We Hired a Magician for Our $35K Garden Party Wedding

Spoiler Alert: It was awesome

Phylecia, review curator  & Jordan, visual effects animator

sum-up of the wedding vibe: Our wedding was small, intimate, and highly eclectic.

Planned Budget: $30,000
Actual Budget: $35,000
Number of Guests: 50
Location: Descanso Gardens, Los Angeles, California
photographer: Let’s Frolic Together

Where we allocated the most funds:

Most of our funds went to the venue, catering, and paper goods. Fortunately, the venue was decently priced (around $7,000). However, we spent more than we thought on food and drink—even with a small wedding party. Furthermore, paper goods such as the RSVPs and Save the Dates added quite a pinch to our budget.

Where we allocated the least funds:

Surprisingly, we did not spend a lot of our budget on our attire. Jordan and his groomsmen rented their tuxes from Friar Tux. I purchased my wedding dress (it has polka dots!) from Pebbles Bridal, and it was less than $2,000. Jordan’s older sister, Michele Donovan (also a professional wedding coordinator), officiated our wedding. Thanks to her, we didn’t have to hire someone to help us jump over the broom. Honestly, Michele is the best sister-in-law a gal could ever ask for.

What was totally worth it:

My wedding dress, Jordan’s fly tux, the food, the vintage car, the affordable wedding cake from Porto’s Bakery, and seeing family and friends.

What was totally not worth it:

Anything that dealt with paper and stamps (i.e. RSVPs, menus, programs, etc).

A few things that helped us along the way:

Our wedding coordinator, Kelly Demaray, was amazing. She helped us every step of the way.

My best practical advice for my planning self:

If you can afford it: hire a wedding coordinator. Even if it’s a “month-of” or “day-of” wedding coordinator. Sure, your budget might take a hit. However, these professionals are invaluable for your wedding. Most importantly, remember it’s your wedding. Your family members are more than welcome to offer their advice. However, plan the event the way YOU want to. No one knows you better than you. We had to remind ourselves this during the course of planning our wedding.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

Our absolute favorite thing about the wedding was the magician. Yes, we hired a magician. He was great. No, he was fantastic! Sidebar: Jordan loved magic when he was a kid. Double sidebar: Phylecia was—and still is—obsessed with Harry Potter. Additionally, we loved incorporating little aspects of our cultures, such as jumping the broom and the Irish hand fasting ceremony.



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