I’m back! My apologies for the radio silence over the last several weeks, but I was busy doing a little something called planning a wedding! That’s right–RM and I got hitched! I’m officially an old married lady. You heard it here first… or you’ve already seen it on Facebook because I’ve obnoxiously shared several photos of the big day.
We were blessed with an amazing 70 degree day full of sunshine with a view of the Olympics Mountains as we said “I do” on the Puget Sound in Steilacoom, Washington. I decided early on in the planning process that I would be the kind of bride who delegated as much as possible, and thankfully, we had so many family and friends who were willing to help out that this method worked wonderfully.
We were also striving to keep our big day under $5,000, which in this day and age is pretty much unheard of. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is in the neighborhood of $25,000. WHAT?! We had no interest in spending that kind of money and starting our marriage out in debt! We could think of several other things to spend that kind of money on… a down payment on a house, a honeymoon, kids’ college, etc. When we first began the planning process, I was so discouraged when I found that most of the venues we were looking at started at $3-4k. –And we would still have the expenses of food, decorations, photographer, dress, etc! How were we going to do this?
We knew about Steilacoom Townhall because RM is originally from the area, and while we thought it was the perfect venue at the perfect price (only $100/hour, what?!), the Townhall isn’t big enough to set up for a ceremony AND a reception, and we couldn’t be sure that the weather would hold up for conducting the ceremony outside. This is Seattle, after all. The thought of cramming in folks in the Townhall for the ceremony then asking them to stand in the rain while we set up for the reception just didn’t make sense to us.
As a result, we decided to do an intimate ceremony with just family, and if it rained, it would be easy to have the ceremony inside with most of the reception tables set up since it was such a small group. Problem solved. We lucked out and had the most beautiful day, so we had our small ceremony outside on the water. We were happy that we chose to have a smaller ceremony though because we preferred the intimate feel of having our family stand around us.
My mom made lavender sachets for the favors, and in keeping with the French theme, they were all stamped with “Merci.” She also made the ring pillow out of an old handkerchief from the early 1900s. My sister, also my matron of honor, made my garter. She and my bridesmaid, M, were there to get me into my dress and do things that only sisters and besties do, like adjust things that you can’t get to yourself because there are just too.many.layers.
I didn’t see the decorated venue until RM and I were announced at the reception, and it was so exciting to see how everything came together exactly how I had pictured it. RM’s mom did a fabulous job decorating with several family members and friends assisting, and my friend A who flew in carried much of the water making sure everything on my checklist was just how I wanted it. She even darted out and bought us beautiful champagne flutes for the toast at the last minute when I realized we had forgotten to get them! RM’s aunt made our cake and cupcakes, and they were gorgeous! I was seriously blown away. We gave her a picture of what we wanted and tah-dah–exactly like it! RM’s cousin put together a string quartet for us, and they played beautifully. We bought the flowers from Costco, and a family friend arranged them for us. Talk about DIY, right?
All in all, we had an amazing day! We’re so grateful to all of the helping hands we had to make our day so special. We are very lucky to have so much love and support in our lives. I wish I could bottle up the feeling that I had as I started to walk down the aisle and found RM’s eyes. The sun was shining. The water and the mountains were just gorgeous. It was exactly how I had pictured that moment to be. I thought to myself, This is it. The moment you’ve been waiting for your whole life. Soak it in. I wanted to remember it forever. It was the happiest moment of my life thus far, and I can only imagine that there will be even happier ones in our life moving forward.
Here’s a rundown of the deets for brides who are also on a budget (if you see something I didn’t mention, feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com):
Wedding invitations: Target. Found here.
Wedding dress: David’s Bridal, found here. It was the only dress I had bookmarked on my computer for about a year before we were engaged. I went in and found it on the “slightly defected” rack, which basically means the sizing or some tiny bead was off, so they aren’t allowed to sell it at full price. I’m not superstitious, and I know a good bargain when I see one. It just so happened to be in my size, and only $300 instead of $799. Sold. The only dress I tried on. When you know, you know 🙂
Ring pillow: Hand-sewn by mother of the bride out of an antique handkerchief
Wedding favors: lavender sachet bags made by the mother of the bride. Bags purchased from Etsy, similar bags from same seller found here.
Wedding signs/decor: JoAnn Fabrics (tip: google JoAnn coupon on your smart phone to get 20% off!), TJ Maxx, Pier One
Chair covers: Craigslist
Tree cakestands: World Market. Found here.
Wedding cake and cupcakes: RM’s aunt JoLee. You can see more of her work on her Facebook page here.
French macarons: Belle Pastry in Bellevue, WA. Website: here. This was an added cost that wasn’t
necessary, but it was one of those things that I just had.to.have. It was a French theme!
Photographer: Finding a photographer was one of the most frustrating parts, as most range from $2-4k. WHAT?! We lucked out with a crazy talented photographer who we found through the google, called Phreckle Face Photography, who has much more reasonable prices. You can see some of the photos on her blog here.
Food: We decided to go with hors d’oeuvres since we were having an afternoon reception from 2:00-5:00. We wanted a more relaxed vibe that encouraged mingling, vice a more formal plated dinner feel. Sometimes hors d’oeuvres can be more expensive, but a friend of RM’s sister just started a catering business with her mother and has very reasonable prices. The food was so tasty, and everyone raved about it! Highly recommend her. Info: Hearthstone Culinary Traditions, Gini Wicklund Chef/Owner, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ceremony Venue: Pioneer Park Bandstand (just down the hill behind Steilacoom Townhall). $350 for 3 hours. $250 separate refundable deposit.
Reception Venue: Steilacoom Townhall. $100/hr, plus a $250 separate refundable deposit.
Flowers: Costco–can you believe it? We planned on hitting up Pike’s Place the day before the wedding, but when RM and I went to scout it out the week before, they didn’t have ANY of the flowers/colors that I had in mind. Surprisingly enough, Costco had exactly what I wanted. We didn’t order them in bulk beforehand because I didn’t realize you could do that until two days before, and you need nine days notice. However, we didn’t need quite that many flowers, and I think it would have been more expensive that route. We handpicked the ones we wanted and went to two Costcos to get enough of them. RM’s mom’s friend, who works part time at a florist shop, arranged the bouquets for us.
Honeymoon to Paris: http://www.honeyfund.com. We printed out business cards with the website address on it and hand stamped them with the Eiffel Tower and included it with the invitation. We would highly recommend this! Since RM and I are more established than some folks getting married, we really didn’t need a lot of stuff as wedding presents. We were just happy for folks to come to the wedding (especially those who had to travel far!), but if they felt inclined to give something, we asked that they consider helping us go on our dream honeymoon to Paris. People were incredibly generous, and we just returned from a wonderful week in Paris following the wedding. That will be the next blog post 🙂
Here are some more of my favorite pics from the day courtesy of Phreckle Face Photography: