Our $29K Catholic Church Wedding Was Full Of Love And Punk Music

You need the proper shoes for punk music

Andrea, project manager & sean, sales strategy manager

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: A balance of traditional, modern, and easy-going Southern Californian vibes.

Planned budget: $20,000
Actual budget: $29,000
Number of guests: 121
LOCATION: Pasadena, California

Where we allocated the most funds:

When we first got engaged, we had no desire to spend any crazy amount of money on catering. However, once we started planning the wedding, we knew something like a food truck wasn’t going to cut it. Since we were able to save on other aspects of the wedding, we wanted to share an elevated food experience with our guests. After our tasting with Border Grill, we knew their delicious, fresh, and clean eats were the perfect fit for our vibe. Another bonus was that they took care of the bar, were able to serve our donated beer and wine, and managed the cake service too. One-stop shop!

Every wedding needs a incredible photo team, and ours was worth every penny. Laura Ford captured the entire day with her photo assistant, and they were a dream team. There was no real crazy theme for our decor or wedding reception, other than rose gold and copper accents, and what became the main inspiration for everything else—the ghost chairs. When Andrea first saw these, she somehow landed on a Disney’s Frozen touch, and as a huge Disney fan, this was perfect, clean, and a subtle standout decor choice.

Where we allocated the least funds:

Dress. Sometimes lots of focus is put on “the dress,” and although Andrea knew it would need to be something she loved, she also refused to put down more than $1,000 on her entire wardrobe for the day. PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com was a perfect match for this goal, and the dress was a sample Jenny Yoo worn once priced at $475. Score!

Live entertainment, flowers, wine, and the church. We were very fortunate to have an outpouring of support from our friends and family that allowed us to save money in a variety of areas. Andrea’s bosses happened to be in a great cover band, The Drakes, and they played the reception as our gift. She also had co-workers who offered their time to create our floral arrangements. Her Tia and Tio from Paso Robles also got us a crazy deal on great wines for the bar through their friend’s relationships with vineyards. Our church fees were waived, and we instead gave a donation thanks to Andrea’s mother who works at the church. She helped us facilitate everything related to the ceremony!

What was totally worth it:

Investing in the reception venue rental, a photographer, and a wedding planner we vibed with made all the difference in the world. We connected with Claudia Casanova about three or four months out from our wedding date, and her expertise in the final details of planning the day made such an impact. Our reception venue was the perfect blank slate to create our perfect combination of traditional and modern approach to the special day. Also, having an early afternoon dress rehearsal was perfect so we could have more time to see our friends and family at our cocktail hour the day before the wedding. This gave us more than enough time to greet our family and friends who traveled from all over the country.

What was totally not worth it:

Our hotel room for the end of the night was definitely a waste of money. We live really close to the reception venue and had swung by to drop off all the goods from the reception. At that point, we wanted to kick off our shoes and sleep in our own bed.

A few things that helped us along the way:

One of the promises we made to ourselves was indeed the hardest choice to stick by. We were very keen on avoiding outside influences when it came down to our goals for the wedding day. For instance, the guest list (touchy subject), not having a bridal party, not going with a country club package (we really wanted to support a nonprofit space), picking out our own beer and wine for the bar, not spending more than $1,000 on Andrea’s wardrobe day of, and plenty more specifics that Sean had also really wanted to see through. All in all, we did hit some bumps in the road when having to dodge opinions from family, but at the end of it all, everyone was so happy and excited for us that it made it all good and the bad moments worth it.

our best practical advice for our planning selves:

Amazon Prime, making timelines, and mood boards are life savers, but building out systems for yourselves together as a couple makes the whole process even more rewarding. The compromises create a wonderful melding of the couple’s spirit and traditions you all value.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

Tie between the heart-felt speeches and the end of the night. We opted out of a traditional farewell and had a thirty-minute punk-rock sing-a-long with all our friends. This made us laugh, cry, and love everything even more.


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