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Our $3.5K Blissfully Botanic Queer COVID Wedding

A day centered around love and joy

Bianca, Training Developer + Kierstan, PhD Student
One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: A Blissfully Botanic Queer COVID Wedding
Planned Budget: $5,000 (Original Budget was $25,000 for 80 People)
Actual Budget: $3500
Number of Guests: 3 In-Person, 4 Virtual
Location: Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Bolyston, MA
Photographer: Nicole Maday

Where we allocated the most funds: Even though we downsized our wedding drastically, we knew we wanted the ceremony to be beautiful and feel beautiful so we decided to splurge on florals and our officiant.

Where we allocated the least funds: Basically everything else including our outfits (Bianca rented the jumpsuit for $40 dollars), food, and location.

What was totally worth it: The space was perfect. It was the right size, right color palette, and right energy for the day. We couldn’t have picked a warmer and more loving space to commit to one another in. Our officiant, Maureen Cotton Ceremonies, was totally worth the time and money invested because she walked us through a process that asked for deep reflection and intentionality on how to bring in our loved ones in for that special moment.

What was totally not worth it: A wedding cake! It was beautiful and tasty but it didn’t feel ceremonious or uniquely special in the ways that other parts of the day did.

A few things that helped us along the way: Kierstan’s parents gifted us the wedding florals in the background and they were absolutely perfect and made the space feel even more lush and beautiful!

My best practical advice for my planning self: Know that this wedding is a set of compromises between what you want, what your partner wants, and what the people who love you want. Everyone has an idea of what the perfect day will look and feel like and sometimes it’s important to let people voice that even if you choose to go in a different direction. Because this was plan E for us, we’d grieved and processed a lot of different visions for our wedding so that the set of decisions we were making this time around were really centered on creating a day of love and joy.

Favorite thing about the wedding: We did something really different for the ring exchange. When we got the rings from a friend two weeks ahead of the ceremony, we strung them on necklaces and both wore them until the day of the ceremony. By carrying each other’s rings for some time, it felt like we were mentally preparing for the exchange and it was a much more meaningful process. We also composed our vows together and then hand-wrote each other’s lines in vow books!

Anything else: Because this was plan E, we had already bought outfits for a Hindu wedding ceremony and a reception that didn’t feel like they matched the vibe of the botanical garden. Originally, we thought we’d both wear gowns but after going to try on outfits together, it became clear that Bianca would feel more comfortable in pants and that Kierstan wanted to wear a skirt. Bianca has been obsessed with green velvet and was so excited to find a jumpsuit that made her feel fancy but also comfortable.

We found Kierstan’s top at Windsor (the teen prom store!) and thought it was the perfect compliment to a more classic and traditional skirt. Both the necklaces we were wearing our rings on were given to us by my mother. Bianca originally felt nervous about choosing not to wear a dress but after trying on the jumpsuit she knew that it was the right choice for her because she felt so confident and comfortable in her body.

We also FaceTimed in Bianca’s dad and family who couldn’t safely travel during COVID and though they were far away, it was so nice to be able to see their faces and talk to them throughout the ceremony.

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