Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Our perfect DIY wedding on a budget.

We had always planned to get married in 2012. We knew it was going to happen, but we both new that we didn't want to go into to debt to do it. We had been engaged for three years, so we knew it was time. But we also felt nothing would really change.
I was happy to get married at a registry. James wanted a big wedding with all the bells and whistles. We met in the middle and decided to get married at a brewery. You read correct, a brewery. Not a winery. Not a church. Not a park, the beach or a backyard wedding. But at a brewery. 

The Venue: The Mornington Brewery.
Cost: $2500, including unlimited pizza, limited beer and limited wine.

We were both nervous about the venue as they had only had one full wedding before and it was a surprise wedding. A supposed engagement party turned wedding. But they assured me it worked very well.
The reason we chose the venue is thus; if you mention wedding to anyone the price instantly at least doubles. This venue was happy to keep their price at $2000. Our entire menu filled and our guests housed for just $2000. The beer was all home brew (and delicious) and the food was wood fired pizza. The wine was all sourced from local wineries. YES PLEASE!
The reality was we went over the bar tab by about $500. But Puh-lease $2500 all included is still the cheapest I was priced.
Without the help of a great friend and without my creative decorations I still think this place was a great venue. Once we added our decorations and the beautiful Cait made me a beautiful tea candle aisle- this venue went from wonderful to perfect.
Overall, I strongly recommend this venue.  If I knew how successful the venue was I would have happily paid three times the price. 
The issues with this venue can be sited as: 
-not much seating, however it has plenty of seating just not enough for everyone. We set some couches up at the front of the aisle for the grandparents and some bar stools up for immediate family. This worked well and mapped out an aisle. It also ensure our families had seating for the entire evening.
-Also, parking was a bit of a pickle for this venue but everyone seemed to make it work. It is off the beaten path and in amongst all the factories in Mornington so it does not offer a large car park and there is no public transport. However we were able to drive the bridal car right up to the door, so in reality it was a problem we didn't have to deal with and we heard no complaints.
I love this venue. If we still lived in Melbourne we would go there all the time. We still go there often and we live interstate. If you are in the area and struggling for a venue, give them a call as it is perfect especially after a little TLC. 
As my father in-law said during his speech, "I was a little worried driving up through these back street, but this is a beautiful venue hidden amongst factories and car yards."

The Celebrant: Erica Schamberger
Cost: $480 

For the official stuff we decided not to cut any corners and we didn't 'shop around' for our celebrant. Erica was one of the first celebrants I located online, and after a few emails and a quick phone call I knew she was the one.
I have nothing to compare her too but it was so smooth using Erica. She put together a great ceremony that was very beautiful, and very us. She was organised and very experienced. Another piece to our perfect wedding. A very crucial piece.
Although we did everything on a budget, the celebrant we did NOT. I think whilst planning a wedding interstate it's important to have a reliable celebrant, and I would recommend Erica in a heart beat. 

The invitations: Made by myself
Cost: $100

This isn't exactly them but a close example.
If I had to do it again I would get these out sourced. We didn't end up saving any money and they were more heartache than they were worth. They turned out well, I used a photograph of a love heart with a photograph of us underneath and then used lace paper over the top with the wording. They looked great but as I said a lot of wasted time and energy went into these and a lot of people never even gave me their address so I ended up just smsing them the details anyway. If I was to do them myself I would just whip up a 10x15 invite, sans lace paper. It would be cheap and much more efficient. 

The decorations and party favours:  All DIY.
Cost: Approx $200

For our decorations we kept it simple. I picked up some vintage suitcases off eBay, and ended up with 5 for $30. I made a bunting flag and just used patch work pieces to decorate the suitcases. We used one as our wishing well, which was perfect because as we left we just locked it up and carried it off.
Another was used for our party favours, which was decorated with a bunting flag that had the wording 'For You'. 
We also used jars filled with flowers from my mothers garden. 
As I said very simple. 
Photographs hung from pegs to add that personal touch. 
When I walked down the aisle I lost my breath, first from how handsome James looked and second because of how perfect all the decorations came together. The photos just don't do it any justice.
The party favours involved simple netted bags from the reject shop, $2 per 5 bags and a little card (the bunting flag above) that saids James & Cas 14-7-12. Again I made these myself. Inside we used lollies that we got from k-mart, $5 per kilo. We used 4 kilos. (We still have 2 kilos at home and my gosh they are addictive.)

I think people have a tendency to go overboard with decorations when the guests don't always notice. That's why I decided to stay true to myself and true to our budget. Fake flowers and flowers from the garden look great and are a lot cheaper. If you have the time you can create the perfect decorations and save the big bucks. Our aisle was gorgeous, I loved the candles. BUT everyone was covered in wax as most of the guests didn't notice the lit candles and walked into them. James' gorgeous suede shoes were wax ridden. But I think I'd do it again as it looked amazing.

The only think I might have done differently is not have so many favours. I made sure there was one for every guest but only about half took them. We have so many left and they were very stressful and time consuming (and one of my least favourite things to have made.)

The Cake and desserts: Sarah Berry AKA James' Stepmother and Suzanne J AKA James' Mother.
Cost: Our never ending thanks 

After a friend offered to do the cake I was relieved but cautiously optimistic as she was coming interstate and I was concerned about the logistics of it all. After discussing and planning but with little doing (and a confirmed deployment on the day of the wedding for her OH) James' stepmother offered to do it somewhat last minute and I think to her surprise we said yes. And she did an amazing job.
 I will get all the details on what the desserts are and edit this blog as I gave her complete creative control and she did a beautiful job.
 We had so many compliments on the desserts and people even asked about it for their own wedding, I don't think she'll want to undertake a job of this size again however.
James' mother also contributed with some beautiful french pastries. I learnt in the process of planning a wedding to take favours, and I am so glad we did. I have heard such horror stories about desserts and you don't know what you've got until you take a bite. We are so lucky to have such a master chef in the family. I would normally just take to pressure myself but knowing our desserts were in such capable hands was such a relief, and what a beautiful job she did.

Flowers: A home wares store.
Cost: $60

I was really stuck with flowers as I had been quoted ridiculous amounts so I decided to just use daffodils from my Mum's garden. However, the day before the wedding I walked passed a home wares store and spotted these fake bouquets at $12.50 a bunch. I though they looked fantastic and I loved that I could have blue flowers. I made a few calls to see if there was any bad omens tied with using fake flowers at a wedding. None to speak of so I did it. Another great decision people asked if I dyed my roses. I just smiled. 

The Dress: Allanah Hill
Cost: $200


This dress was from the second shop I walked into. It was one of many dresses I tried on from that shop but the second we did up the lace to complete the victorian neck line, my sister; my mother; and myself just said yes! I knew that I wouldn't be walking down the aisle in a traditional dress but I also wanted something white or ivory. Basically what I wanted was this dress. It was completed perfectly by my great grandmothers broach, as my something old.

My shoes were Mimco and amazing. I love them. I can't wait to wear them again. I'm just waiting for the right occasion.

My outfit was all purchased ON SALE. So I was dressed for $300, and I wouldn't change a thing. I would have paid more for my outfit but gladly I didn't have too.

The Bridesmaids wore Review dresses. I was never a huge fan of bridesmaids all wearing the same outfit but these dresses suited everyone. Again, we got them on sale. I never expected them to spend a bundle, and I wanted them to pick their own dresses. Luckily this dress made everyone happy and I hope they all wear it again.

James picked up his suit from Tarocash. Once again they were having a sale and the whole get up (belt and tie included) came in under $350.
Oliver was dressed in a suit from a small shop in Mascot NSW, a grand total of $40.
The boys all wore there own black suits, (they look identical yeah?), matching Tarocash shirts and a tie I picked up to match the girls dresses. 

I was really impressed with how 'official' we all looked. I was really glad we all did our own thing but still looked somewhat uniform. Perfect.

Hair and Makeup:  Dyed Pretty Chelsea
Cost: $100 per person


I found this place online and read some reviews and it seemed good enough. I had to cancel my trial (I ran out of time) so I was nervous going in, but I was glad with the results. 
The overall experience was fantastic. The owner worked on us and she is a perfectionist so I knew we were in safe hands. They were honest and told us what would and wouldn't work. We drank champagne and laughed as we shoozed up. It was fantastic. 
I was happy with the makeup and hair styles. I don't wear a lot of makeup so I felt a little over the top but now looking back at photos I am happy with how it turned out. 

Original Budget: $3000
Reality: Approx $5000 plus a honeymoon.
That is coming from a girl who originally wanted to get married at the registry. Our love is now filled with great memories. I couldn't have dreamt of anything more. Not only did I have the dream man waiting at the end of the aisle, I had my beautiful son and my friends and family.
I learnt its okay to call on favours, and we called on a few. I learnt it's okay to take control sometimes, but it's also okay to rely on others at times. I also learnt that marriage does in fact change you. I now feel so secure in my relationship like never before. And as petty and hopeless as it sounds I feel like a family. I am proud to talk about my husband and no longer shy away from signing my last name on Oliver's documents (as they are now the same.)
I had the perfect evening and I am filled with enough love and memories to last a life time but the beauty is that everyday we make more. I am overjoyed with all the good this life has brought me and I look forward to waking up everyday and spending it with my beautiful family.

Weddings are fantastic, but they don't have to send you bankrupt. By keeping our eyes open for sales and the cheaper option we managed not to go overboard with our wedding. 

I sign off now, for the first time as Mrs. Cassandra J


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