. and what a fantastic look for the occasion - all made with love, I know. you have outdone yourself. everything is so lovely!

Curtains In My Tree said...

That was a beautiful home made wedding

I was surprised how much it added up to !!

Anyway just beautiful and those head piece for the little girls was too much fun so cute

well done MOM

Faded Plains said...

everything looks amazing...and looks way beyond on the amount spent. Great job!

FrenchGardenHouse said...

LOVE it darling MOTB. Love it! So sweet to share a little tiny bit of your happiness with you here. This is what matters most, isn't it? I know you will keep this day in your heart, like so many other days. xo