A Broke-Ass Wedding Reception: Merriment On A Budget…
Our outdoor ceremony was 15-minutes: my mom walked me down the aisle and gave me away because my dad sucks balls, rings exchanged, vows exchanged (I left vows upstairs and was forced to wing it), some bawling, Iron & Wine “Lion’s Mane”, two renditions of Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedia No. 1”, and a Bon Iver’s “Re: Stacks”.
Event decorating: I cannot stress the dollar stores. However, when buying in large quantities, it’s best to purchase them online. Sometimes you get an extra discount and let’s face it, you won’t be the asshole who just bought 100 tea candles at the Dollar Tree, which is like their entire stock. This is where I purchased our LED tealights, which used to come in a packet of three, but they got hip to the game. I purchased cute frosted tealight candle holders that came in a package of three- they hid the LED weird-fake-“realness”- and our wine and champagne cups and silver plated plastic flatware. The silver-plastic flatware is good for soft foods, but they were shattering and sending shrapnel throughout the mansion when faced with al dente carrots. But, our plastic plates with silver bands from Webstaurant held up nicely.
Consider another alternative to flowers. Yes, they are beautiful and smell nice. Even if you get them at a wholesale shop, they’re still going to be costly and die the next day. I used wheat stalks (it was autumn) and elegantly long peacock plumes I foraged on my friend’s property. I also used some autumn foliage from my mom’s trees in her backyard. But, if you’re getting married in the spring and longing to create a whimsical fairyland of flowers that will never be seen growing together in the wilderness, you could buy some daffodils from Trader Joe’s. I buy lots of these every spring. They come in a little cluster of around seven-pieces and on the west coast they’re only $1.29. I put these in simple vintage green vases. Again, don’t be the asshole that bought up the entire stock like those people (that shall remain ethnic-less) at the dollar store who buy up all the fucking stock of products they’re now going to install in their rental buildings. True story.
Flowers and candles are all you need to create a romantic ambiance. Booze and food are all you need to keep people in merriment. And, a go-with-the-flow attitude to preserve your sanity.
Since I begged my two handsomest friends from culinary school to cater, they gave their labor as a wedding gift. I only paid for ingredients. We worked on the menu together. Even then, because I’m a cheap ass, I still went through the receipts. And quite rightly, they showed up at my door with their torches.
We put two handles of Seagram’s 7, 4 liters of 7 up and lemon wedges into a free Martha Stewart Beverage Dispenser (we got with our Macy’s registry gift card). We bought a case (12 bottles) of $2.49 Charles Shaw. Ice in the chests. No one cared about the lackluster quality of wine and plastic bottles of non-Laphroaig whisky after they were boozed up and happy. I made signs for the entire wedding: cocktails, favors, arrows pointing wedding traffic off the main road. I had some scrap wood around the art studio and painted them with blackboard paint ($3) and used a white china marker I already had to write. Don’t get suckered into buying signs like this at craft stores for $20.
Favors: We had my mother’s Mexican Wedding cookies, my friend’s caramel apples, and pan dulce. We sat tongs and paper bags next to the pan dulce so people could take home.
There were hors d’oeuvres
We had two entrees. Beef Burgundy with potatoes pave and some delicious pickled yellow beets. And arroz con gandules with pernil; my nana made the Puerto Rican rice, as her gift to me and a consolation prize for not being able to muster up the courage to be seen in public with her oxygen tubes. I roasted the pork shoulders. Then I transfered them all in hotel pans (you can get for $10 each) from my house to the mansion. My friend let us borrow some chafing dishes she had.
Here is an itemized list of how much we paid for shit:
– Food: $564
– Wireless speaker: $100
– Plates: $75
– Booze: $60
– Favors: $40
– Plastic wine, champagne, beverage cups: $36
– Pan Dulce Favors: $30
– LED Tea Candles: $25.76
– Five 12-packs of sodas: $15
– Flatware: $12
– Mexican Wedding Cookie Ingredients: $12
– Table vases: Six bud vases were $3 and mason jars were all from my own collection.
– Blackboard paint: $3
– Cake: Gift from pastry instructor/mentor/friend
– Officiant: FREE
– Tablescapin’ shit: Acorns, pinecones, chesnuts, wheatstalks, peacock feathers, autumn foliage.
Total spent on reception: $1,291.76
For larger photos, please visit my site: EatGordaEat