The BronStarr Wedding - Budget Breakdown

I probably should have started with topic as the opener. If you're like most people, you have a wedding budget to work with. 

We gave ourselves $5,000.00 to make it all happen. $5,000.00 is a lot, but not.

Fun Fact: Americans on average spend $32,461.00 on a wedding. While Europeans spend on average $5,495.00 on a wedding. WUTTTT...Now in all honesty, I am not sure if that applies to first time marriages only. *Full disclosure, my first wedding expenses could've purchased a top of the line luxury car. Having lived a little since my early twenties, I know the important places to spend money.*

There are probably a million and one wedding budget guides out there to use. I looked a few over and saved a couple to my wedding Pinterest board to reference. But most didn't apply to us. So I took some basic information that the guidelines had and created my own.

Expenses that didn't apply to us: venue fees, officiant fees, florist fees, catering fees, the rehearsal dinner, photographer and DJ fees. Sounds like we got married at the justice of the peace right? I assure you that wasn't the case, let me break it down for you.

Our ceremony site decorated with pieces of the tree that fell down onto the house. I stood pieces on end and hung a small flower back drop off of a few large branches that had pinecones on them. 

Venue - After we found out that the venue we wanted was sold and we tried contacting them to make arrangements without success. We decided to host our wedding in the backyard of some family property that we own. It is modest but had everything we needed. The house was small and we had to plan to have the ceremony and reception outdoors. We had both on site. Which made it easy for our guests, they only had to park once. We purchased two large event tents on sale for $200.00. They were fantastic! White with windows built into the sides, fancy enough for us. We used some other pop up tents that I have purchased over the years for outdoor shows too. Other things we purchased for our venue, blankets for our guests (we live in the PNW where it can rain at any time - and it did the day before), lighting, decor items - like vases, large tablecloths, materials to build long tables and event insurance. 

Our very good friend Chris and our eldest son Calvin setting up the tents and the long tables. 

Our very good friend Chris and our eldest son Calvin setting up the tents and the long tables. 

The tables all set up with food for the guests to have right away.

We lucked out on a few items that we got for free or at a bargain price through Craigslist and our local Buy Nothing Group. We scored 70 chairs for free from a local country club that was remodeling. They weren't perfect but they were fancier than rental chairs and they happened to be our wedding color - burgundy. We also got an outdoor standing propane heater at a crazy great price. All said and done the cost for our venue - $2,000.00

John waiting at the beginning of the ceremony.

Ceremony - John's best friend came up from California to be our officiant. It made it special for us to have someone close do us that honor. Although he was nervous, he was fantastic. He announced us "Carbon based lifeforms".  We had our children give us away to each other and that was our only wedding party. We purchased wedding clothes for the kids and ourselves. I did my own hair and make up as did our daughters. And as you can guess, I did my own kanzashi and keepsake wedding bouquet. I'll do a post dedicated to just that in the very near future. We asked my now mother in law to be our photographer. No one could've done a better job for us that she did. Miscellaneous fees include, the wedding programs that we had the content printed and our daughters assembled, wedding favors that we produced ourselves, wedding rings handmade by Foamy Wader, John's attire and my wedding dress that I bought in the off season. All said and done our ceremony cost us approximately - $1,000.00.

We did have some hurdles with the venue. About a month and half before the wedding, a large tree fell on the house. It caused a couple thousand dollars worth of damage AND since our budget was tight (we also had a surprise $3,000.00 car repair bill just before the tree fell on the house and we depleted our wedding account to pay for that) we couldn't afford to have the tree removal company actually remove the tree and the branches from the property after they cut the tree down. We had to do that ourselves, three days before the wedding. We also had to repair a broken pipe in the house that was unrelated to the tree damage. 

Jina - my eldest daughter. Is not only a brainy boss babe - but an excellent cook too. I'm not sure how I got so lucky with this kid. 

Jina - my eldest daughter. Is not only a brainy boss babe - but an excellent cook too. I'm not sure how I got so lucky with this kid. 

Reception - My eldest daughter and I personally prepared all of the food. Three of our kids did help with rolling some of the 700 pieces of lumpia that was made for the wedding. I asked a long time friend to actually cook the lumpia on site. Our entire family (that includes some very good friends that are like family) helped with setting up the reception area and bringing the food out onto the tables. From the beginning I wanted there to be food everywhere for guests to eat since everyone was traveling to attend the wedding. My nieces (who are adults) offered to bake our wedding cake. To this day, I still cannot believe what a fantastic job they did! It was absolutely incredible and that deserves it's own post. We provided beer, wine, hard alcohol, soft drinks, juices and water. We filled our little boat to the brim with drinks and ice for our guests to help themselves.

My sister and nieces bringing in the beautiful cake they made. 

Our little beer boat. (Photo by M&K)

Our little beer boat. (Photo by M&K)

Costs include - food, drinks, chaffing dishes, deep fryers, coffee pots, service ware, biodegradable and recyclable utensils, plates and cups, Wet Naps, a very special cake topper and a karaoke machine. - $2,000.00

$5,000.00 - maybe a smidgen above that. I didn't keep a solid track on our clothing expenses and we did have some tools and repair costs that went in one ear and out the other. 

I am personally still in shock almost a month later that we ALL made everything happen - so perfectly imperfect. 

I'll dedicate posts to my kanzashi, our beautiful wedding cake and a couple other details that made the difference at our wedding.


The BronStarr Wedding - Be Our Guest

On September 3rd, 2016 at 5:30pm, John and I were married. It was an intimate yet festive affair. Somethings were traditional some were not. 

Wreath art for our stickers was designed by Lisa Glantz

Our wedding was completely DIY and featured many handmade elements as any good makers would do.  

Let me start with our invitations. Owning your our own laser cutting company had the perk of being able to make our own custom laser cut invitations.  Invites can be expensive. Making our own added our own personal touch and helped us stay within our $5,000k wedding budget. 

Our custom "homemade" wedding invitations. My formal name is Dorothya.

Let me back up for a moment and mention our save the dates. We are big fans of Unusual Cards (artist Francesca Berrini is a genius). We picked out our favorite postcard of hers and sent them out as our save the dates. If you know us, it's totally us. 

Back to the invites, like our regular work process we handled the design very similarly. I came up with the schematic design and John made it actually happen.

Our wedding theme was Art Nouveau Evergreen. We knew we would have a lot of access to sword ferns and blackberries and wanted to incorporate them into our wedding decor. We used the ferns on our wedding invite design because we love them. I love the art nouveau stylized art and so it became our invites.

Laser cut fern themed invitations by 6 by 6 Arts. 

Each card was laser cut and assembled by hand. We placed a piece of marbled paper behind our laser cut cards and inserted the colorful printed card in the art nouveau style. I won't post a photo of those since it contains personal information.


Hand addressed and sent off, much later than we wanted to. But there's a good story as to why they were late. To be continued...

Hopefully you'll enjoy my posts about my recent nuptials. I promise there will be a big post all about my personal kanzashi and keepsake wedding bouquet.

xo - Thea 

Something About A Wedding

In my circles, yes even with the 4th decade of life pending upon a few of us, the wedding/marriage talk has been a big topic. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, planning, congratulations and the general attention of a wedding. As one should. It’s a big life event! An event that puts on display your commitment to another person that you are openly confirming yourself to. There’s a lot of fuss about “things” but when it comes down to it – purpose for the event is what it’s all about. 

Being a designer for "wedding things" - this is a topic I can handle with ease after all this time. I've created things for various types and styles of weddings. I've coordinated pieces with all the color palettes imaginable. I have lots of ideas for "things" and I thought It would be fun to share those simply through a Pinterest board.

There are so many incredible ideas to make your day custom to your likes. I can get lost in them. (And have helping out my friend with idea for her upcoming wedding!) All of the pins that are on that board are ones that I think are great and worthy of sharing. I have a private wedding idea board for my up coming wedding that I am currently sharing with my best friend. I'll open that board up after my wedding. 

With that said, don't be surprised to see some posts about my up coming wedding. A few personal posts about marriage in general. Just keep in mind that these posts will be from someone who was married previously for quite sometime. For you younger folks who are entering marriage for the first time, I'll have different advice to share than those who have been married before like myself. Some things in life just have to be learned rather than lectured. 

But don't worry kanzashi fans, I have lots of new works coming up to share too.