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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  • Roxanne

    Beautiful wedding! Congratulations to both of you!!!

  • This is easily one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen!

  • I love the idea of games on the tables. So unique and creative… a great way for the guests to have fun with each other and remember the celebration!

  • Hooray for “creative, thrifty, and sane!” What a great model. Seriously. Thank you for being so inspiring.

  • Oh I love the dresses and all the pictures! Congrats to them on celebrating with such a beautiful day, very inspiring!

  • #1 Great Solutions

    #2 Beautiful dresses

    #3 $5,000!? AWESOME.

  • Such a pretty wedding. I love the dresses. And the look. And the fact that the venue is owned by the Shriners – the money goes to the hospital! Wow!

  • I love it – what a wonderful wedding, with such clever details!

  • Classy and beautiful. How fun!

  • I love their dresses. They look amazing together. And check that for problem solving! Excellent.

  • Meghan

    This is the coolest wedding I have ever seen. And you *made* those dresses? And you played board games? That’s it, I have to get married all over again so I can do it just like this. Congratulations, and I wish you much happiness!

  • oh, i have to correct that! I wish we made those dresses! We did design them (the single biggest creative challenge of the whole sheband) but a freind of ours actually made them. She was a saint. We kept making alterations and the night before the wedding we were up till 2am at her place, finishing the changes!

  • Meghan

    It’s still the coolest wedding I’ve ever seen! How great that a friend of yours made the dresses for you.

  • this is pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! I LOVE how lisa is just beaming and giddy in several of the photos, and the way she wipes a tear from her wife’s eye during the ceremony… awesome! I also love how they approached the problem solving and created what must have been a relaxed but super fun time for everyone.

  • Peonies and Polaroids

    What a gorgeous wedding.

  • cj

    Wheow! What a great newly wed couple to see. They look good together. Now that our society is accepting whatever gender are going to get married…let’s just accept the fact.

  • this wedding is gorgeous! i love the budget ideas & board games–amazingly brilliant! congratulations to the beautiful couple.

  • Wow – $5000, that’s amazing…so admirable! Love the solutions and creativity. Congrats to the lovely couple!


  • Anonymous

    Firstly Congratulations, your photos capture something that is often lacking in wedding photos…namely that you seem to be happy and in love.
    You both look relaxed and beautiful. Best wishes to you both for your life together.

    Secondly..kept to a budget woohooo. I hate seeing money wasted on weddings. To have created an event on budget is a fantastic achievement and to have items and services for the weddig from friends would make it more personal anyway.
    Games..Im glad it worked. My plan ( if I ever do it) is to have a friend run a table top Cthulu game in one room and have a huge scalextric circuit set up in another. So its nice to get feedback on how something similar worked.

    Best wishes to you and your wife.

  • nastyrose

    words escape me how beautiful this wedding was….*wow* the love and light and creativity and beauty is just palpable – i wil remember this for future reference…!
    congrats on your 1 year anniversary btw :)

  • Ok I'm a little late on the up take. As the friend that made the dresses I am glad people liked them. Terri and Lisa came to me with their idea's and I helped to make them a reality in fabric. I am glad I was given the opportunity to play with all that silk. As dress making is a hobby for me I don't usually get to play with that much fabric at one time. Two dresses ment even more fabric!

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