Lives Intertwined: Boa Budget Breakdown

Let’s talk about money! You may recall that we mentioned our budget for our 100 guest wedding was “Spend-as-little-as possible-shooting-for-under-$5,000.” My parents gifted us that amount and we decided keep the total wedding budget under that number so that we could use our savings for the honeymoon.

Ceremony – $400
$100 donation to the church
$250 Pre-Cana Retreat
$50 Marriage License


Bride’s Attire – $871
Bride Shoes -$45
Dress $600
Jewelry $100
Sephora Makeup $126


Groom’s Attire – $300
Kenneth Cole suit – $199
Express shirt and tie $100


Photography – $800

Keli Art Photography—When we booked Keli, she was wrapping up her photography studies and only had a handful of weddings under her belt. We loved her work even though she wasn’t as experienced as some of our other options and we were really excited about giving a beginner a shot. Booking a less experienced photographer meant a smaller bill and even then we went with the less expensive package which included the engagement pictures, two shooters during the whole event and the digital files.

After our wedding she’s done tons of other weddings and her work just keeps getting better! Keli and her husband, Che, were a delight to work with and made us feel so at ease. They captured the essence of our wedding perfectly in their pictures and I wouldn’t hesitate to book them again for another event.


Reception Venue – $1146

The venue charges $9.00/per guest for the standard four hour breakfast buffet which included:

Use of the room for four hours with a menu of fresh fruit platter, cheese platter, ham platter, pastry platter, croissants, bagels, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, bacon, breakfast potatoes, french toast, orange juice, coffee and hot chocolate in addition to 12 round tables with a white tablecloths, 100 chairs, bone china, silverware and two waiters.

We rented the champagne glasses from them and brought our own champagne (a gift from MIL Boa) and fresh squeezed OJ for the toast.


Cake – $290
Cupcakes and More…Puerto Rico—Sanya, the lovely lady who runs a cupcake shop from her home, is a a total sweetheart. We would drive 40 minutes to pick up an order of cupcakes from her while in college, so it was only fitting to have her do our wedding cake. She did not disappoint on our wedding! Aesthetically she delivered exactly what my wedding cake vision was and totally nailed the yum factor in all four of our cake flavors (Carrot, Nutella, Lemon cake and Red Velvet).

DJ – $250

Decoration -$800

We used a friendor for our decoration, so this was waaayyy less than if we’ve used a regular vendor. This included:

  • 12 flower centerpieces (Vases were re-used from my cousin’s quinceanero a couple of months before)
  • 14 table overlays
  • Bridal and MOH bouquet
  • three Boutonnieres


DIY -$301

50 Invitations – $130.93


Table Numbers/ Seating Chart- $34
Printing $7.00 at Walgreens Photo
Frames- $2.00 ea = $24.00
Ribbon – $3.00


Guest Book – $20.00
Jenga $14.00 through Amazon
Pens $6.00


Favors – $117
50 Moo rectangular stickers – $17
Coffee favors $2 ea x 50 = $100

For a GRAND TOTAL of $5,158!

We spent a tiny bit over what my parents gifted us towards the wedding. Our plan was to pay off the wedding using only would be covered by my parents gift and using our savings for the honeymoon. The honeymoon came to a total of $7,600 ; the 12 day cruise was $1,600 pp, plane tickets were $1,000 pp, we paid $1000 for hotels and the rest of the honeymoon budget was spent in meals, souvenirs and traveling expenses.

My personal money saving tips:

  • Time of Day—Consider having the wedding at a time slot other than Saturday or Friday night. The same venue, on the same day but for dinner instead of breakfast would have cost 4x more and would have doubled our total budget.
  • No Alcohol—Having a morning wedding allowed us to save on alcohol and shockingly people still had fun! So if your guests aren’t big drinkers (and even if they are), having no alcohol or some alternative beverages might be a huge money saver.
  • Transportation—We didn’t rent a limo or any other form of transportation. I asked one of my uncles who has a nice white car (have no idea what make it is) to drive us to the ceremony and to the reception. The limo was not missed AT ALL!

My last piece of advice might be a bit polarizing, but it’s my honest opinion that if you can’t comfortably afford it, Don’t Splurge. If it’s your dream to have a huge lavish wedding and spend all your savings for it, go right ahead and I honestly hope that it is everything you wished for. That wasn’t my dream—I just wanted my closest family and friends to witness as I joined my life to the person I love most in this world and although it might not be what everybody wants, to me, our wedding ROCKED! But the wedding was just a speck in the awesomeness that I aspire my life to be and although it has been the most incredible day of my life so far, it is still only one day (actually the whole event only takes a couple of hours). So as much as you might LOVE that dress or that photographer or whatever else you’re thinking about stretching your hard earned pennies for…at the end it will only be for one day and at the end of that day, with or without that dress, that photographer…you will still be married to a person you love, who you vowed to love forever. It will be a day you will never forget.

* All photos by Keli Art Photography unless otherwise noted

Lives Intertwined: Recessional :  wedding isabela puerto rico pictures pro pics recap Recaps

Catch up on the Boa recaps!

Recap before the Recaps

This Bride Gets Dressed

Pictures of The Bride

Bride Walks Down the Aisle

The Ceremony

The Recessional

Pictures of the Newlyweds

The Details

The Entrance

First Dance

The Food

The Speeches

We Dance

The Cake Cutting and Tosses

It Comes to an End

Day After Shoot


Mrs. Boa Constrictor

July 2
Isabela, Puerto Rico
Wedding Date:
May 2012
Last Call
Book Invite Reveal: Part II
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  1. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:35 am

    Ah, I’m always jealous of you girls who were able to keep your wedding on budget. When people asked me initially what our wedding budget would be, I said “Ugh, under $10,000 would be nice” … our wedding will easily be over $25,000. I got roped into doing the whole kit-and-caboodle because I didn’t want to fight with people to explain why we chose to have a dry wedding with brunch instead of a dinner-and-dancing reception. I’ll still be happy with it, but sometimes it just makes me sigh when I think about how much money we’re spending!

  2. Member
    mrscvsomeday 164 posts, Blushing bee @ 5:40 am

    Well done! You pulled off an amazing event for just over $5k – duly impressed!

  3. mslemur Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 5:57 am

    Great post! I love all budget posts, but seeing another $5,000 bride is nice too :)

    Our wedding will be pretty similar to yours — a dry brunch, which definitelyyy helps keep the cost down. You got a great deal on your dress by the way… I never would have though you only paid $600 for it! Stunning!

  4. boaconstrictor Member
    boaconstrictor 391 posts, Helper bee @ 6:03 am

    @Miss Lemur: I had the dress custom made from a local designer. I did go wedding dress shopping and fell in love with a couple of Pronovias gowns but I couldn’t justify spending $1,000 to myself (not even for my wedding) even though everyone wanted me to buy it.

  5. Member
    prettypincushion 889 posts, Busy bee @ 6:12 am

    You are an inspiration. We are shooting for a 5k wedding and with everything it is looking like we will spend about $5300 but that includes our honeymoon and rings :) and I LOVE the Jenga guest book

  6. Member
    shaynapunim 654 posts, Busy bee @ 6:45 am

    Thanks for sharing! I love budget breakdowns. :)

  7. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 6:53 am

    I would have guessed you spent twice as much, you had such a lovely wedding!

  8. mswallaby Member
    mswallaby 2070 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:08 am

    You did such a great job staying in budget, and everything looks so much more expensive – I was so surprised that your photographer is just starting out, because all of your photos are incredible. And your advice is so dead-on, especially about skipping transportation (we drove ourselves in our own cars to the venue, no big deal!) and not putting everything into one day, because there is so much more to come.

  9. bracelet Member
    Mrs. Bracelet 279 posts, Helper bee @ 7:28 am

    Your tips are very true, especially the splurging part. The wedding industry really tried to brainwash us into believing that splurging (on just about anything) is okay.

  10. honey Member
    honey 1684 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:44 am

    Good job staying at your budget! I can’t believe your photographer was newer to weddings, she was ammmazing!!

  11. panda Member
    Mrs. Panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:02 am

    I would have guessed you spent easily twice as much as you did! It was such a lovely wedding!

  12. Member
    tarheelgurl 1416 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:37 am

    Wel before I say anything, I just want to say that your dress is gorgeous! And now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, haha. I just want to say that your whole wedding looks like it was wonderful. FI says our wedding is budgetless but we want to build a house in a few years, so I’m putting us on a budget of $10k. With 50 or less guests I know we can do it. You had twice as many people and kept your budget at almost under 5k. I’m going to have to show this to my FI to let him know that it is possible to have a nice wedding on a budget. Thanks for the budget info and inspiration.

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Brittany Bellagala Intern, Guest @ 9:22 am

    Thanks for the price breakdowns! Realizing how much each item costs is the first step in budgeting! What unique ideas! Sounds like a blast!

  14. Member
    bluebelle23 854 posts, Busy bee @ 9:44 am

    <3 your dress! It makes me physically nauseated to realize that your dress is prettier than mine and half as expensive. ugh! :)
    I do really love mine, don't get me wrong, just wish I'd had more time to search out budget friendly options. I do think seeing your tables is making me want to upgrade my table runners to overlays. (which is ignoring your advice not to splurge…)
    Gorgeous wedding! :)

  15. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 10:27 am

    I’m definitely in the “If it’s your dream to have a huge lavish wedding and spend all your savings for it, go right ahead and I honestly hope that it is everything you wished for,” camp. Not necessarily ‘lavish’, but still big, still way more money than we thought and still a bit ‘eepies’ inducing when we think about it. But it IS what we wanted and what we both said to each other: our goal was to have the best possible time and not feel like we have to scrimp and save and cut every single corner, because that’s what we do in real life and if we’re going to splurge, it should be on this.

    I love this post, though, and your thoughts. I think it is SO great that Brides like you (and Miss Lemur!) prove that you can have a baller wedding without having the baller price tag. Thank you for sharing!

  16. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:07 am

    Great post, that last paragraph is spot on. I am amazed at how little you spent for the kind of wedding you had. It all looks gorgeous, you really made that money worth.

  17. Member
    This Time Round 10219 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 2:56 pm

    Great post… and great advice.

    A couple really needs to sit down and decide what kind of wedding they want, and what their priorities are.

    In our case as an Encore Couple we opted for an Elopement to a fabulous Destination (Beach Wedding) and then after our incredible Honeymoon… a Back Home Reception Party with Friends & Family.

    As our Wedding was just the two of us, the costing was quite moderate / controllable.

    The Back Home Reception was an Evening Cocktail Reception / Party (Welcome Drink – Hors d’ouevres – Champagne & Cake – DJ & Dancing) … so not a sit-down meal, so that kept costs down as well (maybe around $ 75 per head, all in, including everything from the Printed / Mailed Out Invites to the Food & Drink… to the DJ… even the decorations etc)

    Where we spent our Money was on US. Lol.

    Our Rings, our Wedding Presents to each other, and our amazing 35 Day Wedding / Honeymoon Road Trip to the US South, and subsequent Caribbean Cruise.

    In the end, those were our priorities… having great memories of each other and this time in our lives that will always be something we can look back on and recall fondly.

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    lia, Guest @ 3:00 pm

    Woah. I’ve been following your posts and never would have guessed you only spent $5k. AND you did that with 100 guests?! You give us all hope!

  19. beanstalk Member
    Mrs. Beanstalk 770 posts, Busy bee @ 5:19 pm

    Great post… your tips were all very true. Your wedding, photography, dress, and all your details looked amazing! I would’ve thought your grand total would have been a lot more! You guys did a really good job of sticking to your budget!

  20. Member
    skellener 14 posts, Newbee @ 10:43 pm

    Your tips are very true, you had such a lovely wedding!

  21. funnelcake Member
    funnelcake 1171 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:30 am

    DIY budget queen! Great tips! I am not sure if we could have swung $9 per person for food, but I am really impressed by your smart budgeting. Way to stick to what you wanted to do! :)

    And your guest book was so unique I have to add!

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