Bride of the Week: Melissa Rodriguez

Less is More

With a little ingenuity and a lot of DIY effort, Melissa and Stephen were able to have their beautiful California wedding for just $5,000.
Brian Bishop Photography

At $5000, some brides spend as much on a dress as Melissa Rodriguez set for her entire wedding budget. But her feat in frugality paid off on March 27, 2010.

Thanks to a lot of ingenuity on the part of the bride, 125 guests were treated to a magical night at a wedding that appeared to cost five times the amount. “Some people in my family thought I was crazy,” admits Melissa. “I knew that I could make my own invitations and favors (which I did) and that a lot of the decorations could be done on a tight budget (they were!).”

If her DIY projects demonstrated a labor of love, then Melissa’s outdoor wedding to Stephen Pointer at The Grove in Sanger, California spoke volumes. “I had eight months to get ready for the wedding and I knew it was going to take some effort. I went to craft stores and bought paper punches and rubber stamps. I found mix-and-match favor boxes in the clearance section of stores. I then looked for do-it-yourself invitations and was grateful to find that they included a website ( to help me make them. Then I let my creativity take over,” the bride shares.

Her colors of choice: tangerine and aqua. (“I had many cracks about a Miami Dolphins wedding, and people questioned my choices but they were two colors I loved and I had many compliments after the fact,” she says.) Motifs that provided continuity to her party-planning efforts: butterflies and lovebirds.

Butterfly-shaped paper punches on twine were used as garlands on the fence that surrounded the wedding ceremony. The flower girls and ring bearer wore artificial flower wreaths in their hair that Melissa, who wore a sleeveless gown from David’s Bridal, had festooned with paper butterflies and ribbon.

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