Eve, Writer/Marriage Family Therapist Intern & Kalen, Screenwriter/Creative Executive
sum-up of the wedding vibe: A fun-filled day that celebrated both tradition and creativity, brought together friends and family, and invited everyone to wear temporary tattoos
PLANNED BUDGET: $30,000
ACTUAL BUDGET: $35,000
NUMBER OF GUESTS: 150 (190 invited, eek!)
Where we allocated the most funds
Catering: I LOVE cooking and hosting, and would have done it all myself if that made any sense. We looked for someone that would understand what I would have served if it was in my home on a rainy January night. We wanted delicious food and to serve a family-style meal that was amenable to our many many gluten-free and vegan friends. Jennie Cook’s created seasonal dishes with organic ethically resourced food—exactly what we wanted.
Where we allocated the least funds
Flowers: We wanted minimal flora, and continued to find florists’ estimates out of our comfort zone. We ended up sending a friend to the Los Angeles Flower Market the day of our wedding; she spent $200 total.
Mason jars candles as centerpieces: We got our mason jars at thrift stores.
What was totally worth it
- Wedding Planner, 150 percent. The cost of the wedding planner is partly what pushed us over budget, but I will stand by that decision for the rest of my life.
- We hemmed and hawed about a big wedding or a small wedding. In the end, it was totally worth the trouble to have all our friends and family together, especially family.
- Spray-painting all those toy animals took longer than anticipated, but they were the best escort-cards, souvenirs, and conversation starters, all in one!
- We also decided to skip the cost of a wedding cake, only paying for a small cake for us (bride and groom) and serving home-baked cookies to our guests. Friends and family chipped in to help with the baking, and we used a recipe of my eleven-year-old daughter. (Recipe equals chocolate chip cookie wrapped around an Oreo. HUGE hit with the guests, huge source of pride for my daughter.)
- We took extra effort to make sure that multiple generations (from six months to ninety years old) with diverse needs would feel comfortable, both physically and emotionally. For example, while we knew we couldn’t make everyone happy, we were careful about creating a ceremony that would satisfy both our own personal vision and my conservative parents’ ideas of a proper wedding (especially since they were the main sponsors…). The reception had a moving-picture photo booth, a temporary tattoo station, board games, AND dancing.
What was totally not worth it
We made the mistake of promising ourselves that we would say hello to every guest at our wedding. That turned out to be impossible.
We also took to heart online advice about skipping some wedding “usuals”: we didn’t have programs, wedding attendants, a full bar, or a wedding cake. Those things were not missed.
A few things that helped us along the way
Our wedding planner, Renee Dalo (Moxie Bright Events), kept us organized with to-do lists which helped us stay on task without feeling too overwhelmed. We also didn’t look back once each decision was made; we didn’t have the time or energy to second-guess anything. Friends were amazing about coming over and helping with the DIY stuff (gold animals, seating tags, cookie baking) and boring things that needed to get done, like breaking down cardboard boxes.
I didn’t have any bridesmaids, but having my best friend (since seventh grade) show up the morning of to help me get ready was clutch. It was a last-minute decision, and I don’t know how I would have handled those hours without her.
My best practical advice for my planning self
I’ve always had a hundred ideas and fantasies about my wedding. When it came to the actual thing, I could only choose one. Knowing that it didn’t really matter as long we were married and our guests were fed kept me from second-guessing decisions and kept me moving forward without regrets. (Now my only regret is that I won’t be having the ninety-nine other weddings to fulfill all those fantasies!)
Favorite thing about the wedding
My daughter is a competitive Irish step dancer; she did a traditional dance to start off the dancing portion of the night. I was so proud, and it gave her something special to offer the day.
Also: Dancing with total abandon.