Friday, June 19, 2009

#652: more boring words.

first thing we did...we cut out a lot of things that didn't matter to us. it wasn't easy at first because peoples' reactions to things just scared me (what? no flower girl dresses? what? no favors? what? no hair and makeup artist? what? a lunch wedding? what?).

but through the great counsel of the blog community, i got over it and became a cutting machine. not only did it save us money, but when we decided to do or not do was because it did or did not matter to us.

even better.

here's a short list of things that got axed: a hotel venue. hair and makeup artist.
bathroom goodies. out-of-town bags. real flower centerpieces. favors. a big guest list. an evening reception. a live band. a wedding planner. a wedding cake.

we were unconventional, to say the least.

and along those lines, and perhaps most important of all, i started this blog. before i was even engaged. i mean, who does that? (me.)

and...our bottom line was hugely affected by this blog...and the generosity of vendors who found me through TTO. if it hasn't been obvious, let me make it obvious. by saying it again. and giving it its own line. and bolding it.

our bottom line was hugely affected by this blog...and the generosity of vendors who found me through TTO.

we also happened to run into plain dumb luck. things that worked incredibly in our favor, had absolutely nothing to do with this blog, but just really was something like stars aligning. or something.

so. now that i've said all those things (i guess i had a lot to say), i'll be jumping into the details. i don't really have any advice (except that you should start a blog).

but i've got stories. stories like spending $50 on 7 peonies bouquets and 4 orchid bouts. (it's the truth.) and i'll be doling them out in bits, through this blog and through opb (other people's blogs).


who you are and what's important to you, your approach and reaction to things, how much time you have, where and when and how and why, who you know and what you do...every single variable that affects your bottom line, what you even consider to be part of your bottom line...

...will be different from mine.

there's no one obvious answer. i don't have a formula. it's a journey. and your journey will not be like mine.

but. if what you're curious about is whether i think a $10,000 wedding in LA is possible...after doing this for 2 years and knowing what i know...

my answer is a yes. but it's a yes with many resounding disclaimers.

in one of my posts, i talked about something i learned kind of late in the game. which is -- you can't have a $50,000 wedding with $10,000. you just can't.

if someone throws a $10,000 wedding for 50 people, who has the right to say "but that's not REALLY a $10,000 wedding because i need to have a $10,000 wedding for 200 people".


that said, i hope some of the things i share from this point on help you along your way. it's the best i can do.


kaitli said...

you are very, very brave.

and wonderful.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for these posts about your budget. It is reassuring to me, as my fiance and I are having to become cutting machines to stay within our budget. (I'm a little better at it than he, romantic that he is!) I'm so happy that you had a wonderful wedding and spent an amount that you're happy with. I hope we achieve the same!

Rosalie said...

Wise words. Wedding planning is so very subjective be it in budget or anything. That's part of why it's so scary. I care not of your budget, I care more that you were unconventional and made your choices for you as a couple. That that gives strength or reassurance to others (including me) and for that thank you.

talda said...

you actually inspired me to start a blog pre-engagement. i figure since i was starting to brim over with ideas i had to put them somewhere and you know, it's helped a lot. so thank you so very much =)

and i appreciate any further info you decide to dole out. i'm especially interested in the bouquets as i am considering doing my own flowers.

thanks again for all the inspiration! and if you want to check out what i have so far on my blog, please feel free:

Shari said...

You know...I posted a comment before comparing all this to a great movie...yada yada yada..and I think what you come up with as a compromise is working. The stories that you plan on sharing are really what people want to hear...
thanks for the willingness to even compromise since really...u didnt have to.

Katelin said...

seriously, the fact that you pulled off a 10,000 dollar wedding in la is amazing to me. i'll be getting married in the la area next year and have done next to no planning and i'm only hoping to get as lucky (and be as smart) as you with prices. but anyhoo, heart your blog and so glad i found it! :)

Dreamer said...

I was so sad when I realized that you finally getting married meant no more planning process! I'm so glad to hear you'll still be updating about some things not previously mentioned.
I'm also glad to hear you started this before you were engaged. It makes me feel like less of a loser, because I've followed your advice. I started a blog! (requisite blog plug-
It doesn't matter if you met your goal. All that matters is that you're happy with the results.

So yay being happy with the results!

Sweet T said...

i just am catching up with the most recent posts and... wow. What strong feelings about you disclosing your budget!

I am sitting on a budget post of my own right now. I don't know if I can or want to do it. But maybe my readers don't care as much as yours do.

In other words, you're a brave lady! I'd be tempted to never tell, just to f*ck with them. :P

sera said...

"if someone throws a $10,000 wedding for 50 people, who has the right to say "but that's not REALLY a $10,000 wedding because i need to have a $10,000 wedding for 200 people".


Exactly. exactly, exactly, exactly. There are just too many variables.
I totally still love you. And want you to be who you are and share whatever you want. That is what a blog is for, no?

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you have said. We all have different ideas about what a budget is and how much we should or shouldn't spend. I don't think there is any shame in going over as long as you are happy with the end result.

While I think the poster who left the comment "if someone throws a $10,000 wedding for 50 people, who has the right to say "but that's not REALLY a $10,000 wedding because i need to have a $10,000 wedding for 200 people" didn't necessarily say it in the nicest or kindest way, I do have to say that I think I might have seen the wedding she was referring to on another blog and I had a similar thought. It was presented as a "budget" wedding (I really hate that word) and you saw all of these incredible details and food and dress and then you got down to the bottom and it was like oh, by the way, only 50 people were at the function. And I remember thinking okay, that's the rub because if you multiplied it out and had 100 people, it wouldn't have been anywhere close to the number it was. And does that matter? no, because it was HER wedding and just like the rest of us, she had the wedding that she wanted.

But I just wanted to say that while I can see how that comment could be taken the wrong way and I think it could have been written much better, I can see the angle the commenter was coming from..

Jessebel said...

I have a love/hate relationship with wedding blogs.

Love: the pretty pictures
Hate: the judgement/self-righteousness/grey areas

You are probably the first blogger (that I can think of recently) that honestly said they had some help because of their blog. After all, this blog is ubiquitous so it's not surprising wedding pros would be familiar with it and offer some service. It's no ones' business to judge.

I, for one, appreciate the honesty. Thank you for keeping it real.

Danielle said...

Kudos to you for standing your ground. The fact of the matter is that you- just as many other brides out there- set a number that you were comfortable with. A number that was based off of solely finances and long before you had any notion of what individual elements of a wedding were actually going to cost you. And, throughout the process, you kept this number in mind- but moreover, you kept a good balance between what you wanted and what you could afford. That is really what it is all about. If you ahve the million-bajillion dollars to spend then wonderful. And if all you have is a couple thousand in the bank, then that is fine too. It is all about living within your means while also being able to partake in the fun yummy goodness that is wedding planning. And I believe that you achieved that goal. And, along the way, gave ideas and insights on how others could achieve theirs. And that is all that they can really ask for.

Ten thousand dollar weddings themselves come in all shapes and sizes. It is about prioritizing. Some of them can spend 1/2 on a band or flowers or something else that others would deem frivilous- and then skimp on other parts. It's just as much a personal-preference game as it is a numbers game. And I think that your blog has been a testimony to this. So even if you were to give the grand total or the sub total... what would it matter? No other bride would mirror yours identically. In fact, they could order everything that you did and still they would be subject to the costs of goods in their neck of the woods. So be private. Know that those who care so very much only care for the sake of caring. And take comfort in knowing that you didn't have to share as much as you did... but you did... and the majority of us are grateful to that.

(Enough with the disclosures now... get to the good stuff I am ready for some photos!)

Nicole said...

Agreed!! thanks for the wise words

Autumn said...

I can't tell you how true and real your last few posts are, to me, six weeks after my wedding and seeing the final, bottom line of what our wedding cost. We were over where we originally hoped to be (yes, we threw $10K only around for a brief period), but we were under where we later thought we would be (thank you to 1/2 of our invitees for not showing up, including most of the people our parents insisted on inviting!). It's all relative. We could have spent less if we had fewer friends and family in attendance, or cut some things we enjoyed. In the end, we spent what we spent, we saved where we could, and we were happy with the end product. End of story. No one else has the right to say we (or you!) did it wrong.

Thao said...

Thank you so much for writing this. As an engaged girl with no clue how anything wedding-related works, I am so grateful to hear your words. It's been hard for us to do the things that mean a lot to us, because of some traditionalist opposition (from my family, mostly). Judging from Max's photos, you pulled off a beautiful, classy, personality-filled affair. I had such fun following your journey and I have nothing but admiration for you and your lovely blog.

Natalia said...

Can I rant for a minute?

I am one of those brides planning a $10,000 wedding for 50 people. I absolutely do not consider it a budget wedding but it is exactly what my fiancé and I want for OUR wedding. The wedding is going to be in a high cost area known for elaborate weddings (the average cost of a wedding is something like $35,000)

We made out priorities.
1. The location an absolutely stunning French Chateau on the water where we can the ceremony and the reception in the town I grew up in (we got the rental half off by holding the wedding on a holiday Monday)
2. The photography (we hire a wonderful photographer who gave us a deal because it was a holiday and because we cut the hours down to 4 ½. Yes this means less shots of me getting ready but our wedding isn’t only about me)
3. The food and booze (we are having a lunch buffet wedding and yes we are serving lobster roll and other fancy sandwiches… as well as really good beer, wine and sangria. it is still cheaper than having a full served dinner)
4. Music – the other half is musician so having a good Jazz trio was crucial
5. Having our close friends and family there. We do not have large family’s so perhaps this is a bit easier for us but we limed our guest list to immediate family and friends that are like family. Total number invited is about 70 as nearly all will have to travel quite far we expect about 50 to make it.

Things I just don’t care that much about.
1. Bridal party… sorry the 7 friends I invited would have been my bridal party if I were to have a big wedding. Most were relived not to have the expense of being in a wedding at this time. We asked my half sister and his nephew both about 5 to be our bridal party
2. Dancing – ummm I can only imagine how awkward about 15 people dancing in the middle of the day would. No thanks. We have croquet and bocce instead.
3. A cake – I can hardly even look at photos of them. We are having an extra fancy cheese course after the meal instead and homemade ice cream sandwiches with his favorite ice cream.
4. DYI crap– I know this is going to shock some people but I am just not a DYI kind of person. I work a stressful time consuming job and am planning I wedding in about 4 ½ months from about 4 hours away. If I had more time maybe I would consider more DYI projects but to me it is worth the little bit of extra money to pay a vendor to do it rather than try to fit last minute stuff in while all of our friends and family that we do not see very often are in town. To me DYI can be a bit stressful and I am all about keeping things as stress free as possible
5. Dress- I found a dress that looks stunning on me for under $300 from J crew. Maybe ill find something vintage before the wedding maybe I wont either way I will look fantastic.

Sorry this was epic but I think everyone has their own priories. $10,000 for what is basically awesome party is still a lot. But when it comes down to it this is the right wedding for US. We had considered eloping to save the money but I cant stress enough how right it feels to be planning this weeding.

teacher says... said...

i agree with those who have said they are sad that you are now married -- my wedding is next weekend and i've been planning since last july -- i feel like we've been doing all of it together! while i've had a harder time keeping our budget at $10K (add $5K to that...), i have been doing my best to DIY where i can, cut where i can, etc.

personally, i can't fathom why anyone would leave you any nasty posts. if they don't like what you have to say, they don't have to read it! i mean, absurd! i think the MOST valuable thing you have to share with all the women out there who are planning a wedding on a budget (with no clue what weddings realistically cost) is to show them what their options are. it has been so nice to pop over to your blog and see your ideas for various things, and i might think, "hmm that won't work for our style" but it's giving me IDEAS and inspiration.

anyway, all in all, you rock. i originally had 7 bm's, and only ONE had been married before -- but she's going through a divorce right now -- so i haven't really had anyone to talk wedding with through this process...none of the rest of my friends care to hear about it that it's been REALLY awesome to at least feel like i'm talking wedding with someone. :)

thank you. from the bottom of my heart. and please keep writing. something.

Amanda said...

I don't care what you spent on your wedding- it's effing gorgeous.

Jamie said...

Holla - props to you. Who cares if you don't tell people what you spent - your blog rocks. I don't "follow" it, but I love to check in weekly and catch up!

Any advice you give to strangers is better than not giving anything at all - I think you've been more than honest! Keep it up and don't go away!

Vancouver Bride said...

First off - thank you.

Reading your blog, and knowing there are other people out there who, *gasp*, are planning weddings that are special to THEM has been a wonderful support & inspiration.

The ideas, words & pictures have helped me in my planning so much.

It's helped me cut things that WE felt weren't important. We're not doing a cake - my sister is baking cupcakes. We're not doing favors - we'll donate money to a charity. We don't want frills, wedding bells, hearts or bows... and to some, our wedding is "weird".

We're focusing on what's important to us - and you've really helped me feel like that is ok!

So - thank you.
And who could say anything nasty to you?! If you need backup, you've got an army of TTO followers!

Shar said...

Thank you for this post. Your blog has been an inspiration. We started off with a $15k budget in mind, but I'll say our number has definitely increased. However, getting married in an off-season and probably rainy month (February), and in this economy when discounted business is better than no business, we are getting amazing deals that even though we are spending "x" amount, we could've probably spent twice as much for the same thing. After trying to cut costs here and there (and noticing that guest list made the huge impact), we decided - we didn't want to cut guests. And there are things we still wanted to splurge on. Like having a photographer. And an amazing DJ. And an evening dinner reception. And instead of living in regret, we decided, we can always earn money again but we are only getting married once.

Thank you again for sharing everything with this blog and I will continue to follow it :)

liz @ chic on the cheap said...

but how??

how did these wonderful, generous vendors find your blog and then bestow their wonderful, generosity on you?

i've only got four months to go, send them all over!

Sarah said...

i joined a regional wedding blog to get feedback from other brides in the same area that i will be planning my wedding. i couldn't believe how many people were like, "omg i can't believe they do two weddings per day at our place" - when i mentioned that my reception will be held in the afternoon (11 am to 5 pm) as opposed to a nighttime reception. i have to say that i sorta started doubting myself. but then again, maybe they are just jealous b/c they are spending as much on just their reception hall as i am spending on probably my entire wedding - yet i am pretty much going to be having the same wedding at the same place - just at a different time of day... with like 100-125 people, instead of 200 gazillion people. and while it's not a "budget" wedding per say, i still have A Budget that i need to try to stay within. and really, when you think about it, shouldn't we all?? it's fun to watch those "platinum weddings" shows to get ideas and such, but sometimes i find myself (even the extreme girly girl within me) gagging a bit... i mean, sometimes, enough is enough already, people!! ;)

anyway i'm not sure what the point exactly of my comment was anymore.. i guess just to agree with you that different things are important to different people, and you can't let others comments or views get you down about your choices. ultimately, it's about whether you and your man were happy on that day, and it seems like you guys definitely were. and i hope we will be too!

The Perfect Pear l.l.c. - Jeremiah K said...

some couples always spend a lot on wedding not thinking at all, your spending more than the average budget of a wedding, couples should always plan there wedding thoroughly and importantly the budget! for a wedding, The most successful wedding is not the occasion stuffs the venues etc.., its all about having together with families from both sides celebrating the day that you get married that is the most important thing about weddings, but do budgeting if you want a less cost on your wedding focus on the important parts of the wedding such as, reception, foods and drinks. that is how you should do budgeting on your own! you can manage! your a human! :D


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