My Almost DIY Wedding

Hello fellow Domestic Divas!! I hope you are living the good life. Here are some personal photos of my wedding. I recently received all of my images and I’m really excited to show how I saved some money during my wedding planning. Just a disclaimer….This wedding wasn’t done on a shoestring budget, HOWEVER, I did plan the wedding myself and found many ways to allocate my budget correctly. Here are some tips/ ideas:

I hand made these programs. They were made on Photoshop (my menus were created on Photoshop too!). Then I bought 11″ x 14″ metallic pearl paper. Given the width of the program, 4 pages could be print across one 11″ x 14″ page. Then we measured and used a paper cutter to cut all the pages accordingly. After we tiered the pages, we punched 2 holes up top and tied placed it in a black card stock (letter size, cut in half and folded on the top to hide the whole punches.) They cost about .80 each to make. However, if you print the pages yourself and find a good deal on the paper, it will be substantially less expensive. We received so many compliments on them! I have extras, so I can send you a sample if you wish. Just email me!


The flowers that decorated the ceremony doubled as the short arrangements in the reception area. The florist already had the stands. We found the material in the fabric district in Los Angeles

The bridesmaids dresses were from David’s Bridal. I had my eye on $320 bridesmaid dress, but that is unreasonable to ask of your friends. The shawls were made by a friend. They normally would have been $20 each at David’s Bridal. Go to a local fabric store or search a place near you that have many fabric stores in one area so you get the most competitive price. Same goes for the flowers. We were able to make shawls for all 8 bridesmaids for $24.

This is La Folia Music Chamber. I found them on Wedding Wire. This ensemble was great! They were professional, classy and reasonable! When you hire musicians or any other talent, be sure to read their over time fees. The ceremony started 15 minutes late, then the ceremony ran long. We were changed $100 (rightfully so) for the hour of cover time. Be sure to budget for overtime, more often than not, you wedding will run late.





The ring pillow was made by my friend Sherry (she made the flower girl dresses, shawls and many more things too!). It’s hard to tell but it has crystals at the gathering. It was made with silk and tulle. I love it!




My hair and make-up was done by family! My cousin did my make-up and my aunt did my hair. Always do a trial run, to two or three if you have to. I did. I also suggest finding a make up artist that does airbrush foundation. Mine didn’t budge all night and it felt really light and natural.



Shoes ordered on I was afraid to find shoes online but these were really comfortable and perfect. Be sure to read all the reviews. A tipster told me these run a half size too small, so I ordered a half size up and it fit like a glove. I decorated these with small Swarovski crystals for extra glam. I really love these shoes and still wear them! You can easily find shoes that you can wear beyond your wedding day.






Don’t buy your purse at a bridal boutique, unless you want to pay a 200% mark up. Try to find it at a “regular” or department store. My dress had so much detail, so I opted for a simple and elegant purse, I loved the crystals on top of the clasps. It was only $20!




I really loved these! I did my invitations, place cards, and table names through Nida’s Boutiq in Laguna Beach. They have extremely beautiful, high quality, hand made invitations. I made a promo video for the owner in exchange for the escort cards and table numbers. Do you have a trade? Ask to swap services! I bought the large crystals and petals at the Flower District in Los Angeles. Look for a floral hub near you for similar deals!





Choose flowers that are in season for your centerpieces to avoid high costs. All of these flowers were in season and local. If I could do it again, I would have choose a florist in the Flower District in LA. They do great work and are highly competitive since there are so many floral shops right next to each other. But I really loved my centerpieces!



Recognize these from the ceremony decoration? Alternate between short and tall centerpieces to save on cost. Have fun with the table names. We choose places that we have been to before and glued a pic of us at that particular place on the back, we used it as a giveaway, as well, it was all the rage!




Silver charger plates and custom napkins were only $1.60 each per person. A small price to pay for the amount of glamour it brought to the table. I used Bella Event Services in Costa Mesa. The owner is Veronica, a lovely lady that works and from her home. During the holidays, you can purchase charger plates for $1 each. You can make all your money back if you sell them on Ebay or Glass charger plates are substantially more and you will be better off renting those.





It’s a little hard to see but the “L” Cake topper with Swarovski crystal embellishments was only $25 in Los Angeles. You can always buy more crystals and embellish yourself. These usually run upwards of $50. The cake wasn’t inexpensive but it tasted divine! Great Dane Bakery did a lovely job. Fresh flowers are an inexpensive way add beauty to your cake. My cake was supposed to have A LOT more orchids, but the florist didn’t deliver enough. (on a side note, make sure that your florist brings buckets of extra flowers just in case). Anyway, the cake flavor was moist white cake with fresh raspberries and white chocolate filling, draped in vanilla fondant. UMMM!!




My friend was kind enough to offer to make my menus. She made it on photoshop. I bought legal size pearl card stock and printed four per page. It was less than $1 each, but any where else would charge $2-$5 each




Choose the location first before choosing theme. For instance, an organic, green wedding wouldn’t have matched this high rise, glamourous setting. It was so beautiful during sunset! If I choose a typical, enclosed banquet room, the costs for lighting and drapery would have gone through the roof. I originally wanted to do an India Jewel wedding with corals, reds, and mustards, but when I found this venue, my vision change completely.





The special purple linens underneath the black table cloths were $48 to cover both tables. By Bella Event Services in Costa Mesa. If you (or have a friend that) can sew all you have to do measure the length of the table and have her sew the table cloth. These are four 6 foot table cloths. My friend Merriam was kind enough to show up early and bunch the black table cloths so that the purple accent table cloth would show.





These vases were decorated by Merriam. The vase was $3 each at the LA Flower Mart, and the pebbles were inexpensive as well. The spool of ribbon was $3 and I only need one spool. This doubled as decor for the head table, see below.




You can see how the vases seen earlier were used to hold the bridesmaid’s bouquets and double as decoration. Another money saving tip. Do not buy your votive until you get your fire permit (needed if you are indoors, rules and regulations vary by county I believe). I bought a lot of 2″ votives and then the fire department told me that I wasn’t allowed to use them. I snuck them in at the head table, but I had to buy 3″ votives last minute and I didn’t budget for them.





This is Calé. They are just as good as the Mambo Kings. They are incredibly talented and added so much romance and richness to the room during cocktail hour and dinner. We found them on for a reasonable price. People thought they were famous and that they were much more expensive than they were. They were amazing!! I highly recommend them, they are based in Los Angeles.





The sign in table had a really pretty manzanita tree that had rose bunch in the branches, but someone took it home already at this point. But look closely at the pen. I bought the pen for $15 and my friend Merriam put crystals all the way up the middle and on the base. They were hot fix jewels and not Swarovski so this was a really inexpensive project. People notice the details!




Since I had 8 bridesmaids, you can try to buy the necklaces and earrings at whole sale. Buy something for yourself, mom, and mom in law, you will definitely have more than 12 pieces and can get wholesale prices at the Fashion District in LA. You can shop around online for wholesale jewelry as well, but I personally prefer to see it in person. But I’m willing to buy my wedding shoes on line, haha.





Your florist should throw in your toss bouquet for free. After you all, you are spending bucks on florals!




The gobo light was created by the same friend Nicole, she made the menus, gobo light and programs with Photoshop! During a bridal show, I signed up for several newsletters of companies I liked. I purchased my lighting through Visions Entertainment during a promotion, I received the gobo light for free. In fact, I signed up many of my vendors when they had a promotion. Strike while the iron is hot!







I bought the crystals that embellished my bouquet handle in LA near the Flower Mart. It as only $6 a yard (I think). Small price to pay for the added elegance.

I had small crystals in the middle of the roses but you can’t see them well. I suggest going for the big ones so they can be seen in all their glory!




The flower in my hair was only $25 at Royal Accessories and Bridal Supplies in Los Angeles. It is a wedding boutique with very reasonable prices. I tried to stay away from other wedding boutiques because they were really exorbitant.




The flower girl dress that I wanted came in, but in the wrong color! My friend Sherry is a seamstress, she made these the same week! Materials were about $50 for two dresses. I am so grateful for my friends!



And now some people pictures!!! =)

PHOTOS BY JOY MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY. She is a blend of photo journalism and fashion, and “shamelessly make people look their best.” She was recently featured in Cosmopolitan Bride, has been in Pacific Weddings and People Magazine. She is amazingly talented! I feel really lucky that she was available to shoot our wedding. We

And last but not least. My INCREDIBLE Cinematographer. TERRENCE LIGHTEN OF LIGHTEN FILMS. Check out the trailer of our day. The full length was even more amazing. Tears. every. single. time. Hands down, the best memoir of our day. He is the 2009 Cinematographer of the year. He works in a team with his beautiful wife, Suzi. Such beautiful people personally with all the talent and professionalism you can ask for and more. Seriously, check this out!!

Our Wedding Video Trailer