Real Wedding Budget Breakdown from Jessica & Jamie

As she plans her upcoming wedding, my little sister has asked me for resources that show real couples’ wedding budgets, and the truth is that they’re not easy to come by! Today, Jessica and Jamie have shared their charming carousel wedding with us, along with a complete breakdown of their real budget (scroll down for the details). But first, some lovely photos by Jillian Mitchell (who shot the wedding as a gift to her brother, the groom) and details from the bride!

We knew we didn’t want a standard country club wedding. Originally I had my heart set on renting a carnival ride and having the wedding in my parent’s backyard. After their objections and (legitimate) concerns and discovering that it’s prohibitively expensive and difficult to rent a carnival ride we decided a carousel would be even better. After visiting a few in the area we saw the one at Battleship Cove and knew it was perfect. It had a beautiful patio right on the water as well as a back drop of battleships and vintage trains, and the carousel was located on the second floor of the building—allowing for plenty of room for the bar, candy buffet, appetizers and the cocktail hour inside.

I called my mom everyday while planning, really just to vent. It was such a wild time and I was hanging on with my fingertips. I don’t even remember what I said or she said exactly, but I’m pretty sure it was something to the effect of Calm down, it’ll be okay. It was.

I love anything that is quirky, fun and a little out of the ordinary. Going for a 1920’s carnival just seemed to fit what we wanted and gave us the option to bounce between casual carnival and formal 1920’s glamour. I got to have my vintage looking dress and fascinator and we got to get all sorts of fun accents and accessories. There were colorful fans, bunting, paper windmills, bow ties, and feather boas.

Favorite moments from the day? Catching each other try very hard to not get teary eyed during the ceremony. Sneaking a drink and a cigarette together before we joined the reception from behind the building and having the cop (that we hired!) tell us we couldn’t be there. Dancing with Jamie and all my friends (we aren’t dancers!). Hugging everyone. Riding the carousel in my wedding dress. Making hilarious faces in the photo booth. Holding hands in our getaway car.


Here’s the full budget breakdown and vendor list for Jessica and Jamie’s carousel wedding for 130 guests:

Venue, 8 hours (Carousel at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts): $1600
Park Fee: $35
Tent, Tables, Chairs, Lighting (Central Mass Party Rentals): $2535
Party Bus / Hotel Transportation: $1600
Getaway Car: $200
Security: $250
TOTAL: $6220

Bamboo Dinner Plates: $120
Cornstarch Appetizer and Dessert Plates: $50
Recycled Napkins: $20
Paper Straws: $30
Birchwood Cutlery: $50
Cornstarch Drink Cups: $50
Compostible Coffee Cups: $50
TOTAL: $370

Catering, 2 Bartenders (Smokestack Catering): $3500
Bar Accessories, Drink Dispensers: $80
Appetizer Platters (Shaw’s): $300
Soda, Water, Mixers: $150
Alcohol: $600
Cake, Cupcakes (Alicia Albernaz): $500
TOTAL: $5130

Invitation Materials: $100
Save-the-Date Printing: $20
Program Materials: $40
TOTAL: $160

Bunting Materials: $200
Vases, Candy Containers: $200
Pinwheels (Paper Polaroid on Etsy): $150
Tablecloths: $120
Miscellaneous: $500
TOTAL: $1170

Bouquet, Boutonnieres: $350
Birdcage Card Holder: $20
Candy: $100
Streamer Poppers: $20
Fans: $150
TOTAL: $640

Camera: $350
Printer, Paper: $70
Software: $60
Booth Materials: $35
TOTAL: $515

Feathers: $50
Earrings (Classy Lady Jewelry): $25
Dress (Allure Bridals): $1100
Shoes: $150
Hair, Makeup: $320
TOTAL: $1645

Suit (Hugo Boss): $650
Shirt, Accessories (TJ Maxx): $50
Bow Ties: $50
TOTAL: $750

Officiant: $500
DJ, Tent Uplighting (B-Sharp): $2300
Day-of-Coordinator: $1200
Photographer (sister of the groom, Jillian Mitchell): $0
TOTAL: $4000

GRAND TOTAL: $20,600

Jessica’s budget tips? “Figure out how much you can realistically spend and always know that number. Your wedding will be wonderful even if you can’t get the farm-to-table plated catering or the hand-beaded couture dress. Don’t compromise your finances or your real life for your fairytale day. Because really, while it’s wonderful and it’s yours, it’s just one day.”
For another real wedding budget breakdown, see Kate and Billy’s wedding feature.
See more photos from Jessica and Jamie’s vintage carousel wedding in the gallery.

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