Kiaya, Diversity inclusion practioner & Jason, Videographer
sum-up of the wedding vibe: A celebration of Black love & legacy, dripping in gold.
Planned Budget: $10,000
Actual Budget: $13,000
Number of Guests: 36
Location: Something Old Dayton | Dayton, Ohio
Where we allocated the most funds:
Before we started to plan, we decided on our must-haves. Photography was our number one. This is such an important day and we wanted it to be captured perfectly. Not with some much-posed photography, but in-the-moment shots. We decided to go with our photographers because we needed professionals who could photograph Black people (sadly, not all photographers can) and would be comfortable in a very Black and Queer setting. Amy and Aaron of Best Day Ever shot our best friends’ wedding, and we knew they would be perfect for us.
We allocated most of the funds towards our venue. We got married in a loft, managed by Something Old Dayton, located in an old warehouse building. I fell in love with the huge windows and columns. What made this place a bonus was that the venue provided decor and styling. I was in graduate school for the two years we were engaged, and I had no space in my brain to think about decoration. I am so grateful for Mari and Kyle, who helped make the space look amazing.
Where we allocated the least funds:
There were a lot of affordable elements of our wedding. We funded a lot of our wedding ourselves, so we were very cautious about our spending. My grandmother paid for our caterer, which was a huge help. I catered our drinks: we did signature cocktails that I made in batches. The biggest surprise was my wedding gown! My custom gold gown was less than $300, including the fabric. I still can’t believe how affordable it was. I am forever grateful for the creator at Brewing Arts, who took my vision and made it a reality.
What was totally worth it:
EVERYTHING. But if I had to choose one, the day-of coordinator. I didn’t want to worry about anything on this special day, except not getting champagne drunk before my vows. Christina was a huge help since the day we hired her. She was so organized and brought really really great energy. She brought peace to everyone and blended right in like family. Totally worth it.
Another aspect was the free valet parking for our guests. Our venue offered free parking, but the old warehouse was difficult to navigate from the parking lot. It was such a convenient and glamorous touch. Our guests truly felt like they were attending a VIP event.
What was totally not worth it:
Trying to please everyone. Stick to what’s important for the two of you and go from there.
A few things that helped us along the way:
(1) Having a two-year engagement. The time allowed us to focus on our budget and getting all the things we wanted. Time also allowed for mistakes and mishaps to happen without having to rush to the next decision. Our venue changed twice, we went through two caterers and lost three members of our wedding party, and I didn’t have a wedding dress until three months before the wedding. I couldn’t imagine going through all that and getting married in the same six months. Time was on our side. (2) A Practical Wedding gave me plenty of inspiration! I loved seeing how real couples planned such an important event. (3) My therapist helped me put a lot of things in perspective. (4) Finally, our love for one another. Wedding planning is stressful, no doubt about it. You have to stay grounded and remember what it’s all for.
My best practical advice for my planning self:
Just because you haven’t seen (whether on the internet or anywhere else) examples of different aspects you want at your wedding, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You are the originator!
Favorite thing about the wedding:
I loved how all the vendors involved in our wedding were either people of color and/or womxn. This was huge for us as Black Entrepreneurs. We know the value of investing in minority-owned businesses and we kept that value in the forefront.
I never saw myself married in a white dress. When it was time to think about my attire, gold instantly came to mind. Finding a plus-sized gold dress is difficult, and I am forever grateful to my beautiful dressmaker. Also, I decided to shave my hair on the day of the ceremony. It felt so spiritual. I felt as if I was letting go of old habits and baggage and was welcoming this new chapter of my life. One of my best friends cut my hair and also officiated our wedding.
Plus, while I knew I never wanted a very traditional wedding, there were some traditions that I wanted to honor. My something old was my brooch bouquet. I had people close to me give me a brooch or old jewelry, and I made a bouquet out of it. My something new was my custom gold gown. My something borrowed was wearing my grandmother’s white fur, and my something blue was the lining of my dress.
And I LOVE Beyoncé! So when the Apeshit video came out, I instantly wanted our wedding photos to be inspired by that piece of art. We had our first looks at the Dayton Art Institute and took some beautiful images throughout the museum.
Lastly, I knew early on that I didn’t want a unified wedding party look. It’s just not my thing. Every member of the wedding party picked out their own outfit. The only two rules were black and sexy! Every person has their style, and we wanted that to shine on that particular day.