On September 27 I celebrated 1 year of marriage. It was a good year filled with several of my loved ones getting hitched as well. And more often than not my husband and I will look at each other & say “I am so glad we didn’t have a big wedding”. Even when I was little I could recall not relating to the excessive traditions and circus’ that weddings can become. That continued into my 20’s and all the way up until my wedding day. Doing a rather large amount of bridal hair & makeup has allowed me to be on the outside looking in……and sometimes its not pretty.
We were footing the bill for our wedding (our parents aren’t loaded and I’m sure they have better shit to spend their money on) so the amount of things that we opted out of not only allowed us to have a laid back, enjoyable wedding but we actually made money off of it. When I became engaged, my (now) husband entertained the idea of the typical wedding. After filling him in on what it would take & the cost to pull something like that off in about 5 months he quickly hopped on board my “nope not doing that” train. None of it felt authentic to us. I knew that at the end of the day the ceremony wasn’t important; it was the actual marriage .
So with that being said here is how we went about planning and executing our wedding under $1,000 and why we chose to give a traditional wedding the finger.
This is probably one of the most important and expensive things on any couples checklist. It’s a big deal. This will dictate pretty much 80% of how your wedding will flow. We didn’t really know what we were going to do until one night while drinking with our friends Tina and Gabe. Tina is an event/wedding photographer and suggested the Las Vegas sign. It was free, fun, we could invite as many people as we wanted and all we needed to do was show up and hire a minister. Sounded good to me! She gave me the information for a mobile minister that could dress and perform as Elvis and within the week we had him booked (www.themobileminister.com) and a date set. Since parking is limited we rented a party bus to transport everyone to & from my sister in-laws house, after the ceremony we took the bus back to the house where we had the reception.
Yes, that is our awesome minister Roland in the Katy Perry video for “Waking up in Vegas”
Traditional wedding dresses are beautiful. The sight of said bride wearing one can bring mother-in-laws and cynical cousins to tears. But there was one problem, I have never found one I liked. Never. In all honesty I have never even tried one on simply because I’ve never identified with one. Sure they were pretty but not on me. When posed with this fashion dilemma all I could recall was a dress I saw on Dita Von Teese a few years prior at a convention I was at. She was doing promo work and I was a few feet away from her in awe of her dress. She looked formal yet put together and was all glamour. THAT’S what I wanted.
I soon discovered that the dress was actually a part of her clothing line (The Bon Bon Maxi Dress) and that my dream dress was in a vintage reproduction clothing store my dear friend Karla worked at. I rushed down, tried it on and fell in love. I told her to order my size and that as soon as it came in I would pick it up. Fast forward to my birthday party a few weeks after I had tried it on. In comes Karla with my birthday present & low and behold it was my dress. Karla and my friends had gathered the money to buy it for me. I was, and still am, beside myself for such a kind a loving gift. After minimal alterations it was ready to go. I already had a pair of heels lying around (Bordello Teeze 05) from my modeling days that worked perfectly and that was that…..I was ready to go. As for my (then) fiancé I gave him the visual reference point of George Clooney in Oceans 11 and off he went with the much needed guidance of his mom to successfully find the perfect fitting tux. I did my own makeup and had my girl Chantal do my hair.
The Bridal Parties
There was none. There are better ways to honor my friends besides making them throw me overpriced parties, buy dresses that they will never wear again/hate and do flat out time wasting shit. I opted to work but my husband did have a small bachelor party. On the big day I had my brother from another mother walk me down the “aisle” and stand with me as my husband had his best friend be his best man. It was simple and to the point. Just as I liked it.
The Guest List
Ya know those fancy and expensive invitations that you sent out to all your friends and loved ones? They’re in the trash. All of them. I personally am not OK with throwing my cash away. So if you were invited you heard it directly from us. We wanted our loved ones to be there with no feelings of being obligated, and our wedding reflected that. There was no dress code, I just wanted my people there. If you dressed like Batman, cool……..just show up. If you couldn’t make it or could only stop by that was fine too, our wedding allowed for that. As previously mentioned the reception was in held in a backyard so people could come & go as they pleased. I think roughly 60 people stopped by. It went on well into the midnight hour, I recall a quinceanera going on across the street, so when the cops showed up at our place we blamed our drunken noise on them and went about playing LCR. Look that game up FYI. Also we didn’t register anywhere, so the majority of our gifts from guests was money and gift cards. YES.
Food/Drink & The Wedding Cake
This was simple. We hired a taco guy to come and set up in the backyard and serve up legitimate fresh tacos on the spot buffet style. As for booze we got a keg and a ton of liquor and accommodating mixers. Our wedding cake was done by a friend of a friend, long story short it began to cave in/lean to one side. I personally didn’t care seeing as it tasted delicious and we were all going to poop it out any way. The cake topper I had picked up on eBay for $60.
Spend money on good photographers. For the love of God you will be looking at the images for awhile! Look your best and hire the best. Luckily we know the best. Hire. Them. Tina of QuickStyle Photography took care of the ceremony & reception.
Andrew and Rachel of Radiant Inc nailed our official wedding photos taken in Downtown Vegas.
Clearly these are some talented fuckers.
This is what we really cared about! We took a over a week to ourselves and ventured out to Maui then headed over the Disneyland Halloween party to wrap up our celebration. TIP: If you happen to have a Costco or Sams Club membership check out their vacation packages. Thats how we booked Maui with out breaking the bank.
Do what feels right to you and your significant other. No one is going to want memories of stress, resent and dept. Always carry a healthy amount of perspective and realistic expectations. Things will go wrong during your wedding day but that is par for the course! I wouldn’t trade or change our day for anything.
Because let’s face it, I’ll be damned if I get charged for someone’s no-show struggle dinner plate. And yes, to this day my friends and I still talk about the taco guy from our reception.