Broke-Ass Tag: real wedding


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Real Wedding: Jareesa and William's Pi Day Nerd Wedding

Names: Jareesa & William

Occupation: Supply chain project manager & statistician

Wedding location: McNamara Alumni Center, Minneapolis, MN

Wedding Date: March 14, 2015

Budget:* $18,000

Real Wedding: Jareesa and William's Pi Day Nerd Wedding

Real Wedding: Jareesa and William's Pi Day Nerd Wedding

How would you describe your wedding: Our wedding was pretty traditional but we incorporated elements of our nerd personalities to make it our own. I also had my youngest brother do a reading of my favorite poem.

What was your favorite part of your wedding? Getting married of course! Celebrating with our friends and family is a close second.

Real Wedding: Jareesa and William's Pi Day Nerd Wedding

Real Wedding: Jareesa and William's Pi Day Nerd Wedding

What did you splurge on? Our venue and catering — our venue uses an exclusive caterer that is pretty pricey, but our food and cake were delicious! People are still raving about it.

What did you save on? Our stationery. I ordered our Save The Dates and invitations from MagnetStreet, a BAB partner. Our day-of materials (table numbers, escort cards, programs, menus) were designed and printed in my company’s print shop. They only charged us $70 to design and print all those items!

Real Wedding: Jareesa and William's Pi Day Nerd Wedding

Real Wedding: Jareesa and William's Pi Day Nerd Wedding

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? I would have listened to my fiancé more and just trusted my gut. I started second-guessing myself thanks to too much Pinterest and Instagram, and I worried my wedding wouldn’t measure up. In the end, it was perfect, but I wasted time being worried about the wrong things.

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Definitely managing my anxiety! The closer we got to the wedding, the more my worry got out of control. I worried about everything — the weather, that people wouldn’t come, that it wouldn’t be pretty. You name it, i worried about it. In the end, it wasn’t even necessary because everything was beautiful.

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Figure out what’s really important, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Real Wedding: Jareesa and William's Pi Day Nerd Wedding

Real Wedding: Jareesa and William's Pi Day Nerd Wedding

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

1. Marrying the most amazing guy ever

2. Celebrating with my friends and family

3. The amazingly delicious food! I’m still dreaming about that wedding cake

4. Getting a chance to socialize with all our guests individually, having that time made our wedding feel so intimate and personal

5. Seeing our guests react positively to our nerdy touches. Everyone really loved it and said our wedding felt authentic to our personalities.

Top 5 least favorite?

1. I was pretty stressed right up until I reached the suite to get my makeup done. At one point I turned off my phone because I needed a break from the calls.

2. By 11:30pm I wanted to keep partying but I was just so tired! Some of our guests had an impromptu after-party but all I wanted to do was get in bed.

3. I can’t think of anything else!

Real Wedding: Jareesa and William's Pi Day Nerd Wedding

Real Wedding: Jareesa and William's Pi Day Nerd Wedding

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?

I got a lot of unsolicited advice about everything — where to get married, the size of our wedding, what we should serve, etc. It especially came from people who didn’t know us!

The best? Several people told me to try to “be in the moment” and enjoy every moment of the day. I had that in the back of my mind and I really tried to be present for every moment. I’m glad I did, because now I think back to our marriage and I remember so many touching moments.

Real Wedding: Jareesa and William's Pi Day Nerd Wedding

Any other bits of wisdom?

  • Premartial counseling is totally worth it. We wound up finding a relationship therapist, and even though we communicate well already, she helped us learn things about each other and ourselves.
  • HIRE A COORDINATOR! We hired an amazing coordinator who made our desire to be guests at our own wedding come true. We could relax and socialize with our guests without worrying if things were going according to schedule, and that helped us enjoy the day immensely.
  • Don’t do things just because you think you “should” — figure out how to have the wedding that is authentic to the type of people you are. For us, that meant having a nerdy wedding, and for me, wearing my glasses. I couldn’t imagine NOT wearing my glasses because I wear them everyday, and I’m so glad I did.

Budget breakdown?* (These are all very approximate)

Officiant: Shon Crowley – $0 (friend who gifted his services)

Photographer: Studio 220 Photography – $2,000

Venue: McNamara Alumni Center, University Hall package – $1,800 ($1500 standard fee + $300 room flip fee)

Catering: D’Amico Catering – $7,000 (included limited bar, cocktail hour appetizers, plated dinner and wedding cake)

Day of coordinator: Ask For The Moon Events –  $550

Grooms Outfit: Men’s Wearhouse – $100 (free tux rental, purchased shoes & tie)

Wedding Gown: Luxe Bridal Couture – $400 (alterations only, gown purchased by mother as a gift)

Flowers/Decor: Festivities – $1650 (includes all flowers, ceremony & reception decor)

DJ: Instant Request – $595 (reception only)

Hair: LocStarz Natural Hair Salon – $60

Make-up: Creative Beaute Agency – $80

Save the dates: MagnetStreet – $170

Invitations: MagnetStreet – $340

Favors: mini-pies from Cossetta’s in St Paul, MN – $170

  • 11/4

    Guys, I’ve been absolutely dying to get the whole damn story on Kate and Daniel’s insane, beautiful, literary, uncertain wedding … and it’s finally here! Her amazing red dress, the f*ck it all attitude about how things “should” be, the anxiety of the whole visa and immigration process … it’s been a helluva journey, but now Kate and Daniel are married. And it was the shit. Congratulations, you two. It’s been a pleasure sharing your journey.

    Real Wedding: Kate and Daniel's From Australia to Kansas, Do-It-Our-Way Celebration

    Name: Kate Colby & Daniel Gullotta

    Occupation: Administrative Assistant / Student

    Wedding location: Casa Somerset Bed & Breakfast, Paola, KS

    Wedding Date: Saturday, September 27, 2014

    Budget: $10,000

    How would you describe your wedding? Our wedding was untraditional, at least by our families’ standards, and rather intimate (under 50 people). We had a civil ceremony, which we wrote with the help of our friend, Kristin, who acted as our officiant.

    Wedding party and officiant

    What was your favorite part of your wedding? Our favorite part of our wedding was taking photographs. This sounds really shallow, but during the long distance, we were never able to be together and take photos – it’s not like we could snap a selfie after a movie date, after all. So being able to build a collection of photographs together was really special. Plus, because most of Daniel’s family and friends couldn’t attend the wedding, it was very important to us to have photographs to share with our overseas loved ones.


    What did you splurge on? Our two big splurges were a “getaway car” and a hotel room. We could have stayed on site at Casa Somerset in one of their lovely rooms, but we decided that we wanted to have the night entirely to ourselves (given that friends and family were staying there as well). Of course, we didn’t need a car to take us to a hotel, either, but we didn’t think driving would be the smartest option, and I fell in love with a 1963 Cadillac limo.

    What did you save on? Everything else! Honestly, we cut out pretty much every other extraneous expense or found cheap options for the aspects of our wedding we didn’t want to eliminate.

    Buffet line


    Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? The main thing we would have done differently is left the wedding earlier. That sounds bad, but we had a very small wedding and everyone outside of the wedding party, our parents, and four other guests left before the getaway car even arrived. I would have liked for more people to be there to see us off — and I know we both could have used the extra hour of sleep.

    Also, we probably would have figured out how to spend less money. Even though we came in about $1,500 under budget, it still makes us queasy to think about how much we spent on one day (not to mention how much our parents contributed, again, for one day), and with the costs of long distance and immigration, it would be nice to have some of that back.


    What was your biggest challenge in planning? Because of Daniel’s immigration, the timing and guest list were the most difficult aspects. Our wedding date was entirely dependent upon when Daniel’s K-1 Visa got approved by the U.S. Government, and we only had 90 days upon his immigration to get married. Therefore, we had to organize his move and the wedding very carefully in connection to each other. The guest list was also troublesome, because we did not have an honest picture of how many overseas loved ones would attend for a long time, and we chose to limit who we invited from my family to keep things small and more “fair.”

    Ceremony in progress

    What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? I learned that I am a people-pleaser. In the end, the wedding came out well, but there was a time during the planning where I was worrying a lot more about what other people thought than what I actually wanted. To be honest, I was Team Courthouse for 98% of the planning. However, in the end, I figured out how to convey my needs and wants to everyone involved, and I was able to get my dream wedding.

    What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

    1. Our Ceremony: We were very proud that we were able to write and design our own ceremony. It was short and sweet and entirely true to us.

    2. Food: The food was delicious! It was all handmade and locally grown (except for the pasta, which was flown in from Italy!).


    3. Dancing: Despite some hesitation from my parents, I stuck to my guns and insisted my dad and I dance to “Carry on My Wayward Son” by Kansas. I am so happy we got to share our song together, and it’s a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life. Also, we made our own dinner and dancing playlists and were our own DJs, which was great.

    4. People: We are lucky to be surrounded by some pretty exceptional people. Our officiant flew in from Pennsylvania for us, even though she’d only met us once in person. Our photographer agreed to shoot our wedding, even though she didn’t plan on doing weddings this year so she could focus on her writing. Our sound/tech guy also flew in from Seattle (again after only meeting us once) and offered to step into that role with no hesitation. We’re really lucky.

    5. My Red Dress: I think the thing I am most proud of about our wedding is my red dress. To me, it served as the ultimate symbol of our wedding, the “we are doing this our way, and it’s going to be awesome” symbol. Plus, the white dress is the most iconic “traditional” wedding symbol, and it is also about the least “me” thing I can imagine. I’m very proud of myself for taking the risk and wearing my favorite color. I can’t even fathom what our wedding would have been like without my red dress.


    Top 5 least favorite?

    1. The Cost: Even though our wedding was cheap by average standards, it was really painful to spend so much money on one day. After how expensive the long distance was and the immigration still is, it was very hard to throw down money on one event (and while our parents’ help significantly softened our personal blow, we feel a bit guilty that they spent so much of their own money on one day, too).

    2. The Timing: As I said before, we didn’t have much choice in the timing of our wedding. Immigration and other international factors dictated our wedding date, and if I could have done it on a different weekend, I would have in a heartbeat.

    Centerpiece and favors

    3. The Fuss: Everyone kept making such a big deal out of the wedding. I know it was “my special day” and all, but it was really annoying to have people constantly asking me about color schemes and decorations and other minutia (especially considering most of my answers were “We’re not doing that.”). Plus, there were some people who were fussing and making drama out of nothing on the day-of, which really irritated me.

    4. The Missing Loved Ones: While we knew going in that it couldn’t happen, we were very sad not to be able to share our day with Daniel’s family and friends, and we would have loved for more Australians to be there.

    5. Unexpected Guest List Changes: Perhaps the most unexpected thing about our entire wedding was that we had two guests decide not to come at the last minute (in favor of a barbeque) and two guests show up uninvited. Luckily, as you can see, they cancelled each other out and the total guest number remained the same.

    Crowd shot

    What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? We didn’t really receive any bad advice. However, two things we did not like hearing were: A) Something will go wrong; and B) But you have to do [insert wedding tradition here]. Again, I don’t understand what all the fuss was about, but our wedding went off smoothly, and even the unexpected aspects were easily fixed or not worth fretting over. The wedding world needs to take a chill pill.

    The best? The best advice we received was simply, “Enjoy the day, because it goes really fast.” We found this to be overwhelmingly true. At the end of the night, we were sitting in the Cadillac and drinking our champagne, and we just looked at each other and were like, “Wow! It’s all over!”

    Getaway Car

    Any other bits of wisdom? As I said in my previous post: question everything and be true to yourselves. For every decision you make, be sure you are making the decision that makes you happy — not the one that you feel you should make. Likewise, don’t worry about what your wedding should be. Make it exactly what you want. It’s your day, your guests won’t remember every detail, but you probably will.

    Make sure you create the memories that you want to have.


    Budget breakdown?

    Venue rental & rooms for out-of-town guests: Casa Somerset Bed & Breakfast, $930

    Food (Rehearsal dinner & 3 course buffet-style wedding dinner): Casa Somerset Bed & Breakfast: $2,200

    Beverages: $300

    Batman Cake and 9 Dozen Cupcakes: The Elm Bakery, $267.57

    Cadillac Limo: Pech Limo, $318.50

    Wedding Night Hotel, Chateau Avalon, $279.46

    Photography, Lucky Photographer, $1,000

    Video camera and accessories: Target, $528.94

    Wedding Band: MoissaniteCo, $525

    Wedding Dress: Daisy Bridal House on Etsy, $294

    Alterations: Mona’s Alterations, $385

    Bridal Accessories: $63.25

    Bouquets (Bridal and three bridesmaids): PumpkinsandButtercups on Etsy, $186.50

    Hairstyling (Bridal Party, Mothers, & Officiant): $260

    Groom’s Suit: K&G Fashion Superstore, $200

    Groom’s Accessories: $164

    Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas, $172.71

    Guestbook: Barnes and Noble, $21.80

    Decorations: $160.50

    Speaker System: Audio Rent KC, $150

    Wedding favors, Faithful Crafter on Etsy: $106.35

    Total Cost: $8,513.58

  • 10/28

    Hey everyone! I'm so excited to report that things have gotten much better since my last post. The biggest and best news is that we set a date! We were getting very frustrated over the decision, which was really hard at a time of year when we're both very busy anyway. I was even having stress dreams over it, and it is *WAY* too early…

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     It's been nearly two months since contributor Elizabeth married Bryce on a rainy day in Greensboro, N.C., and they partied down in a Gatsby-looking fashion on a $7K budget. Today, Elizabeth is back to share the details, Real Wedding-style. Name: Elizabeth & Bryce Occupation: I work for study abroad at Duke University Wedding location: Greensboro, NC Wedding Date: August 9th, 2014 Budget: $7,000-ish How would you…

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    Ashley and Curtis' sweet Minnesota wedding was put together with a lot of time, energy, effort and love. While the bride and groom did not set a budget (!!), they managed to pull off a great party and amazing wedding under around $18,000. While rain threatened to put a damper on their big day, the skies cleared up, the roads dried up and the party…

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  • 8/7

    When this super sweet, laid back wedding from Lauren Lindley Photography fell into my lap, I spent some serious time living vicariously through the subjects of the photographs, with sand between their toes, mountain air surrounding them and pops of color livening up this sweet, family-oriented South Lake Tahoe wedding. The couple, whose sons played part in the ceremony, chose the destination because the bride…

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    BAB Throwback is a series that highlights some of our favorite posts from the days of yore, and some feature 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). Heather and Chris' wedding…

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    It might be super warm outside, but it doesn't get much hotter than this sizzling fete Rhea and Rio threw in Cabo San Lucas for 35 of their nearest and dearest. The L.A.-based couple decided that having an intimate, sentimental wedding was what they wanted, so they made it happen, all for less than $10,000. And man, did they look good doing it! Name or…

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  • 7/2

    BAB Throwback is a series that highlights some of our favorite posts from the days of yore, and some feature 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). Bianca and Andre's Real…

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