Stephanie and Alex kept things simple and beautiful with their winery wedding! I love the gorgeous bouquets Stephanie created with her friends using stems from a flower market. I also think that it is wonderful that they opted to spend a large portion of their budget on food and drink… a great reminder that being a budget-savvy bride is about making the right choices that are important for you and your fiancé! xoxo, Jessica
Stephanie + Alex
June 6, 2015
Fairfield, California | Tenbrink Winery
What was your budget?
Our budget was $16,000. We spent about $3900 on a live band, $2500 on alcohol, $1500 on food, $700 for the bride’s dresses, accessories, and shoes, $600 for the groom’s suit and shoes, $600 for the rings, $400 for bridesmaid dresses, $100 for ties, $300 for flowers, $200 for linens, $1800 for rentals (plates, tables, chairs, silverware), $300 for lighting, $900 for photography, and left 10% for cushion that covered all manner of last minute expenses we overlooked on our spreadsheet.
How many guests did you have?
Including us, there were 98 guests.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
My husband is not typically a fan of weddings, so I promised him we would put cocktail hour before the ceremony to give our notoriously late friends time to arrive and to keep the party from feeling too stuffy.
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
In the planning phase, I built our website on Squarespace and sent invitations electronically to reduce overhead and make it easier for guests to get to the information they would need. I sewed both garters (to toss and to keep) myself, and my bridesmaids helped me to build the bouquets and table arrangements on the morning of the wedding with loose stems from the Oakland Flower Mart.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
Food and wine are very important to us, but luckily, my husband is a winemaker and former chef… so we saved money by bringing it in house! One of the groomsmen was our head cook, and helped us prepare porchettas during the week leading up to the wedding. My favorite alumni coordinator from graduate school offered to bake us our cakes. We were able to splurge on Champagne (which is important to me) because we poured wines that my husband made over dinner, and friends brought some of their favorite special bottles to share.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Get a reliable day-of coordinator or organized friend to handle events from the day before through the end of the ceremony. Even if you think you’re Superwoman (or man), it takes a lot of time to give everyone marching orders. Spend a couple of hours with them to convey the vision, and give up control at the end. Don’t let neuroticism eat up the time you’d rather be spending with your wedding party or relaxing to soak in your day!
What was your biggest splurge?
The band!! Alex and I lived across the street from an underground jazz club for years, and we saw Quinn DeVeaux & the Blue Beat Review months before we got engaged. Separately, we both told our friends we had to have that band for our wedding. They let us use our own playlists through the ceremony and dinner, and then they put on a show of their songs and some wedding favorites. They even learned “Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding on our request.
What was your favorite detail?
We bought many strings of lights to hang over the dining and dancing areas. As this is not typically an event space, we spent a couple of days on ladders with ropes to pull them into precise position. They added warmth and a dinner party vibe that we really enjoyed.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Our photographer Kolby has been Alex’s friend since middle school. She helped us keep everyone in line and capture some hilariously in-character photos of the whole party. The evening of the wedding had one of the most magnificent sunsets I’ve ever seen, so Kolby snuck Alex and I away in the middle of the party to go take photos by ourselves with the sky. It was a great way to talk to each other away from the crowd, and was the most special part of our night.
Photography: Kolby Skidmore Photography & Design • Venue: Tenbrink Winery • Flowers: Oakland Flower Mart • Rentals: Classic Party Rentals • Linens: Linen Tablecloth • Band: Quinn DeVeaux & the Blue Beat Review • Bridesmaids Dresses: Kate Spade • Wedding Gown Designer: J.Crew • Shoes: Nordstrom Rack • Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Chookhare & Sons • Ties: J.Crew • Men’s Shoes: Cole Haan
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 resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.