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Chic California Wedding with DIY Details

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Paula and Nikko knew how to have a memorable wedding. We especially love their DIY projects and advice on how to save money!

Paula + Nikko

Fallbrook, California
- 01/16/2022
Total wedding budget $30,000

Budget Breakdown

Below is an estimated wedding budget breakdown provided by the couple.

  • Venue, Food & Bar
  • Cake/Dessert
  • Flowers
  • Decor
  • Music/Entertainment
  • Photography
  • Partner 1 Attire
  • Partner 2 Attire
  • Stationery
  • Hair & Makeup
  • Officiant
  • Miscellaneous
  • Total wedding budget

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

We had a single round table for my dad who passed away 3 months before our wedding. He had his own table setting with photographs of him, an angel, and a candle. It was near our table on the stage.

Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?

Yes! Our centerpieces were DIY-ed. I got 40 mason jars for $20. For the seating arrangements, I got 3 white window panes for $30 each to write on! All of these were bought through Facebook Marketplace, and sold back through Facebook Marketplace after the wedding – for the same price.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We didn’t spend on things that we knew people wouldn’t remember, such as centerpieces and quirky random decorations. We focused more on the things people wouldn’t forget, like food, music, a photo booth and an open bar.

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

Make a list of what you want to include at your wedding, and then slowly eliminate the ones you think you can do without. Prioritize which ones you think you’re supposed to spend money on, such as a photographer and videographer.

Don’t sweat the small stuff, especially the ones people are going to forget or throw away.

We opted to do e-save the dates to save money. We didn’t want to waste money on expensive invitations because people don’t keep them after the wedding.

Always ask yourself, “Will people remember it?” before committing on buying something. For example, I wanted charger plates but in the end I didn’t buy them because it’s not really important.

When buying your dress, check other stores for the same dress. You can usually check the designer’s website to see which store carries that designer. The price is always different depending on the store’s location. For example, a store downtown will most likely charge more. I found my dress to be $600 less when I went to a different location! You can even haggle the price and try to make deals when buying your dress.

What was your biggest splurge?

Our photographer and videographer, for sure. Stockham Media does cinematography, so we got both for the price of one. It was a good deal. We definitely were ready to spend money on this since it is something we’ll keep forever. Weddings happen so fast and before you know it, it’s done. It’s always good to have a record of that special moment in your life.

What was your favorite detail?

There’s no specific detail, but our venue was a dream! We had ours at Grand Tradition’s Arbor Terrace and the whole place was very beautiful. It sets the mood for the whole event. It was a garden wedding with beautiful landscaping. We didn’t really need any flowers since it was already filled with flowers! The venue was whimsical and romantic.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The most memorable moment was when I walked down the aisle and saw Nikko tearing up as I walked towards him. I had so many emotions: I was happy to be getting married to the man of my dreams, sad that my father couldn’t be with me to walk me down, but I also felt loved that my father-in-law was holding me as he walked me down the aisle. It was such a surreal and happy feeling.