helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

This sweet wedding comes to us from Alfred and Emma Salom in California. The photographers said this about the wedding: “Hugo and Jessica had a classic, intimate wedding. Just under 100 guests filled the Stanford Memorial Church. The bride wore a simple dress from David’s Bridal, a necklace gifted from her soon-to-be mother in law, ballet flats, and a simple bouquet of flowers assembled by her sister, and maid of honor. Most of Hugo’s family flew in from Chile, as you can imagine, it was a very touching and heart warming ceremony. They had a potluck reception at the Stanford Graduate Community Center. Each family brought a dish and filled out a little information sheet about their dish. For the portrait session, they took us back to their dorms where Jess used to live and recreated their first kiss under paper lanterns and sunny skies.

What was your budget?

We are both graduate students and wanted to plan and pay for our wedding ourselves, with minimal effort on our part. Our budget was roughly $6000 = $2000 for the church + $1500 for the photographers + $550 for the dress and tailoring and hair day of + $200 for the invitations + $800 for the catering and cake + $600 for the rings + $350 miscellaneous + free tux + potluck lunch + free reception site + lots of help from grad student friends

How many guests did you have?

About 100

What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

It was really important to us to include our family heavily in the ceremony. To that end, we had our brothers and sisters as attendants rather than traditional attendants (i.e., my brother and sister stood on my side; his brother and sister stood on his side). Both sets of parents escorted both of us down the aisle during the processional.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Our reception was dirt cheap. We partially catered the lunch with a few lasagnas from an on-campus caterer, and ordered a large (but beautiful!) sheet cake from a local bakery. We reserved an on-campus multi-purpose room for the reception that came with tables and chairs (and a sound system). We didn’t do any decorating (no flowers!), and had our friends set up the room the morning of the wedding. The remainder of the lunch was a potluck affair, which was phenomenal since our friends represent many regions of the world. Rather than registering for wedding gifts, we asked our friends and family to pitch in on the big day (or donate charitably to the earthquake relief in Chile, since the groom is Chilean) – and many complied. We would not have had such a beautiful and successful day without the help of our friends and family!

What's the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you're on the other side?

Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help. Our friends were thrilled to be a part of our wedding, and planning and paying for our wedding was very low-stress.

What was your biggest splurge?

The church. We met at Stanford as graduate students, so it was special to be able to hold our ceremony at the enormous historic church on campus. Plus, the church is ornately decorated and the walls are covered in mosaics and stained-glass windows, so no decoration was necessary (not to mention the enormous pipe organ!). The two line items of our wedding that we were unwilling to compromise were this church, and the photographers. We were very frugal with everything else, so that we could guarantee a beautiful venue and remarkable photographers to capture the day!

What was your favorite detail?

My sister made my bouquet as well as hers and my sister-in-law’s. She and my mom went to a local grocery store the day before the wedding and bought a few flowers (I think they spent $30 total). Granted, my sister has an artistic eye, but she did a wonderful job and the bouquets were a nice touch.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

When the doors at the back of the church opened and the pipe organ started belting out “here comes the bride,” we knew that this was for real.

VENDORS:

photographers: Alfred and Emma Salom
dress: David’s Bridal
tuxedos: Men’s Wearhouse
cake: La Baguette
caterer: Ray’s Pub
hair: Angela at Rouge

{all photos by Alfred and Emma Salom}

Share this post:

About Jessica

Jessica is the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride; she launched the site in May of 2008, shortly after becoming engaged. Jessica has been recognized as a budget wedding expert by various media outlets and continues to share realistic inspiration and actionable tips to help brides save money on their weddings. Google

Connect with Jessica
  • http://timandalvina.blogspot.com/ Alvina

    Yay! There are other grad students on a budget out there! Great post to see a wedding that was $10k or less, and yet very personal! (Sometimes I think… the more personal a wedding is, the cheaper it is :oP)

  • http://www.dognbird.com Dognbird

    Fantastic wedding and very impressive budget!

  • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny

    Gorgeous wedding and venue. And Jessica looks elegant and beautiful in her dress. And the community involvement with the reception food is touching. :)

  • Jorja

    I can just imagine how amazing the food was having such an international guest list. Really beautiful photos too!