Our $10K Cambridge Wedding For 80 Guests

Everyone you love at your favorite restaurant

molly, public television & chris, Producer/Editor

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: Simple, timeless, locally inspired restaurant celebration.

Planned budget: $10,000
Actual budget: $10,000
Number of guests: 80
LOCATION: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Where we allocated the most funds:

We wanted to feed our guests well. It was worth every penny. Loyal Nine is a dream. We wanted it to feel like a family-style roast chicken dinner at our home—and it did. It was comfortable and delicious, the wine was excellent, and people lingered over their supper just as we hope they would.

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Where we allocated the least funds:

Our outfits. I bought the Ulla Johnson dress on an after-holiday sale from Barney’s for $200 (!). After alterations, my shoes, and accessories, the total cost for my wedding look was under $700. Chris also got his suit on sale between seasons, and Indochino does alterations for free. I wanted my wedding look to feel special, but also like myself. My hairstylist and friend did my simple bun in her shop that morning. I did my own makeup, using natural products, with just a touch more blush and lash than my everyday look. I felt really, really pretty, and I didn’t need to spend thousands to feel that way. The pearls my mom gifted me as a wedding present helped, too.

What was totally worth it:

Loyal Nine, our venue.

What was totally not worth it:

Honestly, we don’t have any regrets. We consciously saved and spent money slowly for the year and a half leading up to our day. After it was over, we still had money in our savings account and took a belated honeymoon to Italy.

A few things that helped us along the way:

We did save some money by buying out the place on a Sunday, keeping the dinner simple, and pre-selecting options for the open bar. I also bartered with our florist to reduce the cost of the flowers by offering reduced photography services for a friend of the florist’s wedding. I also wanted fancy shoes, but Banana Republic suited me just fine. At the end of the day, it helped to stay grounded in the WHY. We got married to transition into the next part of our lives as a family, with those we love as witness. Sometimes I was fed up with the planning, found myself crying on my yoga mat, and feeling paralyzed with the decision-making—but I just kept imagining myself walking down the aisle of our church looking to Chris and our future at the other end.

My best practical advice for my planning self:

You make great decisions; what you decide WILL BE right.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

The end of the night, when most of our guests had headed home, we sat out at the picnic tables in the back of Loyal Nine with our closest crew sipping on bourbons with the twinkly lights overhead. I looked across the table and soaked up every person present. Everyone was so happy, so comfortable. Then Chris and I Ubered home, and he carried me over the threshold. It was ridiculous and so, so good.


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