Broke-Ass Tag: Budget Destination Wedding


The time has finally come to see Real Bride Amy’s intimate Chittendon, Vt., wedding. Amy and Rick escaped to a gorgeous lakeside lodge with a few of their nearest and dearest to tie the knot. They did away with all the extras and prioritized their dollars on what made sense for them — the true broke-ass way. Boucher Visuals did a wonderful job of capturing the love and details from their big day.
Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Lakeside Portrait || Boucher VisualsName: Amy & Rick

Occupation: Public Health Professional

Wedding location: Chittenden, VT

Wedding Date: September 25, 2016

Budget: $10,000

Number of Guests: 15

How would you describe your wedding (civil? Traditions? Write your own vows? Etc.): Simple. No frills. Just the important stuff.

Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Ring Shot || Boucher Visuals

Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Venue View || Boucher Visuals

What was your favorite part of your wedding? When the ceremony was over, we walked to the car and had a few minutes before we went to join our guests. It was nice to have a few minutes to breath and just be together in the midst of a hectic day.

Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Couple Portrait || Boucher Visuals
What did you splurge on?
Photography! This was my #1 priority so it was worth it. I also unintentionally splurged on my dress, but I found one I loved and just went with it.  

What did you save on? We kept it small and did not do a full reception, which saved us on food, flowers and decor.

Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Cake || Boucher VisualsWas there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? I would have savored the day more. It all went by so fast!  

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Making decisions about what I wanted to do, while trying to consider everyone else’s wishes.

Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Reception Dinner || Boucher Visuals

Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Bridal Bouquet|| Boucher VisualsWhat lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Although it’s a special day, it really is only just a day, and real life starts again right after, so don’t stress about it too much!

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

Our pictures.

My dress.

The cake.

My bouquet.

Sharing it with our closest family and friends.

Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Bridal Accessories || Boucher Visuals

Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Shoes || Boucher Visuals

Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Dress Shot || Boucher VisualsTop 5 least favorite?

Choosing vendors.

Getting ready the morning of the ceremony. Stressful!

The money. Seeing the bank balance dwindle away was hard.

Pinterest pressure. DIY is not always worth it.

How fast it all went by.

Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Cake Cutting || Boucher Visuals

Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Cake Smash || Boucher VisualsWhat was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? Everyone had their own story about what they did at their own wedding that they of course thought was best, “you should use this vendor,” etc.  They meant well, of course, but each wedding and each couple is unique. Weddings are not one size fits all, and you have to do what is best for the two of you.

The best? Go with your gut. Don’t get swayed, but what your friend did or the popular social media trends, or what your mother thinks you should do. Do whatever will make you look back on your day and smile.

Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Portrait with Dogs || Boucher VisualsAny other bits of wisdom? I can see the value in hiring at least a day-of coordinator. We didn’t, but much of the week before was spent trying to coordinate with vendors about schedules and payments, and that day I was worried about where everyone was going and when, and we were running around the envelopes trying to be sure everyone got paid. It would have been nice to know that was being handled so I could have focused more attention on my guests.

Budget breakdown?

Save the Dates and Invitations: $500

Venue and food: $1,000

Accommodations: $1,000

Cake: $100

Bouquet and boutonniere: $125

Dress and alterations: $3,000

Groom’s suit: $400

Photography: $3,000

Hair & Makeup: Free! I did my own makeup and my friend did my hair.

Officiant: $400

Total: $9,525


Venue: Mountaintop Inn & Resort 

Photography: Boucher Visuals

Cake: Trillium Fine Desserts

Dress: True North Bridal  Designer: Rebecca Schoneveld 

Custom Save the Dates & Invitations: Written in Detail 

Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Ceremony Exit || Boucher Visuals

Congratulations, Amy and Rick!


  • 7/10

    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 how you would like it to appear: Rhea & Rio Ingram

    Occupation: Director of Marketing

    Wedding location: Los Barriles, Mexico at Palmas de Cortez Resort

    Wedding Date: 3.23.13

    Budget: $10,000


    How would you describe your wedding (civil? Traditions? Write your own vows? Etc.): Rio and I met in Cabo San Lucas in 2010 and both had family roots down there. So we knew the second we fell in love and got married, we wanted it to be in Cabo. It’s totally us and our hearts. Knowing that we were on a budget, we found out that it would be much more expensive to get married in the city. So, we ventured off the beaten path up an hour north of Cabo to Los Barriles. My grandparents have had a home there for over 15 years so I was familiar with the area. It’s a very small town with a beautiful beach, a few restaurants, and an amazing hotel. A big change of pace from the upbeat Cabo atmosphere. We knew it was for us. We wanted small,non-traditional ceremony with a stunning location. And goodness, did we get just that! We wrote our own vows and had a friend marry us. In Mexico, you cannot get married by law in the states unless you have a Catholic ceremony. So, Rio and I chose to write our own wedding to get married wherever we wanted and then had a civil ceremony following our honeymoon at home in Los Angeles.


    What was your favorite part of your wedding? We kept it very small and intimate. Only 35 of our closest friends and family attended. We also made it exactly what we wanted it to be by not doing what we thought everyone else would want. This way, we were able to provide a laid back event for everyone to enjoy as a vacation in Mexico.

    What did you splurge on? Flowers!

    What did you save on? Seating, using the patio chairs for free (instead of chiavari chair rentals), buffet food and DYI décor.


    Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? I would not have argued with my husband over such small things like spending a lot of our budget on chairs! We ended up using the patio chairs at the venue for free and they turned out beautifully. Silly arguments that don’t matter in the end aren’t worth the time.


    What was your biggest challenge in planning? We had a very small budget and we were planning everything from the States. My wedding planner was pretty much incompetent so I had to take the reigns and handle everything myself. From finding a flower and cake vendor out of the city of Cabo San Lucas, to creating our own lace table overlays, to literally coordinating every other small detail of the event, Rio and I did it all. We also brought all of the decor down from the States, which was a small challenge, but made it a lot easier — thanks to my parents for bringing half of it in their suitcases.


    What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Be patient, and give yourself time to plan. Everything and every detail takes time. We knew we had a small budget so we gave ourselves a year and a half engagement to plan ahead.


    What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding? The beautiful venue (and perfect weather), we made our wedding a 5-day vacation for all of our friends and family to enjoy, the flowers, having a traditional lasso ceremony portion of the wedding (nice to incorporate some tradition in a non-traditional wedding) and truly allowing the day of to be completely non-stressful.


    Top 5 least favorite? Worrying about people having fun for five days, not only for the day of our wedding, but prior. I wanted to make sure everyone was having a great time on each day, when really, it wasn’t my responsibility. I spent a little too much time in providing details about activities etc., prior to the event, which added more stress. Plus, even though we posted travel arrangement information to our website a year before the event, people still couldn’t get it together. So last minute, my husband and I had to figure out shuttle and room reservations (even though they were blocked months in advance) for almost everyone. But, being a bride, we wanted to make everything smooth and easy for guests traveling to our wedding so we made it work.


    What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? I don’t recall a bad piece of advice.

    The best? Never give up on one another.



    If you’ve been married for more than a year, what have been some challenges? Keep faith even through the big life decisions that you will need to make together. Love will get you through anything.

    Any other bits of wisdom? Always do what makes the two of you happy. Don’t do things just to make others happy. Keeping our wedding small and intimate allowed us to really focus on us and what we wanted the out of the wedding. Because of this, I was able to enjoy every second of the day and didn’t stress once. Also, remember in a marriage to constantly challenge each other to grow and be the best you can be, both together and individually (taken from our vows).


    Budget breakdown?

    • Photography: Personal Friend Rate – Marissa Maharaj, – $1,500
    • DJ: $525
    • Bonfire on Beach Event (2 nights before wedding for guests):  $200
    • Venue Fees, Catering (Set Mexican Buffet) and Bar Tab: $2,543
    • Flowers and Cake: $1,340
    • Dress (Free from Mom, but it was an $800 sample dress)
    • Dress Alterations: $300
    • Travel: 2 round-trip tickets from LA to Cabo $600
    • Hotel: Free (comped for Bride and Groom)
    • Graphic Design for Wedding Invites + All collateral at the wedding: Free, created personally and by a friend
    • Rehearsal Dinner: $400 (other $600 paid for by Groom’s Parents)
    • Snacks and Alcohol for Guests prior to Wedding: $500
    • Groom Suit Rental: $250
    • Mexican Lasso: $100
    • Bride Hair and Make-up: $170
    • Wine Gifts for Guests: $600
    • Wedding Party Gifts: $500
    • Arts & Crafts Materials for Décor: $370
    • Shoes: $100
    • Wedding Planner Fee: $500

    Total Wedding Amount = $9,973


    Photography: Marissa Maharaj –

    Cabo Flowers and Cakes –

    Palmas de Cortez Venue –

  • 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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    When I tell people that I am planning my North Carolina from Minnesota most ask me if I'm crazy. To be fair, before I embarked on this magical adventure, I would have said the same thing. So far, I have had a very good experience planning my wedding remotely (knock on wood). However, I can't say I would recommend it to everyone. Here are the following things you…

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