It’s been 12 months since our wedding and I thought it was about time that I did a post on how we planned our DIY Rock Music/Vintage themed wedding on a budget.
We didn’t have a budget in mind when we started planning the wedding. We were engaged in February 2015 and were planning on a May 2016 wedding so we had plenty of time to save. My dear mother-in-law, who was suffering from cancer, started to get worse so we decided to bring the wedding forward to September 2015. We found a photographer and a celebrant that we liked and then set the budget to $5,000. That’s what we could comfortably afford. We didn’t want to go into debt for anything and decided to make do where we had to.
Food & Drink
Bridal Party Hair & Makeup
Bridesmaid's Dresses Shoes & Gifts
Table & Chair Hire
We didn’t interview too many photographers. In fact, we only interviewed one. When I found Millyjane Photography through Google as someone who specialises in rock music/vintage themed photography, we knew she was the right person for the job. Her portfolio was amazing and with a partner in the heavy metal music scene, she suited our personalities and style. My husband is also a heavy metal musician but likes most rock genres of music. I’m a lover of all things vintage so that’s why we combined the two. I do love all genres of music too. I think that’s why my husband and I found we had so much in common, our love for music. Her prices were really reasonable for what we were wanting. She also threw in a free engagement shoot with 2 free photos and all our photos would be supplied on a USB stick.
Finding a celebrant was a little more difficult. All the “cool, hipster dude” type celebrants who had been recommended to us were already booked and really expensive. I kept searching and I found Lizzy Cox, who was absolutely fantastic. She had the best sense of humour and fit in with our style and personalities just perfectly. Lizzy was also reasonably priced and well within our budget. She even got dressed in a beautiful vintage dress herself for the ceremony and stayed on to be the MC throughout the day. We’re still friends to this day. I highly recommend her.
Food & Drink
With the benefit of hindsight, I really wished I would’ve catered the main meal for the wedding. With a little more thought put into it and a bit of planning, I could’ve done it. I was a little disappointed with the main meal we had catered. The company we used (I won’t mention them) came highly recommended from online reviews. We were wanting a simple selection of roast meats and vegetables but I was disappointed with the food being overcooked. It was quite cheap, as far as wedding catering goes, but I could’ve done it myself a lot cheaper for what we got.
I did, however, prepare all the canapes the day before the wedding. They weren’t that hard to do. With a guest list, including the bridal party, of 50, I calculated just how many I needed for each person. You can find all the details here how to work out how many you need. I made Cheese, Kabana & Pickled Onions on toothpicks; Turkey, Camembert & Cranberry Pinwheels; Salmon Mousse on Cucumber Rounds; Proscuitto Wrapped Asparagus Spears with a Balsamic Drizzle; Devilled Eggs (my husband’s favourite) and Individual Prawn Cocktails. The cost for the ingredients is included in the $1,000 allocated for the Food & Drink.
My husband and I don’t drink alcohol so we put “BYO Alcohol” on the invitations. All we provided were soft drinks like peach iced tea, cold water, cans of softdrink and juice boxes for the kids. I also provided a bottle of sparkling mineral water on each table.
I got myself into a bit of a ‘tizz’ when it came to finding a wedding dress. I started looking online and couldn’t find anything affordable. Even though I had been married before, it was a dream of mine to get married in a vintage style dress. I looked in every secondhand store within a 50km radius from me, looked at online sellers and dressmakers that specialised in vintage gowns but they were totally out of my reach. I eventually found, through word of mouth, a local dressmaker, Nancy Khau, who made custom designed dresses.
It only cost $400. She didn’t use a pattern but just came up with the idea from what I told her and it was exactly what I wanted. The bodice was boned and covered in tulle, like the skirt and there was about 4 layers of petticoat. It was made from ivory satin and fit like a glove.
I was lucky to find some purple satin peep toe wedge heels from the thrift store for a couple dollars but found them too high so found these ivory satin pumps with diamante detail online for around $20. They were a lot more comfortable to wear.
Because of my husband’s casual style and love of surfing and skateboarding it was only natural he would wear casual shoes like Vans (which he already owned). I did also own a pair of purple Vans so bought some ivory ribbon to lace them and changed into these shoes after the ceremony. They were so much more comfortable and casual, just like the whole day was. Better to be comfortable I say.
I did buy new underwear. A matching bra and underpants set from the discount Simone Perele store at an outlet store. This set was a steal and beautifully made.
I bought a matching necklace, earring and bracelet set off Amazon that featured amethysts (my birthstone) and rhinestones. Although not real, it was all I wanted. It had just the right amount of sparkle and the whole set cost less than $20.
Bridal Party Hair & Makeup
This was probably one of the most expensive items in the budget. I did have an offer from a dear friend to do my makeup for free but that would’ve meant finding somewhere else for my hair and there was also the hair and makeup for the matron-of-honour and my two bridesmaids.
I decided on my local beauty spa who does both hair and makeup. As my bridesmaids were my young stepdaughter and daughter, it didn’t cost too much for their hair and makeup and besides, we had a beautiful room to get ready in and wait until we were ready to leave for the wedding. The entire cost for hair and makeup for all of us was $450 but the makeup stayed on all day and my very fine hair stayed in place all day too. I was very happy with it.
The groomsmen’s outfits were pretty easy to put together. My husband and his brother, the best man, wore black jeans they already owned and I spent ages looking for that ‘just right’ shirt. We found these two black shirts with trim at a discount outlet men’s store for $20 each. We knew they’d get wear out of them again. They wore their own footwear.
This was yet another part of the wedding preparations that gave me a bit of grief. I love nothing more than fresh flowers but I just refused to pay up to $1,000 for bouquets, boutonnieres for the groomsmen and flowers for the table. I did have access to fresh flowers to make the bouquets and boutonnieres but didn’t want to be running around the day before the wedding putting together bouquets when I’d never done that before.
I did buy fresh flowers for the tables and bought artificial flowers online for everything else. I was able to make the bouquets and boutonnieres well before the wedding and just put them away until the big day.
The whole cost including the little guitars on the groomsmen’s boutonnieres and on my bouquet was $50. I was pretty pleased with that. It also included extra flowers for the aisle I walked down. (See below.) The twine, ribbon and lace was already in my craft stash.
Bridesmaid’s Dresses & Gifts
I budgeted $100 for the bridesmaids but I don’t think I spent that much. The matron-of-honour, a close childhood family friend bought her own dress and shoes. It didn’t matter that the dresses were all different shades of purple, the main colour scheme of the wedding. My daughter’s dress was $20 online (in the middle) and my stepdaughter’s dress (on the right) was about $6 from the thrift store. I bought the two younger girls black sandals which were only about $15 each per pair.
The girls are wearing bracelets I bought them online for only a couple dollars each and I was really lucky to score a pair of amethyst stud earrings at a Mother’s Day sale for only $9 a pair.
I also made each of the girls this carry all to take all their things in when we got our hair and make up done. The bags were only $2. I made the rosette with fabric and notions from my stash and the iron on diamante names were only a couple dollars each online.
Table & Chair Hire
When you start looking at tables and chairs for weddings, the prices can be ridiculous. I would’ve loved to have had mismatched timber chairs and you can hire them but I didn’t want to pay those kind of prices. We opted for the cheapest plastic chairs and standard tables for hire. We had a local supplier deliver and collect everything so it was really easy.
We also hired a hot water urn, coffee mugs and tea cups and saucers. I had managed to accumulate enough mismatched glasses, cutlery, dinner and cake plates from various sources like thrift stores and from my collection.
We also hired a small child’s table and 4 chairs for the ‘little rockers’, young children of some of the family guests. They had colouring in to do and plastic plates and cups. They thought they were pretty important at a table of their own. They also had more colouring pen on their faces and clothes than the paper. I just hope their Mum’s got it all out!
I budgeted around $200 for the reception and wedding styling and it was around this, give or take a few dollars. I lost track of what I was spending because I’d stumble across something that I thought would be good while I was out and about. I did buy a few things like small blackboards, tags and chocolates, for example, but nothing cost too much. The tablecloths were all my own from my own collection and those passed down from my mother and grandmother.
I bought black photo frames and named all the tables different stage names including the ‘main stage’ for the bridal table. The placemats were old records I picked up from the recycle shop at our local tip. They were only about $10 for 50. There was also a bit of fun with the guests discovering what the name of the record was when they turned it over. I wonder if anyone took their’s home and played it? I used Microsoft Word to create the table names and labels for the records. I had most of the paper and stickers required.
The napkins were a fantastic buy. You wouldn’t believe it but I was walking past a double bed sheet set in the thrift store which had the most pretty purple floral print, I couldn’t pass it up. The sheets were still new and I used them for just about everything. I still have heaps of fabric left. The 2 white drink tubs were bought secondhand for $20 for both.
I made 50 serviettes, bunting and covered plastic cups to make little lanterns to cover fairy lights.
We used one of my husband’s guitar cases to hold all the wedding cards and gifts. The “D & A” letters were from a stationery store marked down. The bunting was from the dollar store and I used a blackboard pen to write the letters on. I found most of the bits and pieces in my craft stash but what I did buy was only ever $1 or $2.
The red carpet was supplied by the celebrant but I placed steel lantern holders (only $2 each from a discount store) with cones made from sheet music (from the thrift store) and filled with more of the artificial lavender I bought online as part of the flowers and finished it off with a guitar Christmas decoration I bought online. They were about $15 for 8 and we have kept some to hang on our Christmas tree.
I’m including the invitations here. I created them myself using Microsoft Word and really only to buy purple envelopes to put them in. I had all the other paper required. You can read more about the invitations here.
I created a seating plan using the same background I used on the invitations and had the document enlarged at the local stationery store for a couple dollars and used a frame I had.
My husband picked up a second hand not working guitar we used for signing. It is a similar style guitar he uses when playing. That ‘four legged’ thing he is carrying stole the show with her brother and are very important members of our family. I worried leading up to the wedding they’d be scared but they were in just about every photo and were very relaxed throughout the whole day.
My little Mini Foxie wore a few purple flowers in her collar and our little Mini Pinscher wore a black tie. He didn’t seem to mind it. It was only a couple of dollars too.
There were things like ice to buy on the day and colouring pens, postage for the invitations and other incidentals I filed in “Miscellaneous” but I don’t think I used all of the $130 allocated.
We didn’t have to worry about paying for a venue because we had both the ceremony and reception at our home. We had quite a few guests who travelled far so it was easy for them to just have to be at the one place. Also, with young children, we didn’t mind them running wild around the yard. They couldn’t do any harm. My very talented husband jigged up this sign to direct people to the backyard. He used a fence paling and painted it black. I just wrote on it using the blackboard pen.
We were also very lucky to be given a white chocolate mudcake by my dear friend who made it for us. It was made in the ‘naked cake’ style I love so much. I bought the lavender plant and she decorated it and used her plate stand. (She’s since told me that she planted that plant and it’s coming back into flower 12 months later. How sweet!) I also made the guitar cake toppers which were bought online and I decorated them. You can find the instructions here.
We also didn’t allocate any money for a honeymoon. We were already living together so didn’t really need anything for our house and didn’t really want any gifts. We put a note in with the invitations saying if guests did want to give us a gift, that money towards our honeymoon would be much appreciated. No obligations whatsoever. As it turned out we received enough money to book a week away at our favourite place in the world, Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast. It had to be pet friendly because our two four legged babies had to come too.
We wouldn’t change a thing about the way we did the wedding. I feel a bit guilty of the quality of the food only because I know I could do so much better but everyone said it tasted good and there was plenty of it. We were really happy with everything. Here we are, 12 months later, and still very much love. Life couldn’t be any better.
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