Posts in the 'under 20K' Category

Real Wedding: Heather & Chris’ Elegant, Misty Mountaintop Wedding Affair

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?

Heather’s list:

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.

Chris’ list:

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.)

Heather’s list:

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.

Chris’ list:

The hangover.

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.

Heather & Chris’ wedding budget breakdown:

Venue: Crystal Springs Golf Course - $14,028.23

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.

License: $40

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.

Total: $21,792.44

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! 

{Real Wedding} Stacy & Marty’s Friend-Filled Backyard Bash

Stacy and Marty had a gorgeous backyard bash filled with swank and sweetness. Their community of friends rallied around them to help them pull it all off for less than $17, 000.

Name:  Stacy & Marty

Occupation: Tailor and director

Wedding location: Our backyard, Los Angeles, Hollywood Hills

Wedding Date: July 19, 2009

Budget: $17,000

How would you describe your wedding: A mix of civil and traditional of the above with a fun and humorous officiator.

What was your favorite part of your wedding? The ceremony and my backyard.

What did you splurge on? My dress, even though I got it on sample sale.

What did you save on? Food, flowers, rentals, location, DJ & décor, Coordinator, photography.

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? I would have gone with a different rental company. The guest chairs were old and dirty.  I was told that you get what you pay for in that department and that was true.

The one thing I regret the most was forgetting to thank the key friends that made my wedding possible in our speech, which were Ryan with Savior Flair and Laura with Beautiful Day Photography. I was too nervous and overwhelmed, but my wedding would not have been possible without those two women.

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Money & making a lot of the décor my self, while working a full-time job.

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? It will never be perfect and listening to my wedding coordinator. She was right every time.

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding? 

My wedding coordinator

Our pictures & photographer

How many friends and family love us and were so happy to help! Our friends were truly amazing help and willing to offer their services for free.

The music (all my own playlists from music library) also saved on DJ, because it was on my computer. We had a family member play the appropriate play lists at the appropriate times.

My dress!

My décor and that it was exactly the way I wanted it, because I did it myself (ok, that’s 6)

Top 5 least favorite? 

The guest chairs, I didn’t have a dance floor, it was the hottest day of the year, limited space, forgot to thank my dearest friends for their help during our speech.

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? I didn’t get any bad advice.

The best? I got all of the best advice from my wedding coordinator, and it was all good.  Also, to be in the moment, because the day goes so fast.

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

Any other bits of wisdom? Get everything on sale, do it yourself and accept help from family & friends.

My vendors – see below

Budget Breakdown?*  – see below

Rings: $5,500, 24 Carat

Bride’s Attire: $2,300, R Mine Bridal 

Hair/Makeup: $300, friend

Groom’s Attire: $300, Men’s Wearhouse

Flowers, Decor: $650, Fiore Designs

Food: $1,850, Dawn Gallo / Easy Entertaining

Bar: $300, Bevmo

Cake: $400, Hansen’s

Rentals: $1,500, Queens

Lighting: $200, DIY

Backyard: $1,000, Oscar

Parking: $200

Wedding Party Gifts: $500

Stationery: $100

Officiant: $100

Photography: $500, Beautiful Day Photography

Bridal Consultant: $0, Saviour Flair (friend)

Total: $16,600.00

Congratulations, you two!

{Real Wedding} Laura & Chase’s Colorado Foodie Wedding (With A Healthy Dose Of Puppy Love!)

Happy Wednesday! Oh … wait, that must mean it’s time for another Real Wedding droolfest! Y’all, Laura and Chase had a sweet, food and booze-filled backyard-type wedding. And they did it right. They got alcohol in bulk from a local store to stock their full bar, and returned any unopened bottles. Laura Hobby Lobby-ed her brains out for supplies to make their pomanders, Chinese lanterns, seating charts and a plethora of other things. Their focus? Friends, family, each other and FOOD. Also, guuurrrllll … I feel yo pain with the hairdo that takes FUR-EV-UH. But you rocked it. Oh … did I mention there’s ADORBZ pups involved?

Names: Laura and Chase

Occupation: Aerospace Engineer (Laura), Photographer (Chase) www.chasehoffman.com

Wedding location: Boulder, Colo.

Wedding Date: June 4, 2011

Budget: Projected: $22,500 – Including the wedding, the rehearsal dinner, wedding bands, gifts for the wedding party, and a hotel the night of the wedding. Without the rehearsal dinner, about $18K.

How would you describe your wedding: We had a very casual and comfortable wedding. We wanted our guests (and ourselves) to feel laid-back. Like an upscale backyard party.

What was your favorite part of your wedding? Way before we were ever engaged, we started making a list of all the things we hated at other people’s weddings and vowed to never do them at our own.  We wanted an open bar, we wanted assigned tables, we wanted a live band … I’m so glad we were able to have each of those things.  I also think the food was one of the best parts.  We’ve never been the biggest fan of wedding cake, so we came up with cheesecake.  My favorite comfort food is mac ‘n’ cheese, and the caterer worked it into the meal by making fried mac ‘n’ cheese balls as an appetizer – yum!

What did you splurge on? Food.  We’re foodies, and well, we really wanted excellent food.

What did you save on? Venue. We found a quaint farm that was a relatively new venue. We were able to rent it for two days, so we could arrive anytime and then didn’t have to worry about cleaning up the night of the wedding.

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? One thing I would’ve done differently is getting my hair done in practice.  I didn’t want to spend the money on it, and I thought, how long could it take to curl my hair?  I planned for 45 minutes and it took over two hours …

Luckily we had lots of buffer time with having our pictures before the ceremony.  I had my father officiate our wedding, but felt so bad asking such a “huge favor” that I wrote the entire ceremony.  I should’ve just let my dad do what he knows how to do (be a minister and lead a wedding), rather than try to control him.

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Being a people pleaser, I felt like I had to make sure everyone was happy and OK with how things were going.  It was a challenge between feeling OK with the decision I made and how people reacted to it.  It was difficult not feeling guilty about asking my busy friends and family to help with things.


What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? I knew from the get-go that you can’t get everything you want at the price you want. I learned to prioritize what I absolutely couldn’t do without, what I would be OK settling on.


What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

  • The overall comfortable vibe we achieved.  It definitely represented us as a couple.
  • Having tasty food.  And the time to do a plated dinner.
  • Live band – I absolutely love live music.
  • The photography.  And getting a photo with our little family – the pups, Penny and Leo!
  • My dress and jewelry.  I wore a pearl necklace from my great-great-grandmother.  It really meant something to have that piece of family history.

Top 5 least favorite?

  • My hair taking an hour longer than I thought – but it was really pretty in the end!
  • Chase’s brother starting the toast before the Champagne was served. We forgot to tell him to wait for that … oops.
  • The limo company not showing up at the end of the night to take us to our hotel.  We hitched a ride with one of my bridesmaids.
  • The camera we set up as a photobooth ran out of battery power.
  • The fact that I kept forgetting my gorgeous bouquet of flowers during pictures!

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? “You get what you pay for.” Most things we ended up paying an average price, or slightly cheaper. We did our research, and found quality vendors at an acceptable price. I don’t think we lost out because we didn’t pay tons of money for something.


The best? Trust your vendors.  They do this a lot, they know what they’re doing. The catering manager was pretty much our wedding coordinator and she did amazing.

Any other bits of wisdom? Check the weekly ads at Hobby Lobby (if you live in that area of the states).  I saved so much money on decorations by strategically buying things when they were on sale! And stay organized – Google Documents was a huge help.  Finally, doing a first look and then all my portraits before the ceremony was so worth it.  We had so much more time and got to enjoy cocktail hour with our guests.


Budget breakdown?

Venue: $1975, 63rd St Farm

Flowers: $860 Painted Primrose

Music $1600 18 Switchbacks 

Invitations: $300 Wedding Paper Divas 

Save the Dates: $55

Cake: $400 Cheesecake Therapy

Liquor: $1145 LiquorMart , we bought in bulk and returned anything we didn’t use.

Catering/Rentals: $6677 Savory Cuisines

Photography: $2250 April O’Hare 

Groom’s Suit: $407 Men’s Wearhouse 

Bridal Attire: $400 (shoes, veil, jewelry – dress was gifted by Grandmother)

Decorations: Everything was DIY’d, and the supplies cost $335

Congrats, you two!

The Broke-Ass Bride is always looking for rad-tastic Broke-Ass weddings and engagement sessions to feature. Interested? You can submit via Two Bright Lights or by emailing us directly!

xoxo
-Christen