Highway to Happiness: Final Wedding Budget

Wedding Recaps

We started out with a working budget of $5,800. That number was based on what we expected to save each month for the 2+ years we were actively planning the wedding. I’d set up a spreadsheet to track both the savings as well as any spending and it worked fairly well for 90% of our engagement. I’m sure you can empathize with the mad dash that happens just before the wedding and the habit of throwing cash (and the occasional bit of plastic) at anything that pops up.

Long story short, this post is the first time I’m looking at what out final expenses totaled!

Images via Pink Shutterbug Photography

Images via Pink Shutterbug Photography

Attire $635

My dresses and accessories came to $480 thanks to needing no alterations and shopping smart. Choosing both dresses were simple compared to picking a bracelet–I think I bought a total of five, but only included the once I actually wore in the total.

Roadie’s suit rental and tie came to $155


Rings $276

Roadie’s tungsten carbide ring ($53) came from Amazon because, like many a Bee before me, we saw no reason to spend six times as much to buy it in a jewelry store. My wedding band ($223) didn’t come from the wedding section of Marks & Morgan, but the fashion jewelry cases; it also happens to be sterling silver, which is much more my daily wear speed.


Decorations $609

We diy-ed the vast majority of the decor for our wedding, so this total includes the linens I purchased for the reception ($98–about half of what the rentals would have cost), as well as the craft supplies we combined with the stuff we already had around the house. Hoarding craft supplies has never been so helpful and I wouldn’t have the first clue about how much of “in stock” value all of that came to.

Beverages $612

We brought in our own wines and signature cocktail fixings. It was easier to buy full cases so that total could really be cut in half since we have about half of it left for at-home consumption. The beer service was comped by the venue in light of the mishaps on the day.


Venue & Catering $3297

Venue rental for the ceremony and reception space ran $1545
AV services (iPod dock, outdoor speakers, etc.) ran $289

Cocktail Hour Food & Beverage for 27 $330
Reception Food & Beverage for 25 $625

Lodging $508

Desserts $154

The four dozen cupcakes from Lucy & Leo’s came to $102, the rest is the ingredients for the desserts I made.

Favors $104

Another point for the edible favors–not a single one of our chocolate bundles were left behind!

Photographer $384

This included and engagement session as well as 8 hours of coverage and 2 shooters on the day (including a $25 mileage fee). It resulted in 1400 digital images (including both sessions) with reprint rights.

The Legal Bits $170

Our marriage license was $93.50 and the event insurance was $76.50. The insurance was a condition of our original contract but the new DoC didn’t know anything about it. Still, an ounce of prevention and all that, right?

Rehearsal Dinner $230

Dinner for 12 at a Mexican restaurant was one of our better food-related decisions (right after our cupcakes). Even with a very generous tip it was still less than we’d expected!


Stationery $150

Postage was probably the largest purchase when it came to our paper goods at $80. We spent $20 on our Save the Date cards, and the rest went to envelopes. Everything else I already owned and since I’d replaced my inkjet printer earlier in the year (with an Epson WorkForce 7510) I was able to do everything else purely diy.

Miscellaneous $279

Ceremony glassware for unity ceremony $78
Pre-Wedding Pampering $90
iTunes downloads for ceremony/reception music $44
Emergency Kit supplies $67

Grand Total $6900

So, about $1100 over the planned budget which doesn’t seem so bad (we’re just going to ignore the fact that it’s a 19% increase in reality). The extra grand didn’t cause any undue financial hardships and we have no regrets about where our money went. I suppose that’s all you can hope for when it comes to a wedding budget, so in that respect I think we did quite well.


The Road Trip Wedding Recaps:

Highway to Happiness: Vendor Reviews

Wedding Recaps

While I’ve already shared my thoughts on the venue, we do have a couple more vendors that certainly deserve a shout-out.

Pink Shutterbug Photography: Recommend

On either side of the fountain during our engagement session and wedding. | Images by Pink Shutterbug Photography

On either side of the fountain during our engagement session and wedding. | Images by Pink Shutterbug Photography

We searched high and low for a photographer that fit both our (admittedly small) budget and uncomplicated style. Thankfully we found Kara to fit the bill and she did a fabulous job for us. What made her practically perfect for us was that she specializes in family portraits, doing only a handful of weddings each year to “keep it fun,” she says. Because of this she can keep her package prices low and keep her deadlines. And speaking of deadlines, even though ours was the first of the 3 (I believe) wedding she did last year, all in the month of November, we received a generous preview album in time to order Christmas cards and the discs of the images right at 2 months after the wedding. We enjoyed working with Kara and would not hesitate to call on her again if we ever decide to couples portraits again.

Lucy & Leo’s Cupcakery: Recommend

Anyone else hungry, now?

Anyone else hungry, now?

They’re a bit of an institution around these parts, but it’s still worth saying that we (and our guests) enjoyed their cupcakes immensely! One of the few bakeries around that offer gluten-free cupcakes (and the only one, I believe, that has an actual storefront), they go above and beyond making their gluten-free cupcakes in almost all of their regular flavors–not just one or two. The ultimate test, of course, was that our guests didn’t even realize they were gluten-free, they were that tasty! They routinely sell-out when they bring their camper to events, and are the kind of shop that closes each day when the last cupcake sells, often shortly after 5pm (just in case anyone in the Tallahassee area wants to give them a try), and while they don’t make gluten-free flavors every day, they do take special orders for everyday celebrations–not just weddings.


The Road Trip Wedding Recaps:

Highway to Happiness: And That Was That

Wedding Recaps

Once everyone had their fill of dessert, people started to say their goodbyes and make their way out to whatever plans they had for the rest of the day (there was a pretty big college football game going on in town that night, so some folks had tailgates to get to).

I was able to see most of our guests off but I did miss a few because, as careful as tried to be, I still ended up having to excuse myself to be sick for a bit. Based on the time-delay these reactions tend to have, it must have been something in the first course that set me off, but there’s nothing to be done about it now! I did feel bad that it was Roadie’s parents I missed saying goodbye to, but we caught up with them at dinner that night, so it wasn’t the end of the world.

Mama Leadfoot showing her silly side.

Mama Leadfoot showing her silly side.

The staff packed up all our reception details and delivered them back to our room. Even though it wasn’t 10 minutes after we’d okayed that plan that they knocked on the door, Roadie and I had already forgotten they were coming and had already started to change into comfy clothes for the afternoon–he was only half-dressed and ended up ducking into the closet while they unloaded the decorations!

Now, the thing about having an early-afternoon end to your reception is deciding what to do with the rest of the day? We went for the lounge option, sacking out after a very busy morning. We opened the many cards from family and friends and I made sure to start the list of who enclosed what for proper thank-you writing. We also each made up for the scarce bites of cupcake earlier by snagging some of the leftovers that had been delivered back to the room.

(personal picture) The fountain was so beautiful at night--it would make a great backdrop for an evening event, too!

(personal picture) The fountain was so beautiful at night–it would make a great backdrop for an evening event, too!

As I mentioned above, we met up with Roadie’s family for dinner that evening in the resort dining room (the food, by the way, was much better at dinner than it had been at the reception) as well as Friend-ficiant L and her husband who were also staying on property. Sharing a casual meal with his family was a nice “bookend” to the event, having starting the long weekend with a dinner with mine.

(personal picture) So long, Honey Lake!

(personal picture) So long, Honey Lake!

We had a lot of things go wonky on our wedding day, but the important things all went the way they needed to: just right. I’m just as surprised as anyone that I kept my cool through all of it–it was a little bit of not wanting to make our guests uncomfortable by blowing up and a lot of realizing that it wasn’t worth the rise in blood pressure a blow-up would have triggered. Keeping calm meant that, bumps and all, we have more fond memories of the day than negative ones. All I can advise for any other bride is to have back-ups to the important things and then just agree with yourself to go with the flow.

Even though this is the end of the wedding, I’ve still got a couple of posts before I officially hit the road!


The Road Trip Wedding Recaps:

Highway to Happiness: Trading Sweets

Wedding Recaps

As the third course was cleared and the conversation began to ebb, our guests’ glances began to stray to the dessert table in the far corner of the room.

I had deliberated for quite some time how to display our cupcakes. The standard tiered stack is always a good go-to, but since we were dealing with a smaller quantity than those large displays hold, I wanted something that would have a bit more presence without looking bare. Going over what I had on hand, I came back to these telescoping plant stands that a friend gave me ages ago. In the 7 or 8 years I’ve owned them I think they’ve held a potted plant maybe once? Usually they get used to hold party supplies or lights at our parties, and I realized they’d be perfect cupcake stands, too!


I filled each platform with excelsior and then secured corks and paper flowers around the edges–both to fill the space and to help support the small plates resting on the edges of the lower platforms. Since the clear plastic plates I found were just barely big enough to span the diameter of each stand (and the next size up of anything was way too big) I secured those at points with hot glue as well. They mostly survived the trip to the Plantation–enough to serve their purpose.

When the DoC came over to ask which cupcakes we wanted to use for our “cake cutting” I realized I’d almost forgotten about those sweet treats waiting to end the meal! Since we were still a bit pinned in, we opted to do the cake bits at our seats.

That would be a very definite 'no' to little brother's suggestion of a cake smash.

That would be a very definite ‘no’ to little brother’s suggestion of a cake smash.

We were, instead, very careful and very polite.

We were, instead, very careful and very polite.

The traditional kiss afterwards, however, was not so sweet for Roadie, I’m afraid. He’s not a big fan of peanut butter–the smell or taste of it–and the peanut butter frosting on my cupcake had been quite strong. His reaction gave our guests a laugh, though! (He went with the strawberry cupcake, just in case anyone was curious.)


I believe it was at this point we thanked our guests for spending the day with us before inviting them to help themselves to the dessert table.


It was a good thing the leftover cupcakes were being delivered back to our cottage since, once people were up and moving, I didn’t get a chance to finish more than half of mine before I, too, was mingling with our guests. It felt good to get up and stretch our legs, so for our guests who’s been sitting longer than we had I’m sure they appreciated it, too!


The Road Trip Wedding Recaps:

Highway to Happiness: A Few Words Before Brunch

Wedding Recaps

We’d made it to our seats, our DoC asked us what wine we wanted to drink, and everyone got settled in chatting among themselves while we waited for our first course.

MiL Road Trip, Roadie, Mrs. Road Trip, Dr. Aunt--you can really see the respective family resemblences! | Images via Pink Shutterbug Photography

MiL Road Trip, Roadie, Mrs. Road Trip, Dr. Aunt–you can really see the respective family resemblences! | Images via Pink Shutterbug Photography

Now, we hadn’t asked anyone to make any sort of toasts on our behalf, but once we were settled-in, FIL Road Trip stood and gave us a very sweet toast–I wish I could remember what he said but it escapes me at the moment.


Hey, would you look at that–I wasn’t he only one who changed after the ceremony. FIL RT had swapped his white sports coat for a red one. We didn’t immediately catch on, but apparently he was showing his Cornhusker pride that day!


Then Mama Leadfoot (who chose to stay seated) told the story about how I told her I was hesitant for Roadie to meet my family as I was afraid they’d overwhelm his reserved midwestern sensibilities. I don’t remember that particular conversation (and, as such, inadvertently heckled my mother’s “toast” to us by saying as much) but the long and the short of it is that he stuck around so must not have been too overwhelmed.

FiL Road Trip asked if we would mind if he said the blessing before the meal.

FiL Road Trip asked if we would mind if he said the blessing before the meal.

Then it was time to eat!


I believe I’ve already alluded to the fact that the menu was not exactly what we’d approved back during the tasting. Everyone enjoyed their soup (for which I’m grateful) even though mine looked like it was about to separate and had absolutely no flavor, and the bacon-wrapped breadsticks weren’t how I envisioned, but folks seemed to like them so I won’t quibble too much with that. When the second course came out I was dismayed to see that the fruited salad with citrus dressing was fruit salad on one side and a green salad on the other, with ranch and vinaigrette. And the kitchen couldn’t even figure out how to evenly portion the quiche so that the first half of the room got nice, wide slices but the other half got slivers in comparison. Finally, the country-fried steak wasn’t really, the gravy lacked the andouille sausage so was rather plain, and the last-minute vegetables were barely seasoned and only somewhat grilled–a far cry from the terrine that we were expecting.


Not only did the chef bring down our brunch to the rubber-chicken equivalent thereof, there were serious gaps in service. Because my plates were prepared separately I would be served and a good 5-10 minutes would go by before the rest of the food came out. We’d go long stretches without seeing a member of the waitstaff and because everyone was so jammed in on the sides, moving around and visiting with others not directly to your left or right was near impossible–thank goodness we’d done the receiving line!


But I will say this–our group didn’t let it bother them. While there weren’t many lulls in conversation, when one did occur my centerpieces came in quite handy! You may remember I’d added bits of trivia to the centerpieces just in case we needed some ready-made topics. The table my boss and his wife were seated at included the year that email was invented and she was surprised at just how far back it went. That spurred Dr. Aunt to recall her early days in academia when email was still very new, and our IT/Database guru at the third leg of the U-shaped table to chime in, as well. Even though I figured the chances slim that our guests would actually notice the trivia in actuality, I was amazed that it worked as well as I’d hoped.

Just goes to show, you never know what little touches will have an impact on the actual day!


The Road Trip Wedding Recaps: