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Our Simple Formula for a Laid-Back Austin Wedding Under $10K

Pro-tip: Pick a hip restaurant and you won't have to decorate

 Tara, Director of Talent Engagement/Recruiting & Trevor, Musician for BAND OF HEATHENS

sum-up of the wedding vibe: A spirited casual gathering of friends and family to celebrate love and life.

Planned Budget: Less than $10k
Actual Budget: Less than $10k
Number of Guests: 80

Where we allocated the most funds:

We mostly focused on food and refreshments! We hosted an open house/house party (yes, at our very own house!) on Friday night with our favorite pizza, VIA 313Saturday included a family dinner (no rehearsal dinner was needed) at Lambert’s then met up with friends at ABGB. For the ceremony, we decided to have it on Sunday to better coincide with our friends’ schedules (musicians). This worked to our advantage because it was less expensive and easier to find an available date with only a few months notice. We chose a Downtown venue, Malverde, so that the event would be accessible for both in town and out of town guests.  We also didn’t have to worry about the logistics or expense of providing transportation. Malverde is the private event space for a great restaurant, La Condesa, that serves the best margaritas in town! It’s also a featured spot on “best of” lists and food blogs. It’s known for modern Mexican fare and creative decor.  Having a wedding, essentially at a restaurant, allowed us to have exceptional food and cocktails that would have been difficult to replicate through a catering company.

Where we allocated the least funds:

Our invitations and flowers! Because of our choice of venue we only had to provide limited decor.

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What was totally worth it

Absolutely everything! We wouldn’t have changed a thing. The venue, the food, the drinks, our photographer to capture the day, having friends and family help us, not going over budget. We also chose to omit most of the extraneous wedding traditions—no save the dates, no showers, no bachelorette or bachelor parties, no wedding party, no day of gifts to each other.

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What was totally not worth it

Nothing! We were never concerned with the expectation or pressure of this being the “best day of our lives.” We wanted a memorable celebration but none of the stress and expense that comes with a “Wedding.” It was all about enjoying the day and weekend and sharing time with friends and family. Life is full of stress and hardships, and we didn’t think our wedding should be one of them!


A few things that helped us along the way

Help from family and friends: Advice from Trevor’s mom, “It’s not a party without great food”; Tara’s mom’s help with the flower arrangements, bouquet and boutonnière, our friend Randi getting her officiant certification, Hans and Maureen helping with planning and day of coordination, Megan doing my hair and makeup, Justin and Brian ushering, Trev and Tara created their own playlist for the event (four hours of music!).

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My best practical advice for my planning self

People are more than happy to help! Don’t be afraid to delegate and collaborate. Be decisive but go with the flow. If the dress doesn’t fit or the venue isn’t available, it’s for a reason. Be open to the possibilities!

Favorite thing about the wedding

It was beyond my control, but the weather that day was absolutely perfect. The sun, the light, the temperature. I also loved my bouquet, it came out more beautiful than I imagined. After being turned down by four florists (it was close to Valentine’s Day), we had no choice but to DIY. My mom and I bought flowers from Central Market grocery store. She watched a YouTube video and assembled it the morning of.

Anything else

We planned the wedding during Trevor’s band break, since another member was expecting a baby so planning was down in a couple months. Living in Austin, Texas we knew it wouldn’t be a hard sell to get our family and friends to visit for our wedding weekend. We wanted to take advantage of the location and make it a personal experience. Trevor and I reconnected at the beloved club, MoMo’s, right after I moved to Austin a few years ago. (We had met previously through the band he is in, Band of Heathens, when they were on tour, but it was simply an introduction.) We probably would have had our wedding there if the club hadn’t closed, rather unexpectedly, soon after we started dating.

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I chose to have both my mom and dad walk me down the aisle. I am an only child and it just seemed right to have them both by my side. With the help of our friend and officiant, we crafted a spiritual, uplifting ceremony that included a guided meditation, Joseph Campbell quote (included below), and an Irish Blessing. Before our recession down the aisle, Trevor took a few moments to thank everyone for being there and then we got the tunes rolling with Delbert McClinton’s, “Giving it Up for Your Love.” The playlist also included Eric Clapton, Levon Helm, Bobby Charles, Dr. Dog, Blake Mills, Jonathan Wilson, Crosby Stills & Nash, and The Grateful Dead.
Following the ceremony, we finished the weekend with one of our favorite Austin bands (who we saw on several of our early dates), The Greyhounds, at a club on South Congress, C-Boys Heart & Soul.  Great vibes, good food and music—it’s what our lives are all about!!

If you go into marriage with a program,
you will find that it won’t work.
Successful marriage
is leading innovative lives together,
being open, non-programmed.
It’s a free fall: how you handle
each new thing as it comes along.

As a drop of oil on the sea,
you must float,
using intellect and compassion
to ride the waves.

— Joseph Campbell

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