We Kept Our $12.5K Ranch Wedding Fabulous Despite 100 Degree Weather

Crop top, giant blow up dinosaur, and a whole lotta love

groom kissing bride

reed, display artist & elmer, aerospace dude

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: Cosy Cool Sunshine Ranch Shade and cool Lemonade.

Planned budget: $13,000

Actual budget: $12,500

Number of guests: 55

Suggested listening: “Bird” by Raffa & Rainer

what we should know:

If there is one lesson we learned it’s this: things will go wrong at your wedding, but if you end up with more rights than wrongs, count your blessings. Also, you can always find the creative solution from those wrongs, and make them greats. Our wrongs: we forgot all of our lawn games for our cocktail hour. Everyone cancelled on me on our pre-wedding trip to the beauty salon. My makeup was done by a friend, and we didn’t discuss it beforehand… and she gave me 8pm smoky-eye make-up for a 1pm wedding. I had four nights in a row of four hours (or less) of sleep under my belt leading up to the wedding. We absolutely didn’t anticipate the hundred-degree weather.

But our rights? There were many: the shade was a blessing, and those dapper gentlemen that managed to keep their suit jackets on for the sake of fashion were the best. Luckily, as the sun went down, so did the barometer.

In other fun twists, we played “the shoe game” at our reception, mc’d by a comedian friend of ours. It’s this game where you answer questions about you and your partner, for example, “Who’s the better driver?” And you answer by holding up either your shoe or your partner’s shoe. It makes for some funny moments when we are not in agreement. The thirty-foot inflatable dinosaur was an artwork I exhibited in downtown Miami and seems to travel with me wherever we go—and the running joke is that we blow it up in every inopportune situation, making it oddly appropriate in its ridiculousness.

And there was so much goodness. My crafty friends decided to sit on picnic blankets in full elegant wedding attire, and it worked. From our officiant to our ceremony pianist (a former Russian child piano prodigy) to a hundred small white overhanging flowers blowing in the wind, to my eighty-year-old father who managed to walk me down the aisle, to the giant redwoods that shaded our ceremony, to the two giant birds that flew over us while we spoke our vows… this was a magical wedding.


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  • Yael


  • I’m so in it for the dinosaur!

  • another married lady

    beautiful and joyous wedding! you look ethereal and elegant in the picture where you are sitting on the bed before the wedding. We also played the shoe game and really enjoyed it! it was a fun way to break up the reception time. love the dino!!

  • idkmybffjill

    I love this and love how stylish all your guests are!! That lady with the parasol?! Dead.

    • rg223

      I dream of being that woman.

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  • LeAnne Wright

    Beautiful wedding -burlap and rose -the planner Jen Toth is a genius and anything she touches blooms with certainty. I know the newly weds have began their journey in the bosom of truth and authenticity. Cheers!

  • Ariela Friman

    What an amazing wedding, it’s like the images came to life.
    Lately I opened my eyes to the wedding planning process because I myself in the same boat, yayyyy. Kisses to all of you out there with the same process (please don’t take this to the wrong way, I love this time period until my wedding and all of the planning and i’m filled with joy although it can get very overwhelmed here with some tasks I need to do for my biggest day ever!!)
    I can see how brides and hosts struggling in planning the wedding of their dreams, making the best wedding seating chart followed by searching for the best wedding reception layout tool or for a better event planning software to create even a better floor plan from what you have My recommendation is to use AllSeated online tools, I know it helps me.