Large Formal Church Wedding in California

Love this formal church wedding submitted to us by the bride who is a BSB reader! Janae planned a LARGE formal church wedding (275 guests) in California for around $18,000! Gorgeous florals and decorations make this wedding very classic glamorous– a bit of a change from the mostly rustic/backyard/diy budget savvy weddings we feature here. Hope you enjoy this change of pace and be sure to check out Janae's advice! xoxo – Jessica

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Jonathan + Janae

March 10, 2012
Riverside, CA 1st Congregational Church of Riverside

What was your budget?

Overall our budget was $20,000 which thankfully we were under!

  • Church – $1700
  • Reception Venue (included food, drinks, servers, tables, chairs, silverware, and table clothes and tax)= $9500
  • Dress= $1700 (including alterations)
  • Stationery= $350 (save the dates and invites)
  • Photography= $1500 (family member is a professional photographer)
  • Cake= $800
  • Photobooth=$400
  • Videographer=$200 (family friend)
  • Decorations/flowers/decorator=$2000
  • Musicians= $100 (family and friends)
  • Limo- $200
  • Total: = $18,000

How many guests did you have?


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

We really wanted to display how important our family is to us, so for the ceremony we had my father read my vows to me and my husband's father read his vows to him. My brother also translated for us and my grandfather prayed over us to bless our marriage. During the reception we had a display of our mother's wedding dresses and photos of their weddings as well as my grandparents. We also gave away our centerpieces to one family member sitting at each table who meant a lot to us.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We had many of our friends and family help us on that day to make sure it was organized and saved us the cost of a wedding planner, hair stylist and videographer. Also booking a reception hall that included everything really saved us money and more importantly stress and anxiety. We also didn't spend extra on menus or programs and did not pay for the bridal parties attire. I also made my own table numbers and favors and went through a local printing company to design and print the invitations in order to cut the cost.

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

Stress and organize as much as possible prior to the day of the rehearsal and the wedding day. The more you do before, the less you have to worry about on that day. Second, when talking with vendors, don't be afraid to negotiate, they may be able to throw in some sparkling cider or alter the price. It is never wrong to ask. Also if you can, book a venue that includes seats, tables and other items so your family and friends do not have to work extremely hard and stress about setting up and breaking down the day of the wedding.

What was your biggest splurge?

The Venue and my wedding dress. They were both more than what we expected to pay but over all the venue saved us a ton of money on decorations and other small details. In the end we absolutely loved it and would do the same over.

What was your favorite detail?

It wasn't just one, the decorator included so many subtle details that I loved. I loved how there were also little surprises that she did for me such as the display of our mother's wedding dresses. She also included a photo in my bouquet of my husband and used lace from my mothers wedding dress to fill my bouquet. I loved having a memory of my mother's special day with me on mine.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Sitting at our sweetheart table with my new husband admiring the beautiful decorations and seeing everyone who was there celebrating with us. I loved that I was able to see my family relaxed and enjoying themselves as well as being included in the wedding. From that moment on, it felt real. Please also include a list of all your vendors including any website links.


Photographer: McClister Photography  //  Photobooth: Platinum Photobooth  //  Venue: Etiwanda Gardens  //  Cake: Michelle's Bakery


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