It's my 9 year wedding anniversary this Thursday, July 22nd, and I want to share with you what my wedding cost.
But first, here are a few photos from the day...
In the last couple of years, I've written posts about my husband, how we met (while working as producers on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette), what he means to me, and how we never fight about money. If you want to read those, here they are:
Now that we're back to more and more people having a wedding, I'd like to break down our wedding costs for you, but the question is -- do you even want to incur the costs?
I knew a few people who celebrated last year with more intimate (and wayyy less expensive) weddings with just their family and maybe their wedding party (bridesmaids/groomsmen) and zoomed the ceremony live. One of my clients did that, and it was gorgeous and such an honor to witness live. (It makes it easier to invite people to your ceremony this way.)
If you're curious about my wedding costs, here they are (by the way, we paid for everything by cash or check because I definitely don't believe in going into debt for a wedding).
Rehearsal Dinner - We spent about $2000 total, including bringing in our own wine and champagne. We turned this into a traditional Chinese Wedding Banquet, where I changed into 3 different Qipao (black, green & red). We had it at Ocean Seafood in downtown Los Angeles' Chinatown.
After the rehearsal dinner, we invited the younger crowd up to Perch LA - a rooftop bar, restaurant and sometime club also in downtown Los Angeles. We paid for a private roped off area on the roof and top shelf open bar for 3 hours, for a total of $1042.88.
Venue - Cicada Club - A gorgeous art deco building in downtown L.A., built in 1928, as a department store and is now an event space and restaurant with live music and dancing. It was always one of my dream wedding venues. It's such a beautiful space and has been featured in a lot of TV shows and movies. Everyone raved about the food too, which was something really important to us. For the location, cockail hour hors d'oevres and an open bar with top shelf alcohol, and dinner with also an open bar for the entire evening....the total was $18,577.76.
Wedding Coordinator - Mint Julep (No longer coordinating but the owner Michelle is a DJ now) - she gave me a super, crazy deal because we're friends (and former neighbors at a loft in downtown LA), and I did give her a deposit on a previous wedding that didn't happen, so $1530.
Photographer - Sweet Monday (no longer in business due to Covid) - $3250 for a 6 hour day. This would be where I would be willing to actually spend more money, since the only thing you really have left, after the wedding, are your photos or videos.
Videographers - two of my TV editor friends, Sef & Armando, agreed to film and edit our wedding video for us for FREE! HERE is the full video, if you want to watch it. It's long though (about 40 minutes), so Armando also edited a short "trailer," which is below.
The DJ, Zach Cowie aka Torquoise Wisdom, was one of the best people we hired. He usually doesn't do weddings. He DJs at some major clubs around the world, and he's a music supervisor for scripted television and film. That year, he did two weddings -- ours and Natalie Portman's wedding. Boy, were we lucky! And he gave me the craziest discount ever, as a favor to a friend of ours. We spent $1500. He came to our rehearsal at Cicada and was so inspired, he actually created a mix for the cocktail hour too! So, he did the music for the ceremony, the cocktail hour, dinner and dancing. (If you watch the full version of our wedding video, you'll see that everyone danced their hearts out!)
Our cakes were from Lark Cake Shop in Silver Lake, and it was a total of $383.40. The 3 tiers were filled with lemon, carrot and chocolate. We also purchased a separate coconut cake, but I don't know what happened to it because I never saw it that night, and it wasn't on the cake table for photos.
My cousin Tina is a graphic designer, and she designed the invitations, the place cards, our wedding gift favors' CD covers (yes in 2012 people still had CD players), and the program.
The flowers were the biggest disappointment, and the one thing I truly regret from my wedding. The floral designer did not listen to me, and I got a lot of flowers that I did not want. At the time, I didn't care about the flowers as much as I do now, so I had my mom help me to decide between a hip downtown florist, which was where I should've gone or one from the westside. On the day of the wedding, my mom agreed it was a mistake choosing this vendor and said the flowers looked like they were left over from someone else's wedding and just thrown together, instead of "designed." I almost cried when I saw them, but I didn't...because ultimately, no one really pays that much attention to the flowers. I paid $2349 total (which I believe was actually higher than the other floral designer), and it was the only regret I had during my entire wedding.
My shoes were my "Something Old" and "Something Blue." They're a pair of Blue Satin heels from Coach. So, $0. My "Something Borrowed" was my maid of honor's grandmother's pin (see photo 2 below..it's pinned to the white fabric around my wedding bouquet). My wedding dress was my "Something New" and probably the biggest "splurge" - It was a Carolina Herrera designer dress that I wasn't planning to buy.
I was in Dallas for a hometown shoot for The Bachelorette -- I think it was Sean Lowe's hometown on Emily Maynard's season. My maid of honor, Carla, made appointments at a few designer boutiques for me - Caroline Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, and another one. When I tried on this dress, I felt like a bride. It was that feeling everyone always describes as "this is the one!"
Since it was only a few months before the wedding and they didn't have time to make a new dress for me, the store gave me 10% off and included all alterations. I believe the final price was $4500. Now that I think back on it, for a designer couture wedding dress that was on the Spring 2012 runway, that's quite the steal, and I don't regret the purchase.
The veil, I bought super cheaply, at a downtown bridal store. I think it was like $30, and I still can't believe how it matches the dress so perfectly! Of course, I had my hair & makeup done, as well. My hair probably cost around $300, and my friend Lauren did my makeup for free, as a wedding present. She's a professional makeup artist and stylist, so of course, I looked amazing!
My husband bought his designer suit, shirt, tie and shoes at Bloomingdale's for $1000 total.
All in all -- we spent -- $36,463...give or take a couple hundred for misc. things I don't remember and for tips, etc. After the wedding, as Christmas gifts, we had the photographer make photo albums for both sets of parents and of course, our own album, which cost about $2K+.
Plus, my husband planned and paid for the honeymoon in St. Lucia, where we got to stay at the spectacular and luxurious Jade Mountain Resort. I don't know what the overall price was, but it definitely wasn't cheap.
Was it all worth it?
Besides the fact that I LOVE a good celebration party, and this was the first party we would throw as a married couple, my #1 Core Value is LOVE.
Not that a wedding is equal to love.
However, it IS a celebration of our love, and it also aligns with my Core Values of true community, relationships, friendships & family.
For us, the wedding was a way for our friends and family to be there for us, as witnesses to this love and bringing together of families.
Plus, we had saved up enough to pay for it.
Our parents did help out, as well, with contributions about $10K, so all in all, we spent under $30K.
How did you celebrate your wedding day? Or if you're not yet married, how do you want to celebrate yours? Big, small, medium wedding? No wedding at all? I celebrate your love, no matter what you want.
With so much Love & Gratitude,
P.S. For my 9th year wedding anniversary, I'm excited to offer a discount to the next 9 couples that sign up to work with me! If you want to fight less (or not at all) about money, get on the same page with your partner - whether you're not yet married or you've been married for a long time, and learn ways to stress less about all of it, then set up a discovery session with me HERE.