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Lisa and Bill’s Family-Centered Wedding at the Morton Arboretum – Lisle, IL

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Lisa found us through the Offbeat Bride Tribe. (Side note: we are becoming an official Offbeat Bride sponsor in February!) We hit it off instantly when we met up at the Morton Arboretum on a very cold day last winter. She told me about her wedding plans: a morning ceremony surrounded by thirty of their nearest and dearest, including a gaggle of kids; photos in the Fragrance Garden afterwards; a brunch of comfort foods and bellinis; and lots of crafty details.

Best Buddies.

Best Buddies. With matching bow ties.

What I loved most about Lisa and Bill’s wedding was the love you could feel between all of their family members and guests. Bill’s son served as the “Best Buddy” and their collection of nieces and nephews made up the wedding party, referred to throughout as The Minions. They are a rambunctious, happy bunch to be around, and their energy made the day both festive and relaxed. It’s pretty damn near impossible to be worried about anything when you’re in the midst of a bubble-blowing fest and skirt-twirling contest!

See? Love! Heaps and heaps of it.

See? Love! Heaps and heaps of it.

Lisa and Bill had a short and sweet ceremony, officiated by a dear friend, and then braved the chilly early-April temperatures to take photos outside. Inside, the room was filled with lots of handmade details – Lisa spent months folding paper flowers for the bouquets and the centerpieces (they look great, don’t they??) as well as making flower corsages for each of their guests. A family member made crocheted headbands for the girl minions; the boys each had a special flower corsage.

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But maybe my most favorite part? After feeding each other the first bite of cake, the kiddos all lined up and each got a turn being fed a bit too!

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To sum it up: this was a super fun and relaxed wedding full of people who genuinely love each other and their families a lot – and that is kinda the best thing ever. I loved being part of this day.

Congratulations Lisa and Bill!

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VENDORS
Venue: The Founders Room at the Morton Arboretum
Officiant: Friend of the couple
Photographer: Timothy Whaley
Catering: Classic Fare (in-house caterer for the Arboretum)
Cake: The Cakery
Flowers: Made by the bride

All photos were taken by Timothy Whaley Photography and are reposted here with the photographer’s permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are are not available for reproduction, redistribution or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Ryan and Michael’s Intimate Wedding – Olive Park and the Penthouse at Pearson on the Park – Chicago, IL

Well, I’m hopeful that I’ll start catching you up semi-regularly on all the weddings and projects we’ve been working on. If only because I feel guilty when I don’t. We’ll see, as usual.

Today’s post goes way, way back to almost a year ago. Julia knew Ryan through her work in theatre, and in catching up on each others’ lives since the last show, Julia found out Ryan was planning a wedding, and he found out that we’d just launched Crafty Broads. Ryan and his fiance, Michael, had most of the details worked out, but really needed some help making their reception happen.

Who know there were double-man bathroom signs nonchalantly hanging out in Chicago? Not me. More importantly, aren’t these two just adorable together?

Without further ado, let me tell you about it! First of all, you have to understand that Ryan and Michael are ridiculously in love with each other – and when I say that, I mean not only that they love each other a lot, but they have so much fun at it. I don’t think I caught a glance of either of them sans giant grin all night long.

Ryan and Michael held their reception on a crisp October evening in the penthouse party room of their downtown apartment building. They did a fantastic job transforming a somewhat bland space into a very special and personal room for their party – it really was amazing to see the before and after! Bold colors and gorgeous floral arrangements from Andrew’s Garden made the space come alive.

Instead of having traditional catering, Ryan and Michael decided to order all their favorite foods from various restaurants to serve their guests. The sweetest thing was that by each dish, they had a little card describing a special moment in their relationship when that particular food played a role. Stellar idea. And the food was delicious, especially the truffle mac and cheese.

They guests were treated to a nice surprise after dinner… fireworks! If you live in Chicago, you may know that Navy Pier has regular firework displays throughout the summer. Ryan and Michael smartly planned their reception timeline to include viewing these from the outdoor patio of the penthouse.

My favorite part, though, was the toasts. Their parents said some of the sweetest, most moving words I’ve ever heard directed towards a newly-married couple. I can’t speak for the guests, but I was definitely crying.

Congratulations, Ryan and Michael!

VENDORS
Ceremony Venue: Olive Park
Reception Venue: Pearson on the Park
Officiant: Friend of the couple
Photographer: Green Key Photography
Florist: Andrew’s Garden Floral Couture
Catering: The Southern Mac Truck, Fox & Obel, Lao Beijing, Garrett’s Popcorn
Cakes: Nonnie’s Sweets
 

All photos were taken by Green Key Photography and are reposted here with the photographer’s permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are are not available for reproduction, redistribution or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Real Wedding Budget: La Grange, Texas | 60 Guests | $8,900

This is part of our ongoing series, Real Wedding Budgets, bringing you actual numbers from actual couples, along with an idea of what you can get for your money. See more Real Wedding Budgets here.
Want to make this series run longer? Submit your real wedding budget (anonymously) here.

Before you read, a note on vendors: We don’t provide vendor information because you never know what kind of discounts they may have given, or if their prices have changed since this wedding. And also because if the couple didn’t love them, we don’t want to be putting a bad review out there. That’s what Yelp and Wedding Wire are for.

However, there is one exception – photography. Because we want you to get a good idea of what the couple was able to do with their budget, we include photos when possible, and credit the photographers. So word of advice – if you like these photos, please do go check out the photographer’s website (linked at the end of the post), and then ask for their current ratesDo not expect that you will necessarily get the same package and pricing you see here.

$8,900: 60 Guests on a Saturday Afternoon in La Grange, Texas in the Spring


The Numbers

Venue(s) $ 1,000.00
Photography/Video (including albums, prints, etc.) $ 2,143.35
Food/Beverage (catering, alcohol, and cake) $ 2,298.69
Floral/Decor $ 456.90
Entertainment (Band, DJ, Ceremony Musicians) $ 10.00
Attire (including shoes, jewelry, etc.) $ 798.00
Rings $ 157.00
Marriage License $ 71.00
Officiant $ 0
Wedding Planner/Day-of-Coordinator $ 0
Invitations, Save-the-Dates, Programs $ 277.22
Rentals $ 0
Hair & Makeup $ 0
Transportation $ 0
Rehearsal Dinner $ 150.00
Gifts & Favors $ 83.62
Other $ 1,429.78
TOTAL $ 8,875.56

What They Got For the Money

Ceremony & Reception Venue ($1,000)
The couple rented the chapel at a church camp. It was a beautiful stone and wood chapel with huge, lovely windows. The fee included all tables and chairs; use of the outside deck; three days of time for rehearsal, wedding, and clean up; and setup by the camp staff.

Photography ($2,143.35)
The couple had two photographers for 7 hours, with web- and print-ready files and all print rights.

Catering ($2,298.69)
The couple served a BBQ buffet with three entrees and three sides. They purchased their own alcohol.

Cake ($65)
The bride baked cupcakes the week prior to the wedding and froze them. They defrosted and decorated them the night before the wedding.

Flowers ($306.90)
Flowers were purchased by the bride, her mother, and her matron of honor at a local grocery store the day before the wedding. The bride’s aunt and sister-in-law arranged all of the centerpieces and created the bouquets.

Decor ($150)
They purchased ribbons, a candle holder, box for cards, and other miscellaneous items. Friends and family lent them beautiful jars which were used for the centerpieces.

Entertainment ($10)
Ceremony and reception music was played on an iPod. They paid for Spotify Premium to download the songs they wanted on their playlist.

Attire ($798)
The bride purchased a pre-owned dress via the internet and wore her own jewelry. She purchased new argyle socks and wore her old, beat-up boots. The groom wore his own suit and shirt and purchased a new tie and dress boots.

Rings ($157)
The bride wears a simple, mill-grain-edged gold band, purchased on Etsy. The groom wears an heirloom ring from his family.

Marriage License ($71)

Officiant ($0)
A friend of the couple, who got ordained online, officiated the ceremony. The couple composed the ceremony.

Wedding Planner/Coordinator ($0)
The bride’s best friend unofficially filled the role of wedding coordinator.

Invitations ($277.22)
The bride designed the invitation suite and had them printed online. This cost include pocketfolds, envelopes, postage, and craft supplies (ribbon, lace, etc.) in addition to printing.

Hair and Makeup ($0)
The bride’s hair and makeup were done by friends.

Favors ($83.62)
The guests received clear shot glasses filled with blue M&Ms and York candy pieces in tulle, tied with ribbon. 

Rehearsal Dinner ($150)
The couple held a casual pizza dinner the night before the wedding.

Other ($1,429.78)
The couple paid for their family and wedding party’s food and lodgings at the camp.


Reflections

What was your biggest financial splurge? Why did you choose it? Was it worth it?

Our photographer! The husband was very non-excited about having his picture taken and the cost; we wound up having our largest wedding fight about it, actually. I loved our photographer’s work from the first time I saw it on APW and I was so psyched she was open for our date. In the end, though, the husband loved the photos and I’m so glad we got them done by such a quality photographer.

Was there anything you regret spending your money on or anything you wish you’d spent less on?

Honestly, we came in $1500 under budget and I don’t know what I would’ve spent any more of the money on.

All photos were taken by Elissa R. Photography and are reposted here with permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are not available for reproduction, redistribution or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Real Wedding Budget: Fairfax, VA | 80 Guests | $12,800

This is part of our ongoing series, Real Wedding Budgets, bringing you actual numbers from actual couples, along with an idea of what you can get for your money. See more Real Wedding Budgets here.
Want to make this series run longer? Submit your real wedding budget (anonymously) here.

Before you read, a note on vendors: We don’t provide vendor information because you never know what kind of discounts they may have given, or if their prices have changed since this wedding. And also because if the couple didn’t love them, we don’t want to be putting a bad review out there. That’s what Yelp and Wedding Wire are for.

However, there is one exception – photography. Because we want you to get a good idea of what the couple was able to do with their budget, we include photos when possible, and credit the photographers. So word of advice – if you like these photos, please do go check out the photographer’s website (linked at the end of the post), and then ask for their current ratesDo not expect that you will necessarily get the same package and pricing you see here.

$12,800: 80 Guests on a Saturday Evening in Fairfax, Virginia in the Spring


The Numbers

Venue(s) $ 2,225
Photography/Video (including albums, prints, etc.) $ 650
Food/Beverage (catering, alcohol, and cake) $ 4,500
Floral/Decor $ 750
Entertainment (Band, DJ, Ceremony Musicians) $ 115
Attire (including shoes, jewelry, etc.) $ 1,050
Rings $ 250
Marriage License $ 30
Officiant $ 250
Wedding Planner/Day-of-Coordinator $ 250
Invitations, Save-the-Dates, Programs $ 292
Rentals $ 1,500
Hair & Makeup $ 200
Transportation $ 0
Rehearsal Dinner $ 0
Gifts & Favors $ 530
Other $ 200
TOTAL $ 12,792 

What They Got For the Money

Ceremony & Reception Venue ($2,225)
The couple held the ceremony and reception in the same venue – a historic building which now hosts community events and houses an art gallery and library. There was limited on-site parking, but ample free parking in the vicinity.

The room used for the ceremony ($225 for 2 hours, plus a 1-hour rehearsal) was lined with bookshelves and let in gorgeous afternoon light through gigantic windows. It could hold about 100 people. The couple used the Librarian’s Office for a yichud after the ceremony. Chairs and decorative items (such as pedestals for floral arrangements) were included with the rental fee.

The reception took place on the main floor of the building, which was formerly the Town Hall. It has wood floors, lots of windows, and an “old feel”. Chairs, tables, and some linens were included; it could hold approximately 100 guests for a seated dinner with room for a dance floor.

Photography ($650)
One photographer; all-day coverage; digital files with full rights; 100 4″x6″ prints; and 4 8″x10″ prints. The photographer was building up his portfolio, and was not a full-time photographer yet.

Catering ($4,500)
They had a buffet-style dinner with passed hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour. They provided the alcohol (beer and wine only) and the caterers provided the bartender and soft drinks, coffee, and tea. They also cut and served the cake. Catering costs included tea lights for all the tables; setup and tear down of both ceremony and reception spaces; and coordinating the equipment rentals below.

Cake ($0)
The bride’s sister made a multi-tiered wedding cake; she refused to divulge the costs of it or the test cakes she made or to allow the couple to reimburse her.

Rentals ($1,500)
Linens, china, flatware, glassware, and food service items (chafing dishes, coffee urns, etc.) were coordinated by the caterer.

Flowers ($650)
The bride’s mother is a floral design assistant to she was able to order the flowers at cost and use the floral studio to make the bouquets at no charge ($325). They provided jars (reused = free!) and vases (borrowed from the floral studio = free!) to a local flower farm. They filled the jars with wildflowers for table centerpieces and the vases with willows for ceremony decoration, plus delivered and set them all up ($325).

Decor (~$100 – a “completely wild guess”)
The couple made a number of crafty things for their wedding, including button flower pens (bic pens, with flowers and old buttons from the bride’s grandmother attached to them), a fancy bulletin board and thumb tacks for the seating chart, crayons tied with bakers’ twine for the tables, index cards to collect guests’ wishes (in lieu of a guest book), prints of photos which were displayed in old jars.

Entertainment ($115)
The couple had a DJ for 4 hours of reception music ($80) and hired him to do the ceremony as well ($75). They handled playlist requests through the DJ’s website.

Attire ($1,050)
The bride wore a raw silk mermaid-style strapless dress, which she bought pre-owned. She purchased kitten heels, a pearl necklace, a birdcage veil and fascinator, special blue undies, and had alterations done ($785). The groom bought a tuxedo on sale, plus a tux shirt, cufflinks from Etsy, and new Chuck Taylors ($265).

Rings ($250)
The bride wears a thin band with small pave diamonds, purchased on Overstock.com; the groom wears a titanium and gold band from an Etsy seller. The bride notes that in hindsight, she wishes she’d bought her ring from an artisan vendor, such as Turtle Love Committee or an Etsy seller.

Marriage License ($30)

Officiant ($250)
They found their officiant online and chatted by phone a few months before the wedding; they met with her two weeks prior for an interview and mini-rehearsal. The couple chose readings and vows; the officiant created the rest of the ceremony.

Wedding Planner/Coordinator ($250)
The couple hired a day-of-coordinator who was just starting out and had limited experience. They met once in advance and she managed the rehearsal and wedding day from the afternoon portraits through breakdown of the event. The bride notes that they got what they paid for – she was not very good, but “the wedding was awesome, so it’s ok.”)

Invitations ($262)
The couple send most of their Save-the-Dates electronically; they designed postcards and printed them on Zazzle (~$20) for elder guests unlikely to be online. Their invitations were purchased from an Etsy seller, and printed on linen with kraft envelopes. They ordered 85 ($203), which turned out to be more than they needed. Guests RSVP’d online, but again they sent postcards to the non-internet savvy folks; they used Zazzle again for these ($15). They spent $24 on postage. Programs were designed by the bride and printed at FedEx (~$30).

Hair and Makeup ($200)
The bride had her hair styled in her hotel room on the wedding day. She did her own makeup.

Transportation ($0)
The maid-of-honor’s father drove the bride to the ceremony in his minivan; everyone else carpooled or took taxis.

Gifts ($450)
The couple gave picture frames to their parents and readers; after the wedding they sent photos to go in them. The groomsmen received monogrammed pocket watches; the bridesmaids were given monogrammed thermal tote bags and necklaces to wear in the wedding. The maid of honor also got a tie to wear. They also purchased a Groupon for custom wine bottle labels; they gave out bottles of wine sporting them at the rehearsal dinner.

Favors ($80)
They purchased small tins and labels, which they filled with candy buttons made by the bride’s sister.

Rehearsal Dinner ($0)
The groom’s parents paid for the dinner, which was supposed to have a budget of $2,000. The actual cost is unknown to the couple. The dinner was held at a small historic house near the wedding venue and catered by a local Tex-Mex restaurant; there were approximately 30 guests. A pianist played during the cocktail hour.

Other ($200)
The couple made welcome bags for out-of-town guests from small kraft paper bags which they filled with locally-made soaps and maps/information about the area, which they got at no cost from the Chamber of Commerce ($50). They also decided to subsidize the cost of bridesmaids’ dresses, since they turned out to be more expensive than anticipated ($150).


Reflections

What was your biggest financial splurge? Why did you choose it? Was it worth it?

The last-minute order from the local flower farm, for centerpieces and willows for the ceremony. It wasn’t a HUGE amount of money, but it was a splurge because it was a bit last-minute and not really necessary. But I had thought I wanted just button/paper flowers or none at all, then realized I actually really wanted wildflowers. It was totally worth it and I’m really glad we went for it. My husband couldn’t have cared less, honestly, but he encouraged me to go for it and agreed they added a nice touch.

Was there anything you regret spending your money on or anything you wish you’d spent less on?

I waffle back and forth about our photography. It’s a matter of “Should we have spent more?”, not less. We got a really great deal and our pictures are fine, but they’re not pretty or artsy. I wish I just had a few artsy shots. But usually after waffling on this I settle back to content with our choice, our photos are fine! And I should note that to my knowledge this has not crossed my husband’s mind even once.

One thing I regret, which wasn’t something I had a lot of control over but wish I’d managed better, was the bridesmaid dresses. I wanted them to pick their own dresses, they decided to wear basically the same ones in different colors, they picked the dresses so I shouldn’t feel bad! But they each paid over $200 and that was WAY more than I wanted them to pay. I’m glad we supported an independent Etsy business but part of me wishes we’d gone simpler/cheaper.

What was the best thing you spent your money on?

It’s a tie between the venue and the caterers. They both went above and beyond taking care of us, and I think were very reasonably priced.

Anything else you’d like to say?

This was a fun exercise and made me enjoy my wedding all over again. Thank you!

All photos were taken by Bong Lee of Bisou Photography and are reposted here with permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are are not available for reproduction, redistribution or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Real Wedding Budget: Boston | 40 Guests | $16,600

This is part of our ongoing series, Real Wedding Budgets, bringing you actual numbers from actual couples, along with an idea of what you can get for your money. See more Real Wedding Budgets here.
Want to make this series run longer? Submit your real wedding budget (anonymously) here.

Before you read, a note on vendors: We don’t provide vendor information because you never know what kind of discounts they may have given, or if their prices have changed since this wedding. And also because if the couple didn’t love them, we don’t want to be putting a bad review out there. That’s what Yelp and Wedding Wire are for.

However, there is one exception – photography. Because we want you to get a good idea of what the couple was able to do with their budget, we include photos when possible, and credit the photographers. So word of advice – if you like these photos, please do go check out the photographer’s website (linked at the end of the post), and then ask for their current ratesDo not expect that you will necessarily get the same package and pricing you see here.

$16,617: 40 Guests on a Saturday Evening in Boston in the Summer


The Numbers

Venue(s) $ 220
Photography/Video (including albums, prints, etc.) $ 2,500
Food/Beverage (catering, alcohol, and cake) $ 9,273
Floral/Decor $ 241
Entertainment (Band, DJ, Ceremony Musicians) $ 205
Attire (including shoes, jewelry, etc.) $ 1,312
Rings $ 607
Marriage License $ 35
Officiant $ 100
Wedding Planner/Day-of-Coordinator $ 0
Invitations, Save-the-Dates, Programs $ 150
Rentals $ 0
Hair & Makeup $ 150
Transportation $ 875
Rehearsal Dinner $ 0
Gifts & Favors $ 380
Other $ 569
TOTAL $ 16,617

What They Got For the Money

Ceremony & Reception Venue ($220)
The ceremony was held in a chapel at the university where the couple met. They had the space for 3 1/2 hours, and it included chairs. It was large enough to accommodate 200 people.

The reception was held in the private dining room of a restaurant. There was no fee for use of the room beyond the cost of catering.

Photography ($2,500)
The couple had one photographer for an engagement session and full wedding day coverage. The package included high-resolution digital files with personal copyright permission.

Videography ($0)
The couple set up two video cameras to record the ceremony; they asked cousins to turn them on at the start of the ceremony.

Catering ($9,038)
The couple had a cocktail hour with five passed hors d’oeuvres and a seated dinner with appetizer, three entree choices, and dessert. They had an open bar throughout the evening, but capped the choice of beverages at $13 per drink. This amount included a $1,200 tip for exceptional service.

Cake ($235)
The couple had a two-tiered cake with different flavors in each layer. Guests consumed just one layer at the reception; the second layer was consumed the day after by guests who came to the couples’ house the day after to hang out and play video games.

Flowers ($191)
One of the bridesmaids made all the bouquets and the bride arranged the centerpieces. This is the cost of the flowers they purchased, including stems for a dry run a few days before the wedding.

Decor ($50)
The venues were already lovely, so the couple only needed to create table numbers and a seating chart.

Entertainment ($205)
The couple hired an undergraduate student at the university where they wed to play Bach pieces on her cello for the ceremony. It was the first wedding she’d played. The couple spent $80 on reception entertainment.

Attire ($1,312)
The bride wore a silk wedding dress with a sweetheart neckline, ball gown skirt, and pockets. She purchased new shoes and borrowed jewelry from her family. She spent $220 on alterations. The groom purchased a suit, tie, and new shoes.

Rings ($607)
The bride and groom each wear plain gold wedding bands.

Marriage License ($35)

Officiant ($100)
The officiant was a mentor of the couple, and they had a close personal relationship with him. The bride created and wrote the entire ceremony.

Wedding Planner/Coordinator ($0)

Invitations ($150)
The couple designed and printed the invitations themselves; this is the cost of paper and postage. The bride notes that they had a lot of fun making them, they turned out really well, and it, along with coding the wedding website, was one of the best parts of wedding planning.

Hair and Makeup ($150)
A friend of the bride’s did her hair and makeup. This is the cost of purchasing new makeup.

Transportation ($875)
The couple rented a shuttle bus to transport guests from the ceremony to the reception, and from the reception to the hotel where most of the guests were staying.

Gifts ($300)
The couple gave gifts to the wedding party and other people who helped out with the wedding.

Favors ($80)
The couple ordered personalized fans from Etsy.

Rehearsal Dinner ($0)
The couples’ parents split the cost of the rehearsal dinner, the only expense not paid by the couple. The rehearsal dinner was fort he two families and wedding party in an upscale restaurant. They believe the cost was approximately $500.

Other ($569)
The couple hosted a brunch on the day after the wedding ($414) and provided gift bags for out-of-town guests ($155).


Reflections

What was your biggest financial splurge? Why did you choose it? Was it worth it?

Our biggest splurge was on food and alcohol at the reception. It was well worth it — all of our guests raved about the food and drinks afterwards! We also splurged on our honeymoon, which ended up costing the same amount as our wedding. It was an unbelievable trip, and it was definitely worth it!

Was there anything you regret spending your money on or anything you wish you’d spent less on?

I wish I didn’t panic and decide to assemble out-of-town bags at the last minute, but it wasn’t that big a deal, and it made me feel a little better.

I also wish the shuttle bus wasn’t quite so expensive, but we were happy to provide transportation for our guests (particularly since a lot of them weren’t used to public transportation).

What was the best thing you spent your money on?

The food and drink at the reception! And the honeymoon!

Anything else you’d like to say?

Our wedding honestly turned out exactly the way we wanted. Even if we had a lot more money, there isn’t anything we would want to spend more on.

Real Wedding Budget: Galveston, Texas | 13 Guests | $15,000

This is part of our ongoing series, Real Wedding Budgets, bringing you actual numbers from actual couples, along with an idea of what you can get for your money. See more Real Wedding Budgets here.
Want to make this series run longer? Submit your real wedding budget (anonymously) here.

Before you read, a note on vendors: We don’t provide vendor information because you never know what kind of discounts they may have given, or if their prices have changed since this wedding. And also because if the couple didn’t love them, we don’t want to be putting a bad review out there. That’s what Yelp and Wedding Wire are for.

However, there is one exception – photography. Because we want you to get a good idea of what the couple was able to do with their budget, we include photos when possible, and credit the photographers. So word of advice – if you like these photos, please do go check out the photographer’s website (linked at the end of the post), and then ask for their current ratesDo not expect that you will necessarily get the same package and pricing you see here.

$15,000: 13 Guests on a Saturday Afternoon in Galveston, Texas in the Spring


The Numbers

Venue(s) $ 2,100
Photography/Video (including albums, prints, etc.) $ 1,000
Food/Beverage (catering, alcohol, and cake) $ 1,045
Floral/Decor $ 65
Entertainment (Band, DJ, Ceremony Musicians) $ 0
Attire (including shoes, jewelry, etc.) $ 2,000
Rings $ 4,650
Marriage License $ 40
Officiant $ 300
Wedding Planner/Day-of-Coordinator $ 0
Invitations, Save-the-Dates, Programs $ 0
Rentals $ 390
Hair & Makeup $ 325
Transportation $ 1,484
Rehearsal Dinner $ 750
Gifts & Favors $ 500
Other $ 320
TOTAL $ 14,969

What They Got For the Money

Photo courtesy of the Bay Front Escape http://www.bayfrontescape.com/

Ceremony & Reception Venue ($2,100)
The couple rented a beachfront home, which accommodated all of their overnight guests for the nights before and of the wedding. They planned to marry outside on the bay, but strong winds forced them to rearrange furniture and hold the ceremony indoors.

Photography ($1,000)
All day coverage by one photographer, engagement session and rehearsal dinner; high-res files and print rights. This was her first wedding.

Videography ($0)
A friend operated a rented video camera.

Catering ($1,000)
A friend of the groom who had recently graduated from culinary school and is a level 2 sommelier prepared a 6-course meal for the couple and their guests, including wine pairings.

Cake ($45)
The bride made the cake from a funfetti box mix and ready-made frosting. The groom’s cake was a custom cookie cake from the mall.

Flowers ($15)
A bunch of babies’ breath ($5) was the bride’s bouquet; white roses and assorted other flowers ($10) decorated the table; flowers were purchased at the local grocery store.

Decor ($50)
A banner purchased online read, “Love, Sweet Love” (pictured at the top of this post) and was accompanied by white balloons.

Attire ($2,000)
The bride wore a flowing, sleeveless wedding dress, with a Gap body strapless bra and earrings from J.Crew. Her mother contributed $500 towards the cost of the dress. The groom donned a Hugo Boss suit, white button-down shirt, and black skinny tie.

Rings ($4,650)
The bride’s engagement ring is a custom 5-carat green tourmaline stone with 4 pave diamonds in an 18k yellow gold setting. Her wedding ring is a 10mm 18k yellow gold traditional band. The groom’s wedding ring is a 6mm 14k yellow gold traditional band.

Marriage License ($40)
The couple was legally married in Chicago, Illinois before the ceremony in Texas.

Officiant ($300)
The officiant did not charge; the couple gave him $300 as a gift. They met once prior to the wedding to get to know each other, and then talked through the ceremony the night before the wedding. The couple wrote their own vows.

Invitations ($0)
The couple sent free invitations online using Paperless Post.

Rentals ($390)
Rental of an HD video camera and microphone to record the ceremony.

Hair and Makeup ($325)
Full airbrush makeup and up-do for the bride and her sister/maid-of-honor.

Transportation ($1,484)
Flights from the couple’s home city of Chicago to Houston; rental car for three days.

Gifts ($500)
The couple purchased a skydiving excursion for the bride’s family, as a thank you for helping out with some of the costs.

Rehearsal Dinner ($750)
Italian dinner and wine for 13 people; paid for by the groom’s mother.

Other ($320)
Fancy hotel room downtown for the couple on their wedding night.


Reflections

What was your biggest financial splurge? Why did you choose it? Was it worth it?
The biggest line item would be rings…which I love and would definitely say they were worth it. For the wedding itself it looks like the biggest cost was the venue which doubled as accommodation for everyone, so I would also say that it was worth it!

Was there anything you regret spending your money on or anything you wish you’d spent less on?
Our wedding worked because it was all friends. We chose Texas because it was where the majority of people who we wanted to be at the wedding were located. I think we saved a lot of expense for everyone else by doing the travelling ourselves. We chose the photographer, chef, etc. because they were friends. It was perfect for what it was….which was not a huge styled event.

What was the best thing you spent your money on?
Food!!!! And the venue for everyone to stay at/hang out/get married in.

Anything else you’d like to say?
It’s really interesting looking back at this 14 months later. We spent all of our savings and extra money at the time on the wedding and I thought we had set ourselves up for this year….but we didn’t. I wish we had done a MUCH better job planning our financial future instead of focusing so much on a wedding. But it was perfect for us and a beautiful celebration.

All photos were taken by Arlina Rose Photography and are reposted here with permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are are not available for reproduction, redistribution or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Real Wedding Budget: Washington, DC | 35 Guests | $10,000

This is part of our ongoing series, Real Wedding Budgets, bringing you actual numbers from actual couples, along with an idea of what you can get for your money. See more Real Wedding Budgets here.
Want to make this series run longer? Submit your real wedding budget (anonymously) here.

Before you read, a note on vendors: We don’t provide vendor information because you never know what kind of discounts they may have given, or if their prices have changed since this wedding. And also because if the couple didn’t love them, we don’t want to be putting a bad review out there. That’s what Yelp and Wedding Wire are for.

However, there is one exception – photography. Because we want you to get a good idea of what the couple was able to do with their budget, we include photos when possible, and credit the photographers. So word of advice – if you like these photos, please do go check out the photographer’s website (linked at the end of the post), and then ask for their current ratesDo not expect that you will necessarily get the same package and pricing you see here.

$10,000: 35 Guests on a Saturday Evening in Washington, DC in the Spring


The Numbers

Venue(s) $ 700
Photography/Video (including albums, prints, etc.) $ 1,000
Food/Beverage (catering, alcohol, and cake) $ 4,000
Floral/Decor $ 65
Entertainment (Band, DJ, Ceremony Musicians) $ 160
Attire (including shoes, jewelry, etc.) $ 750
Rings $ 1,600
Marriage License $ 45
Officiant $ 0
Wedding Planner/Day-of-Coordinator $ 0
Invitations, Save-the-Dates, Programs $ 210
Rentals $ 0
Hair & Makeup $ 42
Transportation $ 0
Rehearsal Dinner $ 0
Gifts & Favors $ 275
Other $ 815
TOTAL $ 9,662

What They Got For the Money

Ceremony & Reception Venue ($700)
The couple rented two private rooms at a local inn for 6 hours. The rental included chairs (for the ceremony and reception), tables, and linens.

Photography ($1,000)
10 hours of coverage with one photographer; CD of digital images with print rights; engagement session.

Catering ($4,000)
The couple had passed appetizers; a plated three-course dinner of salad, entree, and wedding cake; beer, wine, coffee, and assorted non-alcoholic beverages.

Cake ($0)
The wedding cake was two layers of Espresso Gateau, and was included in the catering package.


Flowers ($65)
Flowers for the table were purchased at Whole Foods and arranged by a friend. The bride bought a boutonniere for her wife from a florist on the day of the wedding.

Decor ($0)
The couple specifically chose a venue that was so lovely it didn’t require additional decoration.

Entertainment ($160)
The couple rented the venue’s iPod speaker; a friend who is a DJ made a playlist for them.

Attire ($750)
The bride wore a short, white bridesmaid dress from J. Crew. This cost includes undergarments and hosiery. Her wife wore a suit and dress shirt from Banana Republic. They both purchased new shoes.

Rings ($1,600)
The couple both wear plain platinum bands.

Marriage License ($45)

Officiant ($0)
The couple were members in an Ethical Society, which provided an officiant at no cost. (They contributed to the Society generally.) They met with the officiant 2-3 times prior to the wedding and had a pretty customized ceremony.

Invitations ($210)
The couple ordered letterpress invitations from Etsy.

Hair and Makeup ($42)
The bride had her stylist wash and blow out her hair. She did her own makeup with products she already owned. Her wife did her own hair and did not wear makeup.

Gifts ($150)
Each of four attendants received a gift chosen for them personally by the couple from Etsy.

Favors ($125)
Birdseed hearts from Etsy in cellophane bags, sealed with personalized stickers, also from Etsy.

Rehearsal Dinner ($0)
The couple did not have a rehearsal dinner, but hosted a happy hour the night before the wedding. Guests purchased their own drinks; snacks were provided by the bride’s mother-in-law for about $250.

Other ($815)
The couple hired a sign language interpreter ($250) since the bride’s sister is deaf. They opted to stay at the inn the night before and the night of the wedding ($465). They purchased a Quaker wedding certificate ($10).


Reflections

What was your biggest financial splurge? Why did you choose it? Was it worth it?
Our photographer – I really wanted excellent photos and we totally lucked out finding such a great photographer in our budget. She was definitely worth much more than we paid her.

Was there anything you regret spending your money on or anything you wish you’d spent less on?
No.

What was the best thing you spent your money on?
The venue – they were so easy to work with, and included so much (chairs, linens, etc). AND they did the catering, including the wedding cake. EASY.

All photos were taken by Eva Russo and are reposted here with permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are are not available for reproduction, redistribution or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.