You will love this lovely fall wine country wedding! The couple kept things simple and sweet, with an intimate guest list of 12 people. They spent the majority of their budget on the venue which was also the accommodations for the guests for the weekend. Such a nice way to spend a weekend, and a lovely savvy wedding as a result! Hope you enjoy this bride's advice! xoxo Jessica
Tracey + Adam
November 2, 2013
Napa, CA | Private Estate
What was your wedding budget?
About $5000 was the most that we wanted to spend on everything. The home we rented for two nights was $2200, but we split the cost with guests so that everyone could stay at the same place and it would be more affordable for everyone coming instead of them having to find separate more expensive lodging. My dress (including alterations and undergarments) and my shoes totaled a little less than $1000. My husband’s outfit and shoes equaled about $250 (he was able to wear all the items again as other outfits). Photographer was about $375. Wedding cake cost was $100 which included shipping it to California. Alcohol and the food for appetizers and main course totaled somewhere around $200. Cost for marriage license and person to officiate was less than $200. Our round trip flights to San Francisco were about $800.
How many guests did you have?
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We made our own flower bouquets. When my husband and I first got engaged, the only request that he had was that the main color of our wedding be purple. He had remembered that my mother’s (she passed away when I was 17) favorite color was purple. When discussing this with my sister, she and I both thought it would be so great if we could use Louisiana blue irises in the bouquets. My mother loved these flowers and also grew them. I was excited about the idea but also realistic that we may not be able to find that type of flower in California in late fall. I had gotten the idea for purchasing my own flowers to make the bouquets from a Brides magazine that suggested getting flowers from Whole Foods. We also purchased food and beverages from Whole Foods. I almost forgot the flowers but remembered as soon as we began checking out. I ran over to the floral department where there was a large section of all different bundles of Louisiana irises. I was so excited and emotional when I saw that there were so many. It surely felt like fate and my mom watching over us on the big day.
The cake was also a personal touch. I had a doberge cake shipped in for the wedding. A woman I know in New Orleans owns a cake company called Debbie does Doberge that sell cakes to different restaurants in the city. The first time my husband ever tried the peanut butter, salted caramel, and bacon flavored cake at our favorite restaurant, Toups’ Meatery, he said that he wanted to marry the woman that made the cake because it was so good. I thought it was only fitting that he be able to indulge in that cake for our wedding.
We also had the very personal experience of having Adam’s brother marry us. Luckily in California, one can pay a fee for someone to officiate a one-time event. The cost of the marriage license and fee for him to officiate the wedding cost less than $200. When exploring ministers in the area, we found the cost ranged from $500 to over $2000 for services. We saved money and had the pleasure of having a family member marry us.
I did the something old, something new, and something borrowed in my jewelry. I borrowed my matron of honor’s pearl earrings. I bought a single tear drop pearl necklace for the wedding. I wore a pearl bracelet that I was given as a bridesmaid in my second oldest brother’s wedding (only my oldest brother was able to make it to the wedding).
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We saved a lot of money by splitting the rental cost with guests. We also saved money by purchasing and preparing our own food. The flowers were also significantly cheaper than purchasing items from a florist. I also saved money by shopping around for different articles of clothing. I compared prices and even got some items online. For example, to buy the veil and under garments for my dress would have cost over $200 if I had bought them from a dress shop. I spent about $100 by purchasing these items on Amazon instead. My bridesmaids found dresses on clearance through the David’s Bridal website for only $30 each. My sister made decorations using some of the flowers we purchased along with flowers and twigs she found on the estate grounds. We also saved money on our wonderful photographer, Lauren Lindley. Every photographer I was finding in the Napa area was thousands of dollars and must be booked for an all day affair. Since we were having such a small wedding, it would not have been prudent to spend so much on photography. I gave the task to Adam to find the photographer and he did very well. He found Lauren Lindley on thumbtack. She was able to give us a package that met our needs. She was great with communicating with Adam before the event. She charged us by the hour so she would take pictures for as little or as large amount of time we wanted her to photograph. What could have cost us thousands of dollars ended up costing less than $400. We spent a fraction of the price and gained a friend in the process.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
I would and do tell all brides to be is to do what you like and what makes you happy. When looking back on my wedding, there is nothing I would change. A wedding should a very personal experience and be what you truly enjoy. Some people love huge, extravagant parties. My husband and I rather have an intimate, small wedding with people who truly wanted to share the experience with us. I tell brides to stick with your gut and make your own choices. Don’t feel like you have to spend a lot to have the best experience. It can be beneficial to shop around or to even do things yourself. On the other hand, if it is something that you are truly passionate about, don’t feel bad about spending a little extra.
What was your biggest splurge?
The biggest splurge was probably the cake. It was not the most expensive thing on which we spent money, but it probably was the most costly for quantity. The cake could cost only $30. I felt it was worth shipping it to California. I helped support a local small business, it was a little piece of New Orleans, and it is my husband’s favorite cake. I loved seeing my husband’s face when I told him what cake I got for the wedding. He still thinks about it every once in a while and thanks me for making it special for him.
The thing that cost us the most money was our flights to San Francisco from New Orleans. It was completely worth the cost because we were able to get married in such a wonderful location that made the experience of getting married just a little more special.
What was your favorite detail?
My favorite detail was probably the flowers because they had emotional significance. Also, the bouquet was made by my matron of honor. I loved that we were able to put together a simple yet beautiful flower bouquet for a fraction of the price it would cost from a florist.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
The most memorable moment would have to be my husband and me taking pictures in the vineyard behind the home after our wedding. We were enjoying the first moments as a married couple in such a beautiful environment. My favorite pictures were of us playing around and chatting between vines while our photographer stood a distance away.
I also really enjoyed how intimate and small we made our wedding. The people that were present were able to share such a unique experience with us. After the wedding, we prepared food together, drank wine, listened to music, and talked till late in the night. It was a wonderful, relaxed wedding.