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Lake Tahoe Wedding on a Budget

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Camille + Nolan

SEPTEMBER 26, 2009

Paradise Park   |   South Lake Tahoe, California  

What was your budget?

Our budget was $15, 000

Rough Break down:

Venue: $900
Catering: $4500
Cake: Included in Catering Price
Rentals (tables/chairs/linens/umbrellas): $1000
Photographer: $300
Dress: $525
My accessories: $200
Groom’s suit and accessories: $300
Gifts (bridal party/parents/helpers): $400
Flowers: Free, a gift from Nolan’s sister
Hair: Free, a gift from a family friend
Vacation home and flights to Tahoe: $2450
Stationery: $325
Total: about $14,000 including all miscellaneous items

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

We themed our wedding to make it more cohesive and so I could stay on track with my many ideas! “Family Tree” is what we eventually dubbed our wedding and we included items that reflected the theme. From our location, to a personalized rubber stamp, to stationery, to our centerpieces we used “Family Tree” as a guideline. We also included as many handmade items as we could. Nolan”s mom helped with sewing items – the ring bear”s ties and the ring pillow. Our centerpieces incorporated our family”s homegrown orange and white pumpkins and Nolan”s sister”s cut flowers for our bouquets. She brought up buckets of flowers and we assembled our own bouquets the day before the wedding. I created button boutonnieres and designed the stationary. Between 6 women we made the 7 types of cookies for our cookie buffet (our favors). It was really a family affair. 20-30 family members and friends even showed up in the morning to assemble the park at 8AM!

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We set a budget we knew we could afford. We did vendor research, asked for deals, used local people and products, borrowed items and I scoured thrift stores. My dad”s neighborhood is pretty close-knit; they have annual fund raising BBQs and he runs weekly around the neighborhood and visits with everyone. So when he asked his neighbors to borrow their tents or canapes, they were willing to lend it to us for the day. We borrowed 2 10×10 tents 2 10×20 canapes and 11 6” tables that would have cost $1000 for the day. Our caterer was incredible too. The family run business used local, in season food to feed our group of 125. They worked with our budget to include the cupcakes, non alcoholic drinks, and provide a wait staff, plus they cleaned up before they left. They were the easiest people to work with and made some of the best food I”ve tasted!

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

Include others in your planning. Delegate jobs to the people you know will enjoy it because they will ultimately do a great job if they enjoy it. If your sister likes decorating tables – allow her to assemble the centerpieces. On the day of the wedding you”ll be pulled in a million directions but if you”ve told everyone around you what your plans are, they”ll be able to inform others and won”t have to call or bug you. Hire a day of coordinator, not for your husband – for you! My husband had no idea what our DOC, Kami did that day, but as I look back on the day I keep tallying the fires she put out, and the schedule she kept. I had a better day knowing there was someone else worrying for me!

What was your biggest splurge?

Our vacation home we rented for the weekend was a large splurge. We had the house for 4 nights to house our bridal party and anyone coming to Lake Tahoe without arrangements. We could have found a cheaper hotel, but the house just worked so much better for us. We were able to spend time with family and friends and make meals with people we hadn”t seen in a while.

What was your favorite detail?

I loved a few things that day! I loved our ceremony but especially how I felt when our officiant (Nolan”s uncle) asked us to face our guests as he addressed them on our day – he said “It is clear in this gathering of close friends and family that your support for Camille and Nolan is sincere and heartfelt. It is the fondest wish of the bride and groom that you all share this joyous occasion with them and continue to be an essential part of their new life. We ask for your participation in the following statements of support as we recognize that the fondness that we have held for them as individuals will only be enhanced as they go forth as a couple. Please join together in response to the following statements with “we do!”

We find this union between Camille and Nolan to be a noble and sincere commitment of love and affection to one another!

We do!

We pledge our support with friendship and warmth as they embark on this journey which unites the two into one!

We do!

We will keep our hearts and our minds open to their needs as a couple and stand ready with support and good counsel when called upon!

We do!

We will always strive to work as a bond for their union, never as a division between them!

We do!

Finally, we stand as witnesses to this occasion and hold the joy of this moment in our hearts to share with friends and strangers alike as a living reminder that Camille and Nolan are forever bound and will not be divided!

We do!

My second detail I loved were the tablescapes. I spent hours scouring World Markets, Crate and Barrels and outlet malls to find the napkins. They turned out to be nice presents to give to our helpers after the wedding. The centerpieces were a mix of flowers, pumpkins, and a family member”s wedding photo with the date and location they were married. We included 14 couple”s photos, the earliest photo we had was from 1915.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

My moment began with a silliness that I didn”t expect at all. Because we were married at a public park there were a bunch of families and kids fishing and playing around the lake. The 50 yard path from the rec house to our ceremony spot, the one I was about to walk down was suddenly filled with 20 or so 10-year-old”s and their parents. My entire bridal party had just made it to the spot and I couldn”t do much about it but wait. I was doubled over laughing at the scene before me. After our DOC was able to corral the rest of the kids onto an alternate path my dad and I were gestured to begin our walk. My shy dad smiled, gave me a big squeeze, and said, “Okay little girl, we”re up.” I just melted.


Caterer: Russell”s Mercantile – Minden, Nevada ¬†// ¬†Venue: Paradise Park, South Lake Tahoe, California ¬†// ¬†Photographer: Michelle Lee – she is a student at the University of Nevada, Reno ¬†// ¬†DJ: Stefan from Sierra Sound, Reno, Nevada ¬†// ¬†DOC: Kami Welch, Denver, Colorado ¬†// Linens: Event Masters, South Lake Tahoe ¬†// ¬†Flowers: Chicky Baby Bloom, Fallon, Nevada ¬†// ¬†Cupcakes: Russell’s Mercantile ¬†// ¬†Bar: Costco / Ben’s Liquor ¬†// ¬†Stationery: I designed it and Kinko’s printed it. ¬†// ¬†Centerpieces: Grocery store flowers / Michael’s accents ¬†// ¬†Officiant: Rocky Lane ¬†// ¬†Rings: Superior Wedding Rings


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