Our fab BAB contributor Tori had a simple goal: to have a lovely little, perfectly reasonably priced 10K wedding. But Tori is an only child – and her parents just weren’t having it – despite the fact that she actually writes for a little blog called The Broke-Ass Bride. Tori’s wedding ended up costing a little more than 10K – in fact, she’s a little too embarrassed to tell you just how much it cost here. Sometimes the best laid plans…ya da ya da ya da. Never the less, Tori’s big, slightly less than broke-ass day is absolutely worth sharing. There’s plenty of gorgeous wedding inspiration and great advice to absorb here! Congrats, Tori and Trey!
Victoria (Tori) Ward &
Wade (Trey) Traynham III
His- Outside Machinist and Ship Builder New
Hers- Civil Servant in the Mental Health field by day & The BrokeAss Bride CAI/GOI Goddess by night.
Wedding Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Wedding Date: Friday, September 21st, 2012
Wedding Budget: I wanted to do the entire wedding for $10,000.00 or less but I’m an only child and my parents weren’t having any of my budget wedding nonsense! They wanted to throw me the wedding of my dreams and that was the sweetest thing! So we compromised. I saved money on the details, my wedding dress, the bridesmaids’ & flower girls’ dresses, and where ever else I could and they splurged on the big stuff like venue, catering, photography, & florist.
Approximate Guest Count: 75 guests
How Would you describe your wedding?
My theme was an amalgamation of concepts. I wanted a fall theme, I loved the color combination of orange and blue, shabby chic, and my honey is a hunter, so I wanted to include some of the things he loves too! I ended up describing it to my vendors as a woodsy shabby chic. Trey had a custom camo tie & pocket square. The cake had acorn cake toppers and one of my guests brought acorn shaped cake pops!
It was very family oriented and kid friendly. I encouraged my guests to bring their kids. I remember going to weddings as a kid and being bored out of my mind. So, I did everything I could to make sure the kids had a blast! It was a relaxed, fun, family-oriented affair.
What was your favorite part of your wedding?
There are several. Trey and I are not religious people but we do have religious family members so we decided to have a ring warming ceremony. Since the rings were warmed prior to the ceremony, I didn’t get to see it while it was happening but I was truly touched to see the photos! It was one of my absolute favorite things about the wedding even though I never saw it.
Trey is a big dude. His ring size is 16! When we exchanged rings, my hands were so sweaty that his ring wouldn’t go on! There was a ripple of laughter through the guests because they all knew that I’d been waiting 11 years for this and the ring wouldn’t go! We did get it on, but it was a moment of levity in the ceremony that I’ll never forget.
During the reception, we had an open mic instead of scheduled speeches because the members of our wedding party were all very shy. So I wanted to leave the option to say something open ended. I made a speech and then, the Best Man spoke. We knew that took a lot for him so it really meant a lot. But to my great surprise, my Flower Girl and Nephew took the mic! They are my new husband’s niece and nephew and I’ve known them all since birth. They were adorable and they spoke about how happy they were that I was finally their Aunt and how much they loved me. It was adorable. Then my Ring Bearer took the mic. He’s my Cousin’s 3 year old son and he wanted to say something like the big kids did but the second he spoke into the mic, he spooked and ran. It was too cute. I’ll treasure those memories for the rest of my life.
What did you splurge on?
I splurged on my guest book. I found this amazing seller on Etsy (Lizziemade) who makes hand bound books! I fell in love. The book was $80.00 but it was so worth it. Lizziemade and I collaborated on the creation of this book and it turned out to be a, one of a kind, truly special book that I will be displaying in my home for the rest of my life! I also spent $100.00 on custom buttons and temporary tattoos from another Etsy seller Ali of Buttonhead. And now I have a beautiful monogram to keep and use however I want forever! My mom splurged on the photographer who I absolutely fell in love with when we met him & his wife at a wedding fair in Norfolk. And my dad splurged on the venue and the catering that was worth every penny!
We saved on the actual wedding date. Did you know that a week day wedding is significantly less than a weekend wedding? We saved about $2,000.00 by reserving the ceremony site and the reception hall for a Friday. We also got grandfathered into a lower rate for the venue because we booked prior to their big renovations. I also chose not to have a wedding coordinator which saved us about $1,000.00. I also saved on my wedding gown. I bought it at a bridal consignment store in Hampton, VA for a fraction of it’s retail value. I ordered my veil for $35.00 through an Etsy seller and I made my own aisle runner from canvas drop clothes that I found at Walmart.
One of my friends and I picked out the fabric for my bridesmaids’ & flower girls’ dresses and she made them for cost as a wedding gift. My Aunt Jane bought the burlap and made all the table runners and the ring barer pillow as a wedding gift. My Aunt Hilary paid for the marriage commissioner, and for the professional art design of our save the dates, and she helped my mom and I shop for the milk glass that held the flower arrangements.
Was there anything you would have done differently?
Looking back, yes. The venue I chose had a list of vendors that we could choose from. I went off the pre-approved grid to find my baker, my photographer, my make-up artist, & my hair dresser. I should have chosen a different florist. While the florist was well known and recognized in the area, he did not listen to my vision and he chose to confront me about the flowers the day of my wedding! While our flowers were beautiful, I simply didn’t like the florist’s attitude and his reluctance to communicate with me prior to the wedding day. If I had it to do over, I’d find my own florist.
What was your biggest challenge in planning?
There were 2 big issues. It took me forever to find a dress that I liked. Dress shopping for me was not that one single “AHA!” moment. I tried dress after dress, after dress! It was depressing and exhausting. Until I found my dress in a consignment shop! Four months of searching and I found a pre-owned wedding dress that must have belonged to a very thin, very petite bride. I had to have a corset back put in and had to have length added but the price was right and the dress was perfect.
The date was the was another problem in the planning. We saved a bunch of dough by choosing to have our wedding on a Friday, but the date proved to be a problem with a lot of my family members who live out of state. Thankfully at least some of my extended family were able to make the trip for our wedding. My Dad’s family came down from Northern Virginia. The whole brood came with spouses and significant others. My Aunt and her family traveled from Pennsylvania. My Grandmother (who’s my only surviving grandparent) and my Uncle made the trip to Virginia from Maine. My Grandmother had a fall and suffered a head injury a few months before and there was some question as to whether or not she’d be able to come. I burst into tears of joy and relief when I saw my “Nammy” after the ceremony.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself?
It is imperative that you have some sort of rehearsal so that every one knows where they are supposed to be and what their role is. We skipped this step in order to save money. Delegate responsibilities to those offering assistance. And have a wedding aftermath plan. After our wedding the venue staff swarmed me with questions about what to keep and what to toss. Our biggest mistake was staying until all our guests had left. We should have left an hour before the scheduled end of the party and left specific instructions with our family and wedding party as to what to collect and what to leave for the clean up crew.
Thirty minutes before the scheduled end of our reception, the venue staff started clearing the hall! I was completely overwhelmed by the inundation of questions. The bridal changing room was locked and we still had all of our bridal party belongings down there as they were shoeing us out the door! Thinking back, I should have been more prepared and I should have prepared my friends and family better.
What were your top 5 favorite things?
1) Ring Warming & the big ring exchange snafoo!
2) The cohesion of my DJ, my photographer, my hairdresser, and my makeup artist. They all got along incredibly well and seemed to have the same easy going professionalism.
3) Open mic speeches
4) The cake was beautiful and amazingly delicious!
5) The overwhelming support of my family and friends
Top 5 least favorite?
I do wish that more of my long distance family could have made it to the wedding, and I had envisioned the table arrangements differently, but in the grand scheme of things, none of that matters. I married my best friend. we had a lovely ceremony we were able to share our love and joy with the people who know and love us. In the end, that’s all that matters! And for that reason, it was perfect.
Best/worst wedding advice?
I really didn’t get a lot of wedding advice. But the best advice I’ve ever gotten in general is to pick your battles. And I applied that advice to my wedding planning. Being an only child, I knew I wouldn’t win the budget wedding war. My parents divorced when I was eleven but they both love me fiercely and I know that I am spoiled. But I’m not ungrateful! I chose to get my broke-ass bride fix in the details.
Budget Break Down:
Tori’s folks footed the bill for the big ticket items like venue, cake, florist, caterer, & photography. Tori has chosen to only indicate what she and Trey ended up paying for here.
Save the dates= $50.00
The dress including alterations= $1,000.00
Aisle Runner= $20.00 (hand made by me)
Table Runners= $0 (hand made gift from Aunt)
Hair- $60.00/ Makeup- $35.00
Milk Glass- $0 (gift from mom & aunt)
Guest book- $80.00
Paper Lanterns- $15.00
Buttons & Tattoos- $100.00
Pinata filler- $25.00
Flower Girl Leaves – $15.00
Flower Girl Baskets- $30.00
His Tux- $165.00
His Tie & Pocket Square- $65.00
Photo Booth- $1, 000.00
Marriage Commissioner- $0 (gift from aunt)
Rings- His =$500 Hers =$300
My total was about $4,000.00 after the veil, shoes, jewelry, and gifts for Bridesmaids.
Valerie Todesco – Professional Makeup Artist
Clay – Hair
LizzieMade - wedding guest book
Buttonhead - custom wedding favor buttons and temporary tattoos
Pearl Beach Treasures - groom’s camo tie
Bejoyful Paper - wedding stationery
Indigotwin Weddings - acorn cake topper
Ellen Marie Designs – bridal headpiece/veil
Thanks so much for sharing your special day with us, you guys! And special thanks to Love Minus Zero for providing the wedding pics!