Leigh, it analyst & Matthew, stay-at-home dad

SUM-UP OF THE WEDDING VIBE: A sweet garden wedding meets two nerds in love, resulting in a relaxed Sunday brunch with hints of geekiness.

LOCATION: Walnut Creek, California

Where we allocated the most funds:

Our photographer and food and drink were just about tied in price. When we sat down and listed our priorities, we both agreed that serving amazing food was really important to us. Our caterer was actually the one who offered us the most reasonable estimate, but what sold us were the delicious food and the fact that they were incredibly responsive to all of our emails. We also agreed that we wanted beautiful photos that would help us relive our big day every time we looked at them, so we took the time to find a photographer who had a knack for getting the perfect candid shots.

Where we allocated the least funds:

Decorations, including flowers. The flowers were done by my some of my aunts as a wedding gift. We chose to keep the rest of the decorations very simple, letting the beautiful venue speak for itself. I purchased glasses from the dollar store and used rose gold spray paint to dress them up a bit. I designed the menu cards and table names, which were all printed by my brother. The signs were dollar store picture frames and foam boards, which I covered in chalkboard paint and wrote on myself. I also did not spend anything on my own hair and makeup, because my cousin did it as a wedding present. We did pay for two of my bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup done.

What was totally worth it:

Our photographer, Vivian Chen, hands down. She made us feel so comfortable in front of the camera, and the resulting photos were exactly what we had hoped for.

Originally, we were going to skip the DJ and just hook Spotify up to some speakers. However, I ran into All Ears DJ’s booth at a wedding fair, and after speaking with them, I was completely convinced that we needed them to DJ our wedding. Our DJ turned out to be a talented singer and guitarist, so we asked him to play for our procession, cocktail hour, and first dance. Our first dance song was particularly special, as we asked him to compose an acoustic version of our song (Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”). He was worth every penny, and we definitely do not regret ditching the Spotify playlist.

I wanted to avoid the super expensive bridesmaid’s dress that never gets worn again after the wedding, so I told my bridal party to find whatever dark purple dress that they loved. They were able to find dresses that met their budgets and reflected their own style, and I didn’t have to pick any of them myself! Since the ladies weren’t going to match, we decided that the guys didn’t have to either. This threw off the people at the tux rental place, but it worked out perfectly. I think the “sort of matching, but not really” vibe looks awesome in our wedding photos!

Our brunch menu was definitely worth it. Food was one of our biggest expenses, but it was actually a lot more affordable than doing dinner, and it was a huge hit with our guests. We had an open bar with two signature cocktails and beer. While some of us definitely had an excellent time day drinking, we still purchased a lot less alcohol than we would have needed for an evening wedding. I loved the idea of a brunch wedding long before I had even met my now-husband, and I’m so glad that he was up for doing it!

What was totally not worth it:

All the DIY projects. I took a calligraphy class hoping to do calligraphy on the envelopes for our wedding invitations. I got maybe ten envelopes in before I essentially gave up. With all of the wedding stress, I had little energy left for doing the signage, and I wound up scribbling them out two nights before the big day. I also had various ideas for DIY centerpieces and other decorations, but I (thankfully) decided that they weren’t worth the time or expense.

Wedding Warriors TC

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