Hope everyone’s 2011 is starting out with a bang and lots of throwing confetti! So excited to share this little charm of wedding with you all!
Lilia and Lou both come from enormous families and while the thought of eloping had surfaced, they decided they still wanted to surround themselves with 175 loved ones with a wedding. Lilia, the bride was kind enough to share some details:
“We spent more than we planned on Lou’s suit. Since my mom made my dress, it was a perfect fit and I felt awesome in it. Lou has very particular taste and department store suits just weren’t fitting right. I felt that he should be able to feel just as smashing as I did in my wedding outfit so we bought a brand new suit for him from Banana Republic.”
“We didn’t do any fresh flowers. Instead, I used some beautiful silk fabric that my mother had in her collection, buttons and a die cut machine to make the bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages. It was labor intensive but it saved us a LOT of money. I probably spent about $300 in supplies. With nine (yes, nine!) bridesmaids, I can’t imagine what our flower costs would have been! Plus, I think it made our wedding really unique.”
“We saved big on the flowers, my dress and the decorations. My mother is so talented and I’m quite crafty so I figured we could just use our creativity to make things look great rather than spend a fortune on fresh flower centerpieces and arrangements. I think it translated well — there was a lot of DIY at our wedding and it offered a unique look and I really think the guests understood that many loving hands went into this event. All tissue paper pom pom decorations were made by bridesmaids (pom poms were our main decor and part of the centerpieces).
We relied heavily on our friends and family to help put this thing together. My mother made my dress and the neckties. My bridesmaids made the tissue paper pom poms. His musician friends provided BEAUTIFUL sound and music throughout the night. My maid of honor, a pastry chef, baked our cake. My aunts crocheted and knitted wraps for the bridesmaids. A family friend gave us free dance lessons. My cousins made the escort cards and table numbers. The day of the wedding, all of our out of town guests arrived early and decorated the place.
In the end, I think everyone took some ownership over what happened that day.
It wasn’t just OUR day… it belonged to everyone who was there!”
“Our venue had in-house catering and we chose a unique menu — all vegetarian. Initially, some of our family members were concerned but the Italian dinner buffet was delicious and it seemed like everyone was pleased. It actually saved us a bundle because we used the fact that we were going with a vegetarian menu as our bargaining point and got the cost down to $18 per person.”
“We splurged on the bar. At first, we thought that we would do a cash bar but after saving so much money with all of the DIY projects, we reconsidered. Plus, I kept reading in all the bride magazines that it’s considered rude not to provide drinks. We counted up how many drinkers we had and allotted the cost of 3.5 drinks per drinker. The venue allowed us to pay for drinks up to that amount which worked out great — our guests enjoyed complimentary beer and wine all night. And we decided to include a champagne toast because it didn’t feel right not to have one (although the venue didn’t serve it on time so we sort of lost out on that one…bummer). And our other splurge was the photo booth. It was 100% a luxury item but MAN, it was worth it! Everyone climbed in and took goofy photos all night. It was a huge hit!”
“Memorable moments? Too many to describe! Everything was such a blur… my mother looked amazing. One of our guests was a dog… in a tuxedo. Lou’s parents cut a rug on the dance floor. The families and bridal party did a group tequila shot. Our photographers — could they be more amazing?!?! My three older brothers gave me tear-filled hugs after the ceremony. My dad and I had a blast when we danced. As soon as the DJ started spinning, our guests made a soul train on the dance floor. The way Lou looked at me when he first saw me…he didn’t take his eyes off me all night. And, someone took a photo of their butt in the photobooth! Ha! What a night.”
“We saved HUGE on our music as well. Lou is a musician so we called in a few favors from friends. We had a live pianist for the ceremony, a live violinist for the cocktail hour, a professional audio engineer, and a tremendous DJ for the reception. Since they were friends of ours, they all offered to do it for free or at a super discount.
We did the thing that everyone says not to do and didn’t have a strict budget. That said, we tried extremely hard to save in every way that we could. We ended up spending 21k. That’s a lot of money. But, with such a large guest list, we feel like we got a LOT of wedding for what we spent!
What would I have done differently? I think I should have negotiated more on a few things with the venue. I always feel too guilty to barter effectively. And, I wish we had hired a coordinator-type person for the entire evening. We had someone with us for the ceremony and cocktail hour but I felt like the reception fell apart without someone directing things — one of my bridesmaids had to step in, and I wish she hadn’t had to spend the evening doing that. Our venue, while beautiful, was not very helpful (and was downright problematic at some points during the night).”
Loved Lilia’s advice to all those planning weddings now:
“Use your creativity and the talents of friends and family. Everyone has a talent and usually they’re willing to lend a hand.
Look for alternatives. People looked at me like I was nuts when I explained what I was doing with the flowers. And some were horrified that we didn’t offer meat at our wedding. But on the day-of, it all came together and people thought the non-traditional parts of our wedding were great! We used alternatives to save money but it turned out that it made our wedding details more memorable. Let people help you. It’s a little frightening to involve others in the planning process and I did end up compromising on some things but, overall, our wedding was a team effort and I think it made it all the more special.”
And here’s the budget breakdown:
with 175 guests: total cost $21,450
Venue (includes food and alcohol): $12,000
Wedding dress & Groom’s suit: $1000
Flowers and decorations: $600
Photography & photo booth: $3100
Wedding Rings: $1100
Hair, Makeup, Mani-Pedis, Facials: $450
Again, congratulations to Lilia and Lou! Many thanks for sharing your big day with us! Loving all the DIY details and hope it inspires you all!
Lastly, here’s a bit of wedding vendor info too:
photography: Simply Knot Photography
venue: Corona Ranch
dj: DJ Hartbreaks