Gabriella, pediatric home health nurse & David, senior video producer
Sum-up of the wedding vibe: A mid-morning brunch wedding full of color, laughs, ugly crying, dancing, and booze.
Planned budget: $12,000
Actual budget: $15,000
Number of guests: 110
Where we allocated the most funds:
Photographer, venue, and catering were evenly matched. We knew that photos were the most important to us both, so you can say we were extra lenient when it came to that bill. Both Leah (of Leah Muse Photography) and Whole Foods were great about working with our budget. While we did spend the most with them, it was still totally doable.
Where we allocated the least funds:
DJ, decorations, and flowers. Our friend DJed for us (fo’ free!). We provided a loose playlist (mostly of songs deemed dance-worthy by our two-year-old: Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Katy Perry, T. Swift, etc.) and let him have fun with the rest!
Gabriella and her mom made 90 percent of the decorations by hand, which Gabee started quickly after the engagement. Pom-poms took the place of flowers as centerpieces, which added a whimsical flair—all representative of her quirk. Gabee’s mom also made ribbon wands with tiny bells attached to make for a fun, colorful (not to mention mess-free) exit!
What was totally worth it:
Leah was totally worth it. Photos are forever. When we asked her a week before the wedding if we could add a second photographer, she happily agreed. We can’t speak highly enough of her, her creativity, and her kindness.
Also, trusting our friend, Jennifer Holt (also, fo’ free!), in coordinating the day of the wedding. She made sure everything went off without a hitch. If anything went wrong that day, we didn’t know it.
What was totally not worth it:
There was lots of rain the few days leading up to the wedding. We were in a predicament where we had to team up with the couple that was having a wedding the night before ours and put a deposit on a tent in case of rain. We would then share the cost of the tent should we both choose to use it. However, if the couple before us chose to cancel the tent, we were going to end up footing the entire bill (which ultimately they ended up canceling, of course). The tent was a safe bet but cost just as much as the venue, so we stressed out big time about the rain and having to pay another $4,000+ for a dang tent. We decided to gamble with Mother Nature and to not go with the big tent and got a smaller tent that was already covered by our initial deposit. Needless to say, we ended up having a sunny (read “humid”) morning and afternoon without rain. Long story short, it was totally NOT worth worrying about the rain.
A few things that helped us along the way:
Our family and friends really helped us along the way: David’s parents with money for catering, Gab’s with the photographer and paying for and making decorations. We had an assembly line for people to make pom-poms at our house and Gab hosted wine-y, bridesmaid nights to laugh the planning stress away and make boutonnières and pom-pom centerpieces.
My best practical advice for my planning self:
Be flexible. You’re going to get married whether it rains or not. You’re going to get married if the flowers are a different shade than your well-intended color palette. You’re going to get married even if your food is soggy and cold by the time you sit down. There are things you can plan for and can have all of the checklists and spreadsheets, but in the end you’ll need to compromise and just enjoy the day. IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE FUN.
Favorite thing about the wedding:
Gab: Our ceremony was really beautiful. A close friend was our officiant and his words made us all smile and laugh. I told myself before I walked down the aisle to look at the faces who love and support us around me, and to then face David and be in that moment with him. After our “I do’s” and dancing down the aisle to Pharrell’s “Happy,” I remember telling my new husband, “Oh my gosh, that was so much fun! Can we do that again?!” Also, some very close friends of ours sang a cover of “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys for our first dance and that was phenomenal and very sentimental.
David: Our reception was bumping. For a brunch wedding, our DJ had people dancing their asses off all afternoon. Guests were throwing their shoes to the wayside. At one point, they were rushing the DJ booth and grabbing the mic to lip sync their favorite songs to the crowd. (Gab: David absolutely did just that)
Anything else we should know:
Our wedding invites were printed and hand assembled by us and were designed by David’s super talented cousin. Our wedding favors to our guests included mini burlap bags of coffee beans from David (we’re known coffee junkies) complete with floral, original “Thank you” stickers to tie-in our invite. My gifts to our guests were brightly colored, Mexican, handmade palm leaf fans that came in extra handy from the night’s residual, sticky air. More favorite details came down to the festive, paper straws for the bride’s cocktail and the papel picados under the centerpieces as well as bandera table numbers made by the ever-talented mama Dee (Gab’s mom). The bride’s build-your-own Bloody Mary bar was also a huge hit with all the fixings (including BACON!) and a killer hot sauce spread. Lastly, mimosas. Many mimosas.