Broke-Ass Category: Lydia


BAB Throwback is a series that highlights some of our favorite posts from the days of yore, and helps bring you the Real Weddings you’ve read about in our book, “The Broke-Ass Bride’s Wedding Guide.” Because we’re firm believers that photos help tell the story, we want to help you match the blog post to the Sample Budgets from Real Brides found in the book (p. 194-223). 

Originally posted 10/18/2010

A few months back, The Broke-Ass Bride joined up with the ever-so-darling Suthi from Picotte Photo and held a contest for free wedding photography!

Well here are the winners, in all their married glory! Congratulations to Ila and Hiroki!

Because Ila and Hiroki won the contest so close to their actual wedding date, rather than shooting an engagement session, Suthi tagged along for their charming Santa Ana courthouse wedding.

Ila and Hiroki then had a wonderfully intimate reception with close friends and family at Old Vine Cafe.

{On Saving Money} Ila: We didn’t really “try” to save money, but since my sisters and I are a crafty bunch, we did a lot of DIY, which ultimately saved us a pretty penny. Also, not splurging on a wedding dress helped. We found a beautiful ivory dress in the prom dress section at Bloomingdales; when I tried it on, I knew that this was the dress. So comfy! And not restricting on the belly! (to ensure that delicious food goes into the belly).

Ila potted baby succulents and made fabric birds to scatter around the tables.

She and her sister also made strawberry-prosecco jellies, jarred them, and decorated them using leftover fabric from past craft projects, so the cost was really low. Read more about her details here.

Place cards, menus, and table numbers were printed at home on paper from the Paper Source.

{On their One Big Splurge} Ila: FOOD. My husband was gung-ho about serving good food, so we had our dinner at our favorite restaurant. Our budget was $10,000, and most of the budget went to food and wine!

Ila: Would I have done anything differently? NOPE. I think we did a darn good job for a 4-month engagement, and it was *the* party of our lives. Our small guest count kept it cozy like a family dinner instead of a meet and greet, and people still talk about the food to this day.

{Ila’s Best Bridal Advice}

I would tell you that research is important, but you knew that already (that’s why you’re reading The Broke-Ass Bride, right?). So here’s a few tips from me:

1. Brush up your computer skills. Knowing html, css, and Photoshop {Eds: Or PicMonkey} will save you money. If you can’t figure it out, make your husband-to-be learn it.

2. Buy stuff like card stock paper on Amazon or Overstock. It’s waaaaay cheaper.

3. Be nice to your friends, because they’re the ones who’re going to help you the most during this grueling process. Seriously, there’s no excuse for going bridezilla on your friends.

4. Eff “tackiness.” I bet your Mom thinks that your poof veil is “tacky.” and that Aunt Jo thinks that the charger plate is “tacky” because it ain’t bone china. Something is going to be tacky to someone, so why bother?

5. Know your boundaries, your cans and can’ts. It’ll save your sanity. When my fourth attempt at macaron favors went kaput, I gave up and made something that I know I’m good at instead (jams and jellies).

6. Handy-pack wet wipes will save your day (from wine and spaghetti sauce and other things that are attracted to wedding dresses).

*  *  *  *  *

{Ila + Hiroki’s Budget Breakdown}

Location: Old Vine Cafe, Costa Mesa
Number of Attendees: 54
Meal: 4-course wine paired meal, details here

Room Fee: $500 (we had a Sunday supper wedding, which slashed the room fee down by A LOT)
Food + Wine + extra Prosecco for toasts (for 54 people): $6000, including tax and gratuity
Bride’s Outfit: Dress (a prom dress from Bloomingdales! $275) + shoes ($65) + custom-made fascinator ($40) + jewelry (something borrowed – $0) = $375 + tax
Groom’s Outfit: Suit (already owned) + chucks ($40) + cufflinks ($40) + necktie ($60) = $215 + tax
Bouquet and Bout: $175
Flower Bouquet for parents: $50
Paper for invites, menu, placecards, and stamps: roughly under $100 (not including printer ink)
Favors: $45 for jam jars, including shipping/tax
Centerpieces: succulents ($45) + pots (donated from Mom in law – $0) + cactus soil ($10) = $55
Centerpieces: fabric birds (hand-made = $0) + wooden stands ($5) = $5
Thank You Cards (including stamps): $120
Domain name for wedding website: $10
Rings: groom ($1100) + bride ($1600) = $2700
Total Cost = A wee over $10,000
What I should add:
– free photography that I won on Broke-Ass Bride and Picotte Photography (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!)
– free photobooth (a wedding present from my friends who are professional photographers)
– free day-of coordination (from my friend who just opened her own wedding planning business – A Good Affair, FYI)
– free invite design by my baby sister
– random things borrowed from friends and family, like picture frames, easels, bird cages, and other props

*  *  *  *  *

Thank you so much to Ila and Hiroki for sharing their gorgeous day with you all!
And a side note, Ila writes an adorable blog called I Nom Things. So check it out. She has great wedding recap posts, scope them all out here!

Many thanks also to Picotte Photography for all these swoon-worthy images. See more of Ila and Hiroki here.

  • 5/29

    You guys have a copy of our book, “The Broke-Ass Bride’s Wedding Guide,” right? Right. That’s what I thought. (If you don’t, get thee to Amazon and snag it, yo!) Since you have it, and you’ve read it cover to cover, you surely are familiar with the Sample Budgets from Real Brides section (p. 194-223) that illustrate in words how these amazing couples pulled off their big day with the budgets they had to work with. And that’s all well and good to have the words, but what do those weddings actually look like? Oh, well. That’s where I’ve got your back, homedizz. Many of the weddings had been featured on The Broke-Ass Bride prior to the book’s release, but I’mma go ahead and bring that sexy back. So, every once in a while, we’ll have a BAB Throwback, featuring a wedding or post that visually coincides with the words in the guide. Pickin’ up what I’m throwing down? Let’s get it going with Dana and Sheldon’s amazing celebration, featured on page 201 of the book! – Christen

    Are you ready for a glorious Southern DIY wedding?  Many many thanks goes to Dana from the deliciously fun blog, Crafty Minx. This is her and her love’s absolutely whimsical wedding with so many crafty details that will tickle your fancy.  Without further ado, read on!

    Our wedding was an outdoor wedding at my parents’ ranch in Indianola, Oklahoma. We invited around 150 people and there were about 130 guests at the wedding. We decided to go with what we had for seating and talked my dad into baling enough hay for the wedding. The quilts were collected from both sides of our families and some friends. It was so special having so many family heirlooms be a part of our big day. I also talked my dad into letting us use some of his trees to make stumps for the aisle runners.

    The whole wedding was a DIY extravaganza. I made everything; all of our stationery (save the dates, invitations, thank you cards), the center pieces, buntings, (cup)cake toppers, my dress, our bridesmaids’ dresses, boutonnières, guest book love notes, our photobooth, button favors and packaging, an activity table and handmade coloring books for the kids and the napkins. My dad and the men in our family built our dance floor, cut logs for aisle runners, made rustic wedding signs to have in a few places on the highway to lead to the wedding, and turned my parents’ ranch into a beautiful place for a wedding. A family friend made all of our flower arrangements for us. The week of the wedding was insane with everyone we know helping out with some kind of project.

    We chose to try and spend the least amount possible and still have an amazing wedding because we didn’t understand why weddings are so expensive. Why spend $50,000 or more on one day? We saw this as a challenge and I think we succeeded. All of our guests said it was the best wedding they’ve ever been to and I believe that is because we put having fun and thinking of our guests in front of spending money and thinking of ourselves.

    We didn’t really “splurge” anywhere, but there were a few things that we had to buy and not make ourselves. We rented a few items that we needed and hired an affordable professional photographer.  We chose to serve a full meal and have drinks, which were probably the most expensive parts of the wedding, but doing it ourselves saved a lot of money. We also bought as many things as we could for our wedding party as a thank you to them for all of the help they provided us preparing for the wedding.

    We had a fairly casual wedding so we decided to have Oklahoma comfort food: Smoked brisket and chicken, mac and cheese, baked beans, and coleslaw. We also had a BBQ sauce fountain, which was very popular with our guests. There was a cupcake buffet with 7 flavors of cupcakes and pecan pie (my husband’s favorite). Our family made all of the food: My dad smoked all the meat the day before the wedding and our moms and aunts made everything else. I even helped frost cupcakes the day before the wedding. For drinks, we had tea and lemonade, two kegs of beer, two cases of wine and a couple of bottles of Champagne for the wedding party.

    My absolute favorite moment was leaving the reception after the speeches and dances and taking pictures at sundown with my new husband. Having 30 minutes away from everything was perfection. This was the photographer’s idea and I will love her forever for it.

    When asked what they would have done differently, if anything? Dana responded, “Since I didn’t have a wedding planner, all of my ideas and timelines were in my head. I would have written down more of my plans for the actual day of and shared even more with my friends than I did so they wouldn’t have been stressing about getting everything right.”

    Dana’s advice for those in wedding planning mode right now:

    A wedding is just one day in your life and you probably won’t remember most of it, so don’t stress out if something doesn’t go right. Your guests won’t realize something is out of place if you don’t make a big deal about it. Have fun and enjoy the day that you put so much work into!

    Google documents is your friend! I used it for the guest lists and keeping track of our budget. I shared the docs with my fiancé, best friend and mother so we could have access to them at any time and update them as needed. It kept me from having to worry about sending updated information and doing everything myself. If my mom wanted me to invite someone, she would add them to the list.

    Dana and Sheldon kindly shared their wedding budget with us with this amazing breakdown.  As well as this information:

    We spent about $6,000 total.

    The following items were free!:

    • Venue – Having a beautiful location for the ceremony really cut decoration costs too.
    • Tent – A friend of the family, the owner of a local car dealership, loaned us the tent for the reception.
    • Officiant – A mutual friend, she did an amazing job!
    • Tables – Borrowed from my mom’s church
    • Back up location in case of rain– Mom’s church, thankfully we didn’t have to use it, but we were so glad we had it just in case and it was less than 3 minutes away from the wedding location.
    • Seating at the ceremony – Since the ceremony and reception were in two different parts of the ranch, we used the rented chairs at the reception and opted for hay bales from my dad’s ranch covered in vintage quilts for the ceremony.

    Congratulations again to Dana and Sheldon!  Thank you so very much for sharing your beautiful day with us.  Thanks also go to Juniper Photography for all the images.  An incredibly amazing job of capturing the day of love!


    Lydia from Ever Ours

  • 6/13

    A wedding in LA for 75 guests for under $20,000?  Check out how this couple did it with an eco-friendly mindset too!  Oh, and complete with karaoke! Check out the details from their fantastic planner, Arley at The bride and groom's venue, Smog Shoppe, was their  biggest expense.  Bride and groom spent a total cost of attire was $800 and their wedding party wore…

    Read the full article →


    Are you ready for a glorious Southern DIY wedding?  Many many thanks goes to Dana from the deliciously fun blog, Crafty Minx. This is her and her love's absolutely whimsical wedding with so many crafty details that will tickle your fancy.  Without further ado, read on! Our wedding was an outdoor wedding at my parents’ ranch in Indianola, Oklahoma.  We invited around 150 people and…

    Read the full article →
  • 2/14

    What I love about this wedding is that they were really able to stick with the traditions, but still include some details that really spoke to them and were all about them.  The bright colors and decor are so bright and cheery and definitely added such a fun element! Their centerpieces of simple glass vessels filled with apples and oranges is just the kind of…

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    Hope everyone's 2011 is starting out with a bang and lots of throwing confetti!  So excited to share this little charm of wedding with you all! Lilia and Lou both come from enormous families and while the thought of eloping had surfaced, they decided they still wanted to surround themselves with 175 loved ones with a wedding.  Lilia, the bride was kind enough to share…

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    I'm having a ball sharing these weddings with you all.  What I've truly loved is the fact that couples have always managed to allow their personalities to truly shine through for their wedding day and have had fun sharing it with their guests! — Jen and Stephen's wedding is no exception!  I love how they infused two different cultures into their wedding day. The venues…

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  • 11/17

    Lydia, from Ever Ours here, with a really neat wedding that showcases the true personality of the couple through their wedding, and includes a budget breakdown! Many thanks to Amanda and Aaron for sharing some real down-to-earth advice, behind the scenes details, as well as their adorable images by Laura Dye Photography via Two Bright Lights. --- What kind of theme were you going for…

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