The only thing that could possibly be better than one glowing bride is two. And that's just math, truth, and logic at work. Mari and Karen knew early on that their reception would lie squarely at the crossroads of down home country and Latin flair, courtesy of Mari’s Puerto Rican roots, complete with a day of the dead cake topper and barn dance lessons. Put on your happy dance shoes to prepare yourself for lots of joy when you see what happens when southwest charm and latin flair meet found in the full gallery here, wonderfully captured by Clean Plate Pictures.
Be sure to scroll all the way down to see the budget breakdown of this Southwest charm and Latin flair wedding.
We rented a beautiful house a few miles away from Big Indian where we had our wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Because we had a very, very minimal (read: nonexistent) flower budget, with the owner's permission we had planted seeds a few months before - with the hope of using the flowers for bouquets, which unfortunately, didn't bloom - but she said it was ok to cut flowers for our bridesmaid bouquets.
Mari painstakingly made her bouquet out of vintage flower brooches (some purchased, some given to her as pre-wedding gifts) as well as the feather boutonnieres (partly made from dried items from the first bouquet of flowers I ever gave her). The bridesmaids dresses were a traditional Mexican Puebla dress in varying colors. My best man wore khakis and a button down with a vest. He and I both wore bolo ties - his was borrowed from me and was a bird skull, mine was found by Mari on Ebay, a vintage copper horse.
Dolly Parton had been my favorite singer since girlhood and I lived and worked in Nashville at CMT for a stint - so, Mari agreed that our tables could be named for my favorite "country greats" - instead of traditional escort cards, we decided to make gig posters that we hung on the outside of the barn doors. We had a craft night with friends where we made paper flowers (used to decorate the ceremony location) and also hand stamped burlap centerpieces with favorite and pertinent quotes from songs of the singer's table. e.g. Our table, “The Dolly Table” read: “I am just a girl who loves you, I will love you all my life”
One of my only surprises I had up my sleeve for Mari was our “giant” cupcake cake topper - I found Elizabeth Makowski via her Etsy shop and she totally saved the day - able to make the most perfect, custom Dia De Los Muertos inspired versions of us, even including our recently rescued and very much loved kitten - Eleanor Cash. For me, aside from the actual getting married part - the most fun was had with our surprise guest of honor - Jon Lee. Mari and I had taken a few two-step lessons from Susanna Stein, of Big Apple Ranch, for our first dance. And we had wanted her to come up and give a lesson at our reception, but she was unable to. Up until days before, it looked like it was not to be. When at the very last minute, Susanna made a Hail Mary pass to her partner at the Ranch, Jon Lee - who was the most amazing teacher, lead our motley crew in not only a two-step, but also a barn dance!
Fall in love with this darling couple all over again when you watch their wedding film below!
Read on to see advice from this couple and how much a wedding like this costs. Please note that costs change as the years go by, and prices are subject to change. This is just one couple’s breakdown to give you a rough estimate on how much a wedding like this may cost you.
So our grand total was :
ALL Printing and Mailing : $278
Handmade Vintage Brooch Bouquet : $160
Dress : $35
Crafty Items : $337
All inclusive Venue : $9,800
More details about maintaining their budget:
We enjoy crafting and Mari has a graphic design background, so we made all of our event design pieces. Our save the dates were digital and she printed the invites (using a coupon) through Overnight Prints. She also printed and cut the wrap around address labels at home. We also printed our programs there and bought wooden fan sticks to glue on. So the cost of printing, envelopes, label paper, stamps and fan sticks was $210.
She spent the year collecting vintage brooches on ebay and from thrift shops to make her bouquet, which cost $160. We also bought crepe paper to make paper flowers for the ceremony that cost $75. A vendor friend gifted us 100's of blank T-shirts for us to use as wedding favors and we spent $262 screen printing our custom wedding logo. We hand stamped burlap with our favorite song quotes to use as table runners and that cost $30.
Mari also designed 18" x 24" concert posters for each table instead of escort cards. She found a dirt cheap place in Nashville for printing and that cost $68 for 17 posters!!!!! STEAL! We found Mari's dress on eBay for $35 and had it tailored by a family friend. Karen already had her suit (bought years before at a deeply discounted sale).
Finally, our venue with upgrades plus the next mornings brunch was $9,800!!!! We got really lucky, because we booked it late in the game and we snatched up one of our their left over dates at a great rate! We had the added stress of bringing it all together in just under 6 months, but saved a lot by not booking a premium date a year in advance!
Advice from the brides:
Since we got married, we began working in the wedding industry and so we have a unique insight to the whole shebang! Our main advice to brides and grooms on a budget would be to splurge and ALWAYS HIRE a day-of coordinator. You really have no idea how many things that can go wrong behind the scenes, and coordinators keep you from ever stressing out about it on your wedding day and they also keep your vendors HAPPY, which is a HUGE part of your wedding.