What was your budget?
We had a budget of $10,000.
- Venue: $3,000
- Food: $1,000
- Photography: $1,000
- Dress: $1,000
- Rental House: $2,000
- Flowers: $400
- Rentals: $700
- DJ: $800
How many guests did you have?
We had about 110 guests.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We love fishing and being on the water and it was important to have our wedding there as well; we got married on the lawn overlooking Mission Bay, and tied a fisherman’s knot during our ceremony. We kept the décor and attire with the nautical theme as well, with blues and white throughout, and to keep it very personal, we had Dylan’s brother marry us.
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
I made our wedding cake! I baked red velvet cakes, frosted them in cream cheese buttercream rosettes, and assembled them that morning in my wedding dress. I also designed, printed, cut and stuffed our invitations, sewed reversible beach bags for the bridesmaid gifts, and made the centerpieces from thrift store vases!
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We saved big on the flowers since she has a small flower cart in San Diego instead of a shop, the DJ gave us a military discount, and the photographer was a former coworker. The food was served buffet style rather than catered, and I took the girls to the Paul Mitchell School to get their hair and makeup done for a fraction of the cost of having a professional come to us.
Making my own cake was probably the biggest money saver, but all of the little handmade items helped as well – I sewed my own ring bearer pillow, made the card box, printed my own seating cards, etc. I also bought the girls’ bridesmaid dresses from a regular retailer – for only $15 each. Having the wedding on a Friday instead of Saturday was a huge savings as well, and we bought all the alcohol at Costco with $1 bills we’d been saving for a year!
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Keep in mind that this day is for your husband as well – I see a lot of brides get carried away with their own vision and forget to think about what their husband would like. This is your day, but it’s also the beginning of your life together, and what better way to mark that than by showing him you’ve thought of him too – my husband went fishing the morning of our wedding and it started his day off the right way!
What was your biggest splurge?
Definitely my dress – I spent less than $1,000 but compared to everything else I was careful to save on, my dress was definitely my biggest splurge (and worth it!).
What was your favorite detail?
We added a little DIY photo booth in the venue; it was a simple blue & white striped table cloth hung up in a corner with a few props, but people had so much fun with it! My grandparents even got in there!
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
After we cut the cake, my husband snuck me outside, away from everyone, and we ate our cake together – it was the first time we’d really been alone together for days, and it was the most perfect 10 minutes of the entire day.
Photography: Cole Tran Photography • Venue: Marina Village • Flowers: La Belle Bloom • Catering: Nicolosi’s Italian Restaurant • Rentals: K & J Party Rentals • DJ: DJ Gary Kelley • Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Paul Mitchel School • Bridesmaids Dresses: Forever 21 • Wedding Gown Designer: Stella York • Bridal Shop: Flares Bridal • Groom and Groomsmen Attire: DKNY