Monday, October 11, 2010

Real Budget Weddings.... Heather & Stephen

Happy Monday Budget Brides!!!

I hope you guys had a great weekend. Below is the feature that we promised you on Saturday. A special thanks to Heather from Bicoastal Bride for allowing us to feature her beautiful wedding.

Heather & Stephen Walrath
June 4, 2010
Thousand Oaks, California

What was your wedding day budget?

Our budget came to roughly $20,000, which may sound high to many brides out there, but is actually pretty frugal for the particular Southern California region where our wedding was held. Stephen and I were careful to "spend within our means" and prioritize those areas that meant the most to us.

Ceremony $675 (included church site, musical director, coordinator, officiating priest and marriage license fees.)

Reception $6,300 (no site fee, plus a reasonable food and drink minimum. The cost included a Mexican buffet dinner, plus three hours of hosted beer, wine and signature sangria.)

Cake $430 (Our three-tier wine-themed cake featured grapevine designs. We splurged a little on luster dust to give the cake a touch of sparkle, but were careful to avoid any labor-intensive decorations that would dramatically raise the price.)

Transportation $90 (To save money we rented a black van, which Stephen's sister drove. She also split the cost with us.)

Photography $3,400 (Damien Smith, my good friend and fabulous wedding photographer, shot complimentary "getting ready" photos for me, while Alex Neumann , whose artistry is simply incredible, wowed us throughout the rest of the day.)

Videography $1000 (By choosing an up-and-coming videographer, we were able to score eight hours at a great price.)

DJ $1,175 (We saved 10% by holding the wedding on a Friday.)

Stationary $300 (We saved a bundle by going DIY with our invites, escort cards and programs.)

Decorations/Favors $450 (Including items as our guestbook, white chocolate favors, card cage and other small decorative items, such as wine bottles and plastic grapes.)

Flowers $1,550 (By keeping our ceremony floral decor simple, consisting mainly of two altar arrangements which we later reused for the reception, we kept costs at a comfortable level. Our florist Lei-Ann also went above and beyond for us in all areas, especially by enhancing our cake with a dusting of flower petals and designing the most gorgeous bridal bouquet.)

Bride's Attire $2,400 (Including gown, alterations, tiara, veil, shoes, lingerie, garter and jewelry. My shoes from Payless' bridal collection were a steal at just $25!)

Bride's Hair & Makeup $520 (This was a definite splurge that was completely worth it. I felt beautiful and confident throughout the day, and the professional styling was picture perfect.)

Groom's Attire $0 (Since we had six groomsmen and two fathers renting their tuxes from Men's Wearhouse, Stephen's entire rental was FREE!)
Rings $900

Wedding Party Gifts $250

Month/Day of Coordinator $1,500

Wedding Hotel $95

First Dance Lessons $200

What was your wedding day theme and colors?

Our "California Romance" theme allowed us to tie in wine-related elements like grapes, wine bottles and corks, as well as postcards from our favorite California cities. Our colors were grape, white and silver, with touches of lavender here and there for added softness and contrast. We're big believers in "less is more," and our wedding was a simple yet elegant affair.

How many guests attended your wedding?

We held an intimate celebration for just 75 close friends relatives and friends. Keeping our guest count to no more than 80 was important to us, not only due to budget considerations, but also because we envisioned our day as a chance truly spend time with our loved ones without feeling rushed.

Which service or item was your budget buster?

Great photography was definitely our biggest splurge, but I wouldn't necessarily consider it a "budget buster" at all, since it was worth every penny! He blew us away with his skills, and most importantly, he made the entire day fun and relaxing, which shows in every one of our pictures.

Which item/service did you save the most money on?

Scoring eight hours of video coverage for $1,000 was a steal in our area. My great friend and fabulous wedding photographer, shot complimentary "getting ready" photos for me, while Alex Neumann wowed us throughout the rest of the day. While our video is not fancy high-definition or cinematic masterpiece, the hour-long finished product captures all the highlights of our day, including full ceremony, and is of a much higher quality than what we would have gotten had we relied on family or friends.

What DIY money saving projects did you use to maintain your budget?

Stationary and decor were two areas where we saved big by taking things into our own hands. Our DIY invites, made from a Brides kit sold at Michaels, were simple but classy. We also created our own map inserts, wine-cork escort-card holders, wine-bottle table name stands, a crossword puzzle challenge, pew bows, programs, custom tissue packets and more. Our motto was that DIY elements didn't have to be elaborate and definitely didn't have to stress us out!

What aspect of your wedding will you never forget?

After pouring so much love and effort into planning our day, seeing it all come together filled me with more happiness than ever before. I was fully present and in-the-moment, taking it all in sharing the once-in-a-lifetime experience with Stephen and our loved ones. Usually a "behind-the-scenes" girl, I truly enjoyed my day in the spotlight as I married my best friend.

Ceremony Venue

Saint Paschal Baylon Catholic Church

Reception Venue

Los Robles Greens Golf Course


Happy Flowers


Alex Neumann Photography
Damien Smith Photography


Max Maclver Videography

Dress Salon

Alfredo Angelo

Men's Apparel Store

Men's Wearhouse

Entertainment (DJ or Band)

Cover 2 Cover Music & Entertainment


Skiff's Cakes

Hair & Makeup

Makeup and Hair Design by Jana



All Occasions Event Planning

Thanks Heather for the amazing feature and photos. Don't forget to check out Heather's blog Bicoastal Bride.

Would you like to see your wedding feature here? Email us at

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Bicoastal Bride said...

Thanks again for the beautiful feature! We loved our wedding, and I hope it will be an inspiration to others.

PartyPlannerGal said...

Great article! And $1,000 for videography is such an amazing steal :)

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