Lauren + Chidera
Sum Up of the Wedding Vibe: Blending two brides’ styles and cultures for a mountain-top, DIY wedding
Planned Budget: $12,000
Actual Budget: $14,000 (with lots of gifts from friends)
Number of Guests: 125
Location: Titusville, NJ
Photographer: Weddings By Two
Where we allocated the most funds:
We allocated most of our budget to our family-style menu, which was an eclectic mix of traditional Nigerian dishes and vegetarian options.
Where we allocated the least funds:
We are so incredibly fortunate to have so many creative, gifted, and generous friends and family. We were gifted wedding photography by the amazing Chris Gifford at Weddings by Two, Christina at Wild Hart Paper Co. gifted us beautiful custom signage, stylist Rae Zeutenhorst gifted us wedding hair and makeup, Gabby at The Bent Spoon gifted us mini cupcakes, Lauren’s younger brother baked the wedding cakes, and our close friend Emily officiated our ceremony. Chidera’s friend (also named Chidera!), who owns Chidex Designs, created a bespoke gown with fabric imported from Nigeria, for a discounted price. A lot of our wedding decor was DIY, including all florals (Lauren is an event florist) and hand-dyed table runners. We thrifted two peacock chairs for under $100 and collected all of our platters for family-style dining and vases for a couple dollars each.
What was totally worth it:
The view! Getting married in a historic garden and watching the sunset on top of a mountain with of our friends and family was priceless.
What was totally not worth it:
Trying to save on additional help. We wish we could have had a little extra help with set-up and clean-up, so lesson learned!
A few things that helped us along the way:
My best practical advice for my planning self:
Don’t feel pressured to do everything—it’s your wedding day, and you can choose what’s right for you. We are constantly bombarded with messages about what weddings should look like, what you NEED to spend money on/provide your guests with/etc., and at the end of the day, only you know what’s right for you. Our brothers and cousin served as our bridesmen, we had a very short and simple ceremony, and we opted out of traditions like a bouquet toss and a first dance, all in the name of simplifying our lives and creating a wedding day that felt more authentically “us.”
Favorite thing about the wedding:
Our favorite part of our wedding day was a having the chance to include one of Chidera’s favorite aspects of traditional Igbo ceremony called “Igba Nkwu”, or wine carrying, into the reception. It involves searching for your spouse amongst the wedding crowd and ultimately finding them, signifying that you have, quite literally, found the one.