Kelly, sales rep & tere, Student + Babysitter/Dogwalker Extraordinaire
Sum-up of the wedding vibe: Cacti, Tacos, and ’90s Hip-Hop: A Bi-National Lesbian Lovefest
Planned budget: $10,000
Actual budget: $16,000
Number of guests: 48
LOCATION: Pioneertown, California
Where we allocated the most funds:
Some folks think about the decor and crafts that will tell their guests who they are as a couple, and yet we found ourselves hyper-obsessed over pizza topping options and a raucous debate between carnitas and pastor tacos. Hands down, we knew that the most important thing for our wedding was for us to have craft beer and cocktails; food that was unfussy, yet delicious; and a fantastic DJ that could pivot between Missy Elliott, Juan Luis Guerra, and Sylvan Esso. We wanted a gorgeous natural setting that would allow our minimal decor (because we’re REALLY bad at crafting) to shine through. We also knew that at the end of the day, proof of the largest sum of money that we have ever spent on any single thing in our lives would only exist in photos, so we were willing to part with some decent cash for those hard artifacts.
Where we allocated the least funds:
We bought our wedding cake at Whole Foods, and we actually had two friends agree to transport it from Palm Springs on a pot-holed dirt road in the trunk of a convertible that they’d rented, and they made it with the cakes intact! We spent maybe $60 dollars on those cakes. As I’m from Key West, my mom baked mini Key Lime pies to supplement the Whole Foods cakes. We got gorgeous flowers from a fancy florist for my bridal bouquet and Tere’s headpiece, and then we went to the Joshua Tree Farmers Market on the morning of the wedding and randomly found amazing florals for our guests of honor to walk down the aisle with. We decorated our tables with cacti and gold pots we bought at Ikea and Mexican style table-runners we found randomly online. We upcycled lots of glass vases that a colleague had lovingly found at thrift stores for her own wedding and donated to us when her wedding concluded. Tere’s outfit cost a whopping total of $90 dollars with alterations. We commissioned a friend’s boyfriend to make the geometric wedding altar for a practical price, and we hired a lot of vendors off Thumbtack who were just getting their start in the wedding industry.
What was totally worth it:
A day-of-wedding coordinator. Ain’t no one got time for putting out a million pieces of “decor” and trying to stick to a timeline on the big day. Having my best friend from childhood, who also happens to be a writer, officiate the ceremony. She wrote the whole thing without reading it to us beforehand, and we trusted her so completely that it ended up being the best surprise. She effortlessly captured our vibe. We wrote our own vows, and they were were so hysterical, touching, and moving that I cried so hard that I had to announce publicly that I had snot running down my face. We did a craft beer cheers at the end of the ceremony before announcing that we were wife and wife with everyone in attendance. Making room for special moments like a Taylor Swift dance-off with my ten-year-old niece. Having our guests hang out the night before the wedding at a barbecue bar where we bought chips, salsa, and pitchers of beer so that everyone could get to know each other.
What was totally not worth it:
So much stress! I was so concerned that because we were paying for the whole thing (mostly) ourselves, that our wedding would be subpar or deficient. Going through an immigration process while planning a wedding can make you both broke and crazy. Our guests didn’t care that we didn’t have four hundred types of florals on the table or that we didn’t have a photo booth. When it came time to dance to Robyn, it didn’t matter that we hadn’t purchased a “proper” dance floor and only had a vintage rug to mark the place to bust a move. We stressed that we had fewer guests than we thought we might have, but that night, it was the most curated group of people who all absolutely meant something to us and who we were beyond thrilled had made their way three hours from the nearest metropolis to the high desert for dances, late-night hot tub parties, and beers pre-ceremony. We rented a special Airstream trailer on the property as our “wedding night” getaway from our family that were staying in the main house of the venue. We were having so much fun with the guests who were up for an after-party that we ended up having a (semi-clothed) hot tub session and crashed in the room we had previously been occupying, never even utilizing the trailer we had rented.