Bridal Talk: TLC bride shares tips from her garden wedding

We’re huge fans of TLC’s show Four Weddings. Lucky for us, actual brides who have taken part in the show are sharing their stories with us in this new series, including tips on where to skimp and where to save.

Four Weddings
TLC Four weddings bride gives wedding planning tips

Up today? Kim Balance who didn’t want to overthink the theme of her wedding. Instead she wanted the scenery and the simplicity to do the talking!

Picking my theme

I really wanted something modern, simple, yet sophisticated, like me. I was referred to the Bahia Mar Hilton hotel in Ft. Lauderdale and it was perfect! The venue sits on the Intracoastal Waterway across from the beach. We decided on a garden wedding, a waterfront cocktail hour on the Intracoastal Waterway and an indoor reception where you could view the ocean.

Becoming the budget DIY bride

Once I found the venue, I started looking at invitations. I just couldn’t pay what I was quoted ($12 per invitation!). I needed bilingual Spanish-English invitations and the cost would have been over $800. That’s when I decided to make my own. I found Cards & Pockets online was a great store for my stationery needs. I was able to order all my stationery for $125.

I also didn’t mind having fake flower bouquets, so I made my own arrangements. I ordered the flowers from For $140, I made six bouquets, two corsages and eight boutonnières. My inspiration came from looking at arrangements on Etsy. It’s a great thing that I’m crafty because it saved me at least $2000.

The bridesmaids and the groomsmen

I chose to go with five different black styles to complement my bridesmaids’ personalities. (Thus keeping with the modern theme.) The men all wore black Converse sneakers since my groom was a casual guy. He loves his Chuck Taylors!

The ceremony and cocktail hour

When guests arrived, they were whisked away on a trolley to the botanical garden area. I didn’t want any decorations because the area was gorgeous and this helped cut costs. I walked down the aisle to Jason Mraz, Bruno Mars and Foo Fighters all in a string quartet version, again keeping the wedding more modern.

I had tables along the pier with hors d’oeuvres. The trolley took everyone back to the hotel and we moved inside for a formal dinner and reception. I’m not a traditional girl, so I opted to not have a seating chart. I know that this is unheard of at a formal dinner, but I really wanted everyone to mingle on their own.

I had a photo booth for three hours at the reception. I also placed cameras on each table so I could have candids of my guests. I ordered a Domino shaped groom’s cake for my Cuban groom. It had two frosted Cuban cigars on it and it was filled with Guava and cheese, a staple in Cuban culture (I had to insert a little tradition!).

The DJ was definitely money well spent! We had a Top 40 and Spanish blend of music to keep all the guests up on the dance floor! I decided 10 minutes before the end of the reception that we must keep dancing. I paid the DJ for an extra hour to keep the party going!

Looking back

I loved how my wedding turned out. Getting married on a low budget is hard but doable. I was lucky to find my dress for $350 at David’s Bridal. I had my wedding on a Friday, which saved me 10 percent on the reception cost. If you’re creative, then doing as much as you can on your own can save you thousands! I planned a great modern wedding for under $10,000 and it was the best night of my life!

Photos courtesy of TLC and Discovery Media

Watch more on Kim’s episode of Four Weddings:

Four Weddings TLC Episode preview
A sneak peak at a TLC Four Weddings episode featuring four different brides and four different weddings.

More stories from real brides

My under the stars wedding
My big, fabulous Greek wedding
How I found the dress of my dreams