Teri & Lisa’s Fancy Budget Wedding

As we keep on trucking, and keep on celebrating weddings, legal or not, I’m so pleased to bring you the wedding of not one, but two readers (who happen to write an awesome web comic). I sort of can’t put into words how exciting this except: two awesome wedding dresses! A *white* gothic dress with a corset? A formal budget wedding? Weird Shriner details? Gah! Ladies, take it away!
Who: Teri and Lisa (Teri, the tall one, is the one writing this, in case anyone is curious)

Where: The Harrington Mansion, (a preserved mansion belonging to the local Shriners. That’s right, the guys with the tiny cars and funny hats.) Minneapolis, MN.
What made your wedding creative: Meshing our aesthetic styles together. All you brides who complain that your fiances aren’t involved in the wedding process, take a moment to think about what it would be like if your hubby-to-be had a strong personal aesthetic they wanted to include in the day, alongside yours. While there were stressful aspects of this (including The Great Black Dress Debate) it ultimately turned out to be a fun and rewarding experience for us. Her style is, neo-victorian Gothic. It includes a lot of crimson and black. My style includes a lot more in the way of sunshine yellow and butterflies, but we made it work.What made your wedding thrifty: We defiantly had a strange setup when it came to financing our wedding. Several years ago, my little sister started talking at dinner one night about her dream Big White Wedding. My father, just traditional enough to want to pay for his daughters wedding, blanched a bit, and a few weeks later announced to the family that he had put aside 20k for each of us (the average wedding cost at the time), for a wedding fund. And that he was just going to write us checks when the time came, and we could use the money as we saw fit. I looked at 20k, and saw a very small, inexpensive wedding, and $15,000 that would help Lisa and I survive financially while I completed my year long mandatory unpaid internship I need for my licensure. So, we set a wedding budget of $5000. Surprisingly, with our 80 person guest list, we had no trouble throwing an elegant evening event and still coming in under budget by several hundred dollars.Our main budget savers were 1) the location ($500 for what ended up amounting to 13 hours. And the proceeds went to the Shriners children’s hospital!) 2) Having a dessert buffet, and 3) relying on friends and family for a lot of “vendor” type assistance. My mom did the flowers, 2 friends photographed, 1 friend did lighting design, 1 made the dresses, another friend made the cake toppers, and another officiated the ceremony. We were really lucky to have so many talented people willing to help out.
What made your wedding sane: While we had no trouble budgeting our money, we had a lot of trouble budgeting time. Both of us work full time, and for most of the planning process, I was also attending fulltime graduate school classes at night. So, keeping things sane was a big priority for us. Planning had to be efficient, and not draining. As often as possible, we would try to solve many problems with one solution. For example:

1) Lisa’s father isn’t coming. Teri doesn’t want to have a father-daughter dance, and leave Lisa feeling left out
2) We need to get 3 very different groups of people to enjoy each other without friction, and without any political conversation
3) We want to have the reception and the location in the same place for budget reasons, but that limits our space options
4) Lisa has bad pollen allergies, and can’t handle a lot of flowers
5) Most of the friends of the couple don’t like to dance
Solution: Feature board and card games instead of dancing at the reception. They will give people something low-friction to talk about, and let people mingle easily. Games don’t need much space, so we could use the same space for the wedding and reception. As a special bonus, the games can serve as centerpieces, thus eliminating the need for a lot of flowers, or time-consuming DIY projects, which would then need to be stored.
A huge congratulations to Terri & Lisa. I have never ever seen a wedding like this, with its blend of styles and tastes and coming together into such a unique package. May you have many wonderful years together!

For extra fun, check out all the pictures here

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