- 5 years ago
- Wedding: September 2012
I know I found the Bee’s budget breakdowns SUPER helpful when I was planning (thanks!), so I thought I’d return the favor… here goes..
Looking back at all of the projects and expenses related to the wedding over the last year – I fortunately only have a few regrets. We are very proud of the fact that we stuck with our budget, even though it meant passing up a few very tempting things, like a videographer and a morning-after brunch.
Flowers: I wanted to be eco friendly AND budget friendly with the flowers. This turned out to be incredibly difficult. Most affordable flowers are imported from plantations in South America, which are not eco or human friendly. I used the chat feature on FiftyFlowers.com to make sure I was purchasing only US grown flowers, which definitely limited my selection – but the flowers I ended up getting were beautiful. I ordered pale pink roses, and burgundy dahlias and ranunculus. Fiftyflowers called me the Weds before the wedding and said that the “ranunculus from the farm this week did not meet their quality guidelines”. They gave me the option to substitute with either extra roses or dahlias.
The flowers arrived as promised bright and early on Thursday. I’ll be honest. Making the bouquets was a LOT more work than I anticipated. All of the stems needed to be trimmed and arranged in water, the roses needed to be dethorned and have the outer petals removed. Making the bouquets look round and professional took quite a bit of time and patience and a few broken stems.
If I had to do it over again: I would still do it this way. I spent around $450 and had bouquets for myself and 5 bridesmaids, as well as 4-5 flowers on each of our 17 tables. I would make sure I got other things done BEFORE Thursday though – since it took several hours and led to me feeling a little bit rushed. They certainly did not look professional, but i was OK with how they came out because I’m not huge in to flowers anyway. If you want your bouquets to be show stoppers, its worth paying the florist. 😛
Chairs: we skipped the chiavari upgrade. SO glad we did. The plain garden chairs looked great, and the night went by so fast, with so many other things going on – that it would have been a complete waste of $500 that no one would have noticed
Beauty: Taking the bridesmaids (and myself) to the spa the morning of the wedding was one of the best planning decisions I made. I gifted them with a mani, pedi, and a 30 min massage – and they had the option to get their hair and makeup done there if they wanted. It was WONDERFUL and relaxing – we didn’t feel rushed at all. I skipped getting a hair/makeup trial because I went with my usual hairdresser. I was so pleased with her work. Another $150 saved, and I was 100% thrilled with the results. She had said that makeup trials are a waste of time and money – because coloring, complextion, weather, and all sorts of other factors make wedding-day make up a wedding-day decision.
I used a Groupon and got my armpits lasered in the 6-ish months leading up to the wedding. It still wasn’t cheap ($250 for 8 visits), but oh man, if you have the money and the right skin/hair types for lasering – DO IT!!! I always had dark underarms, even hours after shaving – not anymore. I loved the results. I also paid $125 for a contact lens appointment. This was a fail. I’m 30 – I’ve worn glasses since I was 12, and never tried contacts. I just couldn’t get used to them. This ended up being a waste of money.
Photography: Many of the guest photos of our outdoor ceremony came out beautifully. But the lighting inside for the reception made for a very different story. None of the guest photos Ive seen from inside came out well. If we hadn’t paid for the pro, I’d have been really sad. I’ve only seen a few sneak peaks, but the $2k pro was totally worth it.
Transportation: Instead of limos, we chartered a school bus to run a shuttle to and from the venue and the hotel throughout the evening. The total cost ($400) was around the same as what we would have paid to just have a limo for us – but instead, EVERYONE got a ride back. We got a lot of compliments on the school bus too, and most importantly, no one was drinking and driving – which was super important to both of us.
Open Bar: we paid a bartender, but bought our own alcohol. We spent about $1000 at Costco, $600 for the bartender – provided an open bar for 5 hours – and had left overs!! A few people had enough to drink that they didn’t feel well in the morning, but no one got out of control, and no one drove. Harpoon IPA and Shipyard Pumpkin were the biggest hits. Red bull vodkas were the biggest bust (the most expensive mixer we bought, and only 3-4 were drank).
Being Eco Friendly: I got a ton of stuff on etsy, and used recycled/antique bottles and jars for centerpieces. We did end up paying our caterer quite a bit extra to use only glassware (no plastic), and a few glasses got broken. We skipped programs, escort cards, menus and other paper goods. No one seemed to notice or care. I made my own table numbers on recycled paper – they didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped. I probably should have spent a little extra to have those done on Etsy. We had mostly vegetarian food, veggie burgers, mashed potato bar, hummus, taboole, etc. I originally wanted organic food only, and tried to get locally grown produce – this ended up being too expensive/complicated for 140 people.
I cant think of anything else right now. But my advice would be to focus on music, food and drink more than decor. Honestly, once everyone is dancing, talking, and enjoying the food – those little decor details vanish in to the background. Don’t lose sleep over charger plates, chiavari chairs, etc.
Our caterer was AAAAAAAAAAMAZING – coming in at about 9k for all of the food, non-alcoholic drinks, linens, glassware, dinnerware, cleanup, oven rental, and more – for 140 people – so for any Mass/NH brides who are looking, feel free to PM. My friend/bridesmaid provided cupcakes as her gift to us – and they were delicious and beautiful – she is NH based and making cupcakes for events as a side job, so again – PM if interested. I’m also selling a lot of the antique glassware I collected.
We budgeted 20k and came in about $400 over (if I had skipped the spa day, we would have been UNDER budget, but it was soo worth it!)
A few pics:
sweetheart table (those are old letter press blocks spelling I Love You I found at an antique market)
Handfasting with muslin cut in to strips and dyed with RIT (my fingers were pink for 3 days, so don’t do this right before your wedding…hehe). Oh and the bouts were also from Etsy. Fiddlehead ferns and succulents – they were fabulous.
i told them “navy dresses with silver shoes” – this is the result. I thought they all looked absolutely smashingly hot.
Down the aisle with mom and dad. My mom looked hot too.