Elana, Product Manager + Jon, Assistant Teacher
One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: Friday the 13th Pop-Culture Themed Wedding the Day Before Quarantine
Planned Budget: $20,000
Actual Budget: $23,000
Number of Guests: 105
Location: Speakeasy On State, Redlands, CA
Photographer: Cobos Co.
Where we allocated the most funds: The venue. We really wanted a venue that felt like “us” and was unique, and we fell in love with this one that used to be an actual functioning speakeasy in the 1920s and was later restored and turned into a venue. The venue felt like the most important element to us as it really dictated the rest of the planning, and Speakeasy on State was worth every penny. It worked out great because we were able to get a package that included food, DJ, cake, bouquets, and a coordinator. We also couldn’t get enough of the umbrella alley on the side of the building. It turned out to be extra appropriate since it rained on the day!
Where we allocated the least funds: The decor. We found this to be the most daunting aspect, and it just didn’t seem worth it to spend a ton of money on centerpieces or ceremony decor, especially when the venue had so much personality on its own. All of the flowers outside of our bouquets and ceremony arch) were fake and purchased from Michael’s every time there was a big sale, we borrowed fake candles that were leftover from Elana’s brother and sister-in-law’s wedding, the TV themed table cards were done by a friend (Holly Oddly), and Elana made all of the signage in Photoshop. Even the cake topper (from Little Clay Land) was won from an Instagram giveaway. What was totally worth it: Outside of the venue, the photographers were our biggest concern and they were worth all of the countless photographer websites we looked through! Hollow and Grace are a married couple and were so relaxed and easy to work with. We found it really important early on to choose vendors that we clicked with, and they were just so great. We feel so grateful that we have such gorgeous photos to look back on, especially while we’re social distancing from our friends and family.
What was totally not worth it: We spent so much time worrying about the music, and it ended up not mattering at all on the day. We were very adamant about wanting to only play oldies and classic rock and spent a long time thinking about the playlist. Before the ceremony started, our DJ asked one more time if we wanted to take requests and at that point, we just decided it was fine. It ended up being a great mix of the music we picked along with a lot of the songs we didn’t want, but everyone had a blast and tore up the dance floor. Once we were there, we realized that all that mattered was everyone having fun.
A few things that helped us along the way: Lots of spreadsheets and Google Docs plus Pinterest. You know, the usual things. But above all else, just both having amazing wedding parties and families who were so supportive and helpful. Everyone just really stepped up and went above and beyond for us. Plus, just working with vendors who were genuinely good people. Our coordinator, Callie, was a lifesaver who made me feel so calm, and Dawn from our venue was so helpful as well.
My best practical advice for my planning self: Don’t feel like you have to do anything. There was so much pressure to do things a certain way or live up to expectations, but none of it mattered. We didn’t want to have favors, do a money dance, do a garter toss, or make a big show of cutting the cake. No one noticed any of that because they were all having a good time.
Favorite thing about the wedding: #1 would be having all of our friends and family together, especially right before we all quarantined. That said, all of our pop culture touches a special place in my heart. We both are big TV junkies so we named our tables after shows we’ve watched together. We commissioned my friend Holly of Holly Oddly to make these amazing portraits of characters for each of the tables, and they could not have been more perfect. We also let each of the groomsmen choose a character and my bridesmaids and I made the boutonnieres out of Legos!
Anything else: We had our wedding on Friday the 13th, literally one day before California issued a stay at home order. It also rained, and we started getting cancellations from people who didn’t want to travel due to the pandemic the day before. We were freaked out, but it ended up being the luckiest Friday the 13th we could have asked for. Only a handful of people ended up canceling total, and we were able to safely have one amazing last party before quarantine started. Plus, the rain ended up making for some great photos so the old saying of rain being good luck on your wedding day could not have been more true.