What was your total budget? Please provide a budget breakdown.
- Photography: $2500
- Dress: (Dress + alterations + accessories) $1350
- Hair/makeup: $700
- Cake: gifted
- Ceremony venue: (permit fee) $25
- Reception venue and catering: $5300
- Flowers: $200
- Decor: $200
- Groom’s attire: $400
- Music: gifted
- Rings: $2200
- Bridesmaids/groomsmen attire: $375
- Travel (day-of and moving decorations, etc.): $300
- Misc.: $500
Total Budget: $14,000
How many guests did you have?
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We asked one of Kris’s friends (he was also Kris’s teacher in high school) to lead our ceremony. Kris’s brother played my favorite song on the guitar as I walked down the aisle.
A friend of mine is the owner of a 100% gluten-free bakery, and she made our wedding cake. Our reception was held at the restaurant we went to on our second date.
And of course, myself and all of my bridesmaids are giant Harry Potter fans, so we were thrilled to take a few Harry Potter-inspired photos.
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
For the reception, we did nearly everything ourselves. We purchased mason jars and attached homemade table numbers to them with twine. My mother surprised everyone (including herself) with her natural floral skills. She created simple yet gorgeous floral centerpieces. On the restaurant’s bar, we had our cake, cake serving set, the bridal/bridesmaid bouquets, our vow books, an anniversary bottle of wine, a personalized wooden box for the wine, and my sister sprinkled extra rose petals everywhere.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
There were so many!
1. We went green! All of our save the dates, invitations, and RSVPs were digital. Kris does digital graphics, so he designed everything. We did print out a few simple keepsakes for ourselves and our families.
2. My mother volunteered to be our day-of-coordinator. She made sure everything ran smoothly, and my family delivered the decorations/flowers and got to the reception venue early to set up. They also packed everything up at the end of the night.
3. Our ceremony space only cost $25. It was just a small permit fee through the park’s office! 4. Having our reception at a restaurant made everything so easy because we didn’t have to organize dozens of different (and pricy) components separately with various vendors – ex chairs, linens, silverware/plating, catering, bar, staff, etc. – all of that was included in the price we paid. And we chose to have our wedding on a Sunday evening (when we know the restaurant scene is slower) in hopes of getting a more affordable price.
4. The day before the wedding my mother and sister got up at the crack of dawn and went to the Chelsea flower market to buy flowers. We wanted a romantic antique feel and gave them a few photos for inspiration. They chose roses in shades of ivory and light pink with light purple tints, peonies, and unique filler flowers. We sat on the floor of our hotel room together making bouquets and table settings. The flowers were one of my favorite visual components to the wedding, and it was a fun project for the three of us to do together. (Bonus: We only paid $200 for all of our gorgeous flowers)
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
1. Do whatever you want. You’re never going to please everyone, so as long as you are being kind to your guests then do what makes you happy. We received a lot of compliments about my dress, the flowers, the food, and the ceremony space, but our favorite compliment that we heard several times was that we did what we wanted. We got rid of things that weren’t necessary, didn’t suit us, were overly expensive, and what was left was simple, pure, romantic, and beautiful. It was everything it needed to be.
2. When doing a lot of DIY stuff, know when to call it quits. I planned on doing my own makeup and my sister was going to do my hair. There came a time when I said, “It’s not coming together, so let’s get rid of the stress.” I found two amazing hair and makeup artists, and it was one of the best decisions I made during the planning process.
3. Remember what it’s about. It’s a time to celebrate. Kris and I had a rule – If it ever got too stressful, we’d drop everything and elope. Just setting that rule was a good reminder that all we needed was each other (and the cake – we would have taken the cake with us if we had eloped).
What was your biggest splurge?
Our biggest splurge was definitely our honeymoon (not included in this budget). We made very conscious decisions about our wedding budget so we could save up for our dream vacation in Italy. 100% worth it.
As far as the actual wedding goes, I would have loved to buy a $200 dress and good shoes on sale for $60, but we really loved my wedding dress (and I did get it for nearly 50% off). Also, I have a foot injury so splurging on comfortable shoes was an easy decision to make. My feet were happy for 11 hours in those heels!
What was your favorite detail?
All of it. We made very specific decisions about what we wanted to include in our wedding. For example, we didn’t have a DJ not just because of the cost – we really didn’t want a DJ. If we wanted something, it was in the budget and we spent money wisely. We had exactly the wedding we wanted.
Things that were especially worth the money – our amazing photographer, my super talented hair and makeup artists, comfortable shoes, and food that all of our friends with celiac disease/food allergies could enjoy.
For Kris, we chose an ivory shirt and blush tie/pocket square to match my dress, and we picked a unique fold for his pocket square that is still one of our favorite fashion details of the day.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
We did everything ourselves, and there were so many small and personal details – it was so exciting to see them all come together perfectly. We had a blast and really enjoyed the moment. Also, we wrote our own vows, and we both think they were pretty special.
Photography: Everly Studios | Ceremony Venue: Cop Cot in Central Park, NYC | Reception Venue: Bistango | Bakery: Krumville Bake Shop | Hair: Stephanie Michelle Beauty | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Jewelry: Bride’s ring: Leigh Jay & Co.