Weddings, like everything else keep getting more and more expensive. According to this site, an average cost of a wedding in Southern California for a 100 guests is now costing approximately $30,000 - 35,000. That number astounds me.
So when I got a call from a darling bride-to-be with a very limited budget, my sister and I decided we would take on the challenge of putting together a beautiful event that would not put her into debt.
There is a lovely venue in idyllic Huntington Beach, California called The Newland Barn. The barn sits on a large lawn behind the Newland House. This beautiful white Victorian house is the oldest residence built in the city of Huntington Beach.
The house was built in 1898 for Huntington Beach pioneers William and Mary Newland and their ten children. 1898 may not seem like much to my East Coast friends, but to us here in Southern California that is old.
Today, the house is a museum and the lawn behind the house and the barn are rented out through the city of Huntington beach for events. The water tower and gazebo adds to the charm.
The barn rents for a nominal fee which attracts many brides who have a limited budget but still want a unique and beautiful wedding. The benefits of this venue is that you can bring in your own food and decor. The downside is you have to bring in everything and set up and take everything away in one day. We did this for my daughter's wedding a couple of years ago and although it was a lot of work it was very worth it. This was our second wedding here.
We have many of our own props and accessories, some that were left from my daughter's wedding and many that we have added. With each new event we acquire a few new items, and often we bring in things from our own homes too.
The bride and groom wanted a sand ceremony which required a table. My sister had made this table for another event and it worked perfectly.
The cross was custom made for my daughter's wedding and we rented the column.
We didn't have room in the budget for petals ... or so we thought. When we got to the mart we found a vendor with a small bag for $15. It was just enough for a lovely sprinkling of color.
We used simple flowers and even more simple containers.
To cut down on costs we had a check in table but did not have escort tags or table numbers.
I like to add a few "mock gifts" to the gift table so the first guests will know where it is and a lantern serves as a card holder.
Another way we helped the bride save money was we eliminated the need for a bartender or drink servers by setting up a self-serve bar and a help-yourself drink area.
The bride made the wine glasses from canning jars from Walmart and she glued on the "stems" that she found at a "dollar store". She also made her invitations!
Simple details that don't cost a lot of money are key when you are on a small budget.
We made seating vignettes on the lawn and hung chandeliers in the trees.
And to eliminate the need for heat lamps, the bride bought inexpensive blankets to share with the guests.
I love the tags the bride made for them.
The food was served buffet style on family style tables ...
A simple self-serve coffee station was set up inside the barn ...
The bride's grandma made all the cupcakes ... and grandpa made the stand!
And we sprinkled family photos around wherever we could ...
Photographs are a great way to personalize any event. A grouping a family weddings was perfect for this one.
My sister, who is also a photographer, gave the bride and groom (and family) a one-hour photo shoot. It gave them some beautiful, professional quality photographs to remember their special day but kept them from having to pay thousands of dollars for a photographer for the entire event. They also asked family and friends to take photos throughout the event.
I made all the centerpieces ... and a few bouquets.
The bride's grandma made Mexican tea cookies and gave them as gifts for all of the guests ...
It helped to keep the budget down by enlisting a lot of family help. We had help from the bride and groom's family and even included some of our own. We had help from our husbands and our kids ...
and even this little one who just celebrated her first birthday was on hand to help.