Adventures In Wedding Planning – What We Got For Our Money

Hey Budget Brides!

A lot of people I know are getting married soon and have asked me how we managed to pull off our wedding (we paid for it ourselves with no outside help). Our initial budget was $18,000.00 but, in reality, we spent just under $27,000.00.

Sounds like a lot, right? Here’s what we got for our money :

  • Ceremony and reception at a 4 Diamond resort.
  • Day Of services from a wonderful Wedding Planner
  • PEONIES IN DECEMBER + flowers for 19 tables, 6 bridesmaids, 6 groomsmen, 10 family member boutonnieres, 1 groom boutonniere, a toss bouquet, flower petals for the aisle runner, petals and roses for the wedding cake, guest check in table flowers, ceremony altar flowers, sweetheart table flowers. We also got two bouquets to give to our mothers.
  • an AWESOME MC and Dj
  • the best photographer
  • most amazing videographers
  • hosted wine and beer during cocktail hour
  • passed h’or doeuvres during cocktail hour
  • lion dance with two lions
  • 3 bottles of champagne + 18 year old Macallan + flask of Henney during our “getting ready” hours
  • toasting champagne for us
  • hotel rooms for our parents and ourselves
  • Dinner for 170 adults, 6 kids and 10 vendors
  • hosted rehearsal dinner for our families, our 12 member wedding party + their spouses, our wedding coordinator + her assistant, our officiant. This included wine and beer.
  • menu cards
  • wedding programs
  • blinged out place cards
  • gift cards for guests winning games
  • alterations for wedding dress and Chinese Qi Pao
  • wedding shoes
  • wedding veil
  • groom’s tuxedo and tuxedo for the TWO ring bearers
  • dresses for our TWO flower girls
  • gifts for our parents (jewelry and manly accessories)
  • guest book and pens
  • photo booth for 4 hours
  • awesome cake topper
  • awesome wedding cake
  • jewelry for my 7 bridesmaids (1 of them couldn’t make it to the wedding but I still made one for her)
  • flowers for my hair
  • hair and makeup for my mom
  • my mom’s Western evening wear for the reception and her Chinese Qi Pao for the ceremony


These shoes are amazing. I love my shoes!!
FYI, girls, Nina shoes are pretty comfy.

Whew. I’m sure there’s more but I can’t remember them.

Don’t worry if this seems overwhelming. It is (I won’t lie), but it’s totally doable. I know because I did it. I will show you how I did it in every post.

Now, keep in mind that what works for me might not work for you. The point of me sharing how I planned my wedding is to show you that it CAN be done on a small budget because where there’s a will, there’s a way. I was very determined. Maybe some of these ideas will work for you.

So. First things first. Enjoy your engagement! Don’t worry about planning yet. Just enjoy being engaged. I did this by staring obsessively at Bonzai Bling all day every day except when driving. Even then, it was kind of hard because it would catch the light and BAMM!!! Momentarily stunned. It was awesome.

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