Our $3K Wedding Was Beautiful, Intimate, and Just Right for Us


We loved every second

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Elizabeth, high school counselor & Jaime, high school counselor

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: The tangible expression of the love and life we’ve created together.

Planned budget: $3,000

Actual budget: $3,000

Number of guests: 50

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Where we allocated the most funds:

The venue and our photographer.

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Where we allocated the least funds:

Our outfits: I rented my dress and my wife was gifted her suit.

Our flowers: My incredibly talented best friend, Casey Godlove, kindly gifted our wedding arrangements.

Music: Our mutual best friend, Chelsea, played the guitar as we walked down the aisle.

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What was totally worth it:

Our amazing photographer, Shawnee Custalow. As most people look toward their wedding day I think there’s a solid understanding that one of the few things that will survive the wedding day will be the photos, so it was important to invest as much as possible into ours. We had a very strict budget for photography ($1,200) and Shawnee was flexible with us—we only had her for about four hours.

Writing our own vows was also valuable in so many ways. We were able to slip in various anecdotal funnies, our wry humor, and some inside jokes. They both meant so much to us (I keep them in our fireproof box). We also descended our makeshift aisle to “Gangsta’s Paradise”—that was pretty worth it.

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What was totally not worth it:

My shoes hurt, but looked cute AF, so maybe that counts. Also, waiting for some (read: any) expression of my family’s support. In the months leading up to our wedding I kept hoping that maybe today would the day they stop referring to it as “the event,” or showed some interest in the location/dress/music/food/anything at all. It never came, and I wish I had saved myself the heartache of realizing that sooner. Thankfully, my wife’s family (and my new family!) picked up their slack in so many thoughtful, generous ways. I’ll always be grateful for the way they stepped in when they saw my family on the sidelines.

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A few things that helped us along the way:

Our incredible circle of friends who volunteered their time and talents to make our day special. Seriously, this entire day would’ve been an utter shit show without them. Our incredible, wonderful-in-all-ways friend, Martha Wright, volunteered to be our day-of coordinator and owned it. She played DJ/yeller of people/cake cutter instructor/beer bringer/timeline explainer/transition maker—all kinds of wizardry.

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Best practical advice for myself:

You won’t remember the little things you forgot to do; either way you still get the girl. Also… don’t drink so much, but definitely gush as much as possible when saying your vows. Make an absolute scene of how much you love one another in that perfect moment.

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Anything else we should know:

Mostly that we hope our dear friends know how much their love and support made our day—in tangible ways and in meaning. Casey, Martha, Neil, Chelsea, Katie, Lauren, Laine—our cup runneth over.


The Info:

Photography: What a Lovely Photo | Venue: Shop Gather | Wedding Location: Midlothian, VA | Rentals: Rent the Runway | Florist: Casey Godlove

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  • lildutchgrrl

    How lovely! My own wedding had about that budget and was a bit smaller, so I understand how much your friends glued the whole thing together. (Ours spent the day before making tea sandwiches and baking scones.) *And* we also had one-sided family support. I am curious about the book at the place setting — were those favors? Were they all different?

    • eagoldberg

      Yes, they were our favours – all chosen for each person specifically. They also doubled as place settings; we designed (AKA drew) a monogram bookmark for each one that was visible on the cover.

      • lildutchgrrl

        I love this so much!

        • eagoldberg

          Thank you!!

  • Amy March

    Beautiful flowers!

    • eagoldberg

      Thank you! Casey Godlove is one seriously talented individual.

  • Binzy

    I love you ladies so much and I love that you’re on this blog that I love <3

    • eagoldberg

      We love you to the moon! And I adore that your username here is ‘Binzy’ <3

  • Sam

    I’m also considering a similar budget. I’m curious how you managed to stay within budget when it came to food. What did you guys do for food / drinks?

    • eagoldberg

      One of our good friends is a professional chef and she didn’t charge us for cooking – that was our wedding gift. We just bought the food and she did the rest. As for alcohol (which there was A LOT of) we went to Costco and bought beer and wine in bulk.

  • louise danger

    ahhhh Shawnee is our photographer, too, and your beautiful photos are making me SO EXCITED all over again about her :D :D :D

    congratulations! you both look like you’re having a splendid time and everything is wonderful

    • Shawnee Custalow

      I’m so excited to work with you!!!!

  • Eve

    This is so beautiful and you two look so happy in every single picture!