Broke-Ass Tag: real weddings

8/10

Affiliate Disclaimer NewReal Bride Lucinda married Chris under sunny skies and amidst a gorgeous northern Massachusetts backdrop in a classic wedding celebration. After DIYing some seriously huge aspects of her wedding — including her wedding dress, veil, signage and paper flowers for decor — the couple celebrated with family and friends while the talented Maria Burton Photography captured their day. In a typically super expensive wedding market (about $40K on average), this couple pulled off a gorgeous, classy and fun celebration for about $15,000.

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris -- Family Photo || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Name: Lucinda and Christopher
Occupation: Marketing (L), Real Estate (C)
Wedding location: Dracut, MA
Wedding Date: 6/4/2016
Budget: $15k
Number of Guests: 55

How would you describe your wedding?

For our wedding, we incorporated things into the day that make us happy and had a personal feel to them — we did not want our wedding to look anything like those cookie-cutter weddings you’d see on The Knot! It was small, with only close friends and family, and it was nice to be able to talk to everyone during the evening and have the whole gang on he dance floor at once.

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris -- Bridal Party Portrait || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris -- Couple Portrait || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

What was your favorite part of your wedding?

Our DIY photo booth (or, “faux-to” booth) was a fun element we decided to make at the last minute with some funky fabric and a PVC piping frame. Our friends provided the props for silly pictures, and the mylar balloon banner added a whimsical touch. Plus, having it right in the foyer when you walked in to the reception to pick up your seating card set the tone for the evening and made it easy for people to grab some pictures away from the dance floor and dining room.

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris -- Guests pose in photo booth || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris -- couple poses in photo booth || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

What did you splurge on?

The balloons were the most expensive part of our wedding decorations (about $600) but worth it (despite the fact that we went through a lot of difficulties with the company we worked with and had to fix the balloons on our wedding day. I’m not listing the vendor because I really don’t recommend them). It was one of those unexpected elements that surprised our guests. I mean, who has balloons at a wedding?!

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - Portrait with Balloon || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

We also had a harpist for the ceremony and cocktail hour! It was a nice touch that added a personal feeling with the music we selected, lots of Beatles and classic rock tunes — the kind of music we both like listening to.

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - Harpist || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Other than my wedding dress, the photography was the most important part of our wedding and we were willing to spend a good chunk of our budget on photography — after all, our photos would commemorate our big day and would be what our family would look at in future years and generations to come. We were lucky enough to find a wonderful photographer that fit in our budget and exceeded our expectations in every way for our engagement and wedding photos.

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - bridal portrait || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

What did you save on?

My dress! Because I made my dress from scratch, I saved a ton instead of finding one at a bridal shop, and it was exactly what I wanted.

We bought the bouquets and boutonnieres at Wegman’s (a grocery store chain in the mid-atlantic and northeast) instead of a traditional florist for the bouquets and we DIY’d our centerpieces — that was a huge savings, flowers can be so expensive and we didn’t want to spend that kind of money. Using big blooms like hydrangeas instead of a mix of flowers cut down on the expense, and I like how dramatic and modern one single type of flower looked. Wegman’s put the bouquets together for us and wrapped each one with ivory ribbon. For reference, my bouquet was $35 with six blooms and the bridesmaid bouquets were $25 with three blooms.

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - bridesmaids with bouquets || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Instead of finding someone specializing in bridal hair, my hairdresser who has cut and colored my hair over the last eight years did my updo as well as my sister’s hair. I also found my makeup artist at Sephora last summer when I went in to get my makeup done for an event. I liked her work so much I hired her to do makeup for the entire wedding party. These were much more economical choices than finding someone who does only bridal hair and makeup, because as soon as you mutter the word “wedding,” there’s immediately an upcharge with so many vendors.

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - first dance || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect?
Nope! It was exactly how we wanted it.

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - rings || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - shoe decals || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

What was your biggest challenge in planning?

Thinking that we needed a theme and stressing out how to incorporate all of the elements of the wedding into the theme. We ended up saying screw it, you don’t need to have a theme for your wedding! Once we let go of that idea, figuring out how to decorate etc. became a lot easier.

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - bride and father walking down the aisle || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - cake table || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself?

Things aren’t always going to turn out how you hope, but that’s ok, you just have to roll with the punches. And lean on your friends to help you with planning and DIYing — they’re really willing to pitch in and give you a hand!

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - bridesmaids enjoying themselves || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - dance floor revelry || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - bride's family || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - groomsmen dancing || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

1. Our photographer was awesome =- hands down.
2. The food — everyone raved about the hors d’oeuvres and we actually got to eat our yummy dinner and cake!
3. Getting ready with my gals before the wedding and being silly in our matching robes
4. Dancing with all of our friends and family
5. The coordinator at our venue was a doll to work with and kept everything on track, even when we had an unexpected guest show up at our wedding!

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - bride and bridesmaids getting ready || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - groomsmen pose || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Top 5 least favorite?

1. I wish I could have said “bye” to all of our guests as they were leaving and to have thanked them all for coming at the end of the evening — we were having too much fun on the dance floor
2. Our balloon vendor was downright awful — it was easy for them to take our money, but challenging to work with and nail down the details such as when our balloons were actually going to be delivered on our wedding day and how they were going to be set up. Do not recommend!!
3. It would have been nice to spend more time with some of my relatives that I don’t get to see very often
4. We didn’t get to hear much of the harp music since it was played before our ceremony and during cocktail hour when we were off taking pictures. It’s ok, it was more for our guests but it would have been nice to hear more than we did
5. Feeling like you’re getting pulled around on a tight schedule — everyone wants a piece of you on your wedding day

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - custom guest book poster || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?

“Your wedding is more about your guests than it is about you.” Umm, to a degree, but not really. Last time I checked, it was about us celebrating a lifelong commitment to each other and sharing in that with our guests. Yes, we wanted to make sure that we picked out tasty food that would cater to everyone’s preferences and we were able to swing having an open bar for cocktail hour, but other than that, remembering that the day was about our commitment to each other helped to keep things in check as we went through the planning process, trying to figure out what to do.

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - sweetheart table || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

The best?

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint” — credit to my sister on that one the night before the wedding, regarding how to treat marriage and the issues that come up.

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - bridesmaids during ceremony || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - groom portrait || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Any other bits of wisdom?

Don’t let anyone make you think or feel that you need to do things a certain way or have your wedding be a certain way. It’s your wedding, do what you want. And if you’re afraid that people are going to think poorly of your decisions, then they aren’t really your true friends or care about you.

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - groomsmen goofing around || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - newlyweds dancing

Budget breakdown?

Ceremony – free, our JP was a family friend
Reception – $7,800
Decorations – $1,000
Flowers – $150
Harpist – $250
DJ – $895
Photography – $1,800
Stationery – $350 (including invitations and magnetic Save the Dates)
Wedding Dress – $800 (including my travel to NYC and hotel while I hunted for dress fabric)
Shoes – $80
Veil – $10
Jewelry and accessories – $192
Hair – $75
Makeup – $350 (including makeup for my bridesmaids, part of my gift to them)
Groom’s suit – his own
Groom’s shoes – $75
Gifts – $400 (ties and nips for the groomsmen, robes and clutches for the bridesmaids)

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - newlywed portrait || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Real Wedding: Lucinda & Chris - newlywed portrait || Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography

Vendors

Venue – Four Oaks Country Club
Photography – Maria Burton Photography
Cake – Frederick’s Pastries
Wedding Dress – made by me!
Jewelry – Sarah Walsh Bridal
Invitations – Minted
Save the Dates – Basic Invite
Harpist – Mary King
DJ – Modern Entertainment
Bouquets – Wegman’s
“Guest Book” Poster – Miss Design Berry

Congratulations, Chris & Lucinda and many happy years to you!

  • 12/2

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewReal Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Name: Diana C. Vasquez and Tom McGovern

    Occupation: Renaissance Man
    Wedding Location
    :

    Wedding Date: May 9, 2015

    Budget: $14,000

    Number of Guests: 80

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    How would you describe your wedding?

    Our wedding was a creative application of traditional concepts.

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    What was your favorite part?

    My favorite part was having an unofficial first dance. I am an incredibly shy and private person and the idea of sharing such personal moments with a crowd was frightening. As a compromise the now-hubs and I agreed to create little pockets of privacy where we could share intimate moments that only he and I knew were happening. We prepared two songs for the DJ: the official one that had meaning and made sense as a “first dance” was Clem Snide’s cover of Journey’s “Faithfully” and the unofficial one was Louis Armstrong’s version of “La Vie En Rose”; the song we associate with our relationship and drunk slow-dance to in our kitchen on date nights. We then scheduled the cake cutting ceremony right before the first dance. We cut the cake, everyone cheered and laughed; the cake was wheeled away and we had our official “first dance” while the cake was being portioned out. While all the guests were enjoying the dessert bar and the wedding cake we were able to quietly linger on the dance floor and dance the song we love by ourselves with no one watching — just like we do at home on date night.

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    What did you splurge on?

    We splurged on the venue, the food, and the photographer.

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    What did you save on?

    The main things that we saved on the most were the invitations, the flowers, and my dress.

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Was there anything you would have done differently?

    Looking back we both wish we had taken more time to selfishly enjoy the food rather than socializing with everyone. Personally, had I known better, I would have hired a makeup artist. I got ready by myself and it worked out fine in the end, but I was so nervous that morning that my hands were shaking and it took me 20 minutes and too many cotton swabs just to get my eyeliner right.  Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    What was your biggest challenge in planning?

    The biggest challenge was the seating arrangement. I didn’t realize that the actual number of the table signified how important you are to the bride and groom i.e most important guests expect to sit at tables one and two. I thought it was just for efficiency when ordering food like at a restaurant. Consequently, I sat everyone in terms of relational associations and common interests not at all being mindful of what numerical value the table had been assigned. Unaware of the implications at play, I had made some major mistakes which were thankfully caught by my mother-in-law and addressed before the event. Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself?

    One of the biggest lessons I learned is that traditions are important. There is a kind of beauty and sense of wholeness in traditional concepts when we claim them for ourselves, in our own modes, and appropriate them in ways that are meaningful to our being. Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

    • It was classic yet creative
    • Our 7-year-old son was old enough to know and recognize how important this event was and even cried during the ceremony
    • The food
    • My father-in-law officiated
    • Because we planned and worked on every single aspect of it, we knew exactly what went into making every little part of that day possible. It was really in more ways than I can count a true reflection of who we are as a couple and a family.

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Top 5 least favorite things:

    I hate to be that person but there really wasn’t anything about the event or the day that I didn’t like.Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?

    “Just go to a catering hall and they will do everything for you.”

    What was the best advice?

    “Do it your way, it always works out”dianatom-14

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    If you’ve been married for more than a year, what have been some challenges?

    We haven’t been married for more than a year, but we have been together for almost eight years now: living together and raising a child. One of the biggest challenges and the greatest lessons we work on everyday is not keeping score. Knowing and functioning, as a couple and a family, under the cellular understanding that no matter what we are a unit, a team. Our loyalties and our efforts are to each other and this vision that we have for ourselves as a family.

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Any other bits of wisdom?

    Be friends with your spouse. Love and passion come and go in a wave like patterns. What sustains you through the ebb and flow is your friendship. That crazy friend who gets your dysfunction, that’s the kind of person you can build a life with.Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Real Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Budget Breakdown:

    Wedding announcement and save the dates: Free

    Invitations: $100

    These were hand-embroidered handkerchiefs that I made from squares of linen. They took about two years of steady work to complete and were personalized for each family that received one.

    • Paper goods (Kraft cardstock, envelopes, vellum paper) from Amazon.com
    • Linen was purchased from Mood Fabrics
    • Ink for printing RSVP cards and other inserts, as well as the shipping labels and glue, were purchased from Staples.​​

    Website: $30

    Ceremony: $500

    Central Park Conservancy: It was officiated by Tom’s father who became ordained just for the occasion.

    Pipe player: $250

    We contracted the services of a bag piper, Darius Kaufman, (718) 358-0747 whom provided musical accompaniment to the ceremony.

    Rings: $700

    Reception, including dinner: $10,000 (this is not their actual rate — we negotiated a deal so anyone wanting to host here should expect to pay way more)

    Venue: Liederkranz Foundation http://www.liederkranzny.org/

    Catering: Chef Albert Schmidt of Open Skies Hospitality

    Wine: $300 (this was a gift from a guest who had a connection)

    Cake: $250 (this was a reduced rate through business relationships) Pan Ugo Bakery 

    The stand for it was DIY from leftover wood from Tom’s job and leftover moss from the centerpieces

    The topper was from SimplySilhouetteWeddings on Etsy

    DJ: $500, Flava DJ

    Centerpieces and Flowers: $105

    • Cocktail hour:Following Chef Albert’s suggestion, and my personal distaste for flower arrangement, the portion of the “flower budget” allocated for this was appropriated into a kind of “edible arrangement” (fashioned out of herbs, crispy bacon roses, pretzels, breadsticks) that served as centerpieces during the cocktail hour.
    • DinnerThese were a DIY project I put together the night before:a.     The apples I bought from my local produce vendor (I bargained a deal for an entire box of apples that were about to go bad) $10 for 100 applesb.     Manzanita branches we order on sale from Blooms.com

      c.     The moss I bought from the flower market the day before (the moss was also about to go bad and the shop agreed to sell it to me for $5 for the whole box)

      d.     The oversized vases I owned and had purchased one at a time whenever I saw them go on sale at my local TJMaxx or Marshalls

      e.     The plastic hanging crystals along with the candle votives I ordered from Amazon.com. I cleaned and polished them in order to make them look more expensive than they actually were

      f.      The hanging table numbers were DIY from Tom and were made from little rounds of tree branches that he cut and dried on our radiator, and then numbered using a wood burning tool

      2.     The cherry blossom arch behind our table was a cherry tree I purchased at that flower market at a discounted price the day before. It is now planted in my mother’s backer

    Place card/ Thank you gifts: $60

    • We bought 12 regular plants from The Indoor Outdoor Gardener a retail gardening store in Bay Ridge. We separated and planted them into individual little pots (read: plastic cups) that we then covered in burlap. I printed personalized labels, utilizing leftover materials from the invitations, with the name of each individual guest and secured them onto toothpicks that we then inserted into each little plant. These served double-duty as place cards and thank you gifts for our guests to take with them at the end of the night. It was also a thoughtful way for Tom’s grandmother, who had passed away a few years ago, to be present. I also included some of these blooms in my bridal bouquet.

    Transportation: $100

    Photographer: $1,000

    Wedding portrait: $100

    • For our wedding portrait we booked a session with the wonderful artists at the Tintype Studio through the Penumbra Foundation in exchange for signing a release form that allowed them to use our image on their website they gave us a discount.
    • Other than the venue our other BIG splurge was hiring Carole Cohen to document our ceremony and parts of our reception. Photos, unlike flowers, live on forever and we wanted beautiful images that felt personal and captured everything this day represented for us as well as our families. Carole provided us with that and so much more.

    Groom outfit: $340

    • Kilts where from Rent A Kilt
    • Suit jackets, shirts and ties were from Century21
    • Tom wore his grandfather’s hat which was restored by The Hat House
    • Shoes were from DSW
    • Traditional accessories and trimmings like the sporran, the silver kilt pin and flashers were special ordered from Scotland through ScotWeb
    • Boutonnières were made from the same herbs as my bouquet

    Bride’s outfit, including flowers: $380

    • Dress was handmade. All of the silk organdy, lace, closures and tulle (for the petticoats) was purchased from Mood Fabrics. Cost was around $300
    • Details were hand-beaded and embroidered with materials from Beads World USA
    • DIY crowd made from laurel leaves and Lily of the valley blooms
    • Bouquet was DIY from laurel, myrtle, lavender, thyme, mint, rosemary, oregano, sage, Scottish thistles (the national flower of Scotland) and a sizeable air plant for architectural appeal. I got all of these at the flower market and the union square farmer’s market the day before.
    • My pearls were an heirloom engagement present I received from Tom

    Thank you notes: $20

    • These were printed copies of one of the photos from the wedding which we got through MPix (they calibrate the photo before printing it and each item is personally inspected for quality by a member of their staff.
    • I made frames from cardstock and placed them in envelopes leftover from the invites
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  • 10/7

    www.sharynfrenkelphotography.com

    Names: Meg & Steve Occupations: Development Coordinator for a community revitalization non-profit; high school Spanish teacher Wedding location: Pearl S. Buck Estate, Perkasie, PA Wedding Budget: $25,000 ** Number of Guests: 207 Wedding Date: June 20, 2015 How would you describe your wedding: Our wedding had a little bit of everything. We had some traditional elements, but also did things our own modern way. For example, we had…

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    3/31

    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. What was…

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    1/6

    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…

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  • 7/7

    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…

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    11/27

    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…

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  • 6/28

    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…

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