Hitched in Seattle: How to Have a Wedding on a Budget

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Phreckle Face Photography

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?

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Steilacoom is such a cute little town.  We couldn’t resist a photo by this building!  Phreckle Face Photography

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.

Lavender sachet wedding favors. http://www.phrecklefacephotographyblog.com/
Lavender sachet wedding favors made by my mom 🙂
Phreckle Face Photography

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.

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Phreckle Face Photography
https://www.facebook.com/Joleemakescakes

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?

Phreckle Face Photography
Phreckle Face Photography

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 seattlestepmom@gmail.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.

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Phreckle Face Photography

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

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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:  giniwicklund@comcast.net.

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.

Costco flowers. http://www.phrecklefacephotographyblog.com/
Costco flowers.
Phreckle Face Photography

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:

Phreckle Face Photography
Phreckle Face Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phreckle Face Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phreckle Face Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phreckle Face Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phreckle Face Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh yeah, and we rode off on a Vespa.  We're that cool. http://www.phrecklefacephotographyblog.com/
Oh yeah, and we rode off on a Vespa. We’re that cool.
Phreckle Face Photography

Dear Taylor Swift…

So here’s the thing:  I love Taylor Swift and her music.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you probably already knew that from this previous post.  The kids also just so happen to LOVE Taylor Swift.  They decided to write her letters asking her to come to our wedding.  The best thing about kids is that they come up with these larger than life ideas, and they believe ANYTHING is possible.  I promised the kids I would do my best to get the letters to T. Swift, and with that in mind, I figured what the heck?  Let’s post this.  Here are the kiddies’ sweet letters and pictures 🙂

#1’s letter (our 11-year-old daughter)

#1's letter to T.Swift
#1’s letter to T.Swift

Text:

Dear Taylor Swift,

My name is —–, age 11.  My whole entire family loves your music.  My dad and his future wife “Christina” are getting married, we are wondering if you could come and sing some songs!  My sister and I went to your concert not to long ago and you are my favorite singer of all time!  I have a sister and a brother.  We also have an adorable puppy named Frodo!  We have lots of cousins, one of them is —-, as you can see she loves your music more than anyone, and again if you could come we would love it!

Sincerely,

—-

#2’s letter (our 9-year-old son)

#2's letter to T.Swift
#2’s letter to T.Swift

Text:

Dear Taylor Swift,

My dad and Christina are getting married and if you could come and sing that would be great.  My sisters went to the concert not to long ago but I diddint go I have wanted to hear you sing for a long time so once again can you please come.

Sincerely,

The … Family

#3’s letter (our 7-year-old daughter)

#3's letter to T.Swift
#3’s letter to T.Swift

Text:

Dear, Taylor Swift

My dad and his fiancée are getting married.  And I was at your concert last year.  And can you come and sing at the wedding?

Sincerely,

….

And Taylor Swift they are in deep love.