I’m back! I have to say the month leading up to (and after) your wedding goes very quickly. But I happened to luck out in several ways with our brunch wedding celebration. One by having absolutely beautiful, although crisp and chilly, weather for our outdoor ceremony, and second by staying under our $10,000 budget.
Ashley + Tom
October 5, 2013
Oregon City, OR | Abernethy Center
What was your budget?
We set our budget at $10,000 knowing that with help from our family this was a budget we could realistically afford. From there we used general rough estimates on specific categories like food, dress, venue, etc. Here’s how it played out:
- Wedding rings – $815
- Bride’s outfit – $1,190
- Groom’s outfit – $185
- Venue – $1,000
- Catering – $3,100
- Alcohol – $600
- Cake – $160
- DJ – $500
- Flowers – $300
- Centerpieces – $75
- Paper goods – $400* (rough estimate)
- Photography – $1,000
- Guestbook – $30
- Hair and Makeup – $60
- Salon appointments for bridesmaids – $180
Our budget came to about $9,600 total. Our parents covered catering, alcohol and venue costs and other friends and family pitched in on several small items, either by offering assistance making them, or by helping to pay for them.
How many guests did you have?
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
It was very important for us to have a wedding that felt personal and intimate, even though we would have around 100 guests. We had a morning wedding and featured a brunch menu complete with a waffle bar, fresh fruit, croissants and scones. Tom and I love breakfast food so this choice was very appropriate!
Our cake toppers were action figurines from our favorite video game, Halo. Which is also the first game we played together as a couple. Nothing helps you bond more than a mutual love of killing cartoon aliens!
It was also important for our guests to have something fun to do. On each table we placed scrabble pieces along with a clue card. Once unscrambled, the word would spell out a favorite TV show, movie or video game of ours. Since we were going to Ireland for our honeymoon, we hung a large map of the country on one of the walls in our reception space and had guests mark with gold stars the places they thought we should visit on our trip.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We cut out what I consider unnecessary frills. This means no programs or favors. We also had minimal décor since our venue had plenty of ambiance on its own. I had been collecting unique bottles for the past year and used these as our centerpieces. I estimate with the money I spent on ribbon accents and the money I spent on some of the bottles (others were donated to my cause) each centerpiece was roughly $4.
Another big factor that saved us money was picking a date in the “off-season” and choosing a morning over afternoon or evening. This fact alone saved us thousands of dollars. No joke!
We also chose three single layer cakes, rather than a tiered cake, which helped cut costs.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Time is your friend. If you plan a wedding on a crunch your options are fewer and you will likely spend more. Use your friends, but don’t abuse them. Our DJ, florist and photographer were friends of ours or friends of a friend. I didn’t presume what we should pay them or assume we should pay them pennies just because we knew them. We told them our rough budget for these categories and let them decide what seemed fair.
What was your biggest splurge?
My dress was at the very top of my budget (about $900 + tailoring). We splurged a bit on food, opting for a hosted waffle bar rather than pre-made food. Unknown to us at the time, our fathers chipped in to offer a hosted drink for our guests, mimosas.
What was your favorite detail?
My former coworker and friend did our flower arrangements and they were one of my favorite things from the day. I still keep some parts of my bouquet (that happened to dry well) on my desk at work. The flowers were stunning, and were found at a local grocer’s market and flower farm.
Tom’s aunt paid for and designed our save-the-dates and invitations. I used left over card stock from those projects to make our table cards.
My stepfather married us which was incredibly personal and touching. We wrote and recited our own vows to each other, and he read a favorite bible passage and favorite poem of ours.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
I had my “florist” friend and her cohorts tie small baggies full of flower petals to the back of each chair in the ceremony area. After Tom and I said “I do”, kissed, and headed back down the aisle, our guests threw flower petals at us to wish us well!
Venue and Catering: Abernethy Center // Photography: BMW Photography // Cake: Le Cookie Monkey // Flowers: Penny Beckwith // DJ: Jon Del Secco // Dress: Sweetheart Gowns // Rings: Sherrie’s Jewelry Box
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.