When Kate emailed me with her fun wedding, and told me that she and Billy hosted a wedding with 100 guests, in Orange County, California, all for under $6400… well I knew you’d want to know how they did it! I thought I’d let Kate tell the story of the planning and the day. She was even kind enough to share a budget breakdown with us (scroll down for the details). Says Kate:
From the very beginning our wedding took on a life and personality of its own. We fondly referred to it as “Southern Vintage POW!” As in a little Texas, a little retro, and a little of the unexpected. And we were adamant about staying under our $6,400 budget. My favorite part of my wedding was the overall teamwork that went into it. It was a wonderful way to spend time with my family – especially since I live out of the country 9 months out of the year. It was also a special connection I got to make with my new in-laws.
My dress was a super inexpensive find by Moonlight. It was a perfect fit so didn’t require any alterations, however, I had pockets added. I borrowed the veil from a friend, and I found some inexpensive yellow peep toes online which my mother embellished with cream bows. My husband is from Texas, hence the Southern part of our wedding, and he chose classic seersucker pants and a vest from J. Crew, paired with black Converse.
My mother and I hit up the local flower mart and purchased all the flowers at wholesale, then my mother, aunts, uncle and cousins created all the bouquets, centerpieces, and boutonnieres the night before the wedding. My aunts also handmade all the napkins and created a runner out of the excess fabric. My mother created chalk-board like name tags for the mason jars and an absolutely fantastic black and white photo puzzle guest “book” out of some blown up photos, glue and a jigsaw. My guests were then able to sign the back of the puzzle pieces and toss them in a keepsake glass jar. My husband, being a graphic designer by trade, created the invitations, the crossword puzzle/word search programs, and all the signs for the food and drink stations. Billy’s mother burned our initials on two small wooden boxes that worked as the ring bearer’s “pillow” and held each of our rings for each of our two ring bearer’s to carry. Needless to say, our wedding was extremely family- and do-it-yourself oriented!
To stay on budget we started early and kept things tremendously organized. Everything from the bamboo plates to the ribbon was bought wholesale. Billy and I created a playlist on our computer, borrowed the sound system equipment, and his sister played DJ for the day. My brother-in-law was sworn in as an officiant, a family member did all the girls’ hair, and some of my little sister’s and mom’s friends traded day-of-wedding planner service, food servicing, and baby-sitting in exchange for food and drink. Our biggest save was in the photography. Two of our close friends, Jehna Raquel and Lindsay Stetson-Thompson, volunteered their time and talents as blooming photographers and created some amazing shots. Cupcake toppers and drink stirrers, along with the pom-pom decorations, paper striped straws, the boys’ bowties and my jewelry were all purchased off Etsy at very reasonable prices. In addition, I bargained down every single first price offered to me – there was no harm in asking for discounts and 90% of the time it worked out in my favor.
The food included delicious sweet potato fries and watermelon slice appetizers followed by amazing southern fried chicken with all the fixings from Johnny Rebs’. Desserts included family homemade treats like lemon squares, mini pecan pies, and individual banana puddings (topped with homemade whipped cream of course!). A funnel cake cart was also added to the mix – an absolute favorite of ours! Drinks included vintage bottled soda, lemonade, sweet tea & Yankee tea, as well as a variety of beers and wine. There was also a vintage quilt in the grass for the children, who had special paper sack lunches, dress up props, and homemade ribbon twirlers.
Isn’t their getaway car hilarious? Says Kate: The “hearse” is actually my dad’s customized 1951 Chevy ambulance – but it looks like a hearse so my bridesmaids decorated it with “Til death do us part.” The looks and honks we got on the ride back were hilarious!
Kate shared some of the budget breakdown with us, for their SoCal wedding with 100 guests:
ceremony/reception venue with tables and chairs included (Santiago Oaks Regional Park): $987
vendor permits: $175
guest parking: $200
rentals, set up, take down, and delivery (Events TaylorMade): $575
purchased disposable bamboo plates, french fry cones, and dessert boats: $161
invitations + postage: $220
materials for fan/crossword programs: $50
on site catering of sweet potato fries appetizers & fried chicken (Johnny Rebs’ Southern Roadhouse & Catering): $1200
beverages (Trader Joe’s and BevMo): $440
funnel cake cart from (Fun-O-Cakes): $350
kid’s picnic lunches (chicken nuggets, drink boxes, cracker packs): $60
lemonade, tea, watermelon: $90
lemonade/tea dispensers borrowed from a family member: $0
quilt, picnic basket, chalkboard, birdcage, drink buckets: $80
cupcake toppers, pom poms, paper straws, drink stirrers all from Etsy: $100
mason jars: $50
pewter and milkglass: $80
printing black and white photos: $50
fabric for draping for arbor, ribbon, tape, car decorations: $25
dress up props borrowed from mom’s classroom: $0
dress + alterations: $378
jewelry from Etsy: $38
hair done by family member as a gift: $0
GRAND TOTAL: less than $6400
Thank you for all of the details Kate! It’s so inspiring to see that a charming and fun wedding doesn’t have to break the bank, even with 100 guests!