1/19 Real Wedding: Heather + Jacob’s Peacock Feathered, History Museum Super-Saver Wedding

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Oh! Was I drooling? When this beauty of a wedding landed in my inbox, I just stared … and stared … and stared. Heather and Jacob had a stunning peacock-infused and SUPER budget-friendly event in Seattle. They are one handsome couple and the camera sure does love them. Get your bib ready and throw some plastic over your keyboard, because you’ll be sure to soak it with your own dribble.

Name: Heather and Jacob

Occupation: Café/Wine Bar Manager

Wedding location: Tacoma, Washington

Wedding Date: April 2, 2011

Budget: $10,000, but I think we spent around $12K

How would you describe your wedding:
Our wedding was a total expression of our personalities. It was fashionable, funky and creative but with lots of traditional and personal touches. I knew I wanted to go with peacock feathers, and choosing them opened the door to a beautiful, jewel-tone color scheme. We chose over-the-top venues, fun outfits for our wedding party, but maintained tradition by marrying in a chapel and having our pastor marry us. We both wrote our own vows … we were both crying so much we could hardly make it through the ceremony!

What was your favorite part of your wedding? I think listening to my husband’s wedding vows. I had not heard them before that point, and he was crying so hard … it was the sweetest thing I had ever seen. I was so full of love at that moment!

 My favorite “material” part of the wedding was our flowers. My bouquet was amazeballs!

What did you splurge on?
Photography and invitations.
Photography is really the only thing that really lasts forever, so we knew we wanted great photos. To me, invitations are really important because I believe they set the tone for the whole event.

What did you save on?
My dress was a sample gown that had been in the shop for six months and had never even been tried on. I think the owner was dying to get rid of it (guess no one else liked it!) so she gave me a huge discount.

I won an essay contest and got $300 off of our invitations (they still were pricey), we had a friend cater the wedding, and we DIYed as much as we could. I spent 13 hours the day before the wedding making our centerpieces and ceremony décor. I also made all the cake stands for the candy bar and had friends and family members make dessert. We even borrowed a cotton candy machine from a friend and spun our own cotton candy!

I also made all the table numbers and table squares, escort cards, the wishing tree and the bridesmaid’s hair fascinators. I had a whole year to plan, and I was literally working on crafts for an entire year!! Day of, I had friends do my hair and makeup, and stayed at a hotel that my parents’ friends own (free!).

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect?
Honestly, everything went so smoothly that there isn’t anything I would change. We had help from a lot of friends and the day went off without a hitch. I still don’t get tired of looking at my wedding photos … I am still in love with the whole event!

What was your biggest challenge in planning?
Definitely having such a small budget for a wedding with 230 guests. We both had help from our families, but we still paid for most of the wedding ourselves. It took a ton of time, energy, and research to find the most cost effective version of everything. I probably spent thousands of hours on the Internet !! There were times when I thought it LITERALLY would not be possible, but it is! I managed to juggle full-time school, a full-time job, and planning a wedding and still did not come out completely broke!

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself?
Organization. I am definitely more of a “free spirited” person than an organized person, but if you are planning a wedding on a budget, organization is key. You need to keep track of coupons and sales, as well as network with people. I used the homie hookup on whatever I could, and I think that’s part of the reason we were able to have such a beautiful wedding on a budget. We used connections through friends at church, our parent’s friends, and Facebook friends! I made lots of excel spreadsheets to keep track of how much we had spent and how much we had left to spend. I had to keep track of every tiny expense, even if it was 5 dollars!

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?
1-the way my bridesmaids looked together. I think their dresses were amazing, and paired with the peacock fascinators, funky hosiery, sky-high heels, and lime green flowers… I don’t think I have ever seen a cooler bunch of bridesmaids!

2- our reception venue. We had it at a history museum and rented out all three floors. When we walked into our reception it was like being on the loveboat—looking up at three floors of balcony filled with our loved ones cheering and applauding us. It was a surreal feeling. I might be biased but I think it was the coolest reception venue ever (especially since it had a mummy display)!

3- My flowers. They were more than I could have imagined—simply perfect! I even was in love with the flower girl’s dark purple pomander ball! (I used vintage brooches on the front of my bouquet, given to me by my mom)

4-Our wedding video. A very talented friend of ours did a wedding video for us as a gift—it turned out beautifully!

5-Having a candy buffet. Because we had at least 30 kids at our wedding, we really needed to do something they would love. Having a candy buffet complete with freshly spun cotton candy was a huge hit! I loved going around and greeting all of my guests and seeing them all with blue tongues.

Top 5 least favorite?
1. The fact that it ended! We only had our reception venue from 6:30 until 11:00, and I was really sad when everyone had to leave. The party was absolutely insane at our reception, and I think most of our guests moved on to an after party. I am so glad that people had so much fun! (boring receptions are the worst)

2. That we couldn’t have live music at our reception. We just couldn’t afford it, and opted for a DJ instead.
That’s really all I can think of… everything else was wonderful.

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?
Well, we had a lot of unique ideas and almost every single person in my life bashed all of my ideas. People could not believe we were doing a candy bar instead of a traditional wedding cake, or that we were doing a wishing tree instead of a guest book. Someone flat out told me that those ideas were disrespectful to our guests! People also knocked the lime green flowers idea, and the fact that I wanted to wear polka dot tight sunder my dress. However, I think once they saw everything together, they realized they were wrong!

The best?
I didn’t get any great advice. However, I am a really independent person and just went on with my planning by myself and didn’t really listen to what anyone else was saying. Planning a wedding is hard enough, you can’t let other people’s negative opinions and comments get to you! I am glad I stuck to my gut because I am SO PROUD of how my wedding turned out.

If you’ve been married for more than a year, what have been some challenges? It’s been the best 10 months of my life! In fact, we are expecting a little baby girl in May.

Any other bits of wisdom?
Always go with your gut. Only YOU know yourself best. Don’t let other people tell you “that dress is just not YOU” or, “really? You want your reception in a museum? That’s so not you!” Only you truly know your taste, and if you let other people make decisions for you, you might regret it in the long run.

Check out Heather & Jacob’s totally gorgeous wedding vid (WARNING: it might make you a little teary)

Heather and Jacob | Every sunrise and sunset from james dean on Vimeo.

Budget breakdown?
Food and rentals: $4,000
Photography: $2,600
Ceremony Venue: $300 (score! My husband’s aunt was an employee at the venue)
Reception Venue: $1200
Dress: $800
Flowers: $1,000
Décor: (DIY) $600
Invitations: $500
Candy bar: $200 (lots of DIY, bought candy from bulk website)
DJ: $900
Videographer, wedding veil, and desserts were all gifted!

Dress: Jasmine Collection
Veil: Vera Wang
Shoes: Paris Hilton
Hair Flower: Nordstrom
Bracelets: Forever 21
Groom’s Suit: Tommy Hilfiger
Groom’s Tie: Urban Outfitters
Groom’s Shoes: Steve Madden
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Betsey Johnson, XOXO, David’s Bridal
Bridesmaid’s tights: Nordstrom
Bridesmaid’s Shoes: Steve Madden
Hair fascinators: Made by bride
Cocktail rings: Forever 21
Groomsmen outfits: All H&M
Groomsmen ties: Urban Outfitters
Flowergirl dress: David’s Bridal
Ring Bearer’s outfits: JC Penney
Flowers: Debra’s Botanical Design
Ceremony Venue: Kilworth Memorial chapel
Reception Venue: Washington State History Museum
DJ/Lighting: Adam’s DJ Service
Photographer: Clane Gessel Photography
Videographer: James Dean
Invitations: Peacock Invitations on Etsy


Christen Moynihan is the Editorial Manager/ Accounts Goddess/ Unicorn Wrangler for The Broke-Ass Bride. Lover of swimming, tattoos, elephants, bourbon and Champagne. Culinary crusader, adventure advocate, kitty cuddler. Nomad, extroverted-introvert and geek fo lyfe. High-fives are her currency. Affiliate links, like the ones in this post, help make her real money so she can keep rocking life, broke-ass style. Play along on Twitter (BrokeAssChris10), Pinterest (brokeasschris10) and Instagram (brokeasschris10). If you're curious about the world of affiliate marketing, check her out at Bourbon & Sparkle
  • Caroline

    Wonderful, stunning and her section on other's opinions really spoke to me. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Springflower

    OMG!!! I Love Everything about this wedding!! You are right I am Drooling!!!!

  • sher jewell

    whats the concept on the wishing tree?

    • that was used instead of a guest book. there was a little poem describing what to do/what it was for, and guests wrote a wish, blessing, or little note on one of the cards and hung it on the tree. now, all the little wishes are displayed in an album.

      • Carmen

        Heather you guys had a beautiful wedding and congrats on the baby!!1

  • Everything looks gorgeous! I think it's wonderful that you held with what you wanted to do and didn't let others pressure you into something that you did not want. You've shown what a wonderful wedding you can have without going into debt up to your eyeballs. Very inspiring!

  • Dear

    This is gorgeous! I love that the bride chose a simple dress, it made her look so sweet and innocent. It really went with those dreamy outdoor photos. I love the colors, I love everything!

  • The flowers are very pretty

  • celestereille

    OMG! My boyfriend and I (a Chinese national) are planning our wedding in China. My whole family are in the states. I have 9 months to go, but have yet to even start. I don't know where to start exactly, I don't know the budget or where things we need will come from. We just want a simple, memorable and beautiful ceremony like this one. I am inspired now. Thanks Heather and Jacob!

  • Pingback: Registry Tips, DIY Centerpieces, Sweet Favors & More Of The Week’s Best Tips()

  • This is a stunning wedding – once you have that one idea for your wedding (the peacock feathers) it helps make all the other decisions. I love the invitations – worth the splurge!

  • Kathie

    I absolutely love the color combination of the bridesmaids dresses!

  • Bridget

    Could you tell me how you made the baby's breath arrangements at your ceremony? They are beautiful!