This $20K SF Wedding with a VW Van Photo Booth Is Low-key Genius

Their biggest regret? Too much cake 😂

Lidia, Regional Manager, YogaWorks and Yoga Tree & Gabriel, Assistant General Manager, Neiman Marcus Rotunda

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: A day filled with love, laughter, and memories to last a lifetime!
Planned Budget: $20,000
Actual Budget: $20,000
Number of Guests: 50

Where we allocated the most funds:

We wanted our guests to feel like they had been transported to an urban oasis yet still within San Francisco. Stable Cafe‘s outdoor patio area provided a warm, inviting atmosphere with a gorgeous variety of succulents, gardened walls, and floral installations. Aside from the venue, we allocated a majority of funds toward food and signature beverages from Nopalito Catering. Our families traveled from Texas, New Mexico, and Southern California, and providing them with a traditional Mexican-style meal was important to us.

Where we allocated the least funds:

Believe it or not, we allocated the least amount of funds to our rings! Gabriel surprised Lidia with a moonstone engagement ring from Esqueleto, a local jeweler in Oakland, California (she knew a diamond wasn’t the right fit for her). The moonstone brings hope, enhances feminine energies, sensitivity, intuition, and is also said to bring strong energies of abundance to one’s life. Gabriel felt this was reflective of their marriage and together they chose a wedding band for Gabriel at the same shop.

What was totally worth it:

We wanted to remember every detail from our wedding day, and having the most amazing photographers helped tremendously. Without them I don’t know what we would have done! They captured the essence of our ceremony with such grace, and our families loved them.

What was totally not worth it:

We were happy with everything! If we had to choose one thing it would be a smaller cake. While it was delicious, we had so much leftover (and currently in the freezer).

A few things that helped us along the way:

Establishing a budget, priorities, and timeline made the process that much more enjoyable. It was important to know what we could allocate to each category. Keeping track of our budget in a shared document meant that there were no surprises. As an event planner, Gabriel was also able to identify “day of” needs from experience. Lidia’s attention to detail and checklists kept the process moving forward. Finally, Pinterest helped foster creative inspiration!

My best practical advice for my planning self:

Don’t second-guess your decisions, and remember it’s about celebrating love. As stressful as it can be, the process is just as important as the day itself. Allow it to be something that brings you closer to your soon-to-be spouse.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

Our first dance (to James Blake’s “Wilhelm Scream”) and the dancing that followed after! We both enjoy ’90s hip-hop and R&B. The DJ made sure to play all of our requests and a few surprises. Everyone had a fun time letting loose, and the night ended with two hours of dancing. We couldn’t stop celebrating!

Something Else We’d like to share:

Initially we hadn’t planned on hiring a photographer for the day and only had a fifteen-minute shoot for the ceremony as part of the package. On the suggestion of our friends and family we decided to proceed with a more traditional option. We are thrilled with this decision and can’t imagine not having the photos to remember details throughout the day.


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