Do you have a story to share? This is part of a series called "Weddings on a Dime." Please send me your brief story (how you meet, got engaged, etc.), your budget (you can be as detailed or not detailed as you want), along with pictures of your "Big Day" to email@example.com. I would LOVE to consider featuring your wedding.
Also, if you have a wedding dress hanging in your closet and are not sure what to do with it, I HIGHLY suggest donating it to Adorned in Grace, a bridal and formalwear shop in which the proceeds go toward helping children escape trafficking!
(Photos by Christine of LCS Photography)
As told by Gretchen, who blogs over at That Mama Gretchen
How we met:
Dominic and I met while attending Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon. We knew one another from a number of classes, but didn't start officially dating until we became apartment neighbors during the late summer of 2006. We had both recently ended relationships and thanks to those, had a much better understanding of what we were looking for in a spouse. Our first date was a casual one to Olive Garden followed by many more and eventually a trip home to visit my family for Thanksgiving.
On May 18, 2007, Dominic proposed on the Portland Waterfront after a fancy dinner at Portland City Grill. I didn't believe him when he got down on one knee. I actually told him to stand up and stop joking! We planned all the details of our special day over the summer and were married on August 24, 2007.
When I was born, my Dad bought my Mom a 1/3 karat diamond necklace. The purpose of this gift was for her to enjoy it while I was growing up and then pass it on to me when I met Prince Charming. If Prince Charming got to know my parents and asked their permission to marry me, they planned to bless him with the diamond from my Mom's necklace as a center stone for engagement ring. Of course, Dominic followed this plan perfectly and we had my Mom's diamond set into a beautiful wedding band which we purchased on clearance for $467.
Dominic's tungsten ring was purchased for about $250. We did opt for the insurance on his ring and it has already paid off! Since tungsten can't be re-sized the insurance policy allowed for a ring exchange if needed. Dominic lost quite a bit of weight while I was pregnant with our first child and his ring was constantly falling off so we've already exchanged it for a new, better fitting one!
My dress is one of my most favorite stories in preparing for our wedding. After a disappointing visit to David's Bridal and a super chic (read "too expensive") boutique I stumbled into a shop in downtown Olympia where I had purchased a prom dress years earlier. In the back corner of Doria's I saw what I hoped would be the dress. And, after a quick try-on ... it was! It was a beautiful mix of lace and raw silk and was on clearance for a mere $214 which included alterations! For the rest of my outfit I found "something borrowed" in both my veil (from bridesmaid Leah) and my shoes (from sister Hannah). A dear friend (Denise) gifted me with hair and make-up on the day of the wedding so that wasn't an addition expense.
For Dominic, we decided to purchase a suit knowing that he would get much more use out of in the future. We purchased it at Men's Wearhouse for roughly $300 including the necessary alterations. He had the chance to wear it multiple times on our honeymoon cruise the following week.
Bridesmaids & groomsmen:
As a gift to my bridesmaids we purchased their matching shoes and my Dad strung my pearl necklace and each of theirs from supplies we purchased at a bead shop. The total was about $350 (including the multi-strand necklace I wore). Each of my bridesmaids chose their own black cocktail dress so they could stay within their personal budget.
Since Dominic bought a suit, we gifted his free tux to his best man/brother. As groomsmen gifts, we purchased Leatherman multi-tools from Costco for about $140 total.
Creating a "feel" for the environment for our wedding was really important to me. We opted to host our wedding at The Aerie Ballroom in Centralia, Washington. I looked at quite a few ballroom type settings between Seattle and Portland and this was by far the most affordable option.
To save a bit on the rental cost, we decided to get married on a Friday night instead of a weekend day. For the grand ballroom, kitchen and spare room (for our rehearsal lunch), banquet hall, and 2 upstairs rooms for getting ready we paid a total of $1,150.
Invitations & programs:
Between design, supplies, and postage for 300 invitations and programs we paid almost $1000. Not cheap, but it played into my hope od creating a fancy feel for our special day. Since we were so blessed with decorations and photography I felt like I had a little wiggle room to splurge on these. To this day, I still LOVE how they turned out!
Flowers & photography:
Back in the day bartering was much more popular than it is now. Thankfully, it's an art my Dad has kept up! As a side business he offers personal and business tax preparation and was able to trade for both my wedding decor and photography. I'm indebted to him for life
The florist we worked with contributed linens, seat covers, ceremony arch, center piece vases, and a set-up/tear-down team. We paid the wholesale cost of the actual flowers which was $700.
Instead of a traditional guest book we opted to have family and friends sign picture frames. The frames were purchased on sale at Target for a total of $40 and have made lovely wall decor in our home.
Our photographer, Christine of LCS Photography, is the most amazing photo journalist out there. Worth every penny she charges! I am so blessed to have had her capture my wedding. Christine is now our official family photographer and since the wedding has done 3 rounds of family photos and we're about to begin my 2nd maternity photo shoot with her.
Food & refreshments:
Our wedding began at 7pm, so we opted to provide a dessert bar after the ceremony. Neither Dominic or I are big cake fans so we served Costco cheesecakes as our main dessert! At a mere $10 each we spent $200.
In addition to cheesecake our church donated chocolate fountains and a group of my Mom's friends donated fresh fruit as cheesecake toppings and fun treats to dip into the fountains.
We splurged on champagne and sparkling cider for toasts - both from Costco, and spent about $250 on these beverages, lemonade, and water.
Music and other details:
Dominic connected with an old friend who DJ'ed our reception for $200. We also had miscellaneous expenses like the officiant fee and a few tips for folks who sang and helped with various coordination.
A church friend offered his videography services to create an introduction slideshow for the beginning of the ceremony for a discounted price of $150 and since the wedding ended so late we decided to skip a fancy car and just leave the ballroom in Dominic's truck.
All in all it was the perfect wedding totaling about $4,411 ... everything I envisioned with the blessing of beginning a new life with my handsome husband. I'm still so thankful to the Lord for bringing him into my life!
Wedding Photography: Christine of LCS Photography FREE thanks to the father of the bride's bartering skills / Videography: $150 friend of the groom / Wedding Venue: The Aerie Ballroom $1,150 / Event Design and Planning: FREE thanks to the father of the bride's bartering skills / Floral Design: $700 / Wedding Cake: Costco cheesecake $200 / Refreshments: Costco $250 / Linens: FREE / Music: DJ was a friend of the groom $200/ Wedding Dress: Doria's $210 / Bride's Hair and Makeup: Gift from friend Denise / Bride's Engagement Ring: Heritage Diamond from mother $467 / Groom's Ring: Tungsten Ring $250 / Bride’s Shoes and Veil: Borrowed from friends / Bride and Bridesmaid's Jewelry: Pearls strung by father of the bride $350 / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Individually picked by bridesmaids / Groom and Best Man's Tuxedos: Men's Warehouse $300 / Groomsmen gifts: Leathermen tools from Costco $140 / Invitations: $1000 / Picture Frame "Guest Book:" Target $40
Total Cost: $4,411
I'd love to hear your story!! E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for sharing your story Gretchen! Dominic, Gretchen, and I all studied business together at Warner Pacific College. I've always loved Gretchen because she is, well, just plain fantastic.You should really check out her blog at That Mama Gretchen.