Brenton and I were married in Duxbury, Massachusetts on August 6, 2011. Duxbury is a small coastal town on the South Shore of Boston. Approximately 200 guests were in attendance and we had a very large bridal party! Eight Groomsmen, Eight Bridesmaids, Two Ring Bearers, Three Ushers, and our parents and grandparents were part of that as well. We did not use a wedding planner but had the catering manager help with day-of coordination.
How did you settle on a budget that you felt comfortable with? What factors went into coming up with that number?
We were fortunate to have parents and family members help pay for the wedding in addition to what we were able to save on our own. Basically, we had 3 “splurge” items that we said were necessary – my dress, a kick-ass band, and (obvi) open bar! Everything else we said we would try to keep to a minimum but all of those things ended up being less than we expected so we were able to have the wedding of our dreams. Lucky for us, we have very simple taste and didn’t go overboard with details. We thought the setting was so beautiful that there was no need for extravagance. But trust me, even the simplest of tastes end up with a big price tag!
What was the most important aspect of the wedding to you? (i.e. photography, wedding gown, venue, food, etc.)
As I mentioned, I really wanted my dress, we both wanted a great band, and open bar was a must. At first, I thought the photography wasn’t that important but once we found our photographers, it rose to the top on our list. Our photographers are so incredibly talented and when we saw the pictures, we both cried. I think in hindsight, spending money on a seriously good photographer is something no one would regret. The day goes by so fast and the pictures are keepsakes of the moments you didn’t catch, and the moments that you’ll never forget.
How far in advance did you start the wedding planning process?
As long as I can remember, I wanted a dress that wasn’t exactly traditional. But, once we were engaged, we took about 4 months to really enjoy that time and then got to planning. It was about a year and we used all that time wisely! I have a friend who planned a gorgeous wedding in under 3 months, however, so any time frame works as long as you’re prepared for it.
Negotiating! Almost all of our vendors came down in price. We vowed to stick to our budget and we gave each vendor a firm price that we couldn’t change. They all know there is a possibility that you will go elsewhere so most of them will budge. Also, our centerpieces were pink hydrangeas, we served flatbread pizzas for dinner, my husband’s mother made the cake, I hand-wrote all our invitations and place cards, and all accessories came from Ikea!
What was the most stressful part of planning your wedding? What was the most fun?
Everyone has an opinion. It’s hard to tell people that you might not like some of their ideas because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. And even though we had a generous budget, the money was definitely the most stressful part. There can be a fine balance between maintaining your vision and trying to let everyone involved know how much you appreciate their time, effort, and generosity. The most fun part of planning was trying on my dress! I must have tried it on 100 times before the big day and never got sick of day-dreaming about walking down the isle to my handsome man.
How did you make the wedding feel personal to you and your fiance?
How did you decide on the type of wedding you wanted? Did budget have an influence? (i.e. did you have a traditional wedding, a destination, eclectic, formal, casual, etc)
We were married in the back yard of my mother-in-law’s home which is on the bay so we wanted our surroundings to be most of the decor. I was going for “simple elegance.” I can’t tell you how many people asked me, “so, what’s your theme?” I hate that word! On some of my less than cheery days, I felt like replying, “the theme is Erica and Brenton get married,” but of course, I bit my tongue. My biggest advice to brides DIY-ing most of their wedding is to keep it simple. White lights, candles, and simple flowers will always be gorgeous!
What did you choose to splurge on for the big day? What did you decide to save on?
What were your favorite sources of inspiration for your wedding?
Would you do anything differently?
I would have loved to have a cocktail party with some tables and chairs, open bar, and heavy hors d’ouvres. I had too many people telling me that a formal dinner was necessary so I went that route. I think weddings can be anything you want them to be these days so following your heart and being considerate of others along the way will never steer you wrong.
What advice do you have to Everygirls in the midst of planning their own weddings? Pick three things that are the most important and don’t budge! But try to only pick three. Also, keep things as simple as possible. We all have great ideas and there is a wealth of images out there to inspire, but a huge part of planning the wedding is enjoying the process. If you bog yourself down with too many details, you lose sight of what’s really important: making a promise to love another person for the rest of time, and having all your friends and family there to witness and support that (..and to party!).
(Tent Company/Tables/Chair Rentals/Lighting: B.C Tent Company // Venue: Mother-in-law’s back yard, Standish Shore, Duxbury, MA // Photographers: Amy and Stuart // Flowers: Allison Phalen Floral Design // Dress: Alix & Kelly via Bella Bridesmaids // Band: Kristen and The Noise // Bridesmaids: Donna Morgan, Jack Rogers, Anthropologie (necklaces) // Groomsmen: Joseph A. Banks // Mother-of-the-Bride: Karen Millen // Catering: Lavishly Dunn)