Valdora, probono immigration attorney & Isabel, chemistry phd candidate
Sum-up of the wedding vibe: Queerly “laissez-faire” elegant raunch in the Hudson Valley.
Planned budget: $10,000
Actual budget: $15,507.24 (excluding wedding bands but including tax on everything)
Number of guests: 47
Where we allocated the most funds:
We definitely made sure to focus on the areas that mattered most to us. The venue, which was pretty much all-inclusive, was our most expensive purchase. Our photographer was next most expensive, but she was certainly more than worth it! Both purchases were well spent, and greatly, greatly appreciated.
Where we allocated the least funds:
Flowers were incredibly important to us, but I trusted in our ability to DIY that area. We spent approximately $400 on flowers. We also saved a ton of money by having a friend DJ; we only had to pay to rent speakers, a mixer, and a microphone. She DJs on the side, so we had faith in her abilities, and we were extremely grateful for her offer. We wanted uplighting, so we DIYed that area as well by renting the lights we wanted and putting it together ourselves. That was extremely cost effective and very pretty! We also DIYed our chuppah, since rentals were too expensive for us. We did our own and spent less than $200 on that.
By the end of this wedding, we were DIY queens!
What was totally worth it:
Both the venue and photographer were TOTALLY worth it. Ash is a DREAM to work with. She would gently keep us on task and corral people when necessary. She managed to catch moments I didn’t even think she was in the vicinity of. We felt beautiful on our day, and that is, in large part, thanks to her. Plus, she is a badass feminist, and one of the nicest persons one can meet.
The venue was absolutely wonderful. Our maître d’ was amazing to work with, and every employee was extremely professional. They took care of us in every way possible on our day. Plus, the venue is just absolutely gorgeous. It felt like we were in our home with all of our closest friends and family in the lap of luxury. The food was to. die. for. The drinks were super tasty. And if there were any issues behind the scenes, we did not know about them at all. Someone just handled it. What more can you ask for?
Also totally worth it: reserving transportation for our guests. It wasn’t that costly, and we definitely underestimated our guests’ ability to *ahem* enjoy themselves at an open bar. It gave us peace of mind knowing that they were safe for the night.
A few things that helped us along the way:
Family and friends. People were offering to pitch in when needed, and that was greatly appreciated. Having a fiancé who kept me (Valdora) on task was probably the most helpful thing. I’m known for having huge ideas, but also having huge bouts of procrastination. Isabel’s a scientist, so she’s pretty methodical. That was very helpful in making sure we met all self-imposed deadlines.
My best practical advice foR my planning self:
Be willing to accept more help! I’m a bit stubborn in thinking that I can complete everything by myself. Toward the end, I (Valdora) had to be willing to accept help from my wonderful sisters to assemble the garland. Had I accepted help earlier for other tasks, I’m convinced that quite a bit of stress would have been alleviated.
Also, SUPER IMPORTANT: understand that perfection is not necessary, and that beauty can come from imperfection. The little details don’t matter quite as much six months later.
Favorite thing about the wedding:
We both agree that our vows were the favorite thing about the wedding. We had gone over them together after writing them in secret, but to hear the words resonating loudly on our wedding day is something that we will never forget.
Anything else we should know:
Our guests also really made our day. We’re fans of a good party, and the guests really helped bring the “classy raunch” vibe we were looking for. Seeing everyone smiling and truly being there for us was wonderful. Allowing ourselves to be proudly queer and fabulously sassy without judgment was truly phenomenal. Everyone did their thing, and just boogied on down with us. It was a wonderful night!