Our $22K NOLA Wedding Parade And Party

Ain't no party like a second line party

Jensin, Textile designer & Masa, IT Security Engineer

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: A delicious, intimate wedding (with tons of surprising elements!) for a fun and interesting group with artistic vision and high quality taste.

Planned budget: $22,000
Actual budget: $22,000
Number of guests: 77
LOCATION: New Orleans, Lousiana

Where we allocated the most funds:

We would say venue, food and flowers. We looked at tons of venues before settling on the funky, cajun The Tigermen Den, curated a gorgeous Southern meets Japanese menu with James Beard–winning chef Allison Vines-Rushing and spent countless hours crafting paper flowers to mix with real ones from We Are Gathered. We were also lucky to receive a big gift from Masa’s best man Rodolfo—a super fun second line, so that’s not money we personally spent, but was spent on our behalf.

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Where we allocated the least funds:

We worked with our planners to figure out how to simply not have a lot of things that we decided were really not going to make or break our wedding (according to us—not family or friends). We opted against a videographer, open bar, and “activities” during reception, and were happy to see that losing those things really didn’t negatively impact the fun. Jensin also graciously gave up professional hair and makeup for herself and bridesmaids.

What was totally worth it:

In Jensin’s opinion the flowers, although it was a labor of love; it was really special to see her handmade work on wedding day. In Masa’s opinion the party bus, piling on all the guests post-wedding and heading toward The Howlin’ Wolf to see Soul Rebels kept the energy high even after the party was officially “over.”

What was totally not worth it:

Nothing comes to mind; the day was perfect!!

A few things that helped us along the way:

Becca and Kate (of Clark and Kelly)! They narrowed down our choices to things we could afford and provided helpful scope when needed. They also helped us make the big decisions early on, which we feel saved us much stress and scrambling later. Becca and Kate were also a great help, as we are not based in NOLA. While we had a close friend there, Becca and Kate were really connected and are able to swiftly figure out and find what we were looking for (or the next best thing 😄).

My best practical advice for my planning self:

Jensin: If you are doing a lot of DIY projects don’t forget to think about your own look, not only the look and the experience you are trying to create for your family and friends. If you want to focus on DIY, then maybe consider visually nailing down your look first and then finding the right services that can execute it or vice versa. Ultimately, you are the main attraction on wedding day, so don’t even think about playing second fiddle to the decor.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

Our favorite thing about the wedding was that we infused the day with tons of personal details and elements. We’ll never forget coming out to greet our seated guests with our instruments in hand, ready to play a special performance for them. Every moment of the day built on the last, and we felt present in the love of our families and friends.

Also, the second line! We were lucky to get the opportunity to walk in two directions and have the band play for cocktail hour in between, which was so fun and special for our guests. It is something they will be talking about for the rest of their lives. Big 6 Brass Band for the win!

Something Else We’d like to share:

We really thought it would be easiest to have an open bar even though it would have been expensive. After a lot of planning and thinking, we ended up coming up with a custom (yet tailored) menu of a few high-end options. This kept our cost lower and was a way to introduce our guests to our tastes. In the end, we found an open bar to be totally unnecessary. Everyone more than enjoyed what we had to offer. Also, after months of nerves about how people would feel, we now realize that no one will complain at a wedding, so don’t worry about that!


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