Planning our own wedding inspired us to get into the business - check out our own wedding blog post here!
Getting to be the wedding coordinator for my dear friend (and work wife) was such a wonderful opportunity. Carolina and I had gone through the many stages of wedding planning together - from dreaming of getting engaged a year earlier to her seeing me stress out about my wedding and then vice versa. She asked me to be her wedding coordinator after seeing me stress about decor not being placed aesthetically, and trusted me to do the job. She had also taken a lot of decor off of my hands (reuse!), so I was already familiar with a lot of the decor she was bringing. And as a beginning tablescape artist, I was excited to get to be the event designer for such a dear friend.
How did we spend under $10,000 for our wedding of 120 guests? By carefully budgeting out and prioritizing costs.
We chose to have our wedding at Shinn Historic Park because it offered a $300 discount for Fremont residents. Because it was owned by the City of Fremont, it was not priced like most venues. We also chose it because it allowed us to choose our own vendors.
We got a $20% discount on the dress because a friend worked at the store. I also found that BHLDN had extremely reasonably priced dresses and stuck to my budget when trying on dresses in store. Though I only tried on two dresses in total, I knew that it was the one!
Yelp has a great messaging function that allows you to quickly and easily contact businesses on the app. I copy-pasted the same question asking for a quote to over 10 tailors in the area and went with the one with the lowest price and most reviews.
I was shocked by the high prices of a simple piece of fabric, so did not budget much money toward getting a veil. Though I originally bought a $8 veil from Joann's, I didn't like the material. After shopping around, I found a rentals shop in Fremont and was amazed at their prices of $15-40.
Kimonos (5): $50
Every kimono I bought for myself and my bridesmaids was on clearance/sale at Macy's. I made sure to use the $10 off $25 coupon whenever I could, and searched the clearance racks and over 5 stores to get all 4 pink robes for my bridesmaids. Though they were all slightly different from each other, no one could tell the difference.
Hair and Makeup (3): $100
My maid of honor knew some girls at church who did hair and makeup for their friends' weddings, so recommended me to them. My hair and makeup (including a trial) was $40, while my bridesmaids' hair and makeup were $30 each. I gave my bridesmaids the option of having it done or doing it themselves.
Nine West nude heels bought from Marshall's - and reusable for so many more occasions!
I ordered my flowers and greenery through a wholesale seller in Fremont and put together my bouquet myself. I also bought artificial flowers from Michael's everytime there was a sale and used coupons on top of it when I could.
Wedding Party Gifts: $70
I made floral hair pins for my bridesmaids, which cut down on a lot of the costs, and he bought bowties and pocket squares for his groomsmen from Nordstrom Rack - which always has a treasure trove of men's wear!
Nordstrom Rack all the way.
From the start, we knew we didn't want the typical American lunch/dinner menu as we always thought those were a bit overpriced. We originally wanted to do brunch food, but found that it didn't photograph as classy as we liked. We quoted over 10 different companies before settling with our food truck GoStreatery. We specifically wanted a truck that would match with our theme, as many food trucks were too cheesy for our taste. This truck worked perfectly as it not only looked the part with its succulents and string lights, but our guests also all raved about the delicious food. Plus, it had great reviews on Yelp from catering other weddings.
The hardest part about catering boba was that most shops were not open until noon and weren't able to serve boba in bulk. We didn't want to have individually cupped drinks because we were going to have other drinks as well. Luckily, we talked with the manager at Ten Ren Cupertino, and she went out of her way to make sure we were able to have our favorite drink at our wedding.
Coffee and Tea: $400
We had thought about getting a local coffee shop to bring a pourover bar to our wedding, but in the end decided that it was not worth the money as most of our guests would not notice the difference between a $4 and a $2 cup of coffee. We had originally planned on going with Peet's, but last minute got a return email from a local coffee shop who said that they would not only provide iced coffee and tea, but also would come set up and clean up. The iced coffee made the price a bit more expensive, but was far more worth it in 80 degree weather.
Punch and Water: $60
We waited until soda was on sale and bought liters of Sprite for $1 each, added with peach nectar from Target. We also used Google Express credit to buy gallons of water. We did end up leaving with leftovers of both.
Favors (120): $170
As we read from many other weddings, favors often get left behind, so we didn't want to spend too much on them. After quoting many nurseries, we found that the cheapest price we could find was on eBay for $1.13 a plant. The seller was very helpful and personally called to make the large order. We then just wrapped the plants in brown kraft paper and stamped our logo on it.
Thank You Postcards (120): $20
Saving us some time and energy, the coloring postcards we got were a hit. We bought 3 different coloring book postcards from eBay and used a $10 off coupon.
After receiving a very kind gift from my brother, we expanded our budget and wanted to put that money toward photography - and it was well worth it!
Chair Rentals: $400
While the venue did provide chairs, we knew that they would distract from the overall feel of our venue. We quoted quite a few different companies as well, and went with the cheapest one that also provided low-cost delivery (which can sometimes be a huge cost!) We found that jumper rental companies by far had the cheapest prices, and were lucky to find one that also had wooden white chairs rather than just the plastic folding chairs.
Tent Rentals (2): $345
This was one of our best finds - 2 20' x 30' tents for under $400. Most places we quoted were from $600-1000. After messaging a ton of companies on Yelp, one company gave us the best price we had ever seen.
Tablecloths (22): $120
Google tablecloths and you'll find some of the cheapest prices around - we waited for the sale and bought them in bulk.
A lot of our decor was DIY, so the most cost incurred was in the materials. We shopped at Moskatels, a wholesale store like Michael's in LA. We also used a ton of coupons and continuously added to our decor collection over time.
Wedding Planner: $750
We knew a friend who was a wedding planner, so contacted her who gave us a great discounted price. Since we planned on doing most of the work, we went with a day-of coordinator.
Postcard Invitations: $60
Who keeps those invitations anyways? After a while, we were sure that those invitations would eventually go in a box somewhere to collect dust. So I designed the invitation myself and just printed them as postcards through Vistaprint.
Groom's Attire, Videographers, DJ, Officiant, Staff, Cake, Desserts, and Getaway Car provided by friends and family.
Planning a wedding is stressful - and the added expense of the commercialized wedding industry doesn't help. Luckily, there are ways around spending the average amount of money ($26,000!) that most weddings cost. We spent $10,000 on our wedding, and these are our tips for all the budget couples out there:
A lot of people doubted our budget - but don't let them tell you it's impossible! Though we did expand from our original $5,000 budget due to generous donations by family, we had a solid plan for planning for a smaller budget. Best of luck to the budget bride and groom!