Becky, UX designer & Sam, Web Developer
sum-up of the wedding vibe: Joyous celebration with friends, family, a llama, a donkey, and alpacas!
Planned Budget: $20,000
Actual Budget: $20,000
Number of Guests: 120
WHERE WE ALLOCATED THE MOST FUNDS
The moment we saw an alpaca and llama dressed in wedding attire we knew we needed to be married at Schnoodleberry Farms! Therefore, most of our funds were allocated to having our wedding there. We had to bring in a tent, chairs, dishes, silverware, portable bathroom, etc. The setup was quite costly, but we knew that it was such a unique place and worth every penny! We also decided to spend extra on the tablecloth rentals. I couldn’t pass up on a good splash of color and texture.
Initially, we thought we would spend way less on the photographer, but when I found our photographer I knew he was the one! He did the most amazing documentary style photography. We still look at our pictures and feel like we are in that moment. If I could go back in time, we would have paid even more to have him bring an assistant. The one thing I regret is not getting enough pictures of the setup. I didn’t think about it at the time but wish I would have requested it. I also asked our photographer to send me any pictures he didn’t send because they were awkward. He sent about twenty pics. We love a good awkward picture!
I did a lot of the planning but had a wedding planner help us with certain aspects of the event and do the day-of planning. She was amazing!! It was great to have someone who could help. She was very creative and a good researcher. She actually helped keep a lot of the costs down.
WHERE WE ALLOCATED THE LEAST FUNDS
We allocated the least funds to flowers. The wedding planner mentioned that we could get cheap flowers from Costco. I would have never thought to do that! We order the flowers and picked them up two days before the wedding and arranged them on the wedding day. They turned out to be gorgeous! We ordered a lot of the decor online and found some great deals. Then after the wedding, we resold a lot of wedding decor on craigslist.
Food! This can be one of the most ridiculous costs! We got our event catered from a Middle Eastern restaurant (which is a no frills type of place). We did buffet style and our guests loved everything! Our cake was done by a local bakery and was delicious and beautiful.
We found a DJ who was pretty reasonable as far as weddings go. I semi-stalked him because I knew he could play Arabic, Jewish, and Latin music (which is hard to find in Pittsburgh). He had never done a wedding before and was refused do a ton of announcements or play anything cheesy. It was perfect because we didn’t want those things. He was amazing!
WHAT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT
It was the best day of our lives. So many of our guests told us it was one of the best weddings they had attended. We both like everyone around us to be happy and our wedding reflected that. People were on the dance floor all night long! Also, the farm was big enough that people could wander if they didn’t like being on the dance floor. We loved the idea of sparklers but used them in a different way then the usual salute style bride and groom exit. Our guest lit them in a field and ran around with them like kids!
What was most important to us was that we had a wedding that reflected our quirky personalities and two cultures. This included my sister (who was on crutches) and my uncle being the flower girls, us being lifted in chairs in the traditional Jewish style, and a lot of Arabic dancing. I ended up wearing three different wedding dresses that night, my favorite being the one from my husband’s country. I felt like such a diva! My husband also changed into clothes from his culture. It was a big surprise to everyone there when we came out in our new outfits!
We skipped over a lot of things that are traditional in weddings. We did not have a cake cutting or speeches. No one noticed because they were too busy on the dance floor or frolicking around the farm.
WHAT WAS TOTALLY NOT WORTH IT
Worrying! There are so many things to worry about when planning a wedding. It’s not worth it. I noticed that planning a wedding can be highly emotional (especially if family is involved). Try not to sweat it and find someone who is supportive to help you with decisions.
A FEW THINGS THAT HELPED US ALONG THE WAY
I definitely recommend consulting a wedding planner. Even if you don’t need someone to plan your whole wedding there are some planners that are willing to take on just some of the tasks. If it’s not in your budget then find a friend or family member who is willing to take on that role. Weddings are the time to get your butt in gear and be organized. We used a lot of tools online to organize and budget.
MY BEST PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR MY PLANNING SELF
Make sure the wedding day reflects both of you! Don’t worry so much about your family’s opinions because this is a day meant to celebrate the two of you. Figure out what matters to you and your spouse and focus on those things. My spouse is easygoing and agreeable so he let me do a lot of the planning. I always made sure to include him on the decisions but would narrow things down beforehand. I love to research and put that skill to use. If there is a will there is a way, and you can find great ideas through research. If you aren’t DIY don’t try to be! Taking on too many projects can be overwhelming. If you have friends or family that are crafty enlist them to help. I am lucky enough to have a mother who is an artist and she is amazing at the small details. She definitely helped beautify the wedding with her skills!
Favorite thing about the wedding
That my husband and I were surrounded by love, family, and friends and the dance floor was packed! Also, our photo shoot with a llama, an alpaca, and a donkey.
In my research I saw that one bride said she wanted to make her wedding a weekend event. I loved that idea! We ended up renting a giant beautiful house for our Friday night dinner and let out of town guests come at their leisure. The night was a nice way to spend quality time with everyone. It felt way more personal than a traditional dinner at a restaurant. Sunday we had a brunch for all the out-of-towners and it was a lovely way to end the weekend.
We knew early on the venue, food, music, and photography were important to us. It was helpful to figure out what mattered most and then the small details fell into place. My grandmother was an important part of our wedding. She is ninety-four years young! We do not like a ton of attention and love her so much, so we included her in our first dance. We played “It had to be you” by Frank Sinatra, which she loves to bust out and sing. My grandfather used to sing it to her. It was truly a special moment!
There were so many lovely people (friends and family) who helped with the setup. I truly appreciated everything they did and could not have done it without them. We stayed friends with the wonderful owners of Schnoodleberry Farm. It’s special because we get to go back and visit them and the place we got married.