Danielle's wedding was featured today in the Florida Times-Union! Here is the full text of the article:
When wedding planner Danielle Gregory and her longtime boyfriend, Jay Bamba, decided to marry, they decided they wouldn't let the wedding steal the spotlight from their marriage.
"We didn't want the sentimentality of the day to be overshadowed by a crazy bouquet or a full orchestra," said Danielle, 24, a wedding coordinator at First Coast Weddings and Events.
Danielle knew the wedding wouldn't be elaborate. For one thing, her family is feeling the effects of the recession, which meant an affair on a budget: $10,000, to be exact.
"I actually came in a little under," she said.
Danielle, who loves to read a wedding blog called StyleMePretty.com, saved a lot of money by doing things herself. She screen-printed her invitations and learned calligraphy, so she could address them.
She also saved money on her dress. "I wore a no name chiffon gown from a department store and made my own birdcage veil," Danielle said.
A few days before her wedding day, Danielle turned her refrigerator into a flower cooler and went to Whole Foods to buy $200 in flowers in shades of purple and raspberry. Danielle used tulips and Calla lilies for her bridal bouquet, wrapping them with a piece of crochet made by her grandmother.
Danielle and Jay met in 2001 at Ridgeview High School in Clay County. "I had seen her around school, and I thought she was real pretty," said Jay, 25, a field technician at Comcast.
Jay wanted to marry two years ago, but Danielle's mother said no.
"She thought we were too young," Danielle said. Jay asked again this past Christmas. This time, Mom put up no objections.
"She thought we were ready," Danielle said.
The couple said "I do" April 18 beside the Treaty Oak on Jacksonville's Southbank before 150 guests. Their dinner reception was held at Maggiano's Little Italy.
"Food cost about $6,500," Danielle said. "That was for a five-course meal."
To save money, the couple decided against a wedding cake and opted for the desserts that came with their five-course meal.
They also invited guests to participate in an heirloom dessert buffet. Several days before the wedding, two dozen guests sent Danielle their favorite dessert recipes. She turned them into a recipe book and screen-printed copies of the pages.
Guests brought three batches of their favorite dessert to the wedding and went home with different recipe pages. For Danielle, it was a simple but soulful way to achieve the wedding she wanted.
"I've seen many beautiful weddings," she explained. "But the ones I liked the most were the ones that were meaningful."