Jade, Illustrator & Matt, Barista
sum-up of the wedding vibe: A weird and wonderful animal-filled celebration!
Planned Budget: $12,000
Actual Budget: $14,000
Number of Guests: 100
Location: Roswell, Georgia
Where we allocated the most funds:
The bulk of our budget went to the venue, food, and photographer. We decided early on that photography was super important to us, and when we found Raven’s portfolio we knew she was it! She kept us relaxed all day, and took the most beautiful, authentic photos I’ve ever seen. So. Worth. It. Our venue, the Roswell Historic Cottage, was the perfect vibe with its exposed beams and brickwork. By having the wedding on a Sunday, we were able to save a fair amount on the rental fee and get a beautiful space to fit our guests. Since most guests were from out of town, we really wanted to celebrate Atlanta in the food as well, so we chose an awesome local barbecue restaurant—Fox Bros Bar-B-Q. They offered assistance in setup and takedown of the venue, which was an amazing added value. We had King of Pops (an Atlanta staple!) set up in the tent to serve popsicles during cocktail hour, and that turned out to be a huge hit.
Where we allocated the least funds:
Definitely the decor! I’m an illustrator, so DIY was my best friend. I designed the invitations and illustrated all the signage for the wedding, including a huge canvas banner that now hangs in our guest room, and the pinback button swag for the guests. We were able to get our custom cat and goat cake topper for free in exchange for designing the seller’s Etsy banner. The cakes were from our favorite local bakery. They didn’t offer wedding cakes, so we just bought a few regular cakes and decorated them ourselves. As an added bonus, it was great for the budget! A lot of the decor was sourced from Goodwill. We had an animal theme, and we spent the year slowly gathering vintage animals to paint gold and use in the centerpieces. After the wedding, they were gifted to our guests. The cake stands were also Goodwill creations, and we found most of our candy buffet jars in the glass section. I think we actually made a profit on the decor when we sold it after the wedding!
Two of our best friends also helped us out a ton as gifts. My maid of honor, Alexandra, is an event design ninja who saved my sanity by managing the logistics of all the planning, and Matt’s groomsman Andrew was also our officiant. He wrote an incredibly heartfelt ceremony for us, and many guests said after that it was the most authentic ceremony they had ever attended.
What was totally worth it:
Surprisingly, everything! I was always wary of planning a wedding and was honestly kind of dreading it, but Matt and I agreed afterward that it turned out perfectly and we would totally do it all over again. But there were a few things that were (extra) worth it. The day we got engaged, there was only one thing I was sure of: The shoes. I don’t even care about shoes in general. But I saw a pair of Charlotte Olympia kitty shoes on Pinterest and knew that those would be my wedding shoes. I spent way more than I’ve ever spent on shoes in my life, but it was worth it to feel like a cat princess! Designing the candy buffet was actually a lot of work, but it ended up being one of the biggest hits of the wedding. I know it’s a silly thing to get that excited about, but sharing all of our favorite candies with our friends made me super happy!
I wrote above that I did a lot of DIY for the decor and invitations. That was great for me as an artist, but initially we planned to DIY a lot more of the wedding and I’m so glad we didn’t. As someone with anxiety who gets overwhelmed making plans, I realized I didn’t want to panic over whether the Spotify playlist was working right, or trying to keep flowers alive while frantically assembling centerpieces and bouquets. It cost a bit more to get a DJ and a florist (our friend, the also-amazing Camela Barry!), but it saved our sanity and allowed us to have the perfect day without stressing! Our coordinator, Soirée South & Co., was a last-minute addition as we realized we really did need one, and I honestly don’t know how the wedding would have happened without them.
What was totally not worth it:
My dad was kind enough to order us an awesome car for our getaway. But the driver didn’t show! He ended up ordering us an Uber instead, which seemed like way less of a hassle and was just as nice to ride home in. Welcome bags felt like an added stress without much benefit. We didn’t have too many people who used our listed hotel, so there were a lot of leftover welcome bags. It was still nice to be able to offer drinks and snacks to welcome people to town, but I feel like we could have put less effort into it and still got the job done. I’m still working my way through the Costco-sized box of Welch’s fruit snacks!
A few things that helped us along the way:
It’s amazing how many people want to help out when planning a wedding! We felt so loved. I tend to try to do everything myself and can have trouble letting go, and it was a great learning experience for me to have to delegate simply because there was no way for me and Matt to do it all ourselves. We all got together to work on crafting days, and our moms handled the family communication and invite details. More friends came forward to assist in the setup and takedown the day of, and it was wonderful to take a step back and watch things come together with the love and help of our friends. Huge shout-out to my dad, as well! We had initially planned and budgeted to pay for the wedding entirely ourselves, but he insisted on hosting the entire wedding. We were shocked! Our parents were so supportive of whatever we wanted to do for our own day, and nobody tried to force it to be anything other than our idea of perfect.
My best practical advice for my planning self:
Just roll with it! Remember that a lot of these decisions that feel important really don’t matter as much as you think. At the end of the day, you’re getting married to your favorite person ever, and nobody is going to notice (or care) that your napkins aren’t the right shade of white. Utilize the amazing, creative people in your life and enjoy the experience!
Favorite thing about the wedding:
We put so much of ourselves into the wedding, and it truly felt like us. The overall vibe was so raw and authentic—it was perfect.