Our $30K Wedding’s Epic Sing-Along Was the Best Part of the Day

Our hearts will go on (and onnnnnn)

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Katie, speech language pathologist & Wayland, actor

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: The kind of party that we’d like to attend without worrying about traditions that don’t matter to us.

Planned budget: $20,000

Actual budget: $30,000

Number of guests: 110

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Where we allocated the most funds:

The venue, food, and booze were easily the most expensive parts. We also were willing to spend a lot for a photographer whose work we loved. We got lucky and have friends that work in several wedding industries, so we got some discounts for the DJ and catering.

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Where we allocated the least funds:

Some friends helped out with florals, gift bags, and a photo booth, which kept costs low for those. We didn’t really need to spend much for decorations, and a lot of the decorations we did have were DIY. We did invitations online and decided not to have a wedding cake, so those were easy ways to save money.

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What was totally worth it:

Having our month-of/day-of coordinator was a lifesaver. She thought of so many details we hadn’t considered and really helped us keep our sanity leading up to the big day, in addition to keeping things running smoothly so we weren’t worried about anything during the wedding. It was also really worth it to have food that we wanted there—our catering company provided staffing, passed appetizers, and dessert (churros), but for the entree we had pizza from Pizzeria Mozza delivered. It saved money, plus we love pizza, and the catering staff was able to present it really beautifully! Our photographer Shelly and her assistant were also worth it—they had fun with us during the wedding and we’ve gotten so many compliments on the photos!

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What was totally not worth it:

Nothing really. It was frustrating to see everything add up so quickly, but we managed to cut a lot of corners (cost-wise) and didn’t feel obligated to include anything we didn’t want. The only thing we wanted and couldn’t have for budget reasons was a hawk to fly in as a ring-bearer—turns out that’s very expensive.

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A few things that helped us along the way:

Our coordinator Jen was a lifesaver. We got a lot of advice and recommendations from sites like APW, and luckily have friends that work in various wedding industries who could help out. It also helped that our budget was a little flexible—if we’d had to stick to our original budget it would have been a lot harder to get married in LA without sacrificing a major part of what we were looking for in a venue.

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Favorite thing about the wedding:

I was so happy that everyone had fun the whole time. We made a point of setting a silly tone for it (we walked down the aisle together to the Seinfeld theme), and ended the night with what was supposed to be a group sing-along to “My Heart Will Go On,” which turned into an interpretive dance by Wayland and me in the middle of a circle of people, and it was one of the most fun moments of my life.

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Anything else we should know:

One of the best parts of planning the wedding was realizing we didn’t have to include anything we didn’t want to. We like other desserts better than cake, so we skipped the cake. We didn’t want to spend a ton of money to have space and food for people we don’t know well, so we didn’t invite extended family we aren’t close with. Our first dance was to “This Is Our Year” by The Zombies, which isn’t a traditional slow song, so we ended up skipping around and got our shoes really dirty and it was fun. Our parents gave speeches, but we didn’t do father-daughter or mother-son dances. We really aimed for everyone to have fun the whole time, and it ended up working out really well! Multiple guests commented that the wedding fit us and our personalities really well, and I think that personalization enhanced the experience for everyone.

Credits

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