Brooke and Richard ”“ March 29, 2008
Location ”“ San Marcos, Tx
Initial Budget – $13,000
Guests ”“ 120
Planning Time ”“ 13 months
Ceremony & Reception ”“ My parents’ home in San Marcos, TX. 60 acres of ranch land, equipped with 13 cattle, so not quite a rustic cattle ranch, but not your average backyard wedding either. Obviously this was a free venue, but we did have to add on a lot of the rentals that are usually included in some venue packages. The best thing is that San Marcos is it’s smack dab in the middle of San Antonio and Austin, so we were able to use the best vendors out of both cities.
Catering ”“ $2200 A close friend of the family offered to cater for a reduced rate. She gave us an excellent afternoon h’ors doeuvres reception, and supplied the dippers for the chocolate fountain we purchased (probably our best ever wedding purchase, not only was it cheaper than all the vendors’ packages, we got to keep it and eat all the extra chocolate, yum!). We had food out the wazoo, and as 90% of the guest list were my parents’ church friends, everyone raved about her food (she normally caters for church functions and members).
Chocolate Fountain ”“ Sweet Fountains online store ”“ A+. Fountain, $150 with taxes and shipping, 20 lbs. milk chocolate and 4 lbs white chocolate (we borrowed a small home fountain from a friend for the white), $100. Total price: $300. Mind you, the cheapest vendor quote was $350 for 16 pounds of chocolate and an attendant. We saved $50 and got to keep the fountain! And you can tell I enjoyed it as there are 10 pictures of me eating it!
Rentals – $1700. Dripping Springs Rental, A. We rented 244 chairs (a set for the ceremony and the reception), our china, linens, and glassware. They were a local company, so the delivery fee was modest. When they showed up 4 hours after their agreed delivery time and brought 4 linens the wrong size, we talked them into waiving the damage fee that’s included for “normal wear and tear”. It’s always great to remind your vendors that you expect great service, and they were really easy to work with.
Bridal Attire ”“ Celebrations Bridal ”“ C. Total: $803. Dress: $466 with tax. Alterations: $150. Veil- $0 borrowed from a close friend. Garter – $17. Shoes – $70, Gianni Bini flats from Dillards. Earrings – $100, Bailey Banks and Biddle. Celebrations Bridal is a small boutique in New Braunfels, TX with prices ranging from $400 to $1400. The dress selection and purchase was phenomenal – my dress came in only 2 weeks! However, alterations and customer service were horrible, so I’d give them a C. Many issues arose from incorrect pressing and being unaccommodating. But I would definitely recommend purchasing a gown there – just take it somewhere else to get it altered!
Stationery: Kinko’s, F, Enovation Group, self-designed, A+. $456. I’m a graphic designer, so naturally I designed all our stationery myself. It was taking forever for my office to get a quote back to me, so I tried Kinko’s just to get things done. It was a massive failure – colors were too bright, things were trimmed incorrectly, and I couldn’t get a refund. $356 down the drain. I showed the results to my coworkers, and they printed it on their HP digital press for $100 – programs, invitations, rsvp’s, info cards, and thank you cards. Worth the reprint for sure, they looked fantastic!
Favors ”“ DIY ”“ A+. $84. We bought 140 Hershey candy bars bulk from Sam’s for $.60 each. I designed the label to look like an “At Home” card, to inform our guests of our new address and my new name. We printed them on my husband’s laser at work, and I cut and glued them together with my mom.
Guestbook ”“ Apple iPhoto book – A, $64 with shipping and tax. If I’d known about Blurb I probably would have used them. iPhoto is a bit pricey, but it looked great!
Photography ”“ Serendipity Photography, A. $866 with tax. We decided to book them for 4 hours a la carte, at $200 per hour. They gave us digital negatives with full rights one month after the wedding. My only complaint is that they missed a few key shots (no ring shots, no close ups of bouquets, no pictures at all of bridesmaids’ bouquets, etc., and the assistant was very obtrusive), but their style is gorgeous and they have some really interesting compositions. They were also very fun to work with! I ended up doing all the post processing myself, as it would have cost an extra $500 to have them do it.
Videography ”“ BTL Productions, A. $956. I had to do a lot of cajoling to get videography, but I’m so glad we did! He caught so many moments and details that the photographers missed, so it was well worth it. We got 4 hours of coverage, he sent us a proof of the final version and let us request as many changes as we wanted. Then he sent us 3 copies of the final version. It’s not high-def, but it still looks really great. No cheesy edits or anything! I’m in love with it. Now if I can master iMovie to make a highlight clip”¦
Ceremony and Reception Music ”“ $460 Sarinda String Duet, Betty Lin, Tx. State music major, A+. We hired a duet of violins for the ceremony, and I found Betty from a local college professor to play cello during the ceremony and the piano for the reception. They were all great finds! They took requests for arrangements, and played Anberlin’s “Inevitable” for my processional, and Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” for our recessional! It was absolutely perfect. Betty was a fabulous pianist, and it was great “background music” for our casual reception.
Floral Décor ”“ Fiori del Sole, B+. $3050 (Quality and look, A+, execution, B-). I had a pretty complicated idea in mind for our ceremony décor. I wanted a garland arch, with garlands and pomanders strewn about. Unfortunately, when they came to set up, the garlands kept unraveling! It was an enormous amount of stress while I was trying to get ready, but they came back twice to be sure it would hold during the ceremony. The buffet arrangements were stellar, and the centerpieces were fabulous too. Would definitely recommend them as Terri was a joy to work with.
Cake ”“ Pennington’s Cakes, A+ $319 for 120 servings. We ended up deciding to serve the top tier, and have a recreation made for our anniversary. It was a white cake with lemon buttercream frosting and lemon curd filling – delicious! The most delicious cakes in the area, for sure! We’ve used them for every occasion, and the wedding was the best by far! Lana recreated the scrolling on our wedding rings on the bottom tier, and our logo out of royal icing for the top.
Officiant ”“ Free! My old high school campus minister gave us the most personalized, heartwarming, carefree ceremony ever! It was so meaningful, and so fun. We laughed through most of it.
Hair and Makeup ”“ Jofi of Wimberley, B. $80. I had it all planned out – the stylist I’d been going to since age 11 was going to come out that morning and do all our hair (we’d already planned on doing our own makeup). But, tragically, the morning of the wedding his niece called and said he was hospitalized for chest pains! Luckily he was okay, but our hair wasn’t! Scrambling for 2 hours, we finally located a woman who could do only my hair. I think it was still pretty good, and she did a great job for such short notice! Unfortunately my ladies had to fend for themselves”¦
Mens’ Attire ”“ $750. Pants, Shirts ”“ Express, Shoes ”“ Aldo, belts ”“ Fossil. My groom is a bit of a fashionista, and was really looking forward to grey suits. Well, no grey suits were to be found to rent, so we went untraditional and decided to forego the jackets! And they looked so handsome. It really fit the tone and style of our wedding. We paid for all of his clothes, and $140 of the groomsmens’ as their gifts, as all the clothing has been worn again several times! My husband’s coworkers remark that it’s a good thing he got married because he wears those shoes every day!
Bridesmaid Gifts ”“ Beaded Necklaces from Bead It! In Austin, $375. A. These cute necklace and earring sets were personalized with our colors and each girl got a different one. I’m really hoping they like them enough to wear them again!
Assorted Décor ”“ $1300. Misc. places, DIY, etc. We bought all the platters for the tables and buffet from a lot of places – Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, but by far the best was Ace Mart, a restaurant supply store. We got 20 trays for $5 each. My mom decided to not count these things in the budget, probably because she didn’t want to add it all up! I’m guessing it was probably close to $1300 for all the platters, the pearl and crystal ornaments she got on clearance at Garden Ridge after Christmas, grass seed and wildflower seed for the ceremony site, and plants for the yard. It really made the place wedding worthy.
Transportation ”“ Dad’s car collection $0. My dad and our neighbor/family friend might as well be related. They like to buy old cars, fix them up and sell them as a sort of retirement hobby. My husband and I were afraid of it looking like a “car parade”, but it turned out looking really nice, and we got some great pictures. My dad and I rode down in his 1966 red convertible Mustang, and the ladies and men rode in groups in a blue Fairlane (I believe, I’m not that car savvy) and a red Coronet, all of the 60’s era. I saved the convertible for my dad and I so we’d have something special, and it’s his favorite. Alas, if only they hadn’t sold the Corvette Stingray right before we got engaged!
Planner ”“ Alisha Anderson of Everlasting Events, D-. $1200. We had a lot of miscommunication of what her duties were, even though she outlined them in the contract. She was really poor on correspondence the closer we got to the wedding day, finally resulting in my sending her a formal letter requesting better service. She took it poorly and threatened to quit. The morning of, she was supposed to arrive at 10am, and did not arrive until 1, which was only one hour before the wedding. She made so many errors, we had to run around ourselves trying to correct them. She left early and did not tear down anything, leaving my parents to do it all.
My advice is to get a clear idea on both sides exactly what will be handled by your planner, and what is left to yourself. Make your planner live up to the contract no matter what, and don’t be a pushover. And if things are going poorly, by all means, forfeit that deposit and find someone better. It’s worth the lost money if you can have peace of mind on your wedding day.
Other than that, our wedding was wonderful. 🙂
Total Wedding Cost: $14,963. Not too shabby, I’d say! 😉
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