Get ready to let your geek flags fly, BABs, because today we have a whole heaping spoonful of it. Matt (who was the one who answered all of our questions – a possible BAB first?! ) and Asia had a very sweet, very fun, very budget-concious Minecraft-themed wedding. They blog about their life over at Happily Married Nerds, and after sussing out this awesomeness, you’ll definitely want to head on over and see what they’re up to.
Name: Matt & Asia Dunn
Occupation: I work for Apple as an internal product training developer and instructor. I also write iOS game reviews and articles for TouchGen.com.
Wedding location: Beatnik Studios, Sacramento, Calif.
Wedding Date: April 22, 2012
Budget: $5,000 (although we went over by a couple thousand)
How would you describe your wedding: As people have probably already seen, our wedding was very different than most. Well, at least the reception was. The ceremony itself was fairly traditional save for the fact that my old roommate/good friend married us in place of an ordained minister. (He was hilarious. It was awesome.) Of course, the biggest way the wedding traveled out of traditional territory was the Minecraft-themed reception area, complete with a cave entrance, indoor trees and plenty of Minecraft characters and creatures.
What was your favorite part of your wedding? The Minecraft-themed reception decorations are by far the part of the wedding we enjoyed the most, and the part we are most proud of. Everything came out BETTER than what we had imagined, which is rare when it comes to crazy pie-in-the-sky ideas like the ones we had!
What did you splurge on? We decided to splurge on the cost that we really feel matters most with weddings: the photographers. As you can see, the pictures/video for our wedding came about absolutely incredible. We were friends with the photographers, so we got a bit of a discount, but that was still by far the biggest cost of our wedding. It was worth every penny.
The second-most expensive aspect of our wedding came from having to borrow and transport the awesome Minecraft figures. The artist, Greg Aronowitz, let us rent them for a mere $500 … total. Normally these figures would cost a few thousand EACH to rent out. The biggest cost was not the insanely tiny rental fee though. Rather, it was the cost of gas to transport the pieces to and from L.A. and Sacramento.
What did you save on? Since we built all the environmental Minecraft decorations ourselves, we saved some money on having them made. We had to pay for the boxes and paint, but the labor was free since it was done by us and our awesome friends.
All of the floral/botanical work was done by my aunt and her daughter, who just happen to be an extremely talented at what they do. Jackie did everything for free, with my grandparents chipping in half of the cost to help offset what Jackie had to pay for all the mushrooms, vines, grass and other plants. This saved us several thousand dollars, and really was the benefit of being related to a very talented florist.
The owner of Beatnik Studios gave us a killer deal on the place due to my promise that the location would probably receive quite a bit of Internet publicity. Luckily, I was right! Two good friends, Zach and Heather, donated all the sandwiches, and one of Asia’s aunts made almost all of the pies. Finally, Jones Soda donated all 150 custom Minecraft sodas due to our involvement with them for the proposal at MineCon. I was not expecting this, and it saved us over $600!
Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? Considering how perfectly everything went, I honestly can’t think of anything in a true negative. I suppose if I were to say one thing, it would be to put more planning into how to build the Minecraft trees BEFORE starting setup the day before.
What was your biggest challenge in planning? As mentioned above, the Minecraft trees were by far the most difficult part of all the setup/planning process, mainly because we could only theorize on how they would work. Luckily, I have two good friends with very creative/engineering minds, and they were able to make them work. Fun fact: the trees were a wreck the day of the wedding, and my friend Zach built them all up just in time!
One of the other challenges was finding a way to transport the Minecraft figures. The artist had a tendency to not reply to emails for long periods of time, and up until two weeks before our wedding, I didn’t even know for sure when/where we would be picking them up. If we had to make our own figures, it would have required much more work.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? I think it’s just that: we learned how important planning is for getting married. I’ve always been a more spur-of-the-moment kind of guy, with Asia being a bit better at taking things slow and planning them out. My improv skills (along with the friends who helped) were key on the day of, but Asia’s knack for making to-do lists and writing things out was essential to getting everything we needed taken care of. If there’s one good habit I picked up from planning this wedding, it’s that I know make lists about EVERYTHING. Groceries, home needs, chores, yard work, you name it. I use a fantastic iPhone app called “Clear” for these lists now (no, I’m not getting paid anything for them, it’s just an awesome app haha).
What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?
- The Trees (and the cave!)
- The Minecraft figures
- The “grass block” centerpieces
- The Minecraft-themed Jones Soda
- All of our incredible family/friends who helped make everything possible!
- The Minecraft “grass block” centerpieces
- The chains and vines on the wall behind the cake
- Everyone who helped prep and setup
- The pies!
The Minecraft diamond necklace (from Jinx.com)
Top 5 least favorite?
- Setting up the trees. It was extremely difficult to get them looking right and keeping them from collapsing.
- Having only 4 months to plan!
- The stress from worrying about various parties coming together properly.
- Things costing a few thousand more than expected.
- Having to drive to/from L.A. twice for the Minecraft figures. Definitely worth it though.
What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? It’s not as much “advice” as it is a saying I’ve always heard. People have tried to tell me that a wedding is for the bride, not the groom, and that I should simply nod my head and say yes to whatever she wants without providing my own input. To be honest, if you start off your marriage with no input as the future husband, what will happen after you’re married? Just as with married decisions, decisions for a wedding ceremony should be done together. Yes, there are certainly decisions that are more slanted toward the bride than the groom!
The best? I remember Geoff, one of our photographers, reminding me that this wedding was about US, not about the decorations, the food, the location, etc. After spending so much work on all of those things, it was nice to be reminded that the really was about my fiancée and I and our love and commitment.
If you’ve been married for more than a year, what have been some challenges?
Sorry, can’t answer that yet. No challenges after 1 ½ months!
Any other bits of wisdom? As my photographer told me, I would encourage all couples to plan your wedding around what YOU want. This will (hopefully) be the only wedding you have, and it’s something you will remember for the rest of your lives. Sure, it’s great if guests have a good time, but the most important thing is that YOU have a memorable wedding for YOU. It’s easy to succumb to pressures from parents that are helping pay for things, or to worry about not being “normal”, but you will only be truly happy with your big day if you and your loved one focus on what is special to you two, and leave everything else out of it. It’s not her day, or your parents’ day, it’s BOTH of your day.
This is the first time I’ve sat down and done this, so I’m honestly kind of nervous at how much this actually cost! Quick note: we were originally planning on a budget of $5,000, but it quickly became obvious that wasn’t going to happen. I sold some Apple stocks, and shot for a budget of UNDER $10,000 instead!
Uline.com – $115 total
- 100 x 12” Boxes: $115 (shipping cost included)
Home Depot – $135 total
- 20 x Spray Paint Cans: $100
- Masks: $10
- Easy-spray attachments: $25
Random Building Materials – $50 total
- duct tape
- shipping tape
- fishing line
- mounting tape
- glue sticks
Material for the Cave – DONATED
MineCraft Figures – $1,470 total
- Rental fee to artist: $500
- Van rental fee for both trips (from Enterprise) $159 x 2 = $320
- Gas for both trips $325 x 2 = $650
Fed Ex Minecraft Art Prints – $300 total
Photographery/Video, The Goodness (with a significant discount due to friendship) – $3,500 total
- Photos: $3,200
- Guest Book: $300
- Video: FREE
Food – $80 total (estimate)
- sandwiches: DONATED ($100+ value)
- Jones Soda: DONATED ($600+ value)
- Pies: DONATED ($200+ value) + a couple from Marie calendars: $30
- Tea Makers/Servers: BORROWED
- Plasticware/Plates/Cups: $50 (estimate)
ALL Floral/Plant decorations: DONATED from JackiesFlowers.net (relative)
Wedding Location (Beatnik-studios.com) – $2,300 total
- main rental fee for 1 day + setup (with significant discount): $2,000
- fee for extra time to setup (also discounted): $300
Rent-Rite Rental service – $270 total
- cocktail tables
- 125 folding chairs
- various linens
Cake (custom made by Jenny Biggs: firstname.lastname@example.org – $275 (I paid her around $75 extra because it was awesome!)
Wedding Rehearsal Dinner @ Boon Boon Café in Sacramento - $62 total*
*I only paid for members of the wedding party, everyone else paid for their own food. Asia and I ate for free!
TOTAL APPROXIMATE COST: $9,700
That’s right, we were a mere $300 from our budget ceiling, which was twice as much as we originally intended. Still, $10,000 for a wedding like the one we had is pretty damn cheap if I do say so. We would have spent possibly double what we did if we didn’t have so many generous friends, family, and strangers. Just the floral/plant work itself would have set us back thousands of dollars! Thank God for those people, and thank God for Apple stock.
Congratulations and all the very best in your geekery-filled life together!