DC sunset: budget and wrap up

so how does the DC sunset inspiration work towards creating an overall day and budget?

ceremony: its important that your wedding reflect your beliefs. a wedding ceremony on the rooftop would most likely involve a compromise if the duration required seating for your guests. for a short ceremony, the arch-canopy at the corner of the space would work perfectly. fill it with candles and gather your guests close.

budget: $150 ($35 marriage license, $10 certified copy of license, $100 candles, clear fishing line, glass hanging orbs)

invitations: as with most wedding expenses, invitations can always cost more. with a little ingenuity, some talented friends, or the help of an etsy vendor, achieving the same look as the invites featured here can be done on a budget. get a pdf design and print them yourself. want to customize an invitation without getting it professionally designed? look to free templates like this beautiful chrysanthemum style and customize it to your specific needs. its helpful to know a design program like illustrator or GIMP, but if you know paint and word, you can do this with a few hours and a laser printer.

budget: $150 ($75 good quality cardstock, $25 postage/supplies, $50 paper cutting by a professional)

attire: ordering a dress or suit that will need little, if any, alterations is a good way to keep costs down. accessorize with pieces you already own (like heirloom jewelry).

budget: $1,600 ($950 layered tulle gown, $150 accessories/shoes/birdcage veil, $200 suit, $200 shirt/shoes/tie/accessories, $100 alterations)

reception: stretch your reception budget by limiting the guest list. this venue does some of the work for you as it can only hold 60-80 seated guests. the beacon hotel's rooftop set-up will allow you three distinct spaces with a small guest list (ceremony/lounge, cocktails/dancing, and seated dinner). balance the cost of a seated dinner with one signature drink during cocktail hour and wine/beer for the remainder of the night. select one main entree and one alternative for vegetarians to limit the cost of stocking the kitchen. you don't need a ton of decor - the sunset is your ambiance. access to a rooftop of your own could cut costs dramatically with a reasonable catering bill. try saint germain catering if you've got this option in the DC area. their food is delicious and they're super nice (plus the prices? amazingly reasonable).

budget: $9500 (rooftop reception with cocktail hour, seated three course dinner, wine/beer bar, tip and gratuity at the beacon hotel for 75 guests)

flowers and decor: order in-season flowers or flowers that have full blooms. use plain low vases or rent slightly more ornate ones. add candlelight in the rooftop fountain and on the tables to create a warm glow. DIY is the key to keeping costs down in this area. but with the help of the interwebs, this is a DIY project with a ton of reference tutorials. also, use all one flower to keep your bouquets DIY stress-free.

budget: $500 (wholesale blooms from an online vendor, supplies, candles, vases)

photographer: if i were trying to keep costs down, but still wanted beautiful pictures, the first person i'd call is jessice valle. i adore her work - its fun and unexpected.

budget: $2,500 (in 2011 for 8 hours of coverage plus travel)

miscellaneous: DJ or speaker equipment for an ipod, gifts for your wedding party, unforeseen expenses, trial runs, hair/makeup

budget: $1,500


this may seem like a lot, but with the average wedding in DC running upwards of $35,000, coming in at half the cost seems like a fair discount for the time spent researching and DIYing. especially considering that trade-offs for a seated dinner and time of day/day of week don't need to be made.

could you do it for even less? sure. have a cocktail or buffet reception, choose a less expensive dress, cut your guest list, use your ipod to deejay, negotiate with the venue on things that can be cut from the menu. it all depends on what is important to you.

like one of the ideas, need a variation on the theme? post it in the comments.

xoxo, am

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