Monday, November 11, 2013

How to pull of a $15,000 wedding for under $3,000 ($2,971)

My daughter Heidi, after many obstacles the prior year, got married to Bill Hopkins on October 13, 2013; Heidi was a beautiful, happy Bride.

I for one thought the wedding would never happen – too many delays, intentional and unintentional, kept popping up. By the time funding was available, it was crunch time.

Money was a big issue; hence puling off this wedding was a challenge. Heidi wanted a traditional, beautiful wedding. I asked my friend Josie if she would help with the wedding and she said she would be happy to. Little did she know how much work in the end was still involved. Believe me, we could not have pulled off this beautiful wedding without Josie.

Rather than rent a venue for the wedding, Heidi and Bill decided to have the wedding at their home (after Heidi convinced Bill that it would be possible.) I loved the idea because it is a wonderful setting for a wedding. At the same time it made me uncomfortable because there were a lot of cosmetic fixes that needed doing.

The big project of painting the house inside and out was done by Bill, Heidi and friends... The upgrade in the yard was done by a landscaper who charged too much for what he did. That is my opinion, ha, ha. Heidi and Bill ended up trading a few months free rent for the labor.

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Heidi, besides working hard to get things done, had engaged several friends to help. She also engaged family. Three of Heidi’s brothers – Neal, Paul & Rodmond – and I made a trip to Santa Cruz on August 1st to help with some big projects. Throughout August, September and the beginning of October, different friends came offering their help.

Five days before the wedding Josie and I arrived to get started on fine tuning everything from the rehearsal picnic to the actual wedding.

In the end, I have to say that the whole project was a family and friends affair. It was so good to see everyone stepping up to the plate. The tables you see in the pictures were built by Bill and a friend out of door slabs and pressurized wood. Family and friends, along with Heidi and Bill, then painted them off-white, yellow and teal (teal was Heidi’s accent color).

Heidi wanted wooden tables but they were very costly to rent. Building them saved around $1000. The simple design turned out to be a great idea and Josie worked wonders setting them up in a special design for the wedding. Heidi and Bill rented bamboo chairs which complimented the whole setting. The decorations were also created by Josie. It all came together so beautifully with the ocean front view.

Family and friends loved this outdoor special setting and I for one really loved it. Tears were always in the back of my eyes and still are when I think about the whole wedding.

My oldest son Walter walked his sister down the aisle, his two daughters Jesse and Janine were also in the wedding. As the Mother of the Bride I was escorted first by my son Rodmond to the front to be seated by the altar. The ceremony was simple and poignant.

The reception followed with a soup and salad bar. I was the caterer – and never did I think I would do the cooking for my daughters wedding, ha, ha. Heidi’s boss has a huge kitchen and his wife Jennifer, offered it up for us to use as the prep kitchen. Jennifer even cooked one of my soups. My son Rodmond and his friend Julie did the basic prep that still needed to be done for the soup and for the snacks we served when guests arrived. Some prep I had done here at home and transported it to Santa Cruz.

The menu consisted of four different soups: “Chili, Shrimp Leek, Zucchini, Apple, Peas with Tarragon Soups and Gazpacho”. A salad antipasto bar and breads were also served. I did the prep for the salad bar the day before the wedding at the house next door which Heidi and Bill had rented for two days for out of town guests. The kitchen had great counter space. People would come in and out to ask if I need anything. My friend Nancy helped me prep the fruits for the cheese bar.

The cheese bar was a thorn in my eye; I neglected to set it up myself and all the fruit I requested of Heidi to buy did not make it onto the cheese tray.

The luncheon went over well. We made it, just barely, but we made it, even though we had some wedding crashers.

We were so happy to see our relatives come from Arizona, and Long Beach, California. My friend Nancy and Heidi’s friend Sunny made it from Southern California. My family from Germany could not make it, nor my son Steven and his family from England. My son Paul, who lives on the East Coast, was also not with us. Bill’s daughters Liz and Katherine from Colorado walked their father down the aisle to the altar.

Dancing was had by all and even I did some dancing. It was a fun and casual affair.

Cost: Food and Beverages: $ 1,200 including the cake Flowers: $260 Decorations: $250 Tables: $315 Rental: $430, Dishes: $144 Labor: $120 Miscellaneous: $250 Venue: $0

The Memory Table