When Travis and I got engaged two months ago we had already talked about what type of wedding ceremony we wanted. Small, casual, and inexpensive. With his mom and grandma already slated to come down this past weekend to watch him and his uncle run the Pensacola Marathon we decided to have the ceremony the day before.
Picking a venue took the most time and effort. Originally I wanted something outdoors, but all of the venues that had gazebos (in case of rain) were booked. Travis and I aren’t religious so we didn’t want to get married in a church, so that left me trying to come up with some creative venue choices. Then I remembered seeing two people ages ago on facebook get married at the Pensacola Museum of Art. It was perfect! I emailed them, anxiously awaited to hear back if our date was available, and fortunately it was.
With a venue as naturally gorgeous as the art museum I knew I didn’t have to worry about decorating or flowers. They had chairs available for us to set up wherever we wanted to we didn’t have to rent those. Everything just started to fall into place!
I made my bouquet the morning of the ceremony. I bought flowers weeks ago but didn’t love them and made one last trip to Michaels where I fell in love with this stem. It’s only two stems wrapped together with floral wire, floral tape, and then white ribbon. Took me less than 10 minutes.
After the bouquet I put on my $5 press-on nails from Target and headed to Stay the Spa to have my hair & make-up done. As soon as I arrived they asked if I’d like a mimosa. I don’t normally drink (last time I had an alcohol was in May!) but I definitely took advantage of their offer. Twice.My hair & make-up turned our perfect! I decided not to have a trial run to save money so I had no idea what I would look like, but I brought in a few photos of what I liked and figured I’d love whatever they did. I was right!
After that I ran home to meet my family and put on my dress. I bought my dress online and it was shipped straight from China. The dress was made to my custom measurements and including shipping was $280! I botched the measurements a bit so the bust and waist were a little loose but I wasn’t about to spend $200+ on alterations! I didn’t have a garter to wear but I did walk down the isle in a knee wrap. Same thing, right?While I was inside Travis’s family started to arrive. This was the first time our families met, and the first time I met any of his family (aside from his step-brother.) Everyone got along well and I love his family! Before Travis left with his Dad my family coerced him into decorating his car (a.k.a. his baby.)
We met the photographer downtown at 4 p.m. where she did the ‘first look’ photo and took a ton of us together, seperate, and with our families. Jessica was so nice and laid-back and really helped us get over that ‘awkward uncomfortable photo’ feeling. One of our family members snapped this with their phones.At 5 p.m. Travis and I made our way to the Museum of Art which was just across the street. We took some more fun photos upstairs, and set up the camera for video downstairs. I had a script written up for his Dad to read (We got courthouse married earlier in Alabama so his Dad was able to be our ‘officiant’) and after a few minutes of prep time it was time for me to leave to make my grand re-entrance.
The ceremony itself only lasted a few minutes. Here are the vows we repeated to each other:
I, Travis, take you, Erica, to be my wife
I will share my life with yours
Build our dreams together
Support you through times of trouble
And rejoice with you in times of happiness
I promise to give you respect, love, and loyalty
Through all the trials and triumphs of our life together.
This commitment is made in love,
And made new every day of our lives
After the ceremony was over I literally turned around and said, “we’re done!” It was all just so informal, and absolutely perfect. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep it as my motto in life from this point forward; low expectations are the key to happiness. I can see how brides get SO obsessed with this ‘vision’ they have and wanting everything to be perfect for their ONE day. I would have gone overboard with it myself if I hadn’t made the conscious effort to just have fun and use the day to get to know Travis’s family and wear a pretty dress.
Pretty much summed up in this face I made post ceremony. Whatevs.After the ceremony Travis and I went back to change into less formal attire and we met up with everyone at Carrabbas. Delicious food and it was nice to be able to sit down after 2 hours in 3″ heels (not the greatest idea to do the day before a marathon!) Toward the end of the meal my parents surprised us with a wedding cake they had dropped off before the ceremony. I had called Travis that morning from Michaels while I was looking at stuff for my bouquet and I somehow wandered into the bridal hour and began lamenting to him how we wouldn’t have any of the traditional wedding moments. No unity candle, no guest book, and not even a cake topper. He reminded me that I was the one who wanted a simple ceremony (and he was right!) so I quickly got over it and refocused on what the whole day was supposed to symbolize. It was still a wonderful surprise when we saw this cake, and the wedding serving set Mom bought us to cut the cake with together.
I’m planning to use the bouquet, serving pieces, cake topper, and some of the stuff they decorated his car with to make a shadow box. I know if I keep things separate I’ll end up losing something over the next 50 years!
As I keep saying the day was absolutely perfect. I’m sharing our final expenses because I want to show people it is VERY possible to have an absolutely gorgeous, memorable wedding without spending a ridiculous amount of money.
Final Wedding Budget:
- 900 Museum rental + Photography
- 350 Reception Dinner at Carrabbas
- 280 Dress
- 165 Hair + Make-Up
- 60 License
- 20 Bouquet
- 5 Press On Nails
- TOTAL: $1,780
When I get the rest of the professional photos back I will share some more details about the day. Like the special item I carried down the aisle with me, and what our wedding song was (that I cry just thinking about!)
What was your favorite memory from your wedding day?
What is a cute way to display wedding memorabilia or photos?