Sunday, January 6, 2013

First comes love, then comes 6 years of courtship...

After many years of being single, and a long courtship, I am getting married! I met Jared 6 years ago through mutual friends. Within a month or two I became infatuated. It took him a bit longer. We dated for a short time, but it soon became clear that our life situations were just too different to progress any further. Jared has never married and has no children, and I am divorced with kids, and even grandchildren. We both began seeing other people,  but remained friends and kept gravitating toward each other.

Not long after our initial dating and subsequent break up, I was diagnosed with cancer. Jared was there to provide comic relief during a very difficult time for me.

Just prior to Thanksgiving, Jared proposed to me, and I gladly accepted. We opted for a short engagement and are in the midst of planning a simple wedding and reception for 150 people. I say simple, because compared to a Kadashian wedding, it is simple, but it sure seems complicated to me. There are so many details and decisions to be made.

I try to be frugal wherever I can, and my wedding is no exception. I don't want it to look like I have skimped, but I can't see spending tens of thousands of dollars on a one day event. Some things I have saved on:

Jared's brother is a graphic artist, and he designed our invitations (I will attach one and you can see what a beautiful job he did). This is his wedding gift to us, so the design cost us nothing. We are having them printed out at a camera shop on nice glossy paper, so they will look professional. We are sending them in simple envelopes...who pays attention to the envelope? It will cost about $150 for 200 prints and envelopes, for a savings of about $100.

My mom bought me a dress for $399. It is gorgeous! It was strapless, which, as a pale ginger, I don't do well. The dress shop charges $320 (to start) for alterations. This is where they make the big bucks. I took the dress as is, and am having a capable seamstress who works out of her home alter the top for me. She will charge $150. She will also hem the bottom and add a bustle.

I was going to use silk flowers for the table centerpieces, but found that real flowers will actually cost less right now. I am having I Do Weddings do the catering, decorations, and flowers. They are charging $1400 total (with a $300 discount for paying her early). We are doing light food (ham and cheese sandwiches, veggie pasta salad, and nut cups. We are providing the nut cups.

We are having the reception in our local church building. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints generally builds their churches with a large gym that can be used for functions such as this. They do not charge anything for the use of them either. Most places around here charge 2 grand for a 4 hour rental. We will have many decorations to make the place beautiful, including backdrops, greenery, and flowers.

I checked out a few places looking for a cake. The average cost of a 3 layer cake was $275. I happened into a cupcake shop Cupcake Chic and noticed that they also make cakes. For $225 they are making me a 3 layer traditional cake, as well as a groom's cake (shh, Jared doesn't know). We have a friend who owns Garden Ninja Studios and makes custom wedding toppers. He offered to make a top for the groom's cake as a gift. For my cake, I waited until after Christmas to pick up an ornament stand, which we will paint white. I also picked up an ornament that is just a cursive letter D (for my new last name) in silver with faux diamond accents. This will hang from the ornament stand with a bit of ribbon. Total cost of the top: $4.25.

I am wearing keds under my wedding dress. No one will see them, and I will be comfortable all night. My two daughter in laws are my bride's maids, and are picking out their own dresses. I told them the colors (plum, light green, lavender, silver, and black) and am allowing them, as well as the mothers, to pick out their own dresses. I want them to be comfortable. We got tuxes for most of the men, but just matching ties for Jared's brother-in-law and my grandsons. The brother-in-law won't be staying for the whole night, and my grandson's wouldn't be happy in tuxes.

I have opted not to wear a veil. My hair is Jared's favorite thing about me and he would like to see it on the wedding day. I have a cousin who is going to beauty school and she has agreed to do the updo. I am going two weeks prior to the wedding to get a cut, color (with highlights), and practice updo, which will cost me $60 total. I will go back on the day of the wedding for the updo already knowing how it will look.

Wish me luck in this new adventure! I am excited and couldn't be more happy.


Anonymous said...


I too just got engaged right before Thanksgiving and didn't realize the amount of decisions that would have to be made for a small reception (we're doing about 100 guests) also at the Church building!

Out of curiosity, are your bridesmaids getting dressses from the same place (i.e. David's Bridal) or are they just matching color and getting dresses from anywhere?


Tiffany said...


I have been with my boyfriend for over 5 years now and the only thing that is making him consider asking me to marry him now, is that instead of my big extravigant wedding of my dreams, I decided that we can do a wedding of our dreams for low budget, and told him I am aiming for $5000.00 total. So here's hoping he ask's soon and that I can actually stay on budget.

Weddings are too expensive now anyways!

Sounds like you wedding will be very fun and tastefull! Love to here about the grooms cake! I was thinking of getting one done for Jason (when we do get married) but not sure what to get him...



Tracy Davis said...

Chiara, I had the bride's maids pick out their own dresses. I wanted them to have something they would be comfortable in, and could continue to wear after the wedding. They looked great! Same thing with the mother's dresses.

Tracy Davis said...

I know that money was one of the things that took my husband so long to propose. Men look at their wife as their responsibility, and they want to be able to provide without any worries. You can have a beautiful wedding for $5000 (or less even).

jonh lee said...
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