I didn’t think people like this existed in real life. When I first laid eyes on Erik & Caitlin’s wedding images I was convinced it was a styled shoot with models. This couldn’t be an actual wedding, surely? But I was wrong and my heart whooped with joy.
The wedding took place in September at the bride’s parent’s home. The entire wedding cost less than $5000. (I know! As if it wasn’t amazing enough already, right?!) Caitlin designed her own dress (which was made by the mother of the groom and ended up costing only $190, including the veil!), wore $20 shoes (which she customised) and her floral headpiece was made by one of her bridesmaids an hour before the ceremony. The cakes were homemade, the flowers were grown and collected by friends and family and the invitations were hand painted and wax sealed by the bride. All the catering was done by the mother of the bride and the bride’s brother Matt acted as bartender. As you can probably imagine the couple also decorated the entire space themselves.
Yep, you read that right – Carla & Nicholas spent just $800 on their intimate fiesta elopement. In fact I had to double check they didn’t mean $8000 when I received their submission and that it wasn’t just a typo!
The elopement took place on 28th December at Madison County Courthouse. After they got engaged, the couple immediately started planning a big wedding, but after some time decided to instead elope the weekend after Christmas. All their family was in town for the holidays so it meant they could all be there to celebrate with a big family meal afterwards. The bride’s sister-in-law, Melanie, secretly hired wedding photographer Ashley Vaughn of White Rabbit Studios as a gift to capture their day. Everything else came in under the $800 budget.
“Our family gathering after our ceremony was inspired by fiesta with a kick of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)”, Carla explained. “When we decided to do a courthouse wedding with a small family reception, I knew exactly where I wanted the reception. I love the look, the colors, the details, and atmosphere at Rosie’s Mexican Cantina. A fiesta theme just fit perfectly. Nick and are a little off the beaten path when it comes to what we enjoy and love in life and I have always been intrigued by and enjoyed the Mexican celebration Dia de los Muertos. We already had the family gathering together so why not honor loved ones who had passed on while we were at it?”
Before I even saw these photographs I knew I wanted to blog this wedding. Wedding photographer, Adam Lowe, described the event to me as ‘a mega super awesome gay punk dude wedding’ and I instantly knew it would be amazing… and oh boy how right I was!
Josh & Scott were married in October at 400 West Rich, a 100,000 sq foot warehouse in Columbus, Ohio. They did pretty much everything themselves and spent just $3000 making their wedding perfect. “We met through a gay social networking and just got to talking”, they began. “About three months later we were taking turns visiting each other and three months after that Josh moved to Columbus. Josh is a huge Disney fan and we planned a trip to Disney and Scotty ordered an engagement ring. He proposed to Josh in front of Cinderella’s Castle.”
“We wanted a very organically flowing wedding. The ceremony was short but personal with personal vows”, they continued. “The space we used for our wedding was an old factory that is being converted into artist studios. Being so DIY minded, it just made sense to use it and create a warm welcoming environment on our own. Being vegans and experiencing some bad catered vegan food options at weddings we knew we did not want to depend on a caterer to make the food. Instead we did it all ourselves with help of friends. We are talking 400 tamales, 100 ‘chicken’ wings, 300 cake pops… We also had the majority of our friends and wedding party involved in doing something to help out. We know people in bands, people who are DJs and bartenders. Everyone volunteered their time and took turns helping out and partying!”
Casey & Caitlin were married at Dos Picos Park in Ramona, CA. They wanted their wedding to be laid back, fun, but most of all very ‘them’.
“My inspiration was to keep things very us”, began the bride. “Well actually, our theme was 100% Caitlin, with a splash of Casey thrown in here and there! I have been to weddings that are gorgeous and looked at hundreds on blogs and in magazines when looking for inspiration for our wedding. I have liked many of the things I’ve seen, but none of them were really right.”
“I am never one to follow a crowd, and neither is my husband. When I think about what I love and what I like, I don’t want to compromise for tradition or because someone tells me it can not be done. I want things to mean something to me, just like my tattoos. I don’t pick something out of the air because it looks cool.”
What could be more fun than a backyard BBQ, a ceremony in Central Park and a pizza party?! Well that’s exactly what Jared & Nakia chose to do for their New York wedding. Unusually though, this couple opted for their casual BBQ reception to take place the night before their ceremony, in the groom’s brother’s back garden. Then the following day, after the ceremony, they went off – just the two of them – for portraits and pizza!
The bride explains, “We decided to have a big family grill out for our reception for two reasons. First of all, we were very concerned with the traffic and parking issues with getting everyone to Central Park for the wedding, let alone then asking everyone to drive and try to park again at an NYC restaurant for a formal reception. Secondly, after looking into renting out a whole restaurant, or even just a large room at a restaurant, in the city on a Saturday, we realised the prices were astronomical. After talking it over, we instead decided that having a big family grill out as it was more reasonable in price and much more relaxed for our family and friends.”
“Then the next day, after the ceremony, we did a photo shoot in Central Park. It was amazing! After the photo shoot I was really hungry, so we got in the limo and found a pizzeria. And no I didn’t go back to the hotel to change beforehand. I went in my beautiful wedding dress and Jared went in his tuxedo. We sat down at a pizza shop on a corner and we enjoyed pizza while talking about how beautiful the wedding was. A couple in wedding attire sitting in a pizzeria draws a lot of attention but we didn’t mind because as New Yorkers not much surprises you!”
“We didn’t really have a traditional ‘theme’ as you can probably tell”, Nakia chuckled. “I guess if anything we had a family reunion sort of theme. Jared and I grew up together so both our families know each other already.”
Being a wedding photographer herself, and seeing so many amazing weddings in her working life, newlywed Hannah Millard had a lot of people asking her what she was going to do for her own wedding. She actually found it quite difficult making the initial decisions – inspiration overload and all that! But once they realised what was really important – the fact that they were getting married and that they loved each other more than anything – the rest of the decisions came pretty easily! The couple spent just £3500 on their wedding and it was perfect.
“Oh my Goodness! I can’t believe that after reading Rock n Roll Bride for so long, and having some of my work up on these awesome pages, I am finally writing about my own day. Being a wedding photographer, when I told people I was engaged they always said things like ‘You must have seen so many ideas’ and ‘You’ll know what to do for your day’… and those things were only half true. I’ve shot some amazing and varied weddings and seen some great ideas, but when it came to our day I felt like I couldn’t see the wood for the trees. I knew that we would be financing it all ourselves and couldn’t afford much. In fact our wedding was very nearly an elopement. We were within moments of booking an intimate ceremony with just us and two witnesses, prepared to sacrifice having a party and just wanting to be married. It might sound strange but I think that deciding that we would have been content to do it in such a low-key way helped us come to the decision to make more of it. Every extra thing would be a bonus and we would get to share it with our friends and family.”