I am so thankful for such a wonderful mom-in-law, not enough credit is given to these women. Sure, everyone knows about the monster-in-law, and most brides hope for a mother-in-law, but very few are lucky enough to have a mom-in-law.
My guy wasn’t very involved in the planning, so it was his mom and me who planned it mostly; and it gave us an opportunity to get to bond with each other. We had a $10,000 wedding budget (we originally had a $5,000 budget, but then decided that wasn’t realistic for what we wanted).
For those in the surrounding Cincinnati area, our beautiful venue was at Norlyn Manor. They offer an inclusive wedding package that includes everything from linen to centerpieces. The starting price is $4,000 — our venue cost came out to about $7,500 alone; but we had upgraded our menu, included a cocktail hour, and our ceremony on site.
One of our tables in our reception room on the day of our wedding.
I got all my bridesmaids a bracelet from Amazon. (I bought myself one too.) The girls got their dresses from Forever21. I gave them three choices to choose from, they ended up all choosing the same dress. The guys got their suits at Men’s Warehouse, and the Dr. paid for their suit rentals. My reception dress I bought from an online retailer. My wedding dress I bought online from China (if you’re skinny enough, buying a dress from China will save you a few hundred bucks if you don’t mind waiting for the long shipping date).
You can’t tell in this picture, but there is a heart charm on the last link, and when you hook the clasp on a link, the heart dangles from it.
I asked our bridesmaids and groomsmen to be a part of our wedding through individual homemade cards that I made for each of them, and attached to each was a ring-pop… I asked them to post a picture on FB and tag us on it if they accepted. ♡
My reception dress was the traditional bright red that Chinese brides wear (red is a lucky, happy, and love color in traditional Chinese culture); and my bridesmaids dresses were a red wine color. (That’s us with Aunt Diane, Heidi, and Grandma – Grandpa wandered off to another table with Steve, Dad, Mom, and Uncle Joe to mingle with the other guests by the time we got to their table).
My flowers were the traditional red roses. My mom-in-law could have saved a lot of money if she had went with sunflowers (or any other flowers besides from roses). We used the centerpieces from our venue; so my mom-in-law only needed bouquets, corsages, and boutonnières… and decorations for the gazebo and table-toppers for a few “special” tables (our sweetheart table, the place-card table, etc.) — we had beautiful red roses in vases at these tables too.
Our beautiful red roses that were on our gift table, at the bar, our place-card table, etc.
I made all the prints myself, including the invitations. I used Gartner Studios kits, and they had so many bird themes. (Our wedding theme is lovebirds.) The only prints that I used a professional service for was our rehearsal dinner invitations, and that was a huge disappointment. I used Wedding Paper Divas; they were expensive, and there was a print error on the back of one of my cards; but the cardstock quality was excellent, so I’ll give them that.
I made the place-cards and all our invitations myself (except for our rehearsal dinner invitations). We saved A LOT of money on DIY printing.
Our wedding was a Lovebirds theme; I made our invitations myself using a Gartner Studios’ kit.
Our wedding favors and engagement party favors I ordered online. For the wedding, we got stemless wine glasses engraved with birds on a branch and our names and date; for the engagement we got a lovebird salt and pepper shaker set from Amazon, (I wished I had ordered those for the wedding instead, they’re perfect!).
Our wedding favors.
Our engagement party favors… I got them on Amazon (they’re Kate Aspen, it’s a brand of popular wedding favors).
We got the Dr. and Mrs. a high-end Cuisinart carafe maker… it might be too high-tech for the Mrs. though, so the Dr. will have to program it instead. The guys got a really nice engraved drinking set in an engraved metal case as their gift.
Our wedding website was the Knot, and they even have a lovebird theme that matched our invitations. We registered at BB&B and Amazon.com because they are partnered with our wedding website; and our chosen charity is the US Fund for UNICEF — which is also partnered with the Knot for registry donations.
We went with the recommendations from our venue on the DJ (Steve Bender Entertainment, and our DJ, whose name was RJ, was excellent). My mom-in-law chose a bakery that she’s used before. I let her choose the design; she went with a tiered cake with red roses cascading down, and I bought our rehearsal dinner cake topper on Amazon. It’s two blue lovebirds with a top-hat and a veil.
Our beautiful wedding cake. (We saved the top layer, and it was left un-cut for our anniversary next year.) ♡
Our rehearsal dinner cake… I got the love birds topper on Amazon, and my sweet mom-in-law had the cake designed with sunflowers (my favorite flower).
With the wedding itself, we did it within our $10K budget; but we had help from the Dr. and Mrs. on some of the expenses, and they also host our other events for us like our engagement party (unfortunately his grandpa got very sick around that time); and our rehearsal dinner was paid for by my wonderful brother John. We were very fortunate that they were able to help us out financially with some of the expenses because most couples have to foot the bill entirely on their own.
The whole thing cost closer to about $25,000 though if we included our honeymoon and things outside of the actual wedding; like all the traveling expenses for our wedding, the hotel for our wedding night, etc. (After our reception we stayed at a hotel near our venue in their honeymoon suite, and we left for our honeymoon the next day.) ♡