Like every other woman in the English-speaking world, I grew up saturated in romance culture. From chick flick movies to even teen TV shows, everything pointed toward one thing: you will get married one day. This expectation builds up a lot of anticipation in a young girl’s head: when will I get married? When will I meet the person of my dreams? What shoes am I going to wear?

Turns out, I met my future fiancé when I was thirteen. We got engaged when I was nineteen. And here I am now at twenty-one, only three hundred and sixty four short days away from the big day.

I’ve watched my share of Say Yes to the Dress and Four Weddings and all those other TLC wedding reality shows to know how extravagant modern weddings can be. But the lush allure of ice sculptures, sandy beaches, and live bands never appealed to me for my wedding. I have one job on my wedding day: to get married. Whether I have a chocolate fountain or not doesn’t change that outcome.

So here I am, about to document my journey of making the dream day happen without breaking the bank. We are fortunate enough to have the financial support of my parents behind us, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna spring for the horse-drawn carriage. You don’t need to spend $20,000+ to have a day you’ll remember forever. All you need is a few choice vendors, support of your family and friends, and your future spouse by your side.