Broke-Ass Tag: under 20K


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! 

  • 7/4

    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.

    Budget Breakdown?*

    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!

  • 3/7

    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…

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