4 March 2013
Happy Monday, friends! I’m here with the final post in our wedding series — at least for now :) I wanted to share our budget breakdown, in the hopes that it might be helpful for those of you currently planning.
A little background:
Date of wedding: September 15, 2012
Location: Southeastern Connecticut
Number of guests: 115
Contributors: My parents (43%), John’s parents (33%), John and me (13%), and my grandmother (11%)
I know that pie chart is tricky to see, so here’s the breakdown, from most to least:
33.7% ON CATERING | Includes food, staffing, bar, and tip.
17.4% ON RENTALS | Includes our 32×70′ Sperry tent with string and onion lighting, a catering tent, 15 high top tables, 11 8′ tables, 4 6′ tables, 9 36″ round tables, 2 bar back tables, 45 black chairs, a 16×16 black and white dance floor, four couches, 16 linens of various sizes from La Tavola, 16 basic linens from our local rental company, and a generator. The generator was a last-minute expense (like, the day before the wedding) that pushed this category way up.
9.8% ON PHOTOGRAPHY | Includes Tanja and Tia’s travel but does not include any sort of album.
6.3% ON CINEMATOGRAPHY | Includes a highlight and feature film; Inkspot did not charge us for travel as described here.
5.9% ON LOCATION | Our ceremony venue was free, so this includes use of the O’Neill’s Sea Porch and Sunken Garden.
5.8% ON FLOWERS | Includes 1 bridal bouquet, 4 bridesmaid bouquets, 2 small nosegays for our moms, 2 pin-on corsages for our grandmothers, 8 boutonnieres for the gents, 2 wreaths for the church doors, 21 small to medium centerpieces for the tent, 6 small centerpieces for cocktail hour high tops, and arrangements for the guest book, bar, and gift tablea.
5.4% ON BAND | Includes fee and tip.
4.5% ON GIRL ATTIRE | Includes my gown minus the amount we sold it for, alterations and cleaning post-wedding, my shoes, and half of my veil (I split it with my sister in law!).
2.7% ON HAIR & MAKEUP | Includes hair and makeup for the bride, as well as some subsidizing of hair for 5 others and makeup for 6 others.
2.3% ON STATIONERY | Includes 90 9×18″ custom-designed flat-printed invitations and envelopes, 90 response cards and envelopes, save the dates and envelopes, and postage for all of the above.
2% ON RECEPTION/COCKTAIL HOUR DECOR | Includes the four ottomans and four side tables we purchased from Ikea, all of the silver centerpiece vessels, our cubbies, candles, photo frames, etc.
1.6% ON THE CEREMONY | Includes bell and bow materials, our string trio, travel costs for our pastor, etc.
1.2% ON BOY ATTIRE | Includes John’s tux, tuxedo shirt, dress shoes, suspenders, cuff links, and tailoring.
1% ON DAY-OF COORDINATOR | This was a bit less than usual because Diana is a friend of ours.
.25% ON MISC. DIY PROJECTS | Includes various frames, signage materials, calligraphy ink, stickers for the poppers, etc.
.13% ON OTHER | I actually realized this entire category was made up of ribbon – ha!
Whew! I hope this was helpful! Note that this did not include our wedding bands, gifts, rehearsal dinner items, or our honeymoon or minimoon. I tried to include everything else but certainly could have missed a few things.
WHERE WE SAVED:
– I sold my gown post-wedding and recouped more than 50% of the cost. A designer gown would have been out of the question otherwise.
– I borrowed most of my accessories from friends and family or wore things I already owned. Marget and I also split our veil.
– Paying our bar on consumption versus a fixed price per person was a huge savings for us — over 50%.
– Our ceremony spot was so beautiful that we didn’t feel we needed any additional decor beyond the door wreaths.
– We splurged on custom designed invitations, but saved on flat printing versus engraved or letterpress.
– I made most of our signage with materials I already owned instead of paying someone else to do it. I also addressed our save the dates and invitations myself.
– We opted to drive my car instead of rent a vintage one for the day, and I restrained myself from purchasing custom cocktail napkins.
– We played a custom CD at cocktail hour instead of hiring musicians.
WHERE WE SPLURGED:
– A videographer. SO WORTH IT.
– Having a tapas style reception meant our staffing costs were much higher than they would have been over a buffet or sit-down style, but it was the bedrock of the “feel” we were going for.
– A Sperry tent versus a standard frame or pole tent.
– John’s dress shoes were about six times as expensive as mine (ha!) but because they’re dress shoes and not tuxedo shoes, he can wear them to work, church, etc. for years to come.
– We booked a luxe, large hotel room for Friday and Saturday night instead of staying at our nearby homes. The gals used it to get ready on Saturday morning and John and I stayed in it Saturday night.
Those are just a few examples for each category — I’m sure I could list many more.
One last thing I wanted to say: Weddings are my passion, and I’ve had a vision for my own for a long time. We have wonderfully generous parents that were happy to contribute to our special day, but early on I knew there were going to be costs going above and beyond the usual ones that I simply wouldn’t expect them to cover — namely top of the line photography and cinematography. We spent WAY more on capturing our day than most people would have, and it was important to me that John and I helped make up that cost. I started saving in college for our wedding, and I don’t regret it for a second. (Granted, not everyone knows who they’re going to marry at that point, but I did!) If you think you fall into the same category as me, start saving your pennies now! :)
I’d be happy to try and answer questions in the comments!
P.S. If you’d like to compare our percentages to the “average,” check out this link or this link.
29 January 2013
One of my January goals was to list an entirely new product in the shop. Not only did I do that — I’ve already sold a few! Whoo!!
The concept is not entirely new — I’ve seen DIY versions around blogs + magazines and even at Marget and Seth’s wedding (so cute!) — but I thought it would be nice to make an option for those who don’t feel like taking on the project themselves. I have a listing up for a set of 25 right now, but feel free to request a larger number. I’m also working on adding more colors!
Check them out here!
22 January 2013
Happy Tuesday! Today I’m so happy to report that I’ve completed another of my 101 in 1001 goals: to kick off my Friends of Em program! Since my blog was redesigned in late 2011, I’ve had a nifty little banner system in my sidebar labeled “Friends of Em.” The idea was that one day it might have advertisements, but, since I have no plans to begin accepting advertisers anytime soon and it’s shame for that space to go to waste, I thought up something even better!
John and I love the friends we’ve made in North Carolina. They are a marvelous bunch, indeed, and one of the coolest things about them is that almost all of them are self-employed, or entrepreneurs in one way or another! We are very proud of them, and obviously want them to succeed. I thought one small way I might be able to support them would be to list one banner a month in my sidebar. Now, it’s even more appropriate that the category is called “Friends of Em”!
January’s “Friend” is Graham Terhune Photography. Graham and his wife Samantha are wedding photographers based in Chapel Hill. In their free time, they enjoy being our doubles tennis buddies :) As I was looking through their site, their black and whites kept jumping out at me, so I thought I’d share a few here (as well as a few in color!)…
Just for fun, here’s one of my favorites of Sam and Graham, taken on their wedding day by Meredith Perdue.
You can see their whole wedding here!
Yay for friends, and Friends of Em!
18 January 2013
Happy Friday, friends! I wanted to share an inspiration board I recently put together for one of my dear engaged friends, Jackie. She is getting married to George this September, and John and I are so excited for them!
Jackie sent over a few details, and here’s what I put together…
Honey jar photo by KT Merry via Style Me Pretty, wood crate arrangement photo by Lisa Lefkowitz via Style Me Pretty, portrait by Clary Photo via Style Me Pretty, bistro lighting photo by Jenna Walker via Style Me Pretty, pink bridesmaid dress photo by Morgan Trinker via Southern Weddings, soft cake photo by Jose Villa, mason jar centerpiece from Martha Stewart Weddings, floral tablecloth photo by Lisa Lefkowitz via Style Me Pretty
Jackie and George are holding their reception in his family’s backyard in upstate New York. For the “feel,” she’s picturing a pretty backyard summery wedding, somewhere between preppy and shabby chic. They’re having a Sperry tent (whoo!) and will fill it with soft flowers in mason jars and George’s mom collection of vintage flowery table cloths (loved that detail!).
The guys are wearing light khakis, navy blue blazers, and likely a patterned shirt (striped/checked/gingham) and a solid colored tie. Jackie was having the most trouble deciding what the bridesmaids should wear — mix and match pale pink dresses, mix and match yellow dresses, or a combination — and picturing the overall color scheme coming together.
To tell the truth, I was having a hard time reconciling the dark blue of the blazers with the light colors happening everywhere else at first, too. But then I found this wedding, and everything crystallized for me! I made Jackie a version of this board with pink dresses, and a version with yellow dresses, and she ended up going with the pink dresses, which is what you see here.
I also suggested a few photographers for J&G to look at, and I’m so happy to say that they chose Bryce Covey! I’ve never met him in person, but he seems wonderful and his work is beautiful. Can’t wait for September! :)
Have a wonderful weekend, friends!
15 January 2013
Y’all, I feel so very lucky to be sharing Marget and Seth’s wedding today. Lucky because it’s gorgeous and so thoughtfully planned, yes, but also because I was so happy to play a small part in it! Marget is a few years older than John, and ever since he and I started dating in high school, I’ve looked up to both of his sisters with a little bit in awe. Marget is stylish, sophisticated, kind, and witty; she has a magnetic personality to which people are irresistibly drawn. I was (and am) no different, and therefore was so happy to stand next to her on her wedding not only as a sister-in-law, but as a friend.
She graciously agreed to let me share a few thoughts on their day. I’ve incorporated some of Marget’s own words, as well.
Marget and Seth chose a beautiful Rifle Paper Co. design for their invitation suite, and Marget worked closely with the designers to choose just the right shades of leaf green, blush, and peach to set the day’s palette.
That’s me on the left! Isn’t Marget’s bouquet just gorgeous? It smelled delightful, too, because of the mint tucked in. The striped wrap is from Anne M. Cramer. Hana Floral Design took care of all the blooms.
All of the bridesmaids chose their own black dress. Mine was actually having its encore wedding performance, as I wore it as a bridesmaid in my friend Katharine’s wedding in 2010!
To complement the black and white, Marget and all of her bridesmaids wore a “pop of color” on the lips. To prepare, we each made a trip to Sephora with the bride, where we had fun finding the perfect bold, matte lipstick to complement our complexions. Mine turned out to be a hot pink called Schiap, and though I never would have bought it myself (I’m a major scaredy cat when it comes to color!), it was SO fun to wear it, and I loved how it looked! Marget herself wore YSL No. 1 Le Rouge.
Marget and Seth choose to have both their ceremony and reception at Eolia, an oceanside mansion in Connecticut. Marget dreamed of doing just that when she was little, and I love that her dream came true! Their ceremony included a thoughtful mix of Jewish and Christian traditions, including a beautiful branch huppah.
The garden at Harkness is quite long. The plan was for Marget to enter at the halfway point for her walk down the “aisle,” like the bridesmaids, but she decided to enter from the furthest point to make for a longer walk as a surprise for Seth. I think it worked :)
From Marget: Among my favorite moments were taking a long walk across a field through the rain with my father so that we could surprise Seth by appearing at the very end of the garden for a long walk down the aisle. Seth loves to surprise me and was heavily invested in first laying eyes on me on our wedding day, so I wanted to turn the tables and give him a moment to remember. Indeed, seeing me in my dress for the first time is one of his favorite moments from the day.
Ahhh yes, the rain. It started sprinkling very lightly as we rode over to Harkness, and kept it up intermittently until the end of the (outdoor) ceremony, when it started to legitimately rain. It poured later in the evening, but thankfully the reception was largely indoors. I thought Marget handled the less-than-desirable weather beautifully, so I wanted to get her thoughts on it:
The day before the wedding I started getting calls from vendors asking us what our rain plan was, and my response was that if rained, we’d do whatever they thought best. But of course, I still believed it would turn out to be a beautiful day, because summer is made of beautiful days.
On the day of, as the grey skies gave way to mist, I was aware that rain was imminent, and just hoped that it would hold off until after our ceremony. Surprisingly, there was no sadness, just acceptance and a bit of optimistic hope. Like water running downhill, I knew that if it were to rain, it would indeed rain, and there was nothing we could do to change it. That was our wedding day no matter what, and I loved that day so very much. We recognize it would have been different if it hadn’t rained — our guests would have gotten the chance to stroll the grounds during cocktail hour, our mothers’ hair would not have been flattened, and we would have had the photographs I had imagined. But our wedding wasn’t a photo shoot, and everyone we loved was there, whether their blowout held or not. The question is, would our emotional experience have been different if it hadn’t rained? In some ways, yes. Seth and I were both distracted by thoughts of concern for guests who were being rained on during our ceremony, and we weren’t able to take the walk we had planned at sunset, which left us with no time alone together on our wedding day. My point is, it was different. If it had been sunny, I imagine I may have spread my arms wide, kicked my head back and soaked in the fresh air. Instead, Seth and I huddled up together under his blazer and made a run for it with my bouquet held overhead as an umbrella. We were still giddy and together, but our wedding day was one of the rainy ones. And I spent no time worrying about what was lost, or what might have been–even when my mud-soaked wedding gown was ripped on the dance floor. Because a wedding day is just like the rest of life – you can only plan in advance and be flexible on the day-of. Plus, the day was still overflowing with blessings and absolutely more fun than I’d ever had! Since our wedding, we haven’t given it much thought. But countless guests have told us that the rain only added to the day’s romance… and warned us that it’s a sign we’ll have a big family!
After Marget and Seth recited their personal vows and exchanged rings, their ceremony concluded with a variation on the Jewish tradition of “seven blessings.” Instead of having the traditional blessings read, Marget and Seth assigned seven family members or friends, or pairs of family members or friends, a virtue or element they hoped to have as part of their life together. Each person or pair was asked to share a thought, wish, hope, prayer, quote, or blessing that corresponded to their blessing. It was really interesting to see how everyone interpreted the assignment! John and I were asked to wish them “joyful faith.”
Because of the weather we did portraits with Katie Stoops inside the mansion.
I’m not the only mini food lover in the family! Marget and Seth had a “bubbles and bites” cocktail hour, small bites paired with petite glasses of bubbles. I would say the crowd favorite was the mini corn dogs and craft beer! Of course, there were a few drink stirrers at the bar :)
Marget has gorgeous handwriting, and lettered all of the escort cards herself.
They chose to sprinkle lovely and meaningful decor throughout the (already gorgeous) space, including family photos, antique books, and books by authors Seth, a literary agent, represents.
The Hora! I had never been to a Jewish wedding before, and the Hora was awesome :)
A few other sites had the pleasure of featuring Marget and Seth’s wedding, including Style Me Pretty, One Fab Day, and Katie Stoops’ own blog. If you’d like, you can also watch their wedding day film by McKenzie Miller here.
Marget and Seth, I love you. Thank you for letting me be a part of your magical day.