Sunday, 28 December 2014

The $1,500 Wedding Budget Challenge

When I was little, I thought I was going to get married and have babies when I turned 25 - just like my mom did. Of course, life never turns out exactly the way you plan it. So I got married at 26 instead and have no plans for increasing the world population with babies just yet. As I grew older I didn't think I was going to get married this early -- early in terms of the modern woman anyway -- but this felt right. :)

I know I kept a wedding blog to be an info-depository, but now that the wedding is over I don't think I'd update that again. I've updated this personal blog for years, though, so I thought it'd make sense to blog about our wedding here on Follow The Cable.

We had our wedding at Chapel Dulcinea in Austin. We picked it for three reasons:

  1. It's free! Remember my $1,500 wedding budget challenge? I totally nailed it, and will vlog about it over time. We paid a $400 refundable deposit to get the spot for December 20 from 3-5 pm, then got the full refund when we showed up for the wedding.
  2. It's beautiful. With the exception of poor weather conditions, it was pretty much set up for beauty: an outdoor wedding on top of hill country, with a great view and photo ops everywhere for your guests.
  3. The free reception area is a two-minute walk away. I think the biggest price tag for weddings is usually for the venue or the food during the reception. Renting out a venue usually costs a few thousand dollars just for a few hours. With the Canadian Diamond Pavilion right next to the chapel, we got to serve our guests cake and champagne without having to rent out an additional space.
It was a small wedding because the chapel can only accommodate a certain number of guests. We invited 41 guests but 32 showed up on that day. By having a smaller guest list, we had fewer no-shows, which also saved us on the "money wasted" spectrum since our service provider charges by the guest list. And there are always no-shows at weddings!

I used a San Antonio-based wedding service provider called Everlasting Elopements that sorted out the Reverend, florist, baker, photographer and venue set-up/clean-up for us. All I had to do after that was contact the florist and baker to discuss the details of what we wanted for the wedding cake and flowers, and choose the vows.

And here's the big question: did we meet the $1,500 budget challenge?

  • Service providers: $736.57
  • My wedding dress from ASOS: $140
  • My wedding shoes from Macy's: $30
  • Darren's wedding shirt, vest, pants & tie: $140
  • Engagement photoshoot: $150
  • Handmade guestbook: $10
  • Handmade hot chocolate wedding favors: $50
  • Handmade wedding invitations & Thank You cards: $15, with borrowed tools from Melody
  • Hair & makeup: Free & done by my good friend Ana
  • Wedding signage: Done by equally good friend Sharon
  • Wedding manicure & pedicure: Gifts from our friends Linda & Beth
Total wedding cost: $1,271.57 = CHALLENGE COMPLETED!

Unfortunately, our property taxes and green card application fees are higher than we expected, so the excess money from the wedding budget is merely being redirected to our responsibilities. However, I'm extremely pleased with myself for pulling off a wedding in under $1,300. :D

Our family, which is now a combination of Darren's and mine: Greg, Melody, Nelson, Evelyn, me & Darren, Kayli, Chris, Shannon, Jeannette, Travis, mom & dad.

Our Texas friends: Conrad, Sharon, Ricky, Megan, Doug, Catherine, Linda, Ana & her baby Aidan, Wan, Alice & Mike Fuller with their kids Alexis and Ethan.
My USC friends who traveled from LA & Florida: Vero, Ran, Laura & Cynthia!
Our custom-made Pacman-themed wedding cake. Lemon flavor & delicious!
Strolling into the "sunset" - Photo by Austin Stuart.
Us taking a few minutes before we head to the reception to mingle with guests. Photo by Austin Stuart.
The officiant who married us: Reverend Peter Johnson! Photo by Austin Stuart.
Our awesome wedding photographer! Photo by Austin Stuart.
This is Chapel Dulcinea. Thank you for being free & helping young couples like us afford getting married! Photo by Austin Stuart.

I love this picture because Darren looks so handsome! Photo by Austin Stuart.
And then I ruined his turn of being the focus :P Photo by Austin Stuart.
So glad I got bubble wands for the wedding. The bubble pictures turned out so fun! Photo by Austin Stuart.


Anfield Yee said...

Congratulation Sha-Lene!! May God bless your marriage! :)

Maxwell T said...

Congratulations, dear! Am so happy for you!


DN said...

Heartiest congratulations and best wishes for married life!
Sticking to your budget is very hard, but you did it yeay! I wonder if it's possible to do that in Malaysia.