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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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What My Money Bought, Part II

OK, picking up where we left off yesterday....we're recapping the budget with visuals because it's all about perspective, right? Right. If I'm anything, I'm a freakin' realist and I think that's why I get so frustrated with the likes of SMP. Those goddamn pictures they show with farm tables out in a field somewhere with knee-high grass. WTF? Or weddings in castles and crap? All the fake bullshit in their photo shoots just irritates me to no end. Again, I'm all for inspirational shoots but I think there is a fine, FINE line between reality and fantasy. Let's face it, even if your wedding is fantasy-like, the next day your marriage starts and that isn't always a Disney movie, folks.

*Stepping of my soap box now.*

So next on the list in Reality Budget Land is the cake!

Cake Buffet $218.51

The cost was for four 9" round cakes of different flavors and one 6" round cake we used to cut. I also added in our Dio de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) cake toppers. And if you can't tell, that is me with one plate in one hand with two pieces of cake on it, reaching for yet another plate. Um duuuuuuuuuuuh, I HAD to try all the flavors, right? And we had left-overs. But not of the Velvet Elvis. That shit was GONE!


Flowers $1,546.20

I did a LOT to save here. I know a few things about flowers, florists and floral containers. I know how much shit costs. I understand the labor behind prepping, arranging and delivering flowers. So, knowing all that, I did what I could to reduce my costs. I bought my own wreaths for the doors and chapel to supply to the florist. I spent $19.66 and I saved $35. I bought all my own bud vases on-line and on sale from Crate and Barrel. I spent $183.85, but sold some back to my florist for $50. I instructed my florist to use full headed blooms that I knew were relatively inexpensive: football mums, gerbera daisies and hydrangea and to stay away from pricier flowers like ranunculus and peonies (totally wanted both, by the way). We kept the boutonnieres simple with tiny mums and fern curls (see below). I think the most expensive flower we used were a few garden roses in my bouquet. For the table decor flowers, we added in snow berries, stock, greenery and spider mums. The corsages, flower girl halo and cake flowers had spray roses and freesia. I kept everything easy and simple in white and ivory. Here's what I really liked best about my flowers - the table decor. We had planned on 4-6 bud vases per table. Based on our calculations, my florist ordered what she thought we needed. Well, she was able to fill more bud vases than she thought and we placed extra bud vases all over the reception venue - on the cake table, mantel, bar, gift table. The venue mixed them all in with their gorgeous t-lights and it just looked stunning. I could not have been happier. The reason I mention this is that using smaller arrangements can give you more flexibility, however you could get charged more for labor if you aren't just plopping flowers in vases. But if you plan for one arrangement per table and that's all you'll get, nothing more. I'm just sayin'... Lastly, I had a friend grab the small wreaths and alter arrangements after the ceremony and take them over to our reception venue for double floral duty. That'll save you a bundle - it saved me $245!


Groom's Attire $400

Men's Warehouse. Really, what else is there to say?


Transportation $1,225

We spent more on this than we thought we would have to. First, we planned to use The Candyman's truck as the get-away car, but it was stolen 2 weeks before the wedding! We got it back, but it was in the shop the day of the wedding! Flipping the big, fat finger to the thieves. Do you see me thieves? SEE MY FINGER?? Ahem, sorry. So we ended up working out a deal with our Packard driver Reggie at the last minute. WHEW! Also, we picked up the tab for The Candyman's brothers to get here for our wedding. I mean, they HAD to be here for it. How could they not? Sadly, a 12-hour drive isn't something that a wheelchair bound brother can handle without some special attention, so we hooked everyone up with a giant wheelchair accessible van for the whole damn family to get here in. It was great. Best money we spent.


Beauty $624

Gawd. Embarrassingly over-budget. Vanity really is a bitch. One failed trial. Another trial. The total includes that as well as the cost of the hair and make-up on the day of, plus my MOH's hair (I did her make-up for her wedding, so took care of her on my day too!). It was worth it. My stylist listened to me and I felt like a million bucks on my wedding day!


Gifts $470.54

I don't have any pictures of what we bought, but I'll still share:

Parents on both sides: Framed pictures of me and The Candyman from our engagement shoot.

MOH: A bottle 20 year old port (she's a sucker for it).

BM and BM's brother: Matching "guy" bracelets that I found on sale at a jewelry store.

Usher: A giant bottle of much-loved German beer.

Flower Girl: A bag of Princess-themed goodies I bought in Hong Kong.

Our poem reader: A hand painted scroll I picked up in Hong Kong.

Planner: A framed painting I bought in Hong Kong.

Hubby: A 1976 Bulova Acutron watch.

Moi: The candyman got me a painting by a favorite local artist. I have no idea how much he spent and it isn't anywhere in the budget. I didn't count it.


Miscellaneous $365

Out of town bags and goodies, printer ink, flower girl basket, picture frames, matches, card stock, kid's favors and candy centerpiece - all the little crap that adds up. I am certain that this number could be higher as I'm pretty sure I lost a receipt of two. Or nine. Or twelve. Who's counting at this point? I certainly wasn't. 


Rings $2,525.93

Everything but the center stone, which was a gift from my mother.


Honeymoon $2,236

Flights were free using frequent flier miles. Total cost was for a week in a 2-bedroom condo within walking distance to the beach in the small town of Zihuatanejo, Mexico. We basically spent money on food and Mexican handicrafts to bring home for ourselves and as Christmas presents. Honestly, the days went like this: Wake up. Coffee and lazy. Stroll down to the beach for huevos rancheros and more coffee. Back to the villa and down to the pool for more lazy. Clean up, "nap time",  more lazy. Lazy or a trip to town to spend money. Dinner. Lazy. Bedtime.







So what do you think? Was it worth $18,229.42? I think it was. There were definitely several hundred dollars that we did not anticipate or appreciate spending. The extras on the hair and make-up trials, the additional transportation costs, costs associated with The Candyman's truck that hit us right when money was the tightest...so annoying.  And we had several unanticipated income changes. The Candyman's not-for-profit shut down the month we set the date. My salary was decreased right when he found a new job. He had tons of bar exam fees and bar dues to pay in two states. It just seemed like one thing after another was slamming us. It feels a little bit that way right now. And I know there are lots of you out there dealing with the same bullshit we dealt with. You will get through this. And something that everyone kept telling us was this, "If you can make it through all this now, you're marriage will be golden."  I believe they were right!

My best budgeting advice is not to give up. Do your homework. Read your contracts. Ask for what you want. Ask for a little more, but not too much. Be realistic. Make it your own. Remember the love.


For links to all of the vendors involved in my wedding, please go to the top right of the blog and click on VENDORS I LOVE.

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Reader Comments (2)

Love these posts - I think this helps a TON more than some of the DIY info out there on how to spend $ wisely. Thanks for this - I've bookedmarked these posts for the future when I blog about our final costs.

We're kinda getting screwed with $$$ since we live in the NYC area and everything's so f'n expensive around here, but we are cutting corners and I will admit we're getting a little help from the rents, which I will cop to when I do the recaps.

August 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDancy

Gorgeous wedding you had! And thrifty to boot - with piles of flowers, glorious flowers... *sigh* Lovely.

It's so nice to see something real instead of a huge wedding production with piles of pricey details like SMP always features. Fancy is nice - makes for great eye candy. But I can't help but feel a bit sad that for some people, perfect centerpieces and flawless, blog-worthy details rank higher than allowing the details you cannot plan for (one's reaction to unexpected, heartfelt toasts or melting into your groom's arms during your 1st dance for example).

I didn't want my wedding to look like it belonged in a magazine. What we ended up with was imperfect, funny, a bit messy...and I loved that most about it!

August 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterr

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