Even though I’ve been engaged since August, I’ve only just began seriously wedding planning. I want to start sharing my wedding planning progress with you all, not only to keep me accountable but to also inspire other budgeting brides-to-be. We’re definitely balling on a budget and will be challenged to plan a gorgeous wedding for less.
As I mentioned in my post about how to start wedding planning, we had started to casually tour venues in November. We were looking around Los Angeles, but also toying with the idea of a destination wedding up in the mountains of Central California. One of the biggest things we were interested in is a venue that was as close to all-inclusive as possible. Since we weren’t interested in hiring a wedding planner— since I’m such a planner already, myself— I didn’t want to be worrying about juggling too many vendors. All inclusive places can also save loads of money, since everything’s bundled into one neat price.
After deciding that a mountain wedding is the way to go, and one lovely tour over the holidays, I’m so happy to announce that we’re partnering with The Pines Resort in Bass Lake, California which will be our ceremony and reception venue. It is an absolutely gorgeous space that’s naturally adorned with flowers, mountain views and pine trees, sitting right at the edge of Bass Lake. We’ll get married out in the field overlooking the water, then move inside for the ballroom reception. It has cozy-yet-spacious lodging options from chalets to suites, and they offer free room blocking, so all of our guests can have a true cabin-esque experience.
The Pines is going to take care of most of the big things, as they have in-house catering, and provide chairs, tables, linens, and even the wedding arch! We also selected a package that includes night-of accommodations in the honeymoon suite, plus $500 towards food for our rehearsal dinner at their restaurant. On top of that, they have the bar covered for the cocktail hour and reception with their own bartender. It’s an amazing value, and helps check a lot of stuff off our list at a low price!
We’re also partnering with an amazing photographer in the area, Michael J. Costa. He’s local and is familiar with the scenery, which is so important to me as we obviously want to showcase the landscape. He also has incredibly reasonable wedding photography packages that will cover the entire day, so we can look back on every moment from prepping to partying! His packages come with a DVD of high-resolution images and the print release, so you don’t have to worry about mandatory additions that a lot of photographers force you into. He’s incredibly upbeat and I’m so excited to work with him!
Luckily, we are good friends with DJ Primitive (Jon Himmelman) who is a prominent Los Angeles DJ. The day we got engaged, he offered to DJ the reception, which not only adds a personal touch but will be saving us tons of cash. It’s always a great idea to ask talented friends to contribute to your big day, as it keeps things intimate while also helping stretch your budget. We’re very excited to have Jon facilitate the party!
Finally, we’re in the very beginning stages of creating our registry. Since Adam and I have lived together for 4 years now, we’ve already built a home for ourselves. Aside from smaller items that we’ll be asking for, we’re going to be creating a Fund-based registry through Zola, where guests can contribute money towards our wish list. For example, we have a “furniture fund” that guests can contribute to to help us purchase furniture for our new home. They can check out online with their credit card, and we get the money deposited into our bank account to shop with. Easy right? Plus, it’s a little more personal than just asking for cash.
Aside from that, Zola is a great place to register for physical gifts as well, because they offer the most popular brands. The best part: they hold the gifts for you once purchased so you can decide where and when you’d like them sent to you. Perfect if you’re planning on moving, or you’re going to be away on your honeymoon soon after the big day.
If you’re interested in exploring Zola, you can use my invite link to get a $50 shopping credit— sign up here.
This coming month, I’ll be focusing on creating a color scheme and designing my save the date and invitations. After these big to-dos are done, I can move on to flowers, cake, and other decor. Here’s what’s been checked off my list, and what’s still left:
Hotel Room Blocks
Rehearsal Diner Venue
Save the Dates + Invites
Think of anything else I need to add to my wedding planning list? Let me know!