Self Indulgence: Wedding Photos

What no one tells you is that your wedding budget falls apart in the days before the wedding.

Your parents will run out to buy extra chocolate for wedding favors, your fiance will put some extra things on his credit card and it will all get lumped in with honeymoon spending when he pays it off, and inevitably, someone calls because they just found their RSVP card (marked “yes”) that they never sent in, so they call and lie and pretend it got lost in the mail, and although they never called back when you tried to get their status, they totally already made travel reservations.  Or a couple (on your fiance’s side, naturally) had a last-minute cancellation of their business trip, and they are just calling to say they booked a flight and aren’t you so happy that you get to call the venue and add some extras at the last minute?

So how much did our wedding cost?  Somewhere around $30,000. We paid for roughly half of it ourselves, with parents contributing for the things they wanted (my parents chipping in so we’d have the wedding at all; his parents paying for the band because it would be so low class to have a DJ [/sarcasm]).

And for all of my complaints, I had an awesome time.  Once everyone stopped looking at me.

After the jump is waaaaaaay too many pictures.

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We gave half of the wedding budget to our wedding venue.  At the time we booked it, we were scrambling.  Chad’s mom hated the original venue I picked, and so we there we were, less than a year before the wedding, trying to find a place to get married.  My parents loved the inn as soon as they saw it, and we thought that an all-inclusive venue would be easier since at the time, we were living 3,000 miles away.

Truthfully, it was a gorgeous place to get married.  But expensive, and not really willing to negotiate.  They were featured in The Knot, and people were booking years in advance from as far away as Ireland.


The outside looks like an old farmhouse, and the inside was decorated in old antiques, mixing patterns and textures.  It made for some good pictures!


Because I’m 12, my favorite thing was that our room was hidden behind a fake bookcase.


The grounds were gorgeous as well (it was a little muddy, though, because it rained all day Friday and most of Saturday morning.  We really thought we were going to have to have the ceremony inside).  Our photographer had us trek all over.


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My cake, you guys.  I know I already posted about this, but seriously.  LOOK AT THIS CAKE.  We went for real icing (people complimented that more than anything else!), and the berries were sculpted out of fondant.  This came from a grocery store!

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We bought 3 trays of pastries and chocolate-covered strawberries in addition to the cake.  Nothing remained after the party.  I don’t know where it went, but I was sort of bitter that I didn’t get to try anything but the slice of cake we had during the cutting.

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My florist was awesome.  My bouquet wasn’t exactly what I had pictured (and it was so heavy), but gorgeous nonetheless.  To save some money on the flowers, we built the chuppah ourselves. (OK, the chuppah was probably the only thing I got really bride-y about.  Chad spent hours in the woods getting the branches, my mom & Chad’s aunt spent breakfast the morning of the wedding sewing the tallit, and I was almost late to the wedding because I was tying the flowers on.  Still worth it.)

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I spent around $1400 on my dress & accessories: the dress + tailoring ($800 + $300), the shoes ($250), my Penn State garter (!!) ($13).  Chad’s mom loaned me the earrings she wore at her wedding (to be honest, I liked the earrings I bought better, but I was very attracted to the idea of wearing his mom’s earrings), and I fashioned a bracelet out of two long pearl necklaces I already had.




As everyone knows, the most important part of the wedding isn’t the wedding ceremony – it’s the reception.  If you thought I put up a lot of pictures before, be prepared to have your mind blown by how many pictures I am going to post.

During the toasts.

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Our favors were little European-style chocolates that are made at a factory down the road from where I grew up.  Everyone knows about Hershey (which is also pretty close), but for me, it has always been about Wilbur Chocolates.

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One of our flower girls discovered the first aid kit in the bathroom.  No worries about her getting bored!

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The father-daughter dance.

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The horah.

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I look terrified in every picture of us on the chairs.  It’s scary up there!

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Uncle Mike sampled the champagne.

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Chad and I resisted the urge to shove cake into each other’s faces, but he wiped some icing on my nose because he thinks he’s cute or something.  This was right before he managed somehow to smear icing all over his own tux jacket.  Clearly, I came out the winner.

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Chad’s dad is an attention whore, so he took the mic and sang “Good Rocking Daddy” with my dad, who is not an attention whore but was a little drunk.  (Those 2 things are interchangeable.)

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We did the obligatory wedding things, like throwing the bouquet and the garter.  The best man did his part and place his arm scandalously far up the bouquet catcher’s dress.

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Of of the financial stupidest but fun-wise smartest choices we made was to set up an after-party on the front porch of the inn.  We got a case of beer (bought through the inn) and every sat around talking, drinking, and smoking cigars.  We even played some wiffle ball in our formalwear!  They way overcharged us for the beer, but we left the porch a mess so I think they might have buried some cleanup costs in there as well.

My favorite photo from the night.  And this is proof that you don’t need to spend $4000 on a photographer to get some awesome photos.  (I will post more info on the photographer later, once my new last name has been taken off his website!)

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I’ll close with this.  There’s a danger thinking that your wedding will be your perfect day.  Our officiant muffed his lines, I feel that my arms look fat in most to all of the wedding photos, and I’m not entirely convinced that my hair worked out the way I thought it would.  But every time I look through the photos, and every time someone tells me, “I hate weddings, but yours was so much fun,” I am glad that I didn’t get caught up in the culture of my day, or perfection, or the PF tenet of saving money at all costs.  We wanted to throw an awesome party, and we did.


14 Responses

  1. Oh wow, everything’s so beautiful! I loooove how your cake turned out- seriously, a grocery store did that? I have got to meet your grocery stores! 🙂

    And your hair is pretty fantastic. DO people stop looking at you, ever? I mean, you ARE the one in the pretty white gown with the awesome hair and stuff.

  2. Chupah? Horah? Is there another Jew in PF land??? Awesomeness!

    Looked like a really fun day 🙂

    • Actually Chad’s the one who’s Jewish, but since I’m not too religious, we went with a lot of Jewish traditions.

  3. Beautiful! It looks great and like a lot of fun.

  4. Stunning. My favorite picture is you wiping the icing off your nose–really cute! But I also love the last photo–despite all the hustle and bustle, that picture sums up what the day was all about. Congratulations!

  5. I love love love that last photo! And you’re so pretty in all these pictures! 🙂

    Sorry, I have to ask: what was your wedding budget to begin with? Did you add up those little “days before the wedding” cost into your $30k, or were those just extras you didn’t account for? Since I’ll probably pay for mine by myself, I’m curious.

    Anyway… looooove the photos!

    • When I was in the initial planning stages, I was thinking we’d spend around $18K, but that wasn’t based on any real numbers or anything.

      The first time I put together a budget based on the quotes I’d been getting, I posted about it in horror. I went over that original budget because Chad’s parents insisted on a band ($5K vs. the $2K I had originally planned for, plus we had to feed the band), and they had lots of “required” invites who had skipped his sisters wedding but came to ours ($150/head x 10 extra people).

      We went slightly over on flowers and photos. We went way over on food because of the aforementioned guest list bloat, plus we added some extras at the last minute to get a deal on our band member meals.

  6. Very Beautiful! Congratulations. Love the inn. What a beautiful place!

  7. Yaaay! Wedding porn! These photos are stunning… absolutely beautiful! (I am also really self conscious about my arms… but yours look fantastic!)

  8. You look beautiful in all the pics, and your arms DO NOT look fat. It looks like it was a really fun time! I want to go to a Jewish wedding now! PS BF and I were just talking about how, if we were millionaires, we would totally build a bookcase into a wall that, when pushed against, turned into another room, Scooby-Doo style. 🙂

  9. I’m in love, what great wedding porn. May I ask how many guests? I might have to up our budget already, the great location I found fell through and I haven’t found anything else I like in the same price range. How did you feel about the Jewish traditions? I’m in the same spot, personally non-religious but Mr M is jewish and wants a rabbi etc. It’s all so overwhelming! Congrats to you both.

    • Final count was 110 people, plus the 11 people in the band.

      The Jewish traditions didn’t really bother me since I am only marginally religious myself. Some stuff Chad wanted, some stuff his mom wanted, and I stole some passages for our vows that I especially liked. My rule was, if someone else wanted it, they had to take care of it, so that saves you the stress!

  10. Gorgeousity 😀 You look BEAUTIFUL.

  11. […] Tone my shoulders and arms. Not really.  I know this made people mad in my wedding post, but I really was displeased by my arms.  This was kind of a silly goal, though.  After having to […]

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