Broke-Ass Tag: real weddings


Affiliate Disclaimer New

Real Wedding Peach Jersey 50Peach

Names: Peach and Jersey

Occupation: IT geeks

Wedding location: Little Gardens

Wedding Date: October 19, 2014

Budget: $15,000 – $20,000

How would you describe your wedding: We had an intimate, simple, outdoor garden wedding with a rockin’ party afterward. The ceremony was short and sweet, spiritual but fun, and we wrote our own vows.  Afterward, everyone enjoyed cocktails, dinner and a fun party.

Real Wedding ceremony 50Peach

What was your favorite part of your wedding? The exit! Our venue didn’t allow anything thrown or flaming (like sparklers), so we provided our guests with party horns and glowstick necklaces. When Jersey and I were standing inside waiting for everyone to finish assembling outside, our ears were met with the most glorious, raucous, synchronized HONK-HONK-HONK-ing of the party horns! It was so funny and happy and celebratory that our faces just lit up with joy.

Real Wedding exit 50Peach

What did you splurge on? His suit. But we felt strongly that a perfectly tailored Armani suit is something that he can wear for YEARS to come … unlike me and my wedding dress. We don’t regret it a bit.

What did you save on? Many things!

  • We opted to not have favors. Instead, my mom and dad graciously handled our out-of-town welcome bags, bless them!
  • My dress — I budgeted about $2000.00, but found mine for $800.00!
  • Programs — my Maid of Honor designed the gorgeous things, then called in a favor for printing them. (Rumor has it that our little 100-count program printing halted the work the printers were doing on the latest major Clinique ads. NBD.)
  • We didn’t do name cards per person, but used a collage picture frame to list out each table’s people. (And saved a damn tree.)
  • I printed out table numbers for free from Pinterest on card stock and used the venue’s included table clips to hold them.
  • We double-purposed the bridesmaid bouquets as our table centerpieces.
  • I also wasn’t afraid to bargain or offer to pay in full up front for a percent discount, which easily saved us at least a thousand.

Real Wedding roses 50Peach

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect?  Uhhh, yeah. I wrote an entire separate post about our blown budget.  Go read this post for more details. But in short, I wish I’d known then what I know now: read the fine print, plan for the unexpected, ask more questions than you think are necessary and do not, DO NOT, pay one cent more for anything than you think you should.

Real Wedding mirror 50Peach

What was your biggest challenge in planning? The guest list and RSVPs. With such big families on both sides, it was tough to choose only 100 to invite. And when about 10 people who RSVP’ed yes didn’t show up on our big day, it was such a letdown … It meant that we could have asked 10 *other* people who we really wanted there to come! Planning a wedding 100% showed me the importance of the RSVP.

Real Wedding arbor 50Peach

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? You can only control what you can control. Do your best to think through all the details, ask questions and don’t apologize for it. But when the big day arrives, LET IT GO. Things will go wrong, but your only job on your day is to be there and be happy and marry your person. Let everyone else freak out about the curveballs!  Also, wine is a requirement when wedding planning. For realz.

real wedding dad dance 50Peach

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

  1. Seeing him standing there, waiting for me, while my dad walked me down the aisle. It made it all worth it.
  2. Having so many loved ones, from all over the US, in one place on that day just for us. Warm fuzzies galore.
  3. Dancing with my Dad.
  4. That we made our wedding day unique to our wants.
  5. I’m finally Mrs. Jersey!!!

Real Wedding waterfall 50Peach

Top 5 least favorite?

  1. Hands down, I hated feeling like I was under a microscope with everyone on the wedding weekend. “Are you okay?” “Are you sure you’re okay??” “You seem nervous.” Stop looking at me, swan.
  2. The day went so fast!!! We did manage to thank everyone personally, but it was all a beautiful blur.
  3. RSVPs: We hated having to hound people to tell us if they were coming. Nothing makes you feel more lame than inviting someone and they can’t be bothered with responding to you. Plus the no-shows, just grrrr.
  4. I wish there had been more time to spend with our out of town guests. We did our best, but it was still difficult.
  5. It’s a little thing, but I only got one bite of our wedding cake that day! My sweet tooth may have cried a little.

Real wedding cake 50Peach

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? I wouldn’t say I had any bad advice from anyone. However, there were more than a few well-meaning but quite obvious and/or obnoxious suggestions. But I was all: Yo. I got this.

The best? On the wedding day, take it all in. Look around and mentally note all the details, the people, the love in the room and enjoy it. We did, as much as we could.

Any other bits of wisdom? Yes!

  1. Brides and grooms: take 15-30 minutes the morning of your wedding day and just gather yourself. It helped me a bunch to have some quiet time to reflect, calm my mind and prepare my control-freak self to let go of the planning mentality.
  2. If you find you and your partner are covering much of the costs of your wedding (as we did), a long engagement will help tremendously. We were able to spread out the payments and time them so that we didn’t go into debt. And same goes for parents, too.
  3. Budget for the bridal party gifts.It adds up quickly, no matter how much you try to DIY or Etsy the hell out of it.

Real Wedding arbor 50Peach

Budget breakdown?

Venue: $13,000.00 *included: ceremony and reception space, seating, decor, linens, all florals, food/drink, cake, lighting, wedding planner and day-of coordinator

Dress + alterations: Enzoani Beautiful, $1040.00

Veil and bling belt: $250.00

His suit: Armani, with dress shirt and tailoring: $2400.00

Pearl necklace, my great-grandmother’s: Gifted

Cuff bracelet and earrings: 150.00

Badgley Mischka flats: $60.00

Photography by Lee Patterson (engagement session + day of, digital-only package): $1800.00

DJ: $999.00

Videography: WeddingMix, $650.00

Officiant: $350.00

Save the Date Magnets: MagnetStreet $180.00 ← ordered waaaaay too many. Rookie mistake!

Rehearsal dinner invites: MagnetStreet $50.00

Thank You cards: MagnetStreet $72.00

Invitations: MagnetStreet $568.00

Guest Book: Shutterfly self-made $72.00

Wedding bands: $2300.00

Bridal party and parent gifts: $1000.00

Hair/makeup: $500.00 — with trials for both and the day-of, both onsite

Hotel suite, 3 nights: FREE – they were comp’ed for us due to a glitch with our hotel block!

Rehearsal Dinner: $450.00, but FREE – We paid for it ourselves with gift cards we’d received since the engagement, so $0.00!

Actual Total: $25,441.00

List of all vendors.

Venue: Little Gardens, Lawrenceville, GA

Photography: Lee Patterson

Videography: WeddingMix

DJ: Lethal Rhythms

Officiant: Jeremiah O’Keefe-West

Hair: Joseph’s Salon, Lawrenceville, GA

Makeup: Andrea Carter

Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn, NE Atlanta

Dress: Ivory Bridal & Formal, Smyrna, GA

Suit: Saks Fifth Avenue, Atlanta, GA

Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Jim N’ Nicks BBQ

  • 1/6

    Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

    Names: Tiffany & Justin

    Occupation: Educational Writer & Video Game Designer

    Wedding location: Karl Strauss Brewery Gardens, San Diego California

    Wedding Date: October 11, 2014

    Budget: Well, here’s the thing. My kindly generous parents didn’t give us a solid figure to work with, but I wanted to be reasonable and arbitrarily chose $15,000. And then when we really got into things I realized that would be impossible in SoCal and pushed it to $18,000. Which as you will see was totally busted.

    How would you describe your wedding? An intimate, nontraditional wedding with sophisticated brewery and geeky touches. A close friend was our officiant. She wrote our ceremony and we wrote our own vows. We wanted it to be an intimate party with our closest friends and family members, so we kept the guest list to about 100 (we ended up with 91 guests, which was perfect). Our decor was simple, yet vibrant and complemented the beautiful brewery space perfectly.

    Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding
    Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

    What was your favorite part of your wedding? Can I say all the things? Because ALL THE THINGS. More specifically, our first look. Our vows. And after the ceremony when we hid behind the building among the extra chairs and tables to have some quiet time together before our big entrance. It even took the wedding coordinators a while to find us, which they eventually did and brought us more beer and appetizers.

    What did you splurge on? Photography, and we are so glad that we did. Also, a designer/day-of coordinator. She was especially helpful decorating the space and keeping me in line decor-wise.

    Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

    What did you save on? We cut down a lot on flowers, mainly leaving out the family flowers. We also opted to not have favors and we haven’t yet heard complaints about that from anyone! We like to think that our open bar was a pretty darn good favor.

    Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding
    Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding
    Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

    Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? Justin says he wishes he would’ve eaten more mac ‘n’ cheese. I agree. I also think I would have communicated with our vendors a bit more, and been a bit more picky. MORE? Yes, more. Looking back there are some photos I missed (with our officiant, duh). I was very passive with my hairstylist and even with the florist. I was very much in the frame of mind that some things weren’t a big deal, and while they didn’t break the day they certainly caught my eye in photos.

    Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

    What was your biggest challenge in planning? Accepting that wedding-related things are ungodly expensive, and also patience. And of course, the guest list. While I am happy with the choices we made, I am not happy with the chatter I have heard about from those that weren’t invited. Maybe I should’ve made our intentions more clear. Or maybe people should just get over themselves. EITHER WAY. The guest list was a challenge, but in the end those who made the cut continue to show us how important they are in our lives.

    What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? You cannot, and will not please everyone. But at the end of it all, the only thing that really matters is how much happiness your choices make you and your husband.

    Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding
    Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

    What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?
    Our vows, even though it was an incredible struggle to get through them without completely sobbing.
    Our ceremony overall. It was funny and emotional and so memorable.
    Seeing our friends and family partying together.
    The venue, and how gorgeous it turned out with our decorative choices. And did I say the beer?

    Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

    Top 5 least favorite?
    Justin spilled beer on his shoe (see what happens when you ask for input?). I wasn’t even aware of this, but my dress was filthy.
    Not eating enough mac ‘n’ cheese (again, thank you for the input, Husband of mine)
    Getting too drunk before photobooth time. Whoops.
    I ended up barefoot because no one could find my shoes.
    The anxiety and unnecessary drama and worries leading up to it all.

    Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

    What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?
    A tour guide on our honeymoon told us not to talk about finances after 5 pm. The logistics of that are just impossible, but we did understand her point. She also spoke to birds … so … you know …

    The best?
    Besides the basics (don’t be a douche, don’t go to bed angry, marriage is work … etc. etc.) we haven’t really heard too much. I think people realize we got this thing down pretty good!

    Any other bits of wisdom?
    One of your bridesmaids should have eyelash glue on hand, always. More importantly, if something matters to you, don’t let people tell you it shouldn’t. Or that it is wrong. Or inappropriate. Details mattered to me. Jewelry mattered to me. Our ceremony mattered to us. This day is for you and your husband, and the memories you want to create and remember forever. I think we did a darn good job of making our wedding unapologetically, 100% us. And it was awesome.

    Real Wedding: Tiffany and Justin's Geeky, Goofy, Sweet Brewfest Wedding

    Budget breakdown

    Venue (Karl Strauss Brewery Gardens. Includes all food, open bar, cake, dj, all linens, and ceremony setup): $14,350

    Photographer + photobooth (Next to Me Studios): $3200

    Coordinator (Events by Elisa): $1600

    Flowers (Seven Stems): $975

    Dress (with alterations) + Accessories (The Bustle, Bauble Bar, Asos): $1700

    Grooms Attire (Friar Tux): $200

    Invitations + Save-the-dates: $600

    Other Decor: $200

    Total: $22,825

  • 8/12

    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). The adorable Raechel and…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    Oh, how naive I was to think I could cruise through these 8 months of wedding planning without any drama. And, much to my surprise, all this drama came from the groom's side! You don't hear that very often, do you? Made with PicMonkey Back in December when we got engaged, Bryce's best friend from childhood, Ron, was back in their hometown of Greensboro. Ron…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!
  • 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…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    Today we have quite a treat for you, BABs ... it's our beloved Real Bride/BAB Editorial Assistant Extraordinaire MELLZAH's wedding! (She's chosen to use her formal name here, but trust me, it's her.) If you've read her DIY/real talk-centric "Real Bride" columns, you already know that Mellzah and her man Jason were faced with the arduous task of keeping it Broke-Ass in the pricey Seattle…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    Got a question for Liz? Go to the contact page, and let us know what’s up! Dear Liz, Our current plan is for my fiance and me to have a local celebration party with friends and my family, and a destination wedding with his much larger family. The hitch with the local celebration is that he and his friends are Muslim. My fiance is also…

    Read the full article →
  • 5/23

    This weekend, I made a proper appointment at The Princess Bride in Bothell and was accompanied by only two other people: my maid of honor and another of my bridesmaids, both assertive enough to ensure that I wouldn't allow an opinion other than my own to determine my ultimate purchase. It was by all accounts a smashing success, as I ended up buying a dress…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!