We got engaged Dec 31, 2016 and decided to get married in the Detroit area (spouse's hometown) even though we both live in Atlanta. My family would have to travel either way and we wanted to make it easier on his friends and family who we predicted would be less likely to travel.
My initial budget thought was 25-30k (he said later he assumed way more) but after looking at 5 venues in 7 hours on a weekend visit we absolutely fell in love with our expensive-as-hell venue and upped it quite a bit. My main thing was to get married on the water, have amazing food and make it as nice foeasy on our guests as possible which our venue made perfectly possible. It was also mostly-inclusive which I knew would help us with planning from afar as I work a lot and didn't want to have to track down every vendor myself.
We paid for our wedding/welcome party/honeymoon completely on our own-- we are mid-30s established professionals with one living parent between us and I already own our home, etc. I know our budget is on the higher side around here but I know I appreciated any kind of recap when I was planning so I am trying to breakdown everything I can. Guest count
: 212 invited including children and plus ones, 135 attended including 5 babies/kids. This was almost exactly the number we were planning on due to the number of people residing out of state. We had 5 people RSVP then back out last minute (one had a baby so totally excusable, the others were just jerks) but a couple of other local friends of friends filled in (we thought why not--we had already paid for it) Venue, etc:
~$40,0000 –Waterview Loft at Port Detroit. This included ceremony with officiant, full open bar, passed apps, dinner (salad, duet of filet mignon and chicken with potato and veggies or vegetarian entree), pastries, late night snack, tables, chairs, linens, service staff, venue coordinator, pretty much everything not listed below. This also includes DJ, Cake, valet parking, and florals/design/rentals company who all contract through the venue and a few upgrades with them are included in that total as are the tips that we gave to the bartenders/valet/day of coordinator. Cake:
Sweet Heather Anne: Main cake was included above but I did spend around $100 for a smaller gluten-free chocolate cake from a separate bakery Photographers
$3200: Rosy and Shaun Wedding Photography: Husband and wife team for 8 hours of coverage and photo booth. They were amazing. We weren't super into being pulled away for a bunch of photos and did all of our posed shots prior to ceremony and they still captured some incredible images and great candid shots during the event. HaiMakeup:
$1250-- Detroit Glam: 2 Hair and makeup stylists on location at hotel for me, 5 bridesmaids and mother in law with airbrush and eyelashes included. I covered everyone and this includes tips. Hotel rooms:
$800, Two suites two nights each at the Marriott hotel next to the venue where we also had a guest block. We stayed in one suite where the groomsmen then got ready and we booked a hospitality suite with a murphy bed for me/bridesmaids to get ready. One of my bridesmaids stayed in this suite as I wanted to cover her room anyway. Attire:
$1250-- I made/sewed my own dress so approximately $800 in fabric total (silks from Mood) and maybe another $100 in notions/resources most of which are reusable. I also spent 100+ hours on it (not including muslins/toiles) over a year's time but I really wanted to use the crochet fabric from my deceased mother's dress and I am really tall and hard to fit anyway. It was truly a labor of love and though I'm not sure I'd do it again the same way I learned a TON and I ended up really loving it even if the fit wasn't as great as it would have been with professional help.
The veil was my also my mom’s my uncle bought in Europe for her wedding in the 70s-- I sewed it onto a comb. I also wore a brooch that has been worn by all the women in my family since my great-great grandmother. I found the Manolos for less than $200 at a Saks outlet but changed into ballet flats ($50) later. My earrings were from the Saks outlet and I found a bracelet to match on Etsy (<200 combined). His tux rental with shoes from Men's Warehouse was free as we had all the groomsmen get theirs there. Rings:
$500. This includes my simple gold wedding band from a local jeweler and his inexpensive titanium ring from Amazon. My engagement ring was my grandmother's wedding ring that I inherited long before engaged and that I gave to him when I was ready for him to ask me :) Welcome Party:
$6,900, Mexican-themed buffet and open bar for 75 guests at upscale brewpub next to our hotel. We invited the whole guest list but it was mostly bridal party and out of town guests staying at the hotel. I was a bit shocked when I got the final price estimate as I am fully aware that this is the cost of a lot of weddings but it was one of my favorite parts of the weekend and we really got to spend time with people who had traveled to be with us. Day of Food:
~$500 Brunch/coffee catered by the hotel and mimosas for the ladies while we got ready, pizza and beer for the dudes. I may have pre-ordered the pizza while tipsy after the welcome party and way overestimated how much they would eat. It was good leftovers at 4 am after the casino though. Stationary and postage:
$500, super simple save the dates from Vista Print then single page invitations with a detail card with gold foil and 20 RSVP cards for older folks from Shutterfly. Waited for sales on both. We used appycouple for our website and online RSVP and I would probably choose another site/app if I were doing it again. Favors:
$500 we did Uno card decks because Uno is our favorite. I ordered them online on black friday and printed the stickers from Zazzle then assembled on Christmas while we were up there Welcome bags:
<200. Nothing fancy just water, soda, snacks from Costco, a map and transit tokens. Mostly did them because we were in a huge hotel and I wanted to make sure people had something to eat/drink around without having to do room service. Gifts:
We got random personal gifts for everyone in our wedding party (from records to curtains) and I honestly have no idea what the total was as I ordered mine and he ordered his. They were all big hits though. We also gave a restaurant gift card to MIL's friend who helped spray paint the records and a gift card to a younger cousin who recorded the ceremony/helped MIL get around all weekend. Other assorted stuff I bought
(really tried to limit this): ~$300 total--simple glass card box from amazon, pac man cake topper from etsy, photos and frames for memory table, frames for table numbers (which were my mom's watercolors I scanned and printed), flipflops for guests ($1 during an old navy sale last summer and a HUGE hit), spray paint for records we used as chargers and the menu stickers for them (records themselves were promos gifted by a friend who owns a store), cardboard cutouts of our dogs for the photo booth, marriage license. Our friend gifted us the constellation poster and it made a great "guest book." Prenup:
$2000 legal fees-- I suppose I should include this. We are odd and talked about prenups on our second date when neither of us had much of anything but now we both have more assets and I own a business so it was pretty much a given for us. Went very smoothly just each had to hire our own attorney. Honeymoon:
$3500-- We came home for three nights to see our dogs, catch up on work and repack. We then had 2 nights in Miami and rented a car and drove to Key West for 2 nights. We sprung for really nice rooms since we were staying in the country so that as well as flights is most of the cost here. Total:
$62,000 (ish) What went wrong
• Planning a wedding when your parents are dead just sucks. I lost my dad at 18 and my mom three years ago both to cancer. Husband lost his dad when he was 19. I was really worried about how my emotions would be the day of because I had some real low points about it while planning but I tried to include a lot of personal touches that would make me feel like my mom was around and for the most part it worked. I also carved out time in the morning for being alone to think about them, cry and thank them and that helped keep the tears from coming later I think.
• Weather-- It was colder than we had hoped all weekend (approx. 45-55F though the weekend before and after were 70+) and it rained all morning/afternoon of the wedding which kept us from doing our first look outside and also our ceremony outside which was something I really really wanted. It did clear up about an hour before the wedding so we were able to do some photos outside and our guests could enjoy being on the patio/river during the reception.
• I wish I slept more the night before because I look tired and my eyes are half closed in almost all of our photos. I didn't stay up all night partying but I did stay up later than planned and couldn't sleep past 6 am.
• Lastly we started late because I really wanted to greet guests with champagne as they came in but between people then not moving into the ceremony on time and people having traffic issues we were 30+ minutes late starting the ceremony which threw us off all night and we only ended up with about an hour and a half for cake and dancing after dinner. I loved everything that we did but probably would have tried to book an extra hour to party until midnight. What went right:
• Everything else. Everything I had worked toward for over a year came out perfectly and we felt so much joy and love all around us. Every bit of stress and money was absolutely worth it to have all our people in one place for a weekend. The venue, food and staff were absolutely amazing and we got tons of compliments on all of it.
• I loved all the "different" things that we did like greeting our guests at the door and having our speeches/toasts during cocktail hour. Though it did throw off our timeline, I thought it made for a nice flow and gave us more time to visit with guests.
• My bridesmaid's 10 month old started walking early so we decided to send him down the aisle as a "ring bearer" even though we weren't planning to have one. He did great and it was adorable.
• We took ~15 minutes of alone time after the ceremony/signing the marriage license and walked down the river just us, no photographers. This was one of my favorite parts and definitely recommend!
• My uncle (mom's brother) made a toast unexpectedly that made everyone cry and was really welcoming of my husband to the family--definitely one of my favorite moments
• Since we got married in Detroit there are several casinos and for a while I had been thinking I wanted to go play blackjack in my wedding dress after the reception. Well, a ton of our friends went to the casino as an afterparty and I won $350 my first time playing at a table!
I said this before but you guys provided so much help, wisdom, and inspiration so thank you again for your part in making our wedding so wonderful!
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