Names: Peach and Jersey
Occupation: IT geeks
Wedding location: Little Gardens
Wedding Date: October 19, 2014
Budget: $15,000 – $20,000
How would you describe your wedding: We had an intimate, simple, outdoor garden wedding with a rockin’ party afterward. The ceremony was short and sweet, spiritual but fun, and we wrote our own vows. Afterward, everyone enjoyed cocktails, dinner and a fun party.
What was your favorite part of your wedding? The exit! Our venue didn’t allow anything thrown or flaming (like sparklers), so we provided our guests with party horns and glowstick necklaces. When Jersey and I were standing inside waiting for everyone to finish assembling outside, our ears were met with the most glorious, raucous, synchronized HONK-HONK-HONK-ing of the party horns! It was so funny and happy and celebratory that our faces just lit up with joy.
What did you splurge on? His suit. But we felt strongly that a perfectly tailored Armani suit is something that he can wear for YEARS to come … unlike me and my wedding dress. We don’t regret it a bit.
What did you save on? Many things!
- We opted to not have favors. Instead, my mom and dad graciously handled our out-of-town welcome bags, bless them!
- My dress — I budgeted about $2000.00, but found mine for $800.00!
- Programs — my Maid of Honor designed the gorgeous things, then called in a favor for printing them. (Rumor has it that our little 100-count program printing halted the work the printers were doing on the latest major Clinique ads. NBD.)
- We didn’t do name cards per person, but used a collage picture frame to list out each table’s people. (And saved a damn tree.)
- I printed out table numbers for free from Pinterest on card stock and used the venue’s included table clips to hold them.
- We double-purposed the bridesmaid bouquets as our table centerpieces.
- I also wasn’t afraid to bargain or offer to pay in full up front for a percent discount, which easily saved us at least a thousand.
Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? Uhhh, yeah. I wrote an entire separate post about our blown budget. Go read this post for more details. But in short, I wish I’d known then what I know now: read the fine print, plan for the unexpected, ask more questions than you think are necessary and do not, DO NOT, pay one cent more for anything than you think you should.
What was your biggest challenge in planning? The guest list and RSVPs. With such big families on both sides, it was tough to choose only 100 to invite. And when about 10 people who RSVP’ed yes didn’t show up on our big day, it was such a letdown … It meant that we could have asked 10 *other* people who we really wanted there to come! Planning a wedding 100% showed me the importance of the RSVP.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? You can only control what you can control. Do your best to think through all the details, ask questions and don’t apologize for it. But when the big day arrives, LET IT GO. Things will go wrong, but your only job on your day is to be there and be happy and marry your person. Let everyone else freak out about the curveballs! Also, wine is a requirement when wedding planning. For realz.
What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?
- Seeing him standing there, waiting for me, while my dad walked me down the aisle. It made it all worth it.
- Having so many loved ones, from all over the US, in one place on that day just for us. Warm fuzzies galore.
- Dancing with my Dad.
- That we made our wedding day unique to our wants.
- I’m finally Mrs. Jersey!!!
Top 5 least favorite?
- Hands down, I hated feeling like I was under a microscope with everyone on the wedding weekend. “Are you okay?” “Are you sure you’re okay??” “You seem nervous.” Stop looking at me, swan.
- The day went so fast!!! We did manage to thank everyone personally, but it was all a beautiful blur.
- RSVPs: We hated having to hound people to tell us if they were coming. Nothing makes you feel more lame than inviting someone and they can’t be bothered with responding to you. Plus the no-shows, just grrrr.
- I wish there had been more time to spend with our out of town guests. We did our best, but it was still difficult.
- It’s a little thing, but I only got one bite of our wedding cake that day! My sweet tooth may have cried a little.
What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? I wouldn’t say I had any bad advice from anyone. However, there were more than a few well-meaning but quite obvious and/or obnoxious suggestions. But I was all: Yo. I got this.
The best? On the wedding day, take it all in. Look around and mentally note all the details, the people, the love in the room and enjoy it. We did, as much as we could.
Any other bits of wisdom? Yes!
- Brides and grooms: take 15-30 minutes the morning of your wedding day and just gather yourself. It helped me a bunch to have some quiet time to reflect, calm my mind and prepare my control-freak self to let go of the planning mentality.
- If you find you and your partner are covering much of the costs of your wedding (as we did), a long engagement will help tremendously. We were able to spread out the payments and time them so that we didn’t go into debt. And same goes for parents, too.
- Budget for the bridal party gifts.It adds up quickly, no matter how much you try to DIY or Etsy the hell out of it.
Venue: $13,000.00 *included: ceremony and reception space, seating, decor, linens, all florals, food/drink, cake, lighting, wedding planner and day-of coordinator
Dress + alterations: Enzoani Beautiful, $1040.00
Veil and bling belt: $250.00
His suit: Armani, with dress shirt and tailoring: $2400.00
Pearl necklace, my great-grandmother’s: Gifted
Cuff bracelet and earrings: 150.00
Badgley Mischka flats: $60.00
Photography by Lee Patterson (engagement session + day of, digital-only package): $1800.00
Videography: WeddingMix, $650.00
Save the Date Magnets: MagnetStreet $180.00 ← ordered waaaaay too many. Rookie mistake!
Rehearsal dinner invites: MagnetStreet $50.00
Thank You cards: MagnetStreet $72.00
Invitations: MagnetStreet $568.00
Guest Book: Shutterfly self-made $72.00
Wedding bands: $2300.00
Bridal party and parent gifts: $1000.00
Hair/makeup: $500.00 — with trials for both and the day-of, both onsite
Hotel suite, 3 nights: FREE – they were comp’ed for us due to a glitch with our hotel block!
Rehearsal Dinner: $450.00, but FREE – We paid for it ourselves with gift cards we’d received since the engagement, so $0.00!
Actual Total: $25,441.00
List of all vendors.
Venue: Little Gardens, Lawrenceville, GA
Photography: Lee Patterson
DJ: Lethal Rhythms
Officiant: Jeremiah O’Keefe-West
Hair: Joseph’s Salon, Lawrenceville, GA
Makeup: Andrea Carter
Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn, NE Atlanta
Dress: Ivory Bridal & Formal, Smyrna, GA
Suit: Saks Fifth Avenue, Atlanta, GA
Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Jim N’ Nicks BBQ