These are the kind of pictures I think every bride should see before she starts planning a $25K wedding in earnest. Because you know, if this is all you need for your wedding — a beach, a dress, a beautiful bouquet, the person you love most in the world, your pooch and a few BFFs, well then, why not just elope? Natalie and Rich pulled together a gorgeous elopement in Laguna Beach for almost nothing. Natalie’s dress was $200. The flowers were $80. The officiant was a dear friend, and performed the ceremony for free. The wedding party all went out for dinner afterwards, and of course, no one let the bride and groom pay for their own meal. We’re so pleased to share this celebration with our readers, because BABs, this is what it’s all about.
From the bride: “I’ve always dreamed of a small, intimate and meaningful wedding for as long as I can remember. One that is about the love of two people and where there is no distraction away from that. The stress of extra details and spending thousands didn’t make sense to us because it didn’t feel like us. We just wanted to make the most important day of our lives be about how much we love each other and not about if the napkins match the chair bows. I’m a Yogi and Rich is so laid back so it didn’t make sense to us to have the one day of our lives that is the day we make our love and commitment officially known to the world be a big, fussy event.”
“When we talked about our wedding and what it would feel like, it was no discussion- an intimate, oceanside wedding was the right choice for us. With a couple dear friends and the focus on the most important thing; Our Love. A smaller wedding really suited us – I’ve always had a special connection to Laguna so it was the perfect place for our special day. I arranged my flowers myself and my best friend from Canada came down to get ready with me and be there for us. My dear friend Gigi sang a beautiful song in Sanskrit which I hold dear to my heart. We all joined in as everyone stood in a circle around us. Then our friend Seth said a prayer for us. We wouldn’t change a thing.”
A gajillion thanks to Natalie and Rich for sharing their beautiful day with us! And special thanks to their photographer friend Seth Heringer for sharing these fabulous photos!
Ladies and gents, today we’re SO pleased to feature the wedding of our fabulous contributor Heather (our resident “Can’t Afford It/Get Over It” maven), and her adorable new hubs, Chris. You can tell from these pics (and her regular blog posts) that Heather has excellent taste and fab personal style – and she absolutely brought both to her wedding day. Heather and Chris opted for a time and cost-saving wedding package from a gorgeous golf course in Burlingame, CA, which is half an hour outside of San Francisco. Metro area weddings can be twice the price of this beautiful celebration, but Heather and Chris have graciously provided us with an extensive wedding budget breakdown that shows how they pulled off a wedding with 120 guests for around 20K. So without further ado…
Your names: Heather Murtagh, Chris Vega
Occupations: Reporter at the San Mateo Daily Journal, Vice President for a San Francisco-based R&D startup, respectively
Wedding location: Burlingame, CA
Wedding date: Aug. 31, 2012
Wedding budget: $20,000 (But we went a bit over)
Approximate guest count: 120
How would you describe your wedding? Short reception, big party
What was your favorite part of your wedding?
Heather: The moment we first saw each other. We decided to see each other before the wedding so we could get some of our wedding party photos done before getting things started. The photographers set up a moment where Chris had his back to me and turned around to see me. He was so happy I actually thought he was drunk. He wasn’t. It was very sweet.
Chris: The time we spent together, the alone time.
What did you splurge on? Alcohol. We wanted to have an open bar for longer. And we really wanted to have a big party. We succeeded.
What did you save on? We went with a venue that offered a package deal. That was really helpful in keeping costs in check as well as for planning. Also, my dress was much cheaper than we originally budgeted thanks to a going-out-of-business sale at Priscilla of Boston.
Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? We would have gotten a videographer.
What was your biggest challenge in planning? Gathering contact information was difficult at first. Other than that it wasn’t too difficult. We went with a location that offered package deals. That made things much easier.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone wants to help, they just need to know how.
What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?
The first time we saw each other
Spending 30 minutes after the ceremony alone taking pictures. It was really nice to have that time to
ourselves. Turns out we giggle a lot when left alone.
Having so many friends and family together in one place.
My brother marrying us! It was so personal. He took it very seriously but also got in some jokes, which is what we wanted. There was a moment when he got really emotional; thinking about it gets me emotional. But my favorite part was when he said to Chris, “You may now kiss my sister.”
The after party! We went to our favorite local bar after with a smaller group of people. It was so much fun. The owner knows us and was very sweet by letting us stay late and providing free drinks for the bride.
Heather – she showed up.
My groomsmen were awesome.
Great supportive family and friends.
Photographers were great.
Venue and DJ were great.
Top 5 least favorite? (We failed and only came up two each… I guess that’s a good thing.)
Some people had attitudes on the big day. It was hard to not let that get to me. But ultimately no good would have come from focusing on it.
Our venue had a new person on hand to coordinate on the day. We made it work, but it was an inconvenience. Everything did work out though and we’d still recommend them highly.
Delta canceling our honeymoon flight multiple times the morning after.
What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? …
The best? It’s your day. Enjoy it.
Any other bits of wisdom?
Heather: We both were a bit bummed when everything – wedding and honeymoon – was done. It was like there was nothing big to look forward to after having a year of so much activity. It was weird to get back into the swing of non-wedding planning life.
Chris: Remember to savor the moment. It goes by so fast. Also, if you can, get away on a honeymoon right after. It will give you time to enjoy the high of your new marriage.
Food/Drink: Included in our Venue fee — We opted for a lower per person package cost then added on additional hours of a open bar. In total we covered the cost of three hours of bar and had a cash bar for two hours.
Attire/Accessories: Dress – $700 from Priscilla of Boston during their going-out-of business sale. Spent $150 on alterations. Bought Badgley Mischka shoes through Rue La La’s Sunday sale for $50 with tax and shipping. Rented Chris’ tux for $120 from Men’s Wearhouse.
Flowers: Flowers for the reception were included in the package. Paid $936.36 for the bouquets from Rosedale Floral Design – one for the bride and six for the bridesmaids; 10 boutonnieres and two corsages for our moms.
Décor: We really didn’t do much in terms of decor except add votive candles and little hershey kisses on the table. We had enough children for a kid’s table. So I went to the local dollar store and grabbed $15 worth of stuff. It was actually a total hit and hilarious to watch the kids decide who got what.
DJ/band/entertainment: Our DJ was included in our venue package.
Photography: Paid $2,706.25 for the Kermit and Miss Piggy package from Chasing Glimpses Photography, which included: 6 hours of photography at your wedding and nearby locations, Two photographers, 2500+Photos Taken, 6 hours on Site; 20 hours Post production, 75 photos in a modern flush mount photo album, Private 60 days Online Gallery for viewing, sharing, and purchasing DVD of approximately 500 of the best images of your wedding day. All images are enhanced, retouched, if necessary, for beautiful reproduction. We ended up with a DVD of 850 photos. Also, the girls were willing to stay an extra hour with no notice when I realized we hadn’t really gotten some shots during the reception.
Videography: Didn’t do it, but we regret that.
Cake: A delicious cake from Burlingame Cakery was included in our venue package. It was delicious and super easy to get put together. I emailed a photo of the cake design I liked and tried all the combinations. I think Chris liked this part of the planning the best.
Favors: $130 — I made our favors. I’m a huge supporter/volunteer of Make-A-Wish. Using scrapbooking paper, I put together little paper favors that asked people to “Make-A-Wish for the Bride and Groom.” Each had a $1 coin attached. We asked people to either put the coin in a vase near the door or make a larger donation. Anything collected we donated. In the end, we donated $310 to the Greater Bay Area Chapter.
Invitations/printing/postage: My friend designed the invitations and RSVPs. I work at a newspaper. After I asked the publisher about a printing contact, he offered to cover the cost as a gift. We spent $91.75 on postage. Our Save the Date was a video made by a friend who is starting a side business. Check it out here!
Hair and make-up: $120 for a friend who is also starting a business. She did a test and also bought new makeup on the wedding day which I kept for touch ups.
Wedding bands: $600, we got simple bands and ordered them through a family connection who works in the jewelry industry.
Bridal party: Necklaces for the girls, personalized on etsy. $85
Coordinator/planner: Didn’t use one.
Officiant: My brother got ordained online for free.
Other: $500 for rehearsal dinner. We hosted it at Chris’ grandfather’s house, which was less than a mile from the ceremony site. We hired a local taco vendor to come and make food. Then we took advantage of a local winery’s case sale for the booze. We ended up with lots of leftovers.
Also, we spent $310 on hotels over two nights. We did stay local but wanted to be separate on the day of the wedding. We let our siblings, who couldn’t really afford the hotel, crash at our apartment and stayed at the hotel on our wedding night.
Thanks so much to Heather and Chris, for sharing their big day with BAB, and special thanks to Chasing Glimpses Photography, for providing the gorgeous wedding photos!
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