This Black Same-Sex Blended Family Wedding Is Pure Joy

$14K, BBQ, and dreamy vintage everything

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Adraea, trademark attorney & Latasha, registered nurse

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: It was a wedding weekend that was completely unforgettable!

Planned budget: $11,000

Actual budget: $14,438

Number of guests: 55

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Where we allocated the most funds:

We focused on what we felt were the most important details—food and attire. We knew right away that we wanted to have a sophisticated barbecue with Southern-style food. We wanted our guests to enjoy a good meal and feel at home. We also took the time to create our own signature drinks and prepared them with fresh ingredients. We invested a good amount into our cake, which was well worth it because it was beautifully decorated and delicious.

Tasha’s wedding gown and accessories, Adraea’s suits, and the wedding bands were a big part of the budget. Adraea wanted to have a tailor-made suit and found a great tailor who would implement everything she wanted at a good cost. The suit ended up needing some alterations when it first arrived, but sending back and getting it returned in time became a huge problem, and Adraea ended up having to get another suit made weeks before the wedding.

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Where we allocated the least funds:

We chose to do a lot of the decor ourselves instead of hiring out. Tasha’s grandmother made all the centerpieces and bouquets for the bridal party. We ordered flowers from a local grower and purchased some from Produce Junction. We ordered a lot of items from Oriental Trading and rented some vintage pieces, like a vintage camera and suitcase, from Lovebirds Vintage Rental. We wanted to keep with a vintage feel and not overdo it with too much decor. Our favors were mason jars, which we personalized with each guest’s name, mint tins, fans, and personalized water bottles. Shopping around and using sites like Craigslist and Etsy helped us stay within a reasonable budget for decor.

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What was totally worth it:

Our photographer Amy was the best investment. She is an amazing person who loves what she does and it shows in every photo she takes. She makes you feel joy and happiness. She is very professional and also knows how to have a good time. We are so grateful to know her and very appreciative of her dedication to photography. It was also worth it to have a day-of coordinator to help with schedules, setup, and breakdown, as well as altogether coordination.

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What was totally not worth it:

Having a hotel reservation was so not worth it. We reserved a hotel room so that one of us could get ready there while the other one used the bridal room at the venue. The night before the wedding, we went to go check-in and were told that they had given our room away. It was Memorial Day weekend so there was no other room available. We had already scheduled for the photographer and the hair stylist to meet at the hotel for “getting ready” photos the morning of. We were extremely frustrated because we had reserved that room weeks ago and had our family staying in our apartment, so we had no choice but to cancel the photos for the morning and spent the evening together.

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A few things that helped us along the way:

Having friends and family who helped with decorations, officiating, and transportation was very helpful. A good friend of ours agreed to officiate our wedding, even though she had never done it before. She was absolutely wonderful, and we felt so special having someone close to us, marry us. Another friend offered to be our videographer for free and presented us with a great video that we otherwise would not have had. Having our friends and family there for our special day was the biggest help of all.

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My best practical advice for my planning self:

Research, research, research! Planning a wedding can be hard but also fun. Taking the time to shop around and not be afraid of a few DIY projects goes a long way. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

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Favorite thing about the wedding:

Our favorite part was the ceremony. We wrote our own vows and had a wine box ceremony after we said them. The wine box ceremony consists of a box that can fit two bottles of wine, two glasses, and two letters. We each wrote a letter to each other and sealed them. Everything was placed inside the box and we can not open it until our fifth wedding anniversary (or if we ever came to a point where we wanted to end our marriage). The letters are to remind us of why we chose to get married in the first place.

Adraea also surprised me (Tasha) by including my children in the ceremony by giving them chains with our initials on them as a symbol of us coming together as a family. We also enjoyed the private time we had taking our photos. The park had a “secret garden” feel that we were able to explore while sharing intimate moments, with a camera of course.

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Anything else to share:

Our friends and family really made our day special. People came from near and far to share in the joy with us and that meant so much.

My word of advice to planners would be to remember that your wedding day is about you and your partner. No matter what goes wrong, who doesn’t show up, what you couldn’t afford, or even if it rains, as long as you get to marry the person you love most in this world, that’s all that matters.

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