Our Tiny $20K Wedding in Tulum Was Perfection in Paradise

And construction workers will pause for beer

Bonnie, artist & Kenneth, film production

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: A chill ceremony in paradise, surrounded by the people closest to us.

Planned budget: $25,000
Actual budget: $20,000
Number of guests: 15
LOCATION: Tulum, Mexico

Where we allocated the most funds:

We are both visual people, and we knew the images taken of our wedding day were really important to both of us. Bonnie did lots of research on sites like A Practical Wedding to find a photographer that matched the vibe we wanted.

Where we allocated the least funds:

Cake, flowers, table settings, and stationery. We saved time and money by sending out digital invites, since we had a small number of guests. We handmade the menus and designed our own nameplates for dinner and flew with them. The hotel had some unsightly peripheral construction during our ceremony, and we offered to buy the workers beer to pause the construction work. The manager comped a room night and offered us a voucher at their spa due to this minor inconvenience.

What was totally worth it:

The photography. DO NOT SKIMP ON THIS.

What was totally not worth it:

Flowers. The natural surroundings are already so beautiful in Tulum, so I didn’t stress too much about flowers and let the venue handle them.

A few things that helped us along the way:

My husband’s production skills. My wife’s mild-mannered charm.

My best practical advice for my planning self:

The little details don’t really matter as long as you are with the people you love in a place you love! Don’t let little things take one second away from the joy of experiencing the best day of your life. Rather than focus on anything that goes wrong, try to think about how most things are going right! The big picture is that you’ve crafted your dream day. It passes you by so quickly, so allow yourself to ride the wave of emotion and merriment. It’s the memories with those around you that are everlasting. Focus on creating a memory of your love for each other because in the end you will not cherish the material things.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

The ceremony at sunset. I (Bonnie) have never been more nervous, but I’ve also never felt more loved in my entire life. Also, how intimate it was. I felt like we really got to experience every moment with everyone.


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