Okay guys, I’m going to try to get through this with as little sap and gush and mush as possible, but I love being married. I love being a Mrs. I love my husband and our little life we are building. I mainly want this to be a resource to any brides (Texas or otherwise!) who would like costs references, vendor referrals, advice, or inspiration. I know that I had so many different posts from this sub saved and screenshotted throughout my 13 months of ferocious, maddening, wonderful planning. I was overwhelmed with support anytime I had a question or needed advice. I found so many beautiful, unique friends through this incredible sub who cheered me on and have become part of my heart and our lives. I’m so stupidly grateful. I hope this in some small way can help you in your wedding journey. Onto the meaty goodness!
Russ, my husband, proposed last February. We planned this shindig in 13 months; most of it over the summer. I’m a college student (graduating in a MONTH thank GOD. It’s like I can finally see the light!) and so the summer between semesters was pretty crucial for me. It gave us almost 3 consecutive months to hire most of our vendors and plan. It worked out so well for us and made me pull out a little less hair than I would have without it. Our day cost around $26,000 in San Antonio/New Braunfels Texas. Here is our breakdown (not including honeymoon or showers):
- My dress, including customization, alterations, and extra fabric: $1,450.
- Accessories/Shoes/Nails/Tan: $320
- Bridesmaids dresses (5): Each girl paid for their own through Azazie. Each dress cost under $130. This amount is not factored.
- Bridesmaids accessories (Kendra Scott, 5 girls): $325.
- Wedding coordinator: $1,250.
- Florist/Designer/Decorator: $4,700.
- Photographer: $2,400.
- Photobooth (DIY with a hired photographer): $100.
- Hair/Makeup (I paid for my maid’s/mom’s/MIL/Ushers/Flower Girl’s hair, but not makeup. My hair and makeup is factored, as is my trial.): $500.
- Cupcakes: $400.
- Food/Bev: $6,000. Paid for by MIL. Factored. No alcohol.
- Groomsmen tuxes/FOB suit/FOG suit: We obtained a package deal through a bridal extravaganza I attended with one of my maids. The groomsmen and our dad’s paid for their own rentals. Because we are grouped and all went through one place, my husband’s tux was free. Each tux rental was around $125. My dad’s is factored.
- Venue: $2,850.
- Rehearsal lunch: $200.
- Additional decor/odds and ends: $2,000.
- My ring + band: around $900.
- His ring: $350.
- Officiant: $500.
- DJ: $700.
- Guests gifts: $150.
- Rentals/Calligraphy: $800.
- Hotels for night before/night of: $400.
Here is where it gets a little complicated. In my culture, we have “padrinos” who “sponsor” certain aspects of a traditional Mexican wedding. For example, my MIL graciously covered our catering cost. She is technically our catering sponsor and would have traditionally been given a special ad/message of thanks in our ceremony program if we had chosen to do that route. Instead of specific sponsors for specific things (my husband is not Hispanic and I am not too culturally traditional) my family simply donated. We received around $5,000 (plus my MIL covering our catering, so really $11k). This made our total cost around $15k, give or take. My husband and I put in around $8,000, and my parents covered the rest. We thanked everyone who donated in our wedding speeches, personally at our reception as we made rounds to everyone, and with a dedication at our ceremony site (pictures are below!) We are also sending out thank-you cards this week. Sorry this is so long-winded, I just really wanted to break this down as clearly and succinctly as possible as it could potentially be of use to any of you!
Vendor list (I’ve included links to the personal websites of the vendors I would recommend):
- My dress journey. My dress is custom, built from Mori Lee 2777 in “Caramel” which is basically a mix of blush and champagne. This was how I bought it off the rack. I’ve always wanted a dress with sleeves, but also knew that adding sleeves would require adding some oomph so that it wouldn’t translate as matronly. I really wanted to avoid the pilgrim look. I originally debated hanging sleeves but they just didn’t feel right. When I came across this pin on Pinterest my jaw dropped. Actually, I think I squealed and semi-moaned. Using it as inspiration, my seamstress broke open the bodice and added sleeves. Here and here is my dress 95% done. Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures throughout the process because wedding planning craziness makes you stupid. Literally. Here is my completed dress on the big day: Not sure who I was mean-muggin’, but this is a good picture of the detail on the bodice. And an Artsy fartsy shot.
BONUS: My dad and I did a first look. I ugly cried.
Our theme was vintage spring garden. Our colors were minty turquoise, blush, gold, cream, champagne, and lots of greenery. Outside our venue at the ceremony site were wine barrels with floral arrangements, a hand-calligraphed “unplugged wedding” sign, a DIY palette project that a friend of mine gifted us, a program poster, and hanging greenery-draped chandeliers inside the wooden pergola. We also had a memory chair that I DIY’d for under $20.
Inside, we had a hanging chandelier above our head table. We had 3 different arrangements for the tables. Tall candelabras, medium candlesticks and flower arrangements, and smaller flower arrangements flanked by gold mercury votives. Our sweetheart table had a gold sequin tablecloth and garland and we sat on a pretty, but ridiculously uncomfortable tufted sofa.
BONUS: Laughing like a hyena during our vows.
We opted for flavored cupcakes and a mini-cake for us. Our flavors were pretty bomb and a huge hit. At 9:00, our milk and cookie bar opened.
Our menu was “Breakfast for Dinner.” You guys. Best idea Russ and I have ever had, ever. Ever. EVER. We had an action station with choice of pancake and toppings, a buttermilk biscuit bar with various spreads, smoked brown sugar bacon, spicy sausage patties, and loaded hashbrown casserole. People raved and lost their minds. It was a huge hit and so much fun. (For those wondering what it says under “Why Breakfast for Dinner?” here is the wording: “Russell and Rhiannon love breakfast any time, day or night! Whether it’s been just the two of them or surrounded by family, love and great memories happen when you eat breakfast, or so we’d like to think. One thing is for sure: We love each other & you. Dig in!”)
BONUS: I DIY’d some cute coloring books and crayon bundles for the kiddos to keep entertained during appetizer hour.
- Our bridal party consisted of 3 guys, 5 girls, 1 ring bearer, 1 flower girl, and 2 ushers. We had our uneven groomsmen and bridesmaids walk in this order: MOH/BM, girl, girl, boy, girl, girl, boy and it worked really well. Lots of people had things to say about an uneven bridal party but we picked the people closest to our hearts, and we weren’t going to add random people for it just to be even, or subtract. We loved our choice, and being surrounded by these goofballs made our day so special.
BONUS: My husband being humped by one of his groomsmen. Definitely being framed and hung in our home.
- After the group pictures, my husband and I were able to do some solo shots before we made our entrance. This one makes me swoon and this one makes me laugh because it looks like he’s a momma bird trying to feed me.
BONUS: I attached a picture of my parents at their wedding to my bouquet. They have been married for close to 30 years. Their love moves me and inspires me.
Advice/Random Words of Semi-Wisdom/Shit That Went Wrong/MORE BONUSES
We had our wedding on the first Monday of Spring Break here in Texas. Pi day, actually (we totally stupided-out and didn’t serve pie, but whatever.) I am a student and my parents are teachers, so we had a week off to decompress after the wedding shenanigans. We chose a Monday because our venue was around $3k less on a weekday vs a weekend. That 3k was then allotted for our flowers. This of course won’t work for everyone, but if you can swing it with similar circumstances, DO IT.
Wedding planning kind of makes you stupid. Especially when you’re 2 months out from graduating and completing homework in your hotel the night before. You just get to this stupid level of exhausted and frustrated and tired. It’s worth it, trust me. Drink a little the night before while watching The Proposal with your bridesmaids. But don’t drink the tequila. You hate tequila as much as you love it. Weddings make you stupid.
Make a spreadsheet. Go all Leslie Knope on that shit. Sit down with your partner and make a budget. Keep yourself organized. Make copies of all invoices and receipts, and do not delete any e-mails that contain correspondences with your vendors; make a folder in your e-mail account titled “WEDDING” and make it your personal record.
About two months before our wedding, our cupcake/cake vendor e-mailed us saying she was closing her storefront to focus on her growing family, but that she would still be able to do our cupcakes. I was understanding, but asked if she would still be able to deliver us the quality, quantity, and delivery that we contractually agreed on. She went completely MIA, and I freaked out. Calls, texts, and e-mails went unanswered, so Russ and I chalked it up as a loss and we moved on to research other cupcake vendors. Out of the blue, she contacted me a month later. Long story short, she had lots going on. I get that. I put my trust in her and she delivered, but this was still pretty anxiety-inducing.
I’m about 83% positive that our pastor forgot about our wedding. The Thursday before, I had to contact him to see about the promised ceremony outline that I hadn’t received. He seemed very flustered and e-mailed me a really rough timeline within the hour. It all worked out, so whatevs.
Our DJ was just bad. He was a good person; very responsive and organized, but he played the wrong song while our bridal party walked down the aisle and the wrong music during dinner.
After my dad and I danced and Russ and his mom danced, I surprised my mom with a mother daughter dance. It was silly and awkward, but sweet. I love my momma.
BONUS: Awkward mother daughter dancing hug thing with no one really paying attention.
If you and your partner opt to write your own vows, design/buy a vow book. It turned our vows into a keepsake that can be preserved. Probably another one of the best decisions we made.
People don’t fucking RSVP. It’s like the wedding stupidness finds its way to them. Make your deadline to RSVP a “buffer” day with around 3-5 days to get in touch (example, our wedding was March 14. Our “RSVP by” date was February 25 giving us a 5 day buffer before our counts were due on the 1st.)
Wedding shopping with friends and family is fun and cool but can also be stressful and tiring. Everyone has opinions. My mom wanted me to look like a cake, and my MOH thought it would be cool to try on dresses simultaneously for whatever reason. When you narrow down your choice, go alone. Try them on, take pictures from multiple angles. Sit in it. Walk around. Dance. Sleep on it. Ask Weddit. Choose what makes you feel beautiful. You’re gonna look like a damn angel, guys.
It REALLY irked me that a lot of the venues we toured didn’t have a space for my husband/dad/groomsmen to get ready. People acted like this wasn’t a big deal or not normally a deciding factor but it was to me. Before we chose The Springs, we had a different venue in mind that was closer to home (our venue was an hour drive away from where we live.) When we went on the tour, I found out that there was no place for my groom to get ready while myself and my bridal party had a lavish on-site cabin. How is that even remotely fair? I don’t know how this is really relevant, but this is already long as all hell so whatever.
If you’re planning on doing a “couples dance,” do it early. A lot of the older couples at our wedding skedaddled pretty quickly, so we ended up not doing this.
Pinterest is a black hole. Most of the wedding pictures are staged and not real wedding or real couples. Gather ideas and inspiration, but take it with a grain of salt. Do your own thang.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten shit.
Guys, if you’re still with me, I am both amazed and worried. Are you still alive? Did you fall asleep at your computers? Either way, thanks for letting me re-live this magical day. Even if it all went to hell and our venue burned down and we had to say our vows in the snow under a bridge wrapped in old towels, I still married the love of my life. And that’s everything. I wish you all the best and am always open to PM’s if any of my fellow brides/grooms need anything!
BONUS: Dancing to Single Ladies with my BIL.
BONUS: Handsome hubby slaying me with his blue eyes.
BONUS: Final shot of the night.