The Wedding With The Crochet Dress Burning Up The Internet


Because of course, she's one of you!

Chi, Architect & Milan, Software engineer

One sentence sum-up of the wedding vibe: An innovative, vibrant, fun, DIY garden and dance party.

PLANNED BUDGET: $20,000

ACTUAL BUDGET: $18,000

NUMBER OF GUESTS: 90

Where we allocated the most funds

Our total biggest cost was the catering, but the per person cost for catering was actually quite low for the Seattle area. The things that we splurged on were the photography and venue, which were the next two highest costs.

Where we allocated the least funds

My wedding dress was the least expensive item of our wedding. I crocheted it on the bus during my commute with supplies that cost thirty dollars. I also saved money by making a lot of other things for the wedding, such as the bridesmaids’ dresses, bouquets, centerpieces, decorations, and all the stationery. And our per-person catering cost was on the lower end for Seattle.

What was totally worth it

Paying for a good venue and good photography was totally worth it. Different people have different values, but we thought that while the food would be eaten and gone, the photos will last forever. And of course having a beautiful venue makes for beautiful photos. Making all of the things for our wedding like the dresses and flowers were also totally worth it. Whatever we made or bought for our wedding, we made sure that it’s something we’ll use again (and often) after the wedding to get the most value out of money and effort.

What was totally not worth it

Paying for the room where we had our dinner was not worth it. The room was the highest cost of the venue rental, and it was also the least inspiring space. We should have had dinner outside. It was such a beautiful summer day that half our guests ended up wandering outside halfway through dinner anyway. The cutting cake we ordered from a wedding baker was not worth it considering we could have gotten a better one for less from a regular bakery or for free from my mother-in-law.

A few things that helped us along the way

One of the things I found most helpful for planning and executing our wedding was helping with a friend’s wedding before ours. There’s no better way to get firsthand experience than to practice on another wedding. I arranged all the flowers and helped set up the venue, which gave me an idea of how much time and effort would be required for mine. Having family and friends help with making the dessert, decorations, and setting up the venue was also extremely helpful. And of course, having a day-of coordinator was indispensable.

My best practical advice for my planning self

My best advice to my planning self would be to prioritize what is most important and necessary and what needs to be done now versus later. As the wedding day approached I had to keep asking myself—can the wedding go on without this thing that I’m going to make or buy? If it can, then it’s not necessary, and move on the next thing.

Favorite thing about the wedding

My favorite part of the wedding was the dance party following the reception. My husband and I dance salsa and first met while dancing, so we knew our wedding would include an awesome dance party. Not only was there salsa dancing, but a lot of other cultural dances such as Serbian kolo and Indian Banghra. The best parts were seeing how much fun our families and friends had dancing and to see my husband’s seventy-nine-year-old great-aunt dance with the speed, agility, and energy of a twenty-year-old!

Other Notes

I’m an architect, designer, and photographer, so I treated our wedding as a once-in-a-lifetime design project and thought about ways to make it beautiful, meaningful, practical, sustainable, and uniquely ours. Even though our wedding was not a super-low budget wedding for Seattle, we were able to use the savings from things we made ourselves to spend on more “luxury” like having a live string quartet and hiring a good photographer.


The Info:

Photographer: Jerome Tso | Location: Seattle, WA | Venue: UW Center for Urban Horticulture | Chi’s Dress, Bridesmaids’ Dresses, Flowers: Made by Chi | String Quartet: Metropolitan String Quartet | DJ: Sueños de Salsa | Shoes: Custom made by Art’s Dance Shoes

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  • S

    I love this! My partner and I met at salsa class, so I’m definitely planning a big dance party as well.
    Also, I can’t believe you crocheted your dress – so much style AND talent! Congrats :-)

    • Chi Krneta

      Thanks! Salsa is a great way to meet people. Congrats to you and your partner and good luck on your wedding!

    • Maybe I need to take up salsa? :)

  • This is so lovely, especially both her dresses.

  • Valerie Day

    Both dresses! And yes to helping w other weddings to prepare for your own!

  • Rae

    Love the dresses! Can I ask what songs your string quartet played? I’m looking for inspiration to round out our list! Thank you!

    • Natalie

      I had a string quartet at my wedding. My situation was a bit different, because my good friend had just joined a string quartet, and our wedding was their first gig, so they were cheaper than professional quartets, but also had a slightly smaller repertoire than a professional group might. They had a big list of songs they had the music for and could easily practice enough to play for the wedding, and we chose from those. Can you ask your quartet if they have a list of songs you can choose from? That might give you a good starting point, at least.

      My MIL is a professional violinist, so my husband has very specific tastes in classical music, which influenced our choices. My friend specially arranged a string quartet version of the theme from the Princess Bride, because we love it and wanted it in the ceremony, but she couldn’t find sheet music for it. Other songs we used: Sleeping Beauty Waltz, Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun, Bach’s Queen of Sheba, Beethoven Op 18 No 5, Bach Sleepers Awake, Mouret Rondeau, Meditation from Thais, Brandenburg #3. We used youtube videos of string quartets (often at weddings) to give us ideas of how the music would song played by a string quartet. Just start searching youtube for “string quartet” or “string quartet wedding.”

      • Rae

        Dear internet friend — would you be able to share the arrangement of the Princess Bride music?! That would be inconceivable – in a good way! : )

        • Natalie

          I’ll ask my friend if she’d be willing to share. :-)

    • Chi Krneta

      We picked out a few songs for our processional and recessional (Meditation from Thais, etc) but the rest I just left up to the quartet. My husband and I played a little bit of classical music in school so we have some knowledge but our quartet was great at helping us find music. They even found Serbian music for us. We just went off their list: http://www.metroquartet.com/processionals.html

      • Rae

        Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Libby

    CROCHETED YOUR DRESS?! I’m blown away. In the first picture I was thinking how gorgeous the dress was only to find out you crocheted it on your commute to work! Stunning.

  • JDrives

    Yup, I can see why this is burning up the ‘net. This wedding is gorgeous and those pics of the salsa dancing are HOT!!

  • KateS

    i have no words for that dress – stunning. and the fact that you made it….just, WOW.

  • RoseTyler

    What a beautifully perfect wedding! I loved that you guys chose what was important to YOU and budgeted accordingly. YES for photos!

  • vegankitchendiaries

    I can see how that dress went VIRAL! Oh my God, what a champ! Seriously, seriously amazing…

  • sara g

    I saw your Reddit post about crocheting your dress and I’m soooo thrilled to see more of the wedding!! What a beautiful wedding and holy moly can I learn to crochet like that please?!

    • Class of 1980

      Yes, I saw this dress blow up on the Internet. How cool to have the whole story on APW. However, even with a few tiny regrets, this bride WINS EVERYTHING just for pulling off that dress!!! The whole wedding looks beautiful.

    • Chi Krneta

      Yes, you CAN learn to crochet like that! I got a lot of requests for a pattern for my dress so I’m drawing one up. The dress looks complicated but it’s made up of basic stitches – just takes time ;)

      • RoseTyler

        Please tell us you’ll come back to APW when you have that pattern available!

      • sara g

        This is seriously inspiring! I feel like if someone can crochet a wedding dress, I have no excuses. LOL.

  • Natalie

    Wow. That dress is incredible, and it looks amazing on you! Such wonderful photos. I love the expressions on your faces – you look so happy and loving.

  • omg! both those dresses are amazing!!!!!

  • I did wedding crafts on the bus during my commute too, but I just sewed the flowers, not my dress. Amazing!!

  • Aubry

    So, did you have yarn around? Or is it way cheaper in the states? Cause that much crochet supply plus the fabric under seems like it would be $100 here. Still an amazing deal for a wedding dress!

    Also way to go on that dress lady, damn. You look great. Im inspired to finish the pineapple patterned sweater i started a year ago and never finished :)

    • Chi Krneta

      3 factors for my low cost of crochet thread: 1) bought it on sale, 2) I used an open lacy stitch that doesn’t consume a lot of thread 3) I’m short and petite (ok, so this will vary by person) :)

  • Brianne

    We looked at this venue and I really loved it, except I concur with what Chi said. The outdoor spaces and greenhouse area are GORGEOUS, the interior ballrooms, not as great. Our wedding was in April so we knew we wouldn’t have the option of guests sitting outside which is why we nixed it. But for summer Seattle brides, its totally an A+. I’m also an architect so of course i love everything about this. Good job, Chi!

    • Chi Krneta

      Thanks! I’ve seen other smaller wedding parties have their dinner in the greenhouse (the building my architecture firm designed) and it was great because it’s a greenhouse – protect from weather but still feels like outside and works year-round. And I think the greenhouse was only $400 to rent vs. $3000 for the banquet room.

      • RoseTyler

        I love this idea of having the dinner in a greenhouse! Thanks for the recommendation for future brides!

  • Erin

    Thank you thank you thank you for writing this as a “how we did it” and breaking down the budget with honesty and helpful insight. I could totally imagine other websites running these photos with a headline like “The ultimate DIY wedding with a $30 dress!”, (falsely implying the other elements of the wedding were budgeted similarly) and evil, mysterious Internet forces subverting it to budget-shame brides who don’t manage to pull off a beautiful event without spending money. I am DIYing many elements of my wedding, too, and have lately been feeling guilty because despite that, we are still spending a similar amount of money on other things like the venue, food and music (not to mention my dress – my craft skills are not at this level!) Seeing this today really is helping to reinforce my belief that we are doing it right by making careful choices on where to put money vs. where to get crafty. I hope my wedding turns out as beautiful as yours!

    • Chi Krneta

      Thanks and totally agree! We were fortunate to be in a situation where we could spend some on our wedding so it was a balance between having our friends & family do things for us versus paying someone else to do the job so our friends & family can enjoy the wedding and not be ‘working’ the whole time. And for all the stuff I chose to make – it was not only a question of whether making it would be more special (obviously) but also 1) if what I wanted was available for purchase at a reasonable price and 2) if it’s more cost effective for me to make it. A lot of things like the bridesmaids’ dresses fell into #1 – I couldn’t find dresses in the green color I wanted that’s also comfortable, convertible, reusable, etc – so it was more cost effective for me to make them myself.

    • sara g

      I completely agree. I really had a hard time when I started planning my own wedding, because I had been under the false impression that if we DIY’d everything, we’d spend like no money and it would be awesome. Come to find out, that’s definitely not the case, and DIY definitely doesn’t mean “better” or “easier.” I seriously struggled with guilt for awhile thinking I was betraying my general frugality by spending ~10k on a wedding.

  • Kelly

    Amazing! This all feels so light and fresh. Love the photo of your ceremony in the dappled light. Summer in Seattle is the best! Congratulations!

  • Chi Krneta

    Thanks APW for sharing my story because ALL weddings should be A Practical Wedding :) See more wedding photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chiduong/sets/72157645815916987/

    • ML

      Wow, thank you for sharing! I was curious about the bridesmaid dresses, so I’m glad to see pictures. They are amazing! I would totally buy one as a regular dress if you sold them :)

  • pixie_moxie

    Your dresses are stunning but I am in love with your party dress! Did you make it as well? Such an innovative and beautiful idea!

    • Chi Krneta

      Yes, I did, thanks! Originally the party dress was going to be floor-length and be my wedding dress but making it was way harder than the crochet dress and wouldn’t have had time.

  • Abby J.

    That is SERIOUSLY AWESOME.

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  • Zookbinders

    Wow! That is all I can about the wedding gown. It is really stunning.

  • Chi Krneta

    Now you can make this dress too from my crochet pattern (the train will be available soon):
    http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/crocheting/clothing/crochet-lace-wedding-dress-/130955

    • Kleo

      Your dress is inspirational! My son is getting married soon and I would like to make a dress like yours for his fiance but cannot find it on this site. Has it moved?

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