For those of you that are interested,
I want to start by saying that our wedding was not very traditional.
This was completely intentional, so let me give you a little bit of background to kick things off.
I work in the wedding industry as a makeup artist, and as such I am part of around 50 weddings a year. I have seen countless brides get stress migraines and anxiety over finding the perfect dress, venue, playlist, menu, bridesmaids dresses, etc., incorporating religious elements that aren’t in tune with their beliefs to please their families, and spend the next 20 years paying off the debt from their weddings (which, by the way, the average wedding in America costs 20,000-30,000 dollars).
Victor and I wanted to avoid these things, and really do our best to make the most of the day on our tiny, tiny budget of $1,500. (without the help of our families and friends this would have been impossible, so I completely understand that a lot of people don’t have the option to go the same route we did, but I hope you get some ideas/inspiration if you are on a budget!)
This will be a completely honest, open look into the details of our wedding day and how we made it work!
I am so excited to be posting this blog, and I really hope you guys enjoy it!
(All photo credits to Kristen Curette!! Check her out, she is incredible!)
We started the day off with the “first look.”
(Traditionally, the groom sees the bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle- but do you know why?
Back when arranged marriages were common, the father of the bride didn’t want the groom to see her before the wedding because if he didn’t think she was attractive enough he might call it off, so the two families made a deal to wait in order to avoid this. Super… romantic.
A lot of people today still incorporate this into their wedding day because it makes it more exciting/memorable, which is completely fine! But for us, it was a lot more exciting/memorable to be alone for the “first look.”)
My gold dipped druzy necklace is from a shop on Etsy called ShopComposure, ($45) and my Greco tassled earrings are from Noonday Collection ($48). Both of these purchases supported fair trade artisans! Learn more here.
My dress was actually a strapless dress that I got on clearance at David’s Bridal ($200), and to give it a more bohemian vibe I paired it with this Free People lace top from the intimates collection ($48).
Victor wore a suit he already owned from Express, and his tie is from H&M.
My gorgeous bridesmaids wore dresses from Forever 21, which were both under $30 (the belt Gabby is wearing is from Anthropologie -it’s the same belt I wore in my cousin’s wedding a couple of summers back), and little booties to keep their feet warm. The groomsmen kept it simple with gray slacks and white button-down shirts.
My shoes were handmade in India, and I actually found them at a Goodwill for $4! Victor’s shoes were from Call it Spring ($60).
Selah’s dress (the oldest, curliest girl on the left) is from Forever 21, and the other two littles are from thrift stores. The gorgeous bouquets (and floral centerpieces you’ll see later) were made by my amazing grandmother, who makes flower arrangements for a living in the beautiful little town we got married in.
The little chapel we got married in was so beautiful. We found out later that they rarely let people get married in this church, but because my grandmother knows everyone in town ( Round Top, Texas, population 93), they made an exception. How cool is that?!
Victor and I wrote our own vows! This is what we promised each other:
My vows: “Victor, my love,
Over the past five years I have grown to love and cherish you more deeply than I ever thought possible.
I have seen the best of you, and the worst of you, and I choose both.
I promise to never forget that you are my once in a lifetime love.
I am so excited that we will no longer have to say goodbye- only goodnight.
I fell in love with you because you loved me when I couldn’t love myself. Thank you.
I promise to support you and encourage you. I promise to listen to you and respect you, even when we disagree.
I promise to recognize your efforts and love you for who you are.
I promise to always see you and hear you.
And most of all, when I fail to do any or all of these things, I promise to rely on God, who is the center and sole purpose of our relationship.
Vous etes mon coure- You are my heart.”
Victor’s vows: “Aleya, my love,
we have witnessed hand in hand the joys and the depravities of life. We have been overwhelmed with blissful infatuation and we have been deeply wounded by the ones we’ve held close. I have loved you. I have wounded you.
I promise not to forget that you are my best friend and my love.
I will never miss the days when goodnight meant goodbye.
You take me for who I am, no matter how tiresome and annoying I can be and I love you for that.
I promise to encourage you to pursue the fullness of life and to constantly point you back to God. #YouDoYou
I promise to make adventures with you and never take these sweet breaths for granted.
And most of all, when I fail to do all of these things and more I will lean on the grace of God, in humility and repentance and try yet again until I draw my last breath.
Vous etes mon coure- You are my heart.”
The reception area was a simple, open building known as “The Rifle Hall,” and cost $700 to rent for the day (they also let us in the day before to decorate!). And was made beautiful by our families and friends. They did SO much for us! We really couldn’t have done all of this on our own, and we are so, so, SO thankful!
The lights were hung primarily by my mom (she’s legit), and all of the lace was borrowed from a family friend (who did so much work and let us borrow so much that it blew us all away and made my mom cry of gratitude).
Victor’s mom and I spent a lot of time cutting up fruit that his family bought for the next day, and talking about old memories while my sisters, bridesmaids, and groomsmen scrubbed the hall to sparkling cleanliness.
The absolutely DELICIOUS cupcakes were homemade and frosted by my amazing sister, Rachel. The flavors were french vanilla and triple chocolate topped with salted caramel. They were so incredible that we’re all trying to convince her to open a bakery.
We skipped a lot of the traditional wedding things, such as the cutting of the cake, the first dance, the bouquet toss, and the garter toss. Basically, anything that would be done solely for the sake of “tradition,” that would have been meaningless or uncomfortable for us.
Victor surprised me with a song by my favorite band, Copeland, called “Have I always loved you?” and it made me cry like a baby. He is incredibly talented. I wish we had a video of his performance!
We ended the night with some unforgettable speeches and lots of dancing!
This is only SOME of the siblings/nieces/nephews! I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
Breakdown of cost (for us):
Dance Hall: $700 (included tables + chairs)
Food: Free (Victor’s family and our friend Eric brought taquitos, fruit, sandwiches, and drinks)
Cupcakes: Free (Yay, Rachel!)
Bride’s dress + accessories: $345
Groom’s attire: $68
Wedding Officiant: Free (he was our youth pastor in high school and we were so glad he was able to ordain our wedding! Thanks, Neil!)
Music/DJ: Free (our friends performed Vous Etes Mon Coure by Gungor as we walked down the aisle, and Veejay made the reception playlist!)
Flowers: $30 (hand picked and arranged by my grandmother, mixed in with a few store-bought flowers)
Lights/decorations: Free (my mom bought the string lights from Hobby Lobby for about $50, and the decorations were donated)
Celebrating our love: Priceless (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
If we had paid for everything ourselves, with no financial help from family, I’m assuming it probably would have ended up around $5,000 (which is still roughly 1/5 of the average).
Also, finances aside, there is no way we would have been able to pull all of this off in the amount of time we did (2 months) without all the help we had (shoutout to Elise for being our wedding planner! Let’s be real, she’s the one who really made this happen so seamlessly. She sent all the emails, coordinated everything schedule-wise, and provided peace of mind more times than I probably even realize).
Overall, we were extremely blessed to have everything fall into place the way it did, and to be surrounded by people that love and support us so much!
I love you guys!