Broke-Ass Category: Lydia


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 their own clothes.
The bride and  and wedding planner made the centerpieces by potting small succulents and arranging them on borrowed platters and cupcake tiers.  The whole operation cost about $150.  The best part is that they doubled as favors, so nothing wasted!  The bouquet and boutonniere were done by Sherene at Wisteria Lane, and the bride was able to plant the bouquet after the wedding, she was absolutely thrilled about that.  They had no cut flowers in the entire thing.

Since it was a daytime Sunday wedding, they did two kinds of mimosas at the bar, as well as wine and beer that were bought wholesale the day before.  The catering was done by Large Marge Sustainables.   Her food is ridiculous delicious, and she uses organic and locally sourced ingredients.  Both bride and groom are vegetarians, so it was a mostly meat-free menu, which also helped keep costs down.

The groom arranged various ipod playlists to run during the event, and then around 7 they had Ground Control Karaoke come on and the guests rocked the mic all night long.  Total cost of entertainment?  $300.

Liz Huston from Photomonium, who is incredible, was another bigger ticket item, but the bride and groom didn’t want to skimp on photography.

So while this is a budget-savvy wedding blog about ways that inspire brides and grooms to save money… this wedding, while still having some bigger ticket items, is such a fantastical example of how the bride and groom prioritized for and planned their wedding budget together.  They made smart decisions with what they were willing to spend on and where they needed to be creative and save.

– Lydia from Ever Ours

  • 3/21

    This is one heck of a real wedding where the bride and groom truly made sure to show their loved ones and friends who they are as a couple. Huge thanks to YiOu, the bride, for taking the time to talk about her and her love, Sean, and their big day!  Congratulations again to Sean and YiOu!

    “Sean and I met in Cambridge, MA in February of 2008 while I was a student at MIT and he was working in an MIT lab as a research assistant. We met in a coffee shop called Toscanini’s. Sean had stayed up the night before working on taking scanning electron micrographs of a particularly good experiment and was in the coffee shop showing off the pictures to the barista. I came in, saw the pictures on his laptop and was very interested in them. He picked up his laptop, sat down next to me and started explaining away! Pretty soon we discovered we were both runners and both training for the upcoming Boston Marathon. We made a date to meet the very next morning for a run. That first run we did together we went 6 miles through the streets of Boston in a gently falling snow. The day after that we met up and went on an 18 mile long run together followed by a delicious breakfast at Toscanini’s. We’ve been running (and eating) together ever since!

    Our ceremony was held in late morning on the shore of Alpine Lake, below Bon Tempe Dam in the Marin Municipal Water District. The closest town is Fairfax, CA. Immediately after the ceremony, we had a 5K run around the perimeter of Bon Tempe Lake. After the run, we all headed to the home of some dear friends on Belvedere Lagoon and had a lovely catered lunch. The guests all drove, but Sean and I and a few of our other diehard running friends ran another 8.5 miles from Bon Tempe Lake over Mt. Tam and to downtown Mill Valley, where we had a car stashed to drive ourselves to the banquet. After all, we were still in training and needed to get our miles for the day in! Then that evening we held a Chinese Banquet at the restaurant House of Banquet in San Francisco.

    Our wedding favors were jars of home made marmalade; made from citrus we picked in friends’ backyards! We made over 120 half pint jars and designed and printed custom labels. We also baked all the apricot bars served after the ceremony. The table decorations for the lunch in Belvedere were seashells purchased from a craft store, along with potted succulents we picked up at the local florist.

    After the ceremony and 5k run, we had champagne, orange juice, strawberries and homemade apricot bars. Lunch in Belvedere was catered by Fred and Jennifer Martin and was California fare: green salad, grilled beef tenderloin, chicken with romesco sauce, corn salad, green beans and various nibbles like olives and cheeses. The Chinese Banquet was twelve courses including lobster, beef, steamed whole fish and more food than anyone could possibly finish! Wine was from Cline Vineyards in Sonoma. And instead of a wedding cake, we had 12 stone fruit pies from Fat Angel Bakery in Fairfax, CA and ice cream from Three Twins Ice Cream in San Rafael, CA.

    Sean and I are very fond of delicious food, so that is where we chose to splurge. Our largest expenditures were for the catered lunch and the banquet. We also splurged on a wonderful photographer (Sara Wolfram) who did a fantastic job of capturing the event-filled day. We also got a DJ for the banquet. The lunch food by Fred and Jennifer Martin Events was exquisite and amazing. And the Chinese Banquet was also stupendously delicious.

    We decided to save on location costs. Sean and I are avid runners and our favorite place to be is out on the trails. We thought the most gorgeous and fitting place to have our ceremony was outside, where we could see Mt. Tamalpais and celebrate the outdoors. Our ceremony and 5k run cost us a $100 permit from the Water District. For the lunch afterward, we went to the home of our friends Joyce and Marty Griffin who live right on the water on Belvedere Lagoon. We have known them for a long time, and would often visit in the summer to go swimming or kayaking. They were kind and gracious enough to let us have the party at their home. The restaurant where we chose to have our banquet has a huge banquet space with more than enough room to accommodate our party, and even had a dance floor.

    My favorite moment of the day was seeing how many of our guests participated in the 5k run after the ceremony. My dad ran and it was the longest he had ever run in his life! We also had all the younger cousins and kids running around on the trails having a blast. Another favorite moment of the day was watching all our guests swimming and boating in the lagoon. Everyone from young kids, to teenagers to adults and grandparents LOVED getting in the water, splashing around and paddling. And then the highlight of the evening was watching Sean’s former roommate (a very geeky materials science graduate student from MIT) break out some killer dance moves to the sound of Lady Gaga.

    Sean and I personally spent ~$6000. The catered lunch was a gift from his parents, and my parents covered the banquet. I would say the total cost was ~ $16,000.  If I could have done things differently, I perhaps would have consolidated the day into two events instead of three. While we had a fantastic day, it was very tiring to get through three major parties in a single day! We decided to have the banquet in addition to the ceremony, run and lunch because the location of the first two events limited the number of attendees. Mostly, there would have been a parking issue at the trailhead and at Joyce and Marty’s home. So in order to include more people, we added the banquet. I think it would have been more ideal to schedule the banquet for the next day!”

    YiOu’s advice to brides planning a wedding right now:

    “Don’t sweat the small stuff!! There is an endless list of tasks and if you don’t get to them all, it’s not the end of the world. Prioritize 2 or 3 things that you want to happen and don’t obsess over all the other details. And most importantly, make sure it is a day you will enjoy and remember fondly.”

    Many thanks also to Sara from OneLove Photography for these images from this rad wedding.  Other vendors involved include:

    Caterer:  Fred Martin Events

    Floral Designer:  NancyAnn Flowers

    Invitation Designer: RAM Print and Communications

    Cake Designer:  Fat Angel Bakery

    DJ:  highlite media

    Tuxedo and Mens’ Attire:  Joseph A Banks

    xoxo,  Lydia from Ever Ours

  • 2/28

    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…

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    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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  • 11/29


    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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    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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    Lined up another real sweet intimate DIY real wedding for you all ... this one comes from Emily Takes Photos. I adore the fact that it was outdoors and that the couple's rustic theme matched so well. Congratulations to Penelope and Mikiya! Many thanks to Penelope for taking the time to talk a bit about elements of their wedding day. Here's what she had to…

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  • 10/18

    Hey everyone, we have a new Broke-Ass Correspondent joining the team today! The ever-charming, ever-lovely Lydia of Ever Ours will be bringing the pretty to you here on the regular, with real wedding porn! (This first one even includes a full-on budget breakdown!) We always say, its best to work with people you like, so we're over the moon to bring another good friend into…

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