Our Big Day The Trendy Not Spendy Way

We leave for our honeymoon tomorrow and I haven’t even gotten around to our wedding recap blog post. First let me start by saying, BEST DAY EVER! The day went by so fast and I still miss every moment of it. Luckily, I have this blog post to recap the big day. I want to share with you guys how we kept our wedding trendy not spendy and all the personal details that went into the big day. When we started planning our wedding we wanted the theme to be “this is us.” Every detail was something from our childhood and passions we share together.

First things first, set a budget. Yes, you have to set a budget. It’s a good starting point, however I hate to break it to you cause you’re gonna go over budget by at least 10K-20K. It really is so sad, but it’s true. You need to have the tough conversations with both parents and ask, “what do you feel comfortable contributing.” From there you know what you have to play with and can start venue shopping. We had a conservative budget and when it was time to start searching for venues it sucked. All the amazing venues were SO expensive. The site fees alone make you wanna cry.

Our wedding venue was recommended by a family friend of ours and we loved it. We got married in Sebastopol at Vine Hill House, a charming family owned house on a vineyard. It was beautiful! Vine Hill House really was a fairytale. Lush greenery everywhere with endless grapevines in the background. Most importantly the site fee was in our budget. After sending a “help me I’m poor email” to the owner we knocked the site fee down $1,000 putting us at a total fee of  $7,200. For decent venues that’s a pretty good deal. Sadly, that doesn’t even include the food or booze. Knowing that the venue was a huge chunk out of the budget we had to figure out where we could cut costs. We could care less about center pieces, flowers, and a cake.

When my sister was getting married we got a full floral quote for center pieces and bouquets. I mean dang bouquets are NOT cheap. They can run up to $50 a pop and $100-$150 for the brides bouquet. Then factor in the fact that I had 8 bridesmaids and with myself included we would have spent $550 on flowers. We decided we’d leverage help and buy all the flowers from San Francisco Flowermart and have my moms friend help make them. My moms friend Kathy did an incredible job. I was blown away with the final product. This was her wedding gift to us and it was a fantastic gift. Friends and family will always offer to help and the best thing you could do for yourself is take advantage when people offer to help. Or just put your bridesmaids to work and have each girl make a bouquet. By doing it this way we only spent $280 on flowers.

Huge thanks to our friends at Weddington Way for partnering with me to make my bridesmaids look even more stunning. 

We also wanted coined eucalyptus as the center pieces on the table and as garland. You know what’s not cheap…coined eucalyptus! Coined eucalyptus can run about $20 and that is just for a eucalyptus ring to place on the tables. Yup, $20 bucks for leaves. Insane right! We were quoted $400 on eucalyptus. That was $400 I was not willing to spend on something I could pick off the tree in my parents backyard and that’s just what I did. Well…I didn’t really do it, my Auntie Cyndy did. She hunted down eucalyptus for weeks and even climbed up a tree to pick it. This was the best gift she could give! Saving us money and still making our vision come to life.

I loved how intimate and creative we were able to get with our signage. Eric and I LOVE movies from the 80s and 90s. We play what we call the “movie game” and are always trying to guess movie quotes or what movie an actor or actress is from.  So, when it came to choosing our table names we wanted it to be favorite movies from our childhood.

Table names and numbers are great but they can be more than what you’d like to spend. On Etsy alone you can spend $9-$12 on just one table name/number. We figured it’s just a table sign and found these simple black frames from Walmart for $2. Spray painted them gold and they fancy now. We did purchase the postcard names on Etsy from Pen and Basil and those came out to $2 for each name. Combine that with the frame and we spent $4 for the table names. Not bad, not bad at all.

On a side note it was hilarious when during the middle of our dinner our friends started Quacking. Quack, Quack, Quack….gooooo Ducks!

Center pieces are a lot of money. I remember when we were looking again for my sisters wedding centerpieces we’re running between $50-$100 and that’s just for floral arrangements. Screw that, I wasn’t wasting money on that either. We decided to get our DIY on an buy inexpensive lanterns from Walmart and Ikea. Of course they looked cheap so we spray painted them gold to give them a more elegant look. Best part was each lantern cost $7-$10 a pop. We bought enough lanterns to cover all the tables and leave decoration for the stairs.

These days with weddings it’s all about the details. Signage has started playing a big role in the big day. On Etsy you can find a simple Welcome Sign for $30-$60, Seating Chart sign is around $100, an Instagram sign is around $20, and a Bar and Cocktail sign is around $60. Why buy when you can DIY. Go to Home Depot and pick up some $12 plywood, find the right color wood stain for $5, and then purchase custom stickers from TweetHeartWallArt for $25 and do it yourself. Why spend hundreds of dollars buying signage when you can make it for less than $50.

I strongly believe another place where you can save money is on the wedding cake. Cakes are so damn expensive. They can run you anywhere from $400-$1,200. Half the time you only want the cake for the cake cutting pictures, that nobody pays attention to, and half the people don’t even eat the cake. We decided that the cake is something we could get rid of and save cost. Eric and I decided that we wanted to do a rootbeer float because it was one of our favorite desserts growing up. A few liters of vanilla ice cream and root beer cost us less than $100. I guarantee a lot more people were eating those rootbeer floats more than they would a cake. Plus, we also bought Not Your Dad’s Root Beer aka boozy root beer so who wouldn’t want a boozy root beer float.

When planning a wedding you need to decided what’s important to you. We knew places where we could cut cost and get rid of the tradition wedding stuff. Then there were times we knew we had to cough up the money. You have to pay more to have that open bar and I hadddd to have those $1200 bistro chairs. We came into our wedding with a budget of 25K. It seemed every couple of months that number kept creeping up 5K here and 5K there. To be honest towards the end we pretty much blacked out and we’re throwing our credit cards down left and right. With that said we spent anywhere between 30-40K on our wedding. Yup, all for one day. We’re still paying off our credit cards, but it was worth it.

I hope the details behind our wedding save you a buck or two. For those planning you know every dollar counts and the struggle is real. Here are some final tips and tricks.

-Sending a vendor a “help me I’m poor” email can work in your favor. Most vendors have a soul and will knock a couple dollars off if you’re sincere.

-Ask to pay in cash for an additional discount

-If a family or friend says, “how can I help?” tell them! The are offering for a reason so take advantage of the help.

-Remember it’s your day and you’ll never make everyone happy, so do you!

-If you want to save money you’ll have to hurt feelings and cut kids and plus ones. Honestly, you’ll be glad you did.

We took a lot of pride in making our wedding “this is us.” Here are the fun details…

-For bridesmaids gifts we got adorable cute Anthropology mugs with their initials on it. The mugs were only $8 and it looked super cute in pics.-When guests entered the church for the wedding on the piano (no lyrics) we played Titanium, Love Me Like You Do, and Journey Don’t Stop Believing.

-The wedding party walked into Beauty and the Beast because I LOVE that movie.

-We named our tables after our favorite childhood movies. Eric was a snotface and made me get rid of Drop Dead Fred. Booo

-We named the head table Big…it was a really big table.

-When we entered the venue as Bride and Groom we came out to “All I Do is Win” by DJ Khaled. It was so ghetto and I loved it.– Our wedding song was “No One’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship. We re-enacted our first kiss.

– Our CHEERS sign was made by my Dad and it was BADASS.

-We had selfie sticks in jars throughout the venue that said, “Help Your Selfie” so people could take pics. I LOVE selfie sticks.-We did a rootbeer float bar with boozy rootbeer.-We had a Bacon and Bourbon Bar where you could sip bourbon and taste three kinds of bacon.

I really wanted to take a moment to take everyone who played a special role in the big day. I want to thank my Dad for making all the signage and the Cheers sign. He was a huge trooper through all my DIY projects. My Mom, gosh I don’t even know where to start! She was the rock that pulled the wedding together. She always had a positive attitude and if shit ever started to hit the fan she’d say, “Jenna it’s okay we’ll find a way to make this happen.” Her and my Aunt made all my Pinterest dreams come true. Big thank you to Eric’s parents for making that adorable red church apart of our big day.

I wanted to also thank my bridesmaids for being all around rockstars. They put up with me through every wedding vision and they too had a positive attitude. They were always by my side. I love these girls to the moon and back. Our groomsmen were super troopers. I put them to work the morning of and they got shit done! They also got everyone super boozy all weekend and I like it!

Our wedding was the best day ever! It was filled with so much love and joy. Thank you for reading along and taking a walk down memory lane with us.
Venue: Vine Hill House | Photographer: White Daisy Photography | Wedding Dress: Kitt Chen | Bridesmaids Dresses: Weddington Way | Grooms Tux: Indochino | Groomsmen Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

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