My Favorite Thing About the Wedding – the ceremony. Honestly, I don’t even remember what was said for most of the ceremony. I remember standing up there with Ross and feeling completely giddy and calm at the same time knowing that I was about to marry him. I loved standing up there with him, surrounded by so many people that love us, and for parts of it being completely unaware of anything or anyone else but him. I like how relaxed it all was. There were times when everyone laughed (one of ring bearers kept dropping his sign and we cracked a few jokes during the ceremony), there were times when everyone cried (during Ross’s amazing vows and when Milly was singing), and through all of it I was just so damn happy to be standing up there, so proud that we had crafted (with John and Elaine) a ceremony that people commented on later as being totally awesome, and so overcome with emotion that my life is as great as it is. In my eyes the wedding was absolutely perfect.
Planned Budget – $15,000
Actual Budget – Somewhere in the neighborhood of $17,000, not including the rehearsal dinner or the day-of-wedding brunch. This number includes what we spent, what our parents’ spent, and an estimate of things that Ross’s mom/friends did or made for the wedding that I don’t know how much they cost. Example: his mom made our wedding invitations. I estimated how much it would have cost if we’d ordered those same invitations from a website and used that number in my calculations. She also made our wedding favors (customized wine glasses and beer steins) and I have no idea how much those cost, so I just guessed.
As we were planning the wedding there were times when I felt like we were spending too much money, so I would sit down with Ross to talk about what cuts we could make. In the end I’m completely okay with how much money we spent because the day was absolutely perfect. I’m sure we could have spent less and I still would have been just as happy at the end of the day but I still don’t regret a thing.
Number of Guests – I didn’t do a head count the day of but the last RSVP count was around 136.
Where we allocated the most funds – The venue, which was $3,000. We had the venue (Texas Old Town – Red Bud Hall) for 16 hours the day of the wedding so we did our rehearsal that morning, decorated all day, and then partied late into the night! It was SO BEAUTIFUL! It was the perfect setting for our wedding and I couldn’t have been happier with our choice. The people who work there are incredibly helpful and friendly, too. I don’t have a single bad thing to say about the venue. Our criteria when selecting a venue: we didn’t want to pay more than $3,000, we wanted to get married outside, we didn’t want to drive somewhere else for the reception, we didn’t want to have to provide our own chairs, and we did want to be able to use whatever catering company we wanted.
Where we allocated the least funds – Some things were free because we borrowed them (like jars for the snack table) or much cheaper because we made them (invitations, programs, decorations, etc.). One noticeable thing was that my mom made my veil so it cost her like $25 and was an exact replica of the one I tried on at the salon with a price tag of $225. I also did my own makeup and bartered with my hair dresser – I cooked her a week’s worth of vegan food and she did my hair for free!
What was totally worth it – the photographer and the DJ, which were from the same company. We went with The Wedding Shoppe for our photographer and it was a really great deal. If you use an individual for your wedding pictures you’re going to pay a couple thousand dollars for their services alone. Any prints, albums, etc. that you want are going to be extra. We really wanted to use a friend of a friend who has her own business but we just couldn’t justify the cost. We looked for a couple of months before we finally settled on a photographer. We went with package #3, which was $2,000 and covered my bridal portraits (or engagement photos if we had preferred), two photographers for 8 hours the day of the wedding, plus we get an 11×14, an 8×10, four 5x7s, our wedding album, two smaller albums for parents, CDs of all of the pictures in color and black and white, and a release so we can print them anywhere.
They have several photographers and I was sent three or four portfolios to choose from. Our photographer was AWESOME! He was a lot of fun and really easy to work with. He was flexible with my timeline and helpful when I had no idea what I was supposed to do next (he has a lot more wedding experience than I do). A few days after the wedding I found out that he and his wife also own their own photography business on the side and in addition to weddings they do family and newborn portraits. His name is Travis Tank and his business is Tank Goodness Photography. I’m definitely going to use him for my future photography needs!
The DJ was also great because I didn’t have to worry about putting music on an iPod, finding someone to run it during the ceremony, and trusting them not to screw up. He took care of all of that and also took requests during the reception. He even let my cousin take the mic and carry it around with him at the end of the night for some Jesse Karaoke! It was $650 for ceremony coverage and 4 hours of reception coverage.
What was totally not worth it – spending the time designing/putting together the program fans or ceremony coloring books that hardly anyone took. I loved them and was so excited about them but apparently not many people took them.
What I wish we would have spent more on – food! We ran out of dinner food! I am pretty sure everyone except maybe a few bridesmaids/other wedding helpers got a plate of food but I wish there would have been enough for people to go back for more. I barely got a plate myself! After the food was already starting to dwindle down Lyndsey thought to make plates for me and Ross (we weren’t even at the reception yet!) so some of the delicious vegan food that I selected was already gone! That made me happy but also sad. We had lots of cheese (brought to us by his brother from Wisconsin) and crackers, the snack bar, lots of wedding cake and rice crispy treat cake, and then s’mores and hot dogs later in the night. The amount of food in general that was left over after the wedding tells me that no one went home hungry! Still, I wish we’d had more of the dinner type food.
What I wish we would have spent less on – the cake. I don’t wish that we’d gone with a different company or anything, I just wish we’d gotten a slightly smaller cake. Green Island Catering is an all vegan catering company here in Austin and they provided all the vegan appetizers as well as our delicious raspberry-lemonade flavored wedding cake. I loved it but there was SO MUCH cake left over at the end of the night, not counting the entire top layer which we whisked away to be stored and eaten on our one year anniversary.
My best practical advice to anyone planning a wedding – you must read A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene. It is seriously amazing and the advice from that book helped to keep me sane through the wedding planning process. I also follow her blog which has great posts about weddings as well as married life. Seriously LOVE it. Also, you really need a Dropbox account to keep everything organized and to be able to access it anywhere. Mine had sub-folders for the ceremony, food, decorations, surprises, spreadsheets, wardrobe, etc. If you need spreadsheets let me know and I will happily email you everything I have to give you a starting point.
Random Tid Bits – The Knot and other wedding websites like that were of no use to me. I got most of my ideas from Pinterest and other wedding blogs. I also spent a lot of time creating our wedding website and I don’t even know if anyone looked at it. ONE person RSVP’d online, but other than I’m not sure if it was worth all the time I put into it.
Try and throw the kind of wedding that you would want to go to or be in. It will help to keep you grounded and make it an enjoyable experience for most everyone else. Remember that you can’t please everyone and (contrary to what lots of people will tell you) it’s not all about you.
Things are going to go wrong that day and you will notice but you probably won’t care. Our bouquets weren’t exactly what I wanted, the ribbon on our wedding cake was the wrong color, the cake topper was on backwards for half of the reception before I noticed, the menu card holders got used on the snack table instead of the appetizer table, I don’t think I ever gave my photographer my shoes or earrings for pictures before putting them on, Ross’s vows were better than mine, and I forgot to stand up straight during the ceremony. Yes, those are all things that I did notice that day but I didn’t care about any of them! Well, sort of. I did make Ross fix our cake topper while someone was giving a toast and then made sure the photographer got pictures of it facing the right direction!
I still have a few more wedding related posts to come, including the professional pictures when I get them! Check out the Wedding Page of the blog if you want to see all the past wedding posts.