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Archive for the ‘Decor’ Category

When we first got engaged, Mike and I determined our budget to be $2,000. My dad and stepmom provided all of the beverages and most of the food, and a few others contributed food as well. We borrowed as much as we could, and bought cheap on everything else. We also decided to include our Family Meet and Greet Slash Shower in that budget, so we had to get creative about how to keep our estimated budget at $2,000. In the end, our total estimated budget was $1,985 but our total expenditures were only $1,488.63. Pretty damn good I’d say!

Throughout the last year we’ve detailed how we saved money on everything from my dress to decorations to invitations. But here’s how the budget actually broke down:

Item                          Proposed      Actual
MISC
White Knot donation       10                   10
Gifts                               40                  41

PRE-WEDDING
Save-the-date                  0                    0              (electronic)
Invitations (+postage)   75                  56.3         (design & printing by friend)
Marriage license             20                  23

BRIDE
Dress                             50                   50             (vintage from Etsy)
Alterations                     0                      0             (fixed a small tear myself)
Shoes                           40                    40             (vintage from Etsy)
Hair piece                      25                      0              (gift from friend)
Jewelry                          0                      0              (borrowed from mom)
Makeup                         0                      0              (did it myself)
Hair                               0                      0              (done by my sister)
Mani/pedi                     0                     0               (did it myself)
Bra/underwear              0                     25             (bought slip)

Something to carry      30                     0              (decided against it)

GROOM
Pants                              0                     0              (wore pre-owned pants)
Shirt                             50                   25              (JCPenney)
Shoes                             0                     0               (wore pre-owned shoes)
Jacket                         100                 100             (JCPenney)

CEREMONY
Chairs                            0                     0             (borrowed folding chairs)
Location                        0                     0             (at my dad’s)
Officiant                        0                     0             (my sister officiated)
Photographer               375                 375             (hired a friend)
Wedding bands            350                355             (Rogers & Hollands)
Love Letter Box               0                    0             (hand made by my dad)
Unity Quilt                    30                  34.53        (for back fabric and tie string)

RECEPTION
Decorations                 150                133.11
Food                            100                 20              (we had a lot donated)
Beverages                     20                   0               (for water we didn’t buy)
Tables                          150                   0               (borrowed instead of rented)
Chairs                             0                   0
Plates/cups/cutlery        75                 41.25          (all plastic and paper)
Music                              0                   0               (used an iPod and iHome)
Favors                          75                  91
Photo booth                 50                   0

SHOWER
Room rental                 50                  0                (used Mike’s mom’s work)
Food                           50                36.35           (had a lot donated)
Decorations                 20                20.85
Invitations (+postage) 30               25.84            (Snapfish)
Thank you cards            0                 0                  (used some I had on hand)
Postage                        10                 7.84

POST-WEDDING
Thank you cards            0                 0                   (used some I had on hand)
Postage                       20               15.4

TOTAL                    1,985       1,488.63

(Sorry if that’s a big effing mess – I’m too lazy to figure out how to make a table.)

We kept track of all of this in a Google Doc. On one sheet, everytime we bought something we wrote it in and categorized it (decorations, food, favors, etc). Then when everything was purchased in a category, we added up the total and put it in the second sheet that had our master budget. Using some Excel-like magic, Google added everything up for us as we went.

A wedding for under $2,000? Actually, under $1,500! I can live with that. Especially because it was an incredibly awesome wedding!

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Immediately after the ceremony, we went into reception mode. The wedding was at 4, and the “reception-only” guests were invited to arrive at 5, so we had to hustle. Luckily we had a team of amazing people on our side. While Mike and I mingled, our families moved chairs and tables, set out a few decorations, got the buffet ready.

After talking to a few guests, Mike and I wanted to do photos so we could spend the rest of the evening having fun with our friends and family. We started with family portraits, all sorts of combinations – Mike’s dad’s side, his mom’s side, my dad’s side, my mom’s side, siblings, parents, grandparents, etc. My family is HUGE and it was hard to wrangle everyone when we needed them. I asked people to hang out nearby until we were done, but with so many people, that’s impossible. I will admit, it was frustrating, but really, not a huge deal.

Erica also took a bunch of pictures of Mike and I together, but I’ll save those for another post. She also did a great job of capturing other people. I didn’t even notice her taking most of them!

(Photos by Photography by Arika Reed.)

I LOVE all the photos we got from the day, but one regret I have is what we missed while we were occupied getting them. Before we were done capturing everything we wanted, before I even thought the reception had really gotten started, people were approaching us to say goodbye. It was really disappointing! But I’m going to blame it on them – talk about eat and run! – so I don’t feel bad.

At some point in the middle of photo-taking, we stopped to eat from the UH-MAZE-ING taco bar. I was a little distracted and didn’t eat as much as I normally would, but damn those tacos were good. And there was plenty of it. Later we laughed at how much extra we had. We threw a party for 60 and had for about three times that many.

I can’t remember the exact sequence, but at some point later we also had ice cream. Instead of cutting the cake, Mike and I made a sundae together. God I love tacos and ice cream. I think we had the best wedding menu EVER!

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The  morning of our wedding, we woke up knowing we were getting married, but I can’t say it felt much different than any other day. Just a saturday, hanging out with the fam at dad’s, and oh yeah, we’re getting married. We got going around 9, picked up some Starbucks, picked up Erica, the photographer, and headed down to Dad’s.

First, we had to pound some helpful signage into the ground. Didn’t want anyone getting lost! My dad kind of lives in the middle of nowhere.

(I freehanded that sign, thankyouverymuch.)

Mike and Des (stepmom) got started on the food prep while I started in on our To Do list. Slowly others from our family began showing up to help. We set up the buffet (sans hot or cold food just yet), hooked up the ice cream machine, and prepared some final decorations and details.

At about 1:00 I passed the reins to my dad. He was in charge of making sure things got done while I was in “hair and makeup.” Erica has a great photo of Mike and I running a miniature family meeting right before I was swooped away to be made beautiful. I don’t have access to you it yet, but she says we’ll get our disc-o-photos soon. In the meantime, imagine it here.

Tune into my next post all about the fun of getting beautiful for your wedding day!

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One of my favorite things we did at our reception was the Photo Booth (aka the guest book). We set up my camera in front of a log pile with some props, and people had a blast. My sisters were superstars and made sure every single guest took a turn, so we’ve got photos of every one in attendance.

(Above photos by Photography by Arika Reed. Erica, let me know if I’m not allowed to use these this way.)

We got some really fun pictures, too. Give people a few props and it’s a party!

Friends

Family

Even my grandparents got in on the fun!

The kids took more than anyone.

Mike and I also took a turn.

One of the first things we did on our honeymoon was flip through all these photos. I love how they all turned out. In all, we got 68 Photo Booth photos (not bad for a guest list of 60)! Eventually we’ll match them up with the messages people wrote on the back of the photo paper, print them, and put them in an album.

Thank you Emily and Andrea for making sure this idea came to fruition! And thanks to everyone who took part.

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I took the Friday before the wedding off, but Mike had to work in the morning. While he did that, I went grocery shopping with Des, my stepmom. We bought WAY too much food, as Mike has already detailed. By the time we got back to the house, Mike arrived with a bunch of borrowed chairs, trash bins and the ice cream machine! Slowly others in my family started showing up, and we banded together to set up the yard and the garage. We also made tissue paper poms and paper pinwheels.

I was pretty chill and relaxed on Friday. I got a little testy a few times when I was trying to “manage the work,” if you will, and others were distracted by, what I considered at the time, less important things. I tend to get like that though on any given day. I like people to FOCUS! (I yell that a lot) and get things done before they run off in a million directions. I pulled the “this is MY day!” card a couple times, but only as a joke.

(Setting up chairs.)

(Setting up tents… just in case.)

Somewhere in there we ordered pizza for everyone. A très chic rehearsal dinner if I do say myself. After all the setup, we ran through the ceremony with my sister, the minister. It was a relatively short ceremony, but we arranged and wrote the whole thing (except for a very sweet part Emily wrote), so it was special to us.

(This photo is completely unedited. It really was that green and bright in the yard!)

Then we practiced my hair. My friend Robin was going to do it for me on the big day, but my sister Andrea wanted to try something. She and I had a similar vision for my hair so she gave it a go. We mostly focused on the front Friday night, and she did a great job. But on Saturday she really made the whole thing stunning. I loved every inch of my hair, and I love that it came together last minute, and I love that someone close to me did it, and I love that it was free!

(This is Friday night. You’ll be able to see some good ones of Saturday later.)

Then, because I hadn’t tried it on in a long time, I made sure I could still fit in my dress. Thank God, it fit. I had kind of decided, if I needed to, I’d just improvise. Wear something else maybe. But I was relieved it fit because I love how it added to the overall look of… well, everything.

Because my dad was playing a small part in the ceremony, we wanted to practice once more when he got home (he took all the kids to a tee ball game and got them out of the house – bless him). So, we rehearsed again!

And then we finished up a few odds and ends and peaced out. It was a really good day-before-the-wedding.

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Most of the festivities at our wedding and reception were outside (hallelujah for cooperative weather!), but we had a few things to look at inside, too. After the ceremony, we displayed the Unity Quilt inside (more on the later), and we also set up a little gift table area type thingy.

One of the best things about holding a wedding and reception at a relative’s house is that any little thing you forgot, you just find it around the house! For instance, completely unplanned, we used this table, a white sheet and an old wine box (for cards) that we found around the house to set up a gift table area.

As for the rest of what’s here..

– A framed copy of our invitation. We framed it for ourselves because we love it so much, but we thought it would be cool here, too.
– A digital photo frame. It’s my dad’s and we just loaded some of our favorite photos of us on it.
– “Clothesline” photo collage. We collected about 15 photos of each us growing up and used string and paper clips to display them (because we didn’t have clothesline and clothespins on hand). I’m the top row, Mike’s the bottom. The third row is a few photos of us together.

This area was fun for us to put together, so I hope it was fun for everyone to look at.

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I’m sure my dear friend from Photography by Arika Reed will have some good shots of all the little details, but in the meantime, here are a few of the things we put together the Friday before the wedding.

These are what we were calling the centerpieces, even though we really just put them on various flat surfaces around the yard. We used the vases we bought from Goodwill for the FMGSS, poured in some miniature gumballs, and stuck a lollipop in each. They were cute and fun.

Did I mention that while Mike was pouring the gumballs into the vases, he managed to spill a bunch all over the stove? And in the taco meat? There’s a bar area behind the stove, and that’s where he was sitting when working on this project. It was a scramble to remove them all before they melted into the meat. Of course, I managed to find time to grab the camera…

And here he is filling the piñata in the same place. No candy disasters this time (unless stealing several pieces for himself counts).

These are the candy favors I made. I put them in one of my craft baskets with the sign I made, and placed the whole thing on a little table near the gift table. Toward the end of the evening, we recruited one of the kids to carry the basket around and pawn off what hadn’t yet been claimed.

Yes, candy was a recurring theme.

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