How We Pulled off Our Intimate $6K Three-Day-Weekend Wedding

The bride gave the groom her 7th grade burn book

Golda, Lawyer & Aaron, Project Manager
Sum-up of the wedding vibe: Our wedding was an intimate, joyous, and low-key affair.
Planned Budget: $5,000
Actual Budget: $6,000
Number of Guests: 8

Where we allocated the most funds:

We spent a fifth of our anticipated budget on videography. Since we planned our wedding through Pop the Knot, our package included the venue, officiant, flowers, and photography. The videography was an additional expense. Nonetheless, we felt like having a highlight video was worth it, and we wouldn’t change anything.

Where we allocated the least funds:

We did not spend any money on hair or makeup. Aaron shaved his head the night before the wedding, as he does every week. Golda’s sister, Nikki, did Golda’s hair in an updo. For makeup, Golda dusted on some bareMinerals.

What was totally worth it:

Having an intimate wedding was totally worth it. We were able to have so much quality time with our guests, in part because we ended up adding Saturday night karaoke and Sunday brunch for the weekend leading up to the wedding. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and let loose. Since we were able to get together beforehand, the ceremony and reception felt more like a culmination of a three-day weekend rather than a standalone event. This was important to us since our wedding date, November 21, 2016, was on our seven year anniversary, and it was really important to us to have our wedding on that date.

What was totally not worth it:

During the planning process, we had some arguments about how each of us envisioned our wedding and how we wanted to allocate the workload. Ultimately, the stress and anxiety were not worth our time or energy. The summer before the wedding, Golda was studying for the bar and she did not want to plan anything while she was studying. We ended up agreeing that Golda would identify and reach out to the vendors in the beginning stages of planning. Afterwards, Aaron would maintain correspondence with the vendors and guests starting from the summer until the wedding.

A few things that helped us along the way:

1. A Practical Wedding: APW helped us by reminding us that there’s a community of people who have also had challenges planning a wedding. The website reinforced that we weren’t the first people to plan a wedding nor would we be the last. As such, we looked to the site to learn from others’ experiences. APW stood out to us from other wedding sites, because we share many goals and values with other APW couples. As a couple, we strive to maintain equity, authentic communication, and compassion in our relationship. Through APW, we found inspiration in posts reflecting what’s important to us.

2. Michele Velazquez from Pop the Knot: Michele is such a talented and organized planner. She has so many relationships and contacts throughout New York City and all of the vendor options were incredible. We were lucky that Michele narrowed down our options and we were able to chose from a list of her contacts. In the end, we decided to go with the vendors that seemed most reflective of our style and taste, but we don’t think we could have gone wrong with any of Michele’s suggestions.

3. Emily White Lyman from Hotel Giraffe: Emily was a godsend. We booked a room at Hotel Giraffe the night before the wedding. Since there was availability, Emily was able to get us the room next to our venue. Additionally, Emily coordinated our music and was great with our guests.

My best practical advice for my planning self:

Looking back, we should have approached wedding planning as a collaborative process from the beginning. Instead, we experienced conflict because we thought that our individual visions of our shared wedding were mutually exclusive from our partner’s. Now that the planning is over, we can see that we were able to have all the elements of a wedding that each partner wanted without excluding the other person’s needs or wants. If we could go back in time, we would have approached our wedding planning as a team from the beginning rather than going into our planning sessions ready to defend our respective visions.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

Our favorite part of the wedding was exchanging presents during the vows. We wanted to exchange gifts that had sentimental value. Aaron gifted the collar of his late dog, Missy. Missy was his best friend, and Aaron wanted to give Golda a symbol of unconditional love and friendship. Golda gave Aaron her burn book from seventh grade, because keeping the book with her best friends taught her how to communicate candidly and honestly.


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