Guest Blogger, Gillian Rodriguez: A Boerne Wedding on A Budget
Did you know that we are entering PRIME wedding season with the month of September? Yup, according to the largest wedding survey in the industry, the most popular time of year for weddings has shifted from summer to fall; with 40% of 2017 weddings occurring during the months of September and October. Additionally, twice as many people become engaged in the month of December than any other month! According to that same survey, the average cost of the American wedding last year was $27,000…and that doesn’t even include the $5,000 ring or $4,000 honeymoon!
Well, not for budget-savvy local mom Gillian Rodriguez. Gillian managed to keep the total cost of her gorgeous Boerne wedding to just over A QUARTER of that $27,000 average; $7259.96 to be exact. And that’s with holding her wedding, full-meal reception, and lodging for many of her fifty guests at one of Boerne’s most upscale establishments, the Ye Kendall Inn and Peggy’s on the Green. How exactly did she do it? Well, let’s let her tell us for herself, shall we?
Our Perfect Un-Fairy-Tale Wedding
This wasn’t my first wedding. There…that’s on the table. Because it wasn’t my first wedding, I think I have some experience most new brides may not have and my goal in this piece is to show why it’s more important than ever to get real about having an affordable wedding…and how to do it. This is not the Pinterest wedding: this is Our Perfect Un-Fairy-Tale Wedding.
Guests/Invitations: We invited our immediate families and closest friends. We weren’t trying to be rude, but something that helped was asking, “Is it worth $150 to invite Mr. X?” If we couldn’t answer yes to that question, they didn’t make the list. We ordered invitations through www.minted.com. Their “All-in-One” invitation is a handy origami contraption that includes an RSVP postcard. They even print addresses for free and offer a Spanish option! Cost for 50: $86.
Dress: Admittedly, I braved a trip inside the loop for my dress and veil. I told the attendant what my budget was and not to show me anything outside of that budget—period. I tried on a couple of awful options, and found mine (something totally different than my original vision), on sale. Cost: $496 + $311 for alterations.
Venue: We looked to Becky Leininger-Juarbe with Ye Kendall Inn for the actual venue space. Becky sat down with me the day after I called, and completely embraced my vision for our low-key, intimate Mexican-Country wedding. She had a solution for everything; the wedding space outside, the family-style reception inside, and the newly-renovated, yet country chic cabins where guests could sleep off the night. What she didn’t charge for? Giving me confidence in my vision to pull this off…and for that I will be forever thankful. Cost: $1898.18 (wedding space; reception hall; and seven guest rooms, including ours).
Food & Drink: We’d eaten at Peggy’s on the Green before, on a special occasion, and remembered the menu items we loved. Our menu included fried chicken skins, candied jalapenos, quail skewers, mac & cheese, southern green beans, prime whole tenderloin, and smoked sausage. We added beer and wine, which was only served at the table, and informed guests that a cash cocktail bar was also available inside. When a full-bar service adds thousands of dollars, this is the way to go. Cost: $3398.78 for a feast for fifty, table beverages included!
Flowers: A Boerne favorite shined bright here— H.E.B.! Yes, they do weddings, and other special occasions and the same quality and value you find in stores, is what you’ll find in their occasion-pieces. We provided pick-up service to save on delivery and I bought vases at a garage sale! Cost: $340.
Cake: Crazy Cakes by Jen is a true local gem! Even though she’s based in San Antonio, she serves the Boerne community on the regular. I contacted her a week beforehand, told her exactly what I wanted, and she delivered! No dry fondant for us— just scrumptious, Mexican-Vanilla-Cream-Cheese-Filled cake, frosted “naked” style so everyone could see the layers. Cost: $330 with delivery.
Photography: After getting quotes for thousands of dollars and thinking to myself that every one of our fifty guests would have their smartphone whipped out, I was less than excited about hiring a high-dollar photographer. So, I enlisted the help of a dear friend and local darling, Crysta Richardson of Lynndale Moments. As a startup, she offered a very competitive rate with the digital images for us to print on our own! Bonus? She’s a toddler mom who knows how to manage kids and her warmth made everyone feel at ease. I created a shot-list beforehand, by name, so after the ceremony, the family pictures were quickly whipped through and no one was confused on where to go. Cost with gratuity: $400.
Grand total: $7,259.96 for our intimate Mexican-Country-Chic wedding in Boerne, surrounded by family and friends.
There are odds and ends I didn’t mention because every wedding will have unique touches. But the message I want to emphasize is that we did it! It wasn’t an over-the-top affair. It wasn’t trying to out-do those who’ve gone before us down the Pinterest aisle of perfection. It wasn’t something our parents were dusting off credit cards to provide. It was ours, free and clear, and we walked away knowing we could begin saving for our next adventure.
Bonus Feature: “The Cut-List: Three Things to Nix to Keep Your Wedding Budget on the Human Level!”
DJ or Live Band: This one does depend on your passions and venue, but we used an iPod and a Bluetooth speaker with perfect success. Cost? $0. Savings? Hundreds to thousands.
Limo/Car Service: Most people won’t see what you arrive in. Most people don’t care what you leave in. And chances are good the pictures will hardly, if at all, show it either. If you can’t sleep at your venue like we did, just paint your cars and tie on the tin cans! Cost: $0. Savings? Hundreds.
Extravagant Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties: Without getting on a soapbox: let’s just STOP already. The idea that a fun time with your friends has to mean flying out of state to some spending-spree, splurge-cation is just nuts. Get a mani-pedi, go to dinner, and save the cash. Bonus? Your friends won’t feel priced-out of celebrating with you like they may if you opted for a more extravagant party. Cost? $100-$200 depending on dinner. Savings? Thousands.
Gillian Rodriguez is a working mom, student, and bride to her new husband Guillermo. She spends her free time as a foodie, dozing off five minutes into most documentaries, and running her multi-cultural, all-inclusive Facebook group, Mothers of Another Color.
Have you managed to host your own Hill Country wedding on a budget? What tips and tricks did you use to keep the costs down? Tell us in the comments!
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