What was your total budget? Please provide a budget breakdown.
- $6,500 for the venue (which was a VRBO vacation rental) for an entire weekend and housed both the bride and groom’s immediate family (approx 20 people).
- Dress $1,000
- Food and drinks maybe $1,500
- Costco Flowers $400,
- Limo to shuttle guests up the hill $300
- Photographer $1,500
- Decorations and rentals around $800
In the end, we were close to $12,000 in total for the wedding weekend!
How many guests did you have?
We had 75 total guests.
How did you meet?
Neil and I met in high school when the high school that I was attending closed down. Our school held a conjoined dance between the two rival schools, in hopes that most of our students would transfer there. He caught my eye while he was dancing and when I was leaving the dance that evening, there was something pulling me to walk over and introduce myself. This was VERY out of character for me as I was much more reserved. We spoke for a few days after but life got kind of busy and we fell off. We didn’t reconnect until 3 weeks before he was heading off to college. He asked me out on a date and from that night on, the rest was history!
What is your proposal story?
Neil attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo for college and after I graduated high school, I moved there to be with him. We lived there for 4 years and fell in love with SLO and the surrounding areas. Once he graduated, he landed a job in Southern Ca and we had to leave our beloved Central Coast. SLO had become a special place for both us and our families so we often tried to meet up there for special occasions.
For Thanksgiving 2015, we had decided both families would all meet in SLO that year to celebrate. We left on a Friday and headed up the coast. We made good time driving and were ahead of everyone else so Neil suggested we stopped off at one of our favorite brunch spots in Pismo and then go take a walk on the beach in Avila. I loved that idea!
We began walking on the beach and ended up sitting on this rock to talk and reminisce about all of our amazing memories in that town. I thought it was a little odd but didn’t think much about it at the time, that Neil was constantly looking over his shoulder as we were sitting there. He then began telling me all of these beautiful things that he loved about our relationship and how far we’ve come. He looked over his shoulder one more time and before I could even process what was happening, I looked down and Neil was down on his knee asking me to marry him! I practically tackled him and said “Yes!” We kissed and hugged and he told me to turn around. There behind us was my entire family and friends. I was so overwhelmed!
People who I did not expect to be coming for “Thanksgiving” were all there to congratulate us. To my surprise, the surprises weren’t over! Neil rented out this vintage farmhouse, large enough to house everyone for the entire weekend to celebrate! He was so in tune with all of the things that are important to me and went above and beyond to make it so special. Even down to details such as setting up a nail appointment and wedding dress shopping the next day! It was to this day one of the most amazing experiences of my life and needless to say, I am one lucky girl.
Tell us a little about your wedding vision.
My vision was to have a smaller, intimate wedding that revolved around the people and things Neil and I loved together. We were willing to sacrifice a little tradition in order to have it really be about us as a couple and the reason we were coming together. The first time that I tried on my dress, I had tunnel vision to Neil and I standing up at the arch on our wedding day, just the two of us. We decided to forgo having a bridal and grooms party and just kept things very simple!
We went with a boho theme with mixed medals, reclaimed wood, and fresh peonies, hydrangeas, and roses. It was important to us to have the whole family and group of friends have a hand in something to symbolize that our union requires support and love from the people around you! We had the ceremony and cocktail hour music played by a family member, a beer bar and arch built by the Father of the Bride, the closest friends of the bride arranged all of the flowers and bridal bouquet by hand, the reception music playlist was built on Spotify by everyone with requests, our closest family friend took all of the photos and so many more things! It was incredibly personal and filled with love.
Tell us about your attire choices.
I have always wanted a backless dress and couldn’t wait to try one on! The day after our engagement, Neil set up a dress appointment and the first dress I tried on was a simple backless gown with a lace overlay. I knew it was the one the moment I saw myself in the mirror!
Neil wanted a suit, not a tux so we went with a dark blue suit and a crisp white shirt underneath with brown accents. We ditched the tie and went with a sexy unbuttoned look. He looked SO handsome!
What was most important to you while planning? Was there anything you chose to splurge on or skip?
The MOST important thing was remembering what we were coming together for that day – US. We originally had a large wedding planned at the beautiful venue that Neil took us to stay at for the weekend of our engagement. It was going to be the traditional wedding with all of the bells and whistles. 6 months before our wedding date, we decided to do a complete turnaround and focus on the things that were most important to us and to save the money for our future. We mainly wanted a place that could house both of our families together for that entire wedding weekend and allow us to have our wedding and reception there. We opted for a vacation rental property we found via VRBO. We were able to do pretty much everything ourselves!
What were your favorite parts of the day?
One of my favorite parts of the day was waking up in the morning and driving to the beach with just my mom. We grabbed coffee and went and spent an hour together before the big day ahead of us. After that, getting ready with my girls throughout the day was so much fun! I think the moment that truly completed all of my dreams that day was walking down the aisle to Neil and reciting our own vows to one another. The whole day was my favorite!
Tell us about your wedding flowers.
We ended up just buying wholesale flowers from Costco and a couple of online websites. We had hydrangeas, garden roses, roses, peonies, baby’s breath, and greenery. They were simply arranged in the middle of our long table. My bouquet was all peonies and greenery.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We ordered our cakes from Madonna Inn bakery – a plain white one with buttercream and their famous pink champagne cake with the white chocolate shavings and curls. We added fresh flowers to the white cake and used it as our cutting cake! We really like doughnuts so we ordered from our favorite shop, Slo Do Co., and that was our main dessert!
Please describe any handmade, DIY, or personal items.
My father built a beautiful beer bar out of reclaimed wood from an old barn of ours. It was such a hit! He also used wood from this old tree that he used to climb when he was a child and built our gorgeous arch to stand under. He put so much love into both and our guests complimented both all evening. Myself, our family and friends DIY’d everything! Arranged silverware, flowers, hung lights, music playlist for the reception, wedding signs, name cards, invitations, etc. It made the entire wedding feel very personal!
Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?
I got to wear the earrings my other wore on her wedding day and she also cut a strip of lace from her wedding dress and we wrapped it around my bouquet. For my something borrowed, my Mother-in-law brought a beautiful brooch that was her mother’s. We also added that to the bouquet. These details were absolutely beautiful!
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Just to remember what the day is all about. Make decisions leading up to it for you and your future husband. We completely changed our original wedding idea around (even having to uninvite guests that we had already sent save the dates to because we chose to do a smaller wedding!) because we realized our focus was to build a future and a marriage. Surround yourself by people who love and support you and take the time to cherish all of the moments of that day with your new spouse!
Photography: Ann Keen Photography • Ceremony Venue: Private Estate Wedding • Day-of Coordination: Brother of the bride • Floral: Bride and bride’s friends and family • Ceremony Musicians: Greg Harrison • Desserts: Slo Do Co • Wedding Cake: Madonna Inn Bakery • Hair: SLO Blowout Bar • Makeup: Jade at Tigerlily Salon • Engagement Ring: Princess Bride Diamonds • Wedding Dress: Stella York • Officiant: Groom’s Uncle • Earrings: Mother of the Bride’s Wedding Earrings • Wedding Dress: The Wedding Day • Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse • Submitted via: Matchology