As you may or may not have heard, we had our little budget wedding in October! I’ve been a little mum on the subject because man it turns out that planning a wedding, no matter how low-key you think it may be, is incredibly exhausting.
When I first started thinking about how we’d do our budget wedding, I did the first thing I always do when I don’t know how to do something: started Googling. While a fair amount of stuff came up, I couldn’t help but notice that pretty much anything I would read that was under $5000 was stories about couples who threw really small ceremonies and had another reception for friends/family at a later date. The cost of those receptions? Conveniently never mentioned. So I decided to document my attempts to do the whole shebang for as little as possible (ideally around $5k).
The numbers have all been tallied and the grand total that we spent on our 40 person wedding and reception+the larger reception we threw the next day+our mini-honeymoon in West Virginia came out to:
While it’s a little bigger than my original goal, I am beyond happy with all of our choices and I feel really good about where we ended up. It’s a lot of money, to be sure, but it was a meaningful day for a lot of people aside from just us so it was money well spent.
One of my favorite budget wedding details that came together better than I ever could’ve expected was our Instax photo booth wall. We kept it incredibly simple with clothespins that cost $2.99 at Target and some jute string hung up with tape, as I recall. My brother’s a professional lighting tech in the film biz so he worked some magic with two clamp lights and nearly all the photos turned out beautifully. It was like having a photobooth but everyone was so close with each other and relaxed that it totally looked natural. It really could not have turned out more perfectly!
Our budget wedding worked! I don’t have time to write a full post but the wedding weekend turned out beautifully and I couldn’t be happier. Like That Grandma Life on Facebook to take a sneak peek at candid photos of how everything came together.
We are officially 5 days away from our budget wedding and my to-do list currently reads as follows:
*Buy pumpkins and coffee creamer
*Figure out something to use for an ice bucket
Is that really possible? Have we really properly planned and delegated and done-stuff-as-we-go to a point where I’m allowed to actually feel fairly chill the week of my wedding? I keep having this nagging feeling that we’re forgetting about a huge detail that we won’t realize until the night before but because I’m pretty sure that’s just my brain being rude I’m choosing not to let myself think about.
This week will be all about the wedding menu and prepping as much food as possible before guests start to arrive on Thursday. Our teeny house will be filled to the gills with 5 houseguests which will be SO much fun but also chaotic enough that we want to get as much done as we can before they get there. Thank heavens our upstairs apartment isn’t currently rented out because it means guest space+an extra kitchen for food prep (including a bonus fridge/freezer which has been invaluable)!
We’re officially less than 2 weeks away from our budget wedding!!! I kind of can’t believe we’re on track to pull it all off after less than 3 months of planning. We’ve definitely had our fair share of setbacks but the details are starting to come together and all things considered things have gone surprisingly smoothly: I think it helps that Conrad and I both have backgrounds in event planning and lots of connections with people who have been more than pleased to pitch in their time and talents, and keeping the ceremony small was definitely a wise move in terms of minimizing headaches. These are the details that have been occupying my mind lately:
So it turns out that when it comes to wedding planning apparently not everything goes the way you expect. Like, you think you have a great idea and that you have singlehandedly found a way to disrupt the Wedding Industrial Complex with your crafty smarts and then BOOM fate intervenes and cuts you down to size. I’m actually impressed it hasn’t happened more often yet, though I guess there’s still lots that could go wrong in the next 22 (!!!!!!!) days. Still, we’ve had a couple large annoyances. These are the 3 biggest budget wedding planning fails we’ve had to deal with so far.
I don’t think I’ve quite explained how this all came about. Our good friend/former upstairs tenant/soon-to-be-wedding-officiant Jason has a friend stationed in Bahrain. This friend has a hookup with an incredible tailor who charges around $250 to make custom suits in high-quality fabrics. Apparently a lot of soldiers take advantage of this and get stuff made to bring back. We were a little bit nervous about trusting all of the details of Conrad’s very specific style (he wanted something slim and modern) to a total stranger but Jason assured us that this friend, JT, was super hip and knew his way around a suit so we trusted him. Jt was kind enough to act as our liason and over the course of a 2 week exchange of Facebook chats he chose fabrics, worked with the tailor to get the cut right, and just yesterday sent us this gorgeous bespoke wedding suit.
Grand total with shipping? $274. The jacket and vest fit like a glove but the pants were a little more grampa-style than he was after so we took it to Christopher Schaefer Clothier for alterations. They’re gonna bring the pants in about 2″ and all told Conrad will have a bespoke suit for $399.
As for the rest of the outfit, Nordstrom Rack hit it out of the ballpark and we got the shirt, tie, and shoes for $235. That brings his outfit in at $200 under budget which is awesome because with my friend dropping out as our photographer it’s looking liker we’re gonna have to pay for it. Quick shoutout to Nordstrom Rack’s tie section: the Tommy Hilfiger Vintage collection is ON POINT. He ended up buying 4 because they were only $18 and he barely owns any ties and at first he thought he would debate about which one to wear for the wedding but this floral number is the obvious winner.
All told that puts his outfit at under $700. Whenever I look at the budget the number gives me a little bit of a heart attack but then I remember that this is also a future investment. Conrad hasn’t actually owned a suit in years and he has always purchased them off the rack. Given that he’s 6’4 you can imagine how these have fit. So we decided it was high time to get him a classic suit that would actually fit him and be appropriate for a range of events. Even though I’m really into saving money where I can, I also think it’s smart to use some of the wedding money on investments that we wouldn’totherwise be able to currently justify financially. Plus he looks dapper as hell so I really have no complaints about dropping some money on a proper wedding suit.