A Wedding Couple hold each other in a forest.

Ciara, dancer and teacher & Gavin, vfx artist

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: A laid-back woodland wedding in the middle of the city.

Planned budget: $17,000
Actual budget: $19,500
Number of guests: 125
LOCATION: Seattle, Washington

overhead view of wedding shoes and parfumeMan getting ready for his wedding, buttoning his suit jacket

Where we allocated the most funds:

The areas we spent the most money are also probably the places we saved the most! These things could have been giant splurges, but we managed to find great quality services at reasonable prices, which meant that we were able to invest somewhat equally in every aspect of our wedding, rather than splurging in one place and sacrificing in another.

Photography: This was our largest single expense. Before we even got engaged, we had agreed that weddings were, to some extent, elaborate photo shoots, and we wanted to make sure ours was captured by someone great. Thankfully, our perfect photographer wasn’t in the highest price bracket, and we got our dream pictures for $3,000 instead of $7,000.

Dinner: While it was one of our biggest expenses, we barely made the minimum cost of our taco truck order, at just over $2,500, and we got a lot for that price! The generous staff at Poquitos even wrapped up extra meat from the taco cart to bring us burritos for snacks at the reception.

Drinks: Between water and soft drinks for the park, and booze at the late-night reception, we spent as much on drinks as we did on food (and were still short of our venue’s drink minimum by $5)!

Closeup of woman about to put on her earringWedding party of men getting dressed, tying their ties.A bride putting on her green floral crowncloseup of wedding sign

Where we allocated the least funds:

Dessert: The most delicious cakes and ice cream in our area are also no-frills businesses. We only spent $175 on our cakes, and $125 on the ice cream, though we had to do a little extra legwork to get them to the venue. Comparatively, the $400 for our pies and their no-hassle delivery felt like a worthwhile splurge. At the end of the night, we ended up sending entire cakes, pies, and pints of ice cream home with guests, and came home from our honeymoon to gallons of ice cream in our freezer, so we definitely could have spent much less.

Flowers: The entire cost of flowers for the wedding was somewhere around $400, which included an indecent amount of lilies, as well as dahlias, greenery, and floral supplies. It even included the bride’s bouquet, which was pre-made by a Pike Place Market florist for a whopping $20.

Paper Craft: By designing and printing all our own invitations, thank you notes, envelope labels, and all the signage for our wedding, we minimized expense to about $300 in exchange for a bit of sweat equity and late night Photoshop sessions.

Transportation: My mom sponsored a town car to take the ladies and me to the park and pick up some of my family before the ceremony, and we rented a U-Haul for $60 to carry all the stuff around, but other than that, it was a drive-yourself kind of affair.

Guests at a wedding sitting on picnic blanketsA couple standing at the altar during their ceremony outdoorsCloseup of a woman putting a wedding ring on a man

What was totally worth it:

The People: Having our favorite, favorite people around us all day was overwhelming in a most incredible way.

Having both, for both of us: Maintaining a philosophy of “Why not both?” We had two receptions: a taco truck and yard games at the park followed by drinks, dessert, and merriment at Sole Repair. We had cake and pie and five flavors of ice cream for dessert. We had dancing and board games at our indoor venue. We had two signature cocktails: Bailey’s on the Rocks for the groom, and a Blueberry Mojito, for the bride (our color palette was blueberry, lemon, and mint leaf). We visited Italy and France and Spain on our honeymoon. Generally, we made sure it was a celebration of, by, and for both of us, bringing our preferences and families together into one big, beautiful mish-mash.

Wedding party attire: Giving the wedding party free reign on their attire, with some ground rules: grey suits for the guys, matching skirts (about $75) for the girls. This allowed them to be themselves on the day of, keep costs low, and still maintain a photo-friendly level of coordination.

Pre-Marital Counseling: As far as actually spending the rest of our lives with one person, pre-marital counseling was amazing and worth every penny. Everyone needs to find a good therapist and DO IT. Seriously.

Man and woman newly married, making their recession down the aisle afterCloseup of two hands with new wedding rings, a rainbow shining across

What was totally not worth it:

We handmade twenty-one picnic blankets. We ordered a giant roll of pure white (not natural) canvas, carefully picked and mixed the paint colors, and then spent three long days in our friends’ driveway taping a patterned mask on each one, painting them, and letting them dry. I drew up precise maps of where each one would go. In the end the blankets weren’t really visible in any photos and there was only a very brief window of time before they were covered up by seated guests.

bride and groom look out a window. black and white photo.A man and woman dance in the woods on their wedding day

Wedding Warriors TC

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