Yesterday was our six-month wedding anniversary. Sweet huh? Also, where does the time go??

I never did share these little cuties that we got on our honeymoon in Mexico- one of our only souvenirs. These were the perfect blend of sentimental and functional, since we needed S&P shakers anyway.

It seems obvious to me that red is for pepper (spicy) and blue is for salt (like the sea) but no one else seems to get that! Ah well.

Our souvenirs tend to be somewhat functional/something we needed anyway, like our Canadian pillows. But I want to hear about your honeymoon/special trip souvenirs!

Aah, the power of one word.

Today’s word in question is this: Only.

There’s something funny about the word “only”. When our wedding was featured on, the headline was “Amazing! This gorgeous wedding only cost $8000!” I know that the writer was comparing it to the average cost of weddings, which is somewhere around $25,000-$30,000, and in that way, the word “only” makes sense.

A couple of instances where the word “only” might not make as much sense are:

  • $8000 is only <insert large number here>% of my annual salary!
  • I only have $8000 of credit card debt!
  • It will only take us ten years to pay off that wedding!

You get the point.

A few people commented on that post that $8000 was still a ridiculous amount to spend on a wedding.

Hey- I totally agree! Sort of. Well, do I? I thought I did, but now I’m not sure.

I started out wanting to spend $4000 on a wedding, inspired by our beloved John and Sherry. But our budget was, shall we say, flexible, and in time we decided that since we had the means, we’d rather pay more and do less work (and make our loved ones do less work- although don’t get me wrong; everyone still did a ton of work).

After the wedding we let ourselves play the “What else could we have done with $8000?” game only a couple of times before snapping each other back to reality. It’s not worth it! Sure, we could have installed an automatic sprinkler system, or built a new garage, or started finishing the basement. But our lovely parents didn’t just give us that money* and say “Here, go nuts.” They gave it to us for a wedding.

*Yes, our parents covered the cost of our wedding. I’ve seen commenters (I spent way too much time on wedding boards) say that it’s wrong to “make” your parents pay for your wedding or “expect” them to. Well, we did neither. But when they did, we gratefully accepted their offer and tried to put on an event that everyone could enjoy.

I really had to come to terms with spending that kind of money on an event that would have the same outcome with just a $50 marriage license fee. But with each “Yes, I’m coming!” I got from friends and family, I got more and more excited and realized that hey- this is what life is about. It’s about getting people together for special events, and feeding and entertaining them if you have the means. People from out of town stayed for a few days, and it was so nice to have everyone pitch in to put on the event. It was a blast. This, my friends, is quality time:

However, life is not about going into debt so that you can have the most breathtaking cake or the most stylish dress or Wilson Phillips as your band (although that would be pretty sweet). It’s not about impressing everyone with every detail or having every single hair on every single person’s head in its perfect place.

Cool, but probably not necessary.

To continue the soap box, life is not about keeping up with the Joneses, period. If you buy a new boat because the Joneses did, you are dumb. If you buy a new boat because you can afford it and it will bring you and your family lots of happiness, fun, and memories for years to come, you are awesome. It’s the same thing with elements of your wedding. If you’re trying to show someone up by buying a dress from Kleinfeld that you cannot afford, I feel sorry for you. If you buy a super expensive dress because, hey- you can, and it makes you feel like a fairy princess and the most beautiful woman on the planet and that’s important to you, then go you! (We don’t have that priority in common, but still- go you!)

I know we hear this all the time, but it’s so beyond easy to compare ourselves to each other that it’s almost comical. I’ve talked to people before and thought, “What do you do, sit around and make lists of things that other people have gotten and haven’t, and things you’ve gotten and haven’t, and then assign them scores and add them all up to see who should be/is further along in life? Come on! Live your own life already!”

It’s even easier in a way, and less fair, on the internet. When I first started reading home blogs, I hated when people would say things like “This lamp was a steal at $75!” Are you kidding me? I’d think. That’s half of my grocery budget for the month! But you know what? It’s their blog and their life, and for them, $75 is a bargain for a lamp. Get over it, Amanda. It’s like when my friend (Hi Remmy!) says something like “These jeans are only $150.” I just smile and move on to the clearance rack. Remmy always looks fabulous, by the way. That’s a priority for him, and I love having an opinion that is different from my own. And who knows- maybe one day he’ll get me to splurge on (after saving up for, of course :)) a pair of awesome, life-changing jeans.

I guess that the point of this post is that budgets are an intensely personal thing. And I don’t mean that it’s something that must never be talked about. On the contrary, I believe that you should talk about personal things with people you trust, and perhaps in a more general way, with people who read your blog. It’s a great way to grow and learn (as long as you do learn and resist the temptation to simply compare). 

But when it comes to specific amounts, only you can decide if $150 is a good deal for a duvet cover, or if $250,000 is a good deal for a starter home, or if $8000 is a good deal for a wedding.

Since there is no wedding-related debt, our parents were willing and able to help, and it turned out fantastic and we loved seeing everyone, to us $8000 for our wedding was worth every penny.

PS- If anyone is curious what we would have done without our parents’ help, here it is: We would have had a simple ceremony up in a canyon with a very small number of people, and then taken people out to dinner (a much smaller group than attended our wedding). I would have worn a cheaper dress and we wouldn’t have had any groomsmen/bridesmaid/kids’ attire, no flowers, half the invitations, no decorating, etc. It would have been less stress and really fun, but we’re really glad that we had the opportunity to put on the event that we did.

So, did anyone make it through that whole post? Do you guys struggle with comparisons like I do sometimes? How do you keep society’s “only” in perspective with your “only”?

Today, our wedding is being featured on’s wedding website, Save The Date! See us here!!!

Breathe… breathe… Yes, that’s Glamour as in the national women’s magazine. The one you see in grocery stores as you check out. <Squeals>

Anyway, for anyone who came over from Glamour today, welcome! Feel free to poke around and stay a while. Read a little About Me, check out my life’s to-do list so far, and Tour our house to see the updates we’ve made so far.

Would ya look at that!!

This post will probably end up as a tab so it’s easy for people to reference. It’s meant to cover everything I can think of about the wedding- every detail, as well as a *mostly* accurate cost breakdown.

It’s a long post, so get comfy!

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Let me start off by saying that I absolutely loved our wedding. It turned out exactly the way we wanted it to. It was beautiful, and people actually hung around! (I don’t know if it’s a Utah thing or what, but it seems like at a lot of weddings, people just “drop in” to show their faces; my theory is that it has something to do with the lack of food and stuff to do at said weddings.) I’ll be honest: I didn’t think we were big “wedding” people. All through the planning, we agreed that we’d be just has happy to elope. But as these things go, we’re really glad we did it anyway.

One thing that I think we kind of diverted from was the “It’s OUR day” mentality. Indeed, it was our day- but in the end we’d have been just as happy if “our day” had consisted of the two of us getting married at the court house with a few close friends and family. Therefore, we tried to focus more on what we thought our guests, many of whom had come long distances, would enjoy (while definitely still doing it our style and on a budget). Does any of that make sense?

So! Priority #1: A Cool Venue: Cactus & Tropicals in Salt Lake City

Cost: $1800 including tables and chairs for 100 people (although we had over 150 guests!), setup and break down, moving of chairs after ceremony to reception area, etc. They had everything we needed: tables for the food and drinks, a bar (we used the gazebo outside), cake table, gift table, sign-in table…

This place is awesome. We buy plants there a lot and have always loved it there, so it seemed like a natural swap for my original back yard idea.

After the ceremony, the space where the chairs were became the dance floor.

I’ll say it again: We loved this place. No decorating required and there are all sorts of cool plants and sculptures to walk around and look at. If you got bored of mingling with people, there was always something to wander around and admire. Also, there is an outdoor area with a koi pond- with big ol huge koi! It really facilitated the “stay awhile” feeling we wanted.

We didn’t even have to do centerpieces- we just used their plants!

The only things we did to spruce up the place were to:

1. Rent linens for all the tables (Cost: $125) and

2. Hang up picture clotheslines of us as kids and awkward teenagers. I think this was another thing that got people up out of their seats, walking around, mingling, etc. In terms of a schedule, our wedding reception had about as much structure as marshmallow fluff, so we wanted people “milling around” but with a couple of things to keep them entertained. The picture clothesline cost about $85 to print photos at Costco (it would have been about $50 cheaper had we gone for 4×6 instead of 5×7).

Priority #2: Feed people

Although we’re kind of self-proclaimed foodies, we didn’t feel the need to have anything fancy: just something good, and plenty of it. REAL good. I’m not kidding when I say that here in Utah (and a few other states now) Cafe Rio is the bomb dot com. If you don’t live in Utah, I imagine Cafe Rio is something like Chipotle or any one of those “fresh” type Mexican restaurants. No, it’s not somewhere you’d take the Queen of England. But it is somewhere you’d take a crowd of friends (okay, maybe our friends).

There aren’t really pictures of the food, but here’s one of the food guys. 🙂

They offered salad with their famous dressing, tortillas and two kinds of meat for tacos, rice and beans, and desserts (Tres Leches cake and Key Lime pie). They also set everything up and cleaned it all up, and served the meat for the tacos. This cost was $11 per person (gratuity included). We got enough food for 151 people, so the final cost including tax was $1774.

We heard things like “best wedding food” and even “best food” all night and weeks afterward, so we’re pretty stoked we went with that option.

Oh yeah, and those chocolate covered strawberries were left over from our rehearsal dinner the night before. Score!

Priority #3: Have a good, reliable photographer.

We knew that this would be one of our biggest single costs, but that’s why they call it a “priority”. We loved Terra‘s work. Cost: $1597 including tax for five hours of shooting and all editing.

Those were the top three. Now for everything else!

My dress was a $99 tea-length strapless number from David’s Bridal. I took it to the amazingly talented DeAnna of D’Antii here in Salt Lake, and she hemmed it to my knees and added that lace boat neck to the top, plus fitted it (it was a size too big). Tailoring cost: $230

My shoes: $20 (originally $295) from a Cole Haan outlet in Las Vegas (bachelorette party trip wahoo!!) I also spent $20 on some “matching” yellow flip flops because I’m a wimp in heels. By the end of the night I was soooo glad I did! Total cost for shoes: $40

My mom made the birdcage veil headpiece thing. After the ceremony, we simply turned it around. The netting was $5 and I’ll estimate the flower at $5 too. Total: $10.

I borrowed the pearl necklace and earrings (thanks Wendy!) and my friend Candice, who happens to be an instructor at Paul Mitchell The School, did my hair and makeup (thanks Candice!). Chelsey did my French manicure and pedicure (thanks Chelsey!).

Stan’s suit: he already owned it, but to look extra sharp we had it tailored by DeAnna for $113 (I highly recommend the tailored suit!). He already owned his shoes. We got his tie from for $34 (not that I recommend them; it’s a really thin cheap flimsy tie but the pattern was our favorite).

Hubba hubba!

Groomsmen’s attire: We asked them to wear dark slacks and shoes and a white shirt (which they either already had or needed anyway). We supplied their yellow ties from (which I would recommend) for $10 each, totaling $55. We also bought them bright yellow socks from for $4 each, totaling $26.

Bridesmaids’ attire: I bought a couple yards of fabric from, which cost $27, and bright yellow sweaters from the Gap outlet for $15 each, totaling $30. My wonderful sister made the skirts, and they provided their own shirts and shoes. They’re pretty casual as far as bridesmaid attire goes, but I wanted them to be comfortable and to truly be able to wear their outfits again.

As I’ve mentioned, I have eight nieces and nephews. I love all of them. My talented and patient mom made five dresses with $100 worth of fabric from a quilt shop here in town… plus buttons and flowers, which I’ll estimate at another $30. For the three boys, she bought them white shorts and yellow polo shirts. I don’t know how much she spent on them… I’ll guess $70? We had the two older boys carry ring “pillows” (actually rocks- get it? Stan’s a geologist?). They were free and sentimental- from a trip to Moab.

My brother Jonny played the accordion as we walked down the aisle both ways and then a short set during the transition from ceremony to reception. This is such a Jonny face.

I spent $110 on flowers: my bouquet, six corsages, nine boutonnieres, four mini bouquets for the little girls, and we even had some left over for an arrangement by the guest book. I bought daisies, button mums, and billy balls by the bunch from the Flower Patch, and my mom’s friend Kathy, who knows a thing or two about flowers, showed us how to put them together. For the other things, like pins, floral tape, bags, etc, I’ll estimate $20.

Cake: OMG. My friend Carrie makes the most delectable cupcakes I’ve ever eaten, and her delicious concoctions got her into trouble, because she wound up making 200 of them for our wedding. Carrie (and assistants Ben and Kristin), I can’t express how grateful we are for these. People raved. Cost for supplies: $160. (They’re vegan, too- not that you’d ever guess!) PS- cupcakes are great for a wedding because you can send them home with people. We got little cupcake boxes from Hobby Lobby for this purpose.

I want to be him right now:

Drinks: We had our Coke, root beer, and Fanta in these tubs from Bed Bath and Beyond (tubs: $20 for four: two for sodas and two for recycling) and all that soda cost us $166, plus $35 for ice. Youch! We also offered Corona and Sessions at the bar, along with a cabernet sauvignon and a pinot grigio, which cost us $314. Our guests seemed pleased at the selection. The bartender cost $305 including gratuity (we would recommend Bacchus– they were great). We also borrowed two water dispensers in case there was anyone there on a diet… hehe. Limes and lemons were about $5, and plastic cups for water and wine were $15.

We weren’t originally going to do a wedding video, but we remembered the cute video our friend Ingrid’s little sister did for a contest a while back and gave it a second thought. By the way, Ingrid is the one who did our engagement photos gratis- is this a talented family or what? So we called her up and since she’s a recent grad (of high school, mind you) and wanting to get some experience under her belt, she agreed to do it for $100. We loved it! You can watch it here if you like (and catch Jonny playing his accordion at the end!).

Our guest book was a personalized leather journal from Utah-based It was $50. We loved all the comments people wrote in it, and we plan to bring it on trips to record our adventures (as if the blog isn’t enough!).

Isn’t that wood laser burned thing of us cool? My brother made it in one of his classes.

For favors, I made 70 lollipops. Yes, that’s only enough for half of our guests… but as I suspected, we still had plenty left over. I’ll guess that I spent $30 on the supplies. I stuck them in a basket in some floral foam and put peas on top to look like flowers in grass. If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll know that I totally copied this one (among others).

And speaking of handmade things, I’m in love with our cake topper that Stan’s dad made.

AND the sandwich board that Stan’s brother Alex made ($20 for materials).

Our wedding bands were $88 for the two (not including my engagement ring). I’m not going to tell you the cost breakdown for each. 🙂


Venue: $1800

Linens: $125

Picture clothesline: $85

Food: $1774

Photographer: $1597

My dress, shoes and accessories: $379

Stan’s attire: $147

Groomsmen attire (five total): $76

Bridesmaids attire (two total): $57

Ring bearers and flower girls attire: $200

Cut flowers: $130

Cupcakes (200): $160

Soda, ice, tubs, lemons/limes, and cups: $236

Beer and wine: $314

Bartender: $305

Guest book: $50

Lollipop favors: $30

Marriage license: $50

Invitations including postage (about 150): $150

Wedding video: $100

Misc stuff (only because I have several mysterious Target and Joann’s purchases that I’m sure were wedding related): $100

Grand total: $7865

A few notes:

  • We didn’t do a formal RSVP. We got a pretty accurate count by just asking people, texting, facebooking, and just guessing. People always need to be hunted down anyway.
  • We had way too many guests. I felt bad because when it came to the food, I highly doubt everyone got a seat (I was off taking pictures at that time so I didn’t see). I think it was fine once people were finished eating and got up to walk around, though. But I swear that we were thrilled with each person who came and we felt very loved!
  • Get a flippin’ card box! For some reason I forgot to do this, and people (understandably) didn’t want to leave cards sitting out on the gift table so Stan’s and our parents’ pockets got filled up. Duh.
  • We (well, Stan and his friends) handled all of the drinks. We were able to borrow enough coolers, but it took eleven of them and it was no small task to cool all of the drinks (27 bags of ice!!!), transport them, and set them all up.
  • I tried really hard to come up with a cute saying to put on the lollipop favors, but the best I could come up with were along the lines of “Thanks for coming to our wedding! You do not suck!” and “We sure “lick” you a lot”. Understandably, I just left them plain.
  • I liked how I did my “bridesmaids”. The only official ones were my sister and my sister-in-law, but my friends also acted the part (without having to buy a dress lol). I called them “Slaves of Honor” because they were tireless! I love you guys! I’m super grateful for my out-of-towners Jo and Chels who sacrificed a lot just to be there, and then were workhorses to boot.
  • Speaking of bridesmaids, I highly recommend using people’s help when they offer it. I tried to give lots of small tasks to lots of people so hopefully no one felt too overwhelmed. These tasks were things like refilling the water (Kristin you ROCK!!!) and sodas (love you Whit!), setting up and taking down the photo clothesline, choosing potted plants for centerpieces (go Wendy!) etc. Just make sure everyone knows exactly what their task is. But if you have good friends and family like we do, then even if you forget to assign every task, they’ll probably see something that needs to be done and just do it anyway.
  • It only takes a small handful of people to get a good “seeing you off” photo.

  • A good piece of advice we got from our photographer was to make sure that if people are going to decorate your car they just use car paint. You may think it spoils the “fun” to instruct people how to do this, but there’s nothing “fun” about going to the car wash at midnight in your wedding clothes to scrub whipped cream, easy cheese, and Oreos off of your car. I loved our Subaru! Adorably over-the-top, but nothing got ruined- everyone wins! (We did pull a lot of that stuff off before driving away. Safety first!)

  • The cost above doesn’t include our honeymoon, which was about $2000. It also doesn’t include the rehearsal dinner or my engagement ring.
  • Weddings are a lot of work. Ours was super laid back and it still took all hands on deck to pull it off! We are so very very thankful to everyone who helped us out. The rest of our friends need to hurry up and get married so we can return the favor!

Hopefully that covers it, but feel free to ask me any questions in comment or email form.

I sure love this dude.

Yup- we did it. 😀

The wedding was so much fun, and we had a few people tell us it was the best wedding they’d ever been to (not that it’s a competition, right? :))

It was also a lot of work- not only for us, but for our loved ones who totally stepped up to the plate and helped us pull it off. We’re pretty much oozing gratitude right now. And of course, I wouldn’t be able to show all of my “blog friends” how awesome it was if it weren’t for our completely awesome photographer, Terra Cooper of Magnifique Photography. I loved her work from the minute I saw it. We don’t have all of our pictures yet, but you can check out a preview on her blog:

Magnifique Photography: Amanda + Stan {wedding}

When I get the rest, I’ll put up some more of our faves, but in the meantime feel free to let me know what you think so far!

We’re so happy, and also very happy that we have the rest of the summer to NOT plan a wedding. 😀

Flowers! Food! Friends and family from out of town! Friends and family from in town! Catering! Drinks! Rehearsal dinner!

I’ve been overwhelmed, during these days leading up to tomorrow, by all of the love and generosity of my loved ones. I’m tired, so I’ll just show you a few pictures (if for no other reason than to get that closeup picture of my lip off of the top of my blog).

Here we are making flowers. I spent around $115 on all the flowers, including my bouquet, nine boutonnieres, seven corsages, and four teeny bouquets for the little girls.

Fortunately I had lots of help!

Does that scene look familiar?

Ain’t these boutonnieres cute?

Since most of the votes about pinning bouts directly onto shirts were “Yes” and many of the comments said “As long as they’re not too heavy”, we made these cute little guys. We even used a few sprigs from some of the plants in the front yard.

Here’s the fridge starting to fill up with flowers!

Tonight was the rehearsal dinner, and it was lovely. It was at a city park equipped with a pavilion, a long sidewalk for rehearsing, and a playground (a lifesaver for eight little kids). The decorations and food were completely awesome- thank you future MIL!

Stan’s talented artist brother made us a sign (no, that’s not printed- it’s done by hand!) and a cute little sandwich board with our names.

This is a picture of a picture. Neither of my friends had their camera cords, and my Mac doesn’t take memory cards, so I had to take a picture of Johanna’s camera with my camera. That’s how I roll.

But anyway, we’re cute.

I’m probably not going to have a chance to post anything until after we get back from our honeymoon (oh, glorious honeymoon! here we come!) so I hope these pictures hold you over.

But get excited, because I fully plan on recapping the event on the blog. 🙂

PS- To any thieves: We have a house sitter so don’t even think about any funny business while we’re in Mexico.

See you all on the flip side! Thank you for following along. 🙂

My boss warned me against riding my bike to work. He said that (is it Murphy’s Law?) since I’m getting married soon, I will inevitably get in a crash and have a big ol’ scar for the wedding day.

“I should just stay my bed and hibernate until then,” I thought.

Fast forward to this morning. Jesse the cat comes to say good morning and lays on my chest. Unfortunately, right then Blanche decided to “nudge” me awake by pummeling me with her front paws. Cats tend to scamper when dogs come at them, and somehow in the commotion Jesse’s claws landed on my face.

Please ignore the fact that I have pores.

Yep, we’re looking at a nice big lipper and a couple of cheekers.

Lovely. Think it will heal in a week?

You guys. I did it AGAIN. I keep posting Wedding Wednesday posts on Thursdays! Do I have Wedding brain or what??

I work four ten-hour days and have Fridays off. This morning, I was going through things I did yesterday… and I got to thinking about my Wedding Wednesday post. I suddenly had a freak-out moment and thought, “Am I supposed to be at work??? If I posted Wedding Wedneday yesterday, then today is Thursday and I’m supposed to be at work!!” But then I realized that no, today IS Friday- I just mixed up Wednesday and Thursday. AGAIN.

In more exciting news, I read a book and below is my review. Be my friend on Goodreads!

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know what it is about Jon Krakauer’s writing. It sucks me in, even though it’s not very sensational or attention-grabbing in a flashy way. When I started Into the Wild years ago, it was for a class and I expected it to be a boring survival book. I was so wrong. That book changed my life and way of thinking, and I think that credit must go not just to Alexander Supertramp, but also to the way Krakauer wrote about him.

Even though I loved Into the Wild, I still went into Into Thin Air again thinking it would be a “boring survival book”. I was totally wrong again. He gives such an emotionally distant, almost dry account of the 1996 events on Everest- yet it really is thrilling to read. And every once in a while he’ll throw in a curveball sentence, like “Such and such decision will probably haunt me for the rest of my life.”- and you believe him when he says it because he chooses sentences like that carefully.

There are a lot of characters that can be hard to keep track of, but I liked the book so much that I’ve already found myself going back through putting together who is who, and heck- I’ll probably just end up reading the whole thing again. I’ve also had Everest-mania since finishing the book and have been looking up all kinds of stuff online about it. (This reminds me of how I was after Into the Wild, too…)

My point is, even if you aren’t that thrilled by adventure, mountain climbing, survival, etc books, this is a good one.

View all my reviews

Our wedding is pretty casual. I’d like to think it’s nestled cozily somewhere between this:

and this:

You know- the kind of event where things like camo and tennis shoes aren’t exactly encouraged, but they’re not outright banned either.

Stan will not be wearing a tuxedo, nor will he be wearing Carhartt coveralls; he’ll be in his simple but charming gray suit that makes my heart go pitter patter.

I will not be rocking a 20-foot train OR a camo veil; just a sweet (dare I say stunning?) dress that’s totally “me”.

I think you get the picture.

Anyhoo, our groomsmen’s outfits consist of these components:

FINALLY I get to the question: Can you just pin a boutonniere onto a shirt? With no jacket?

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it done! But maybe it’s one of those things that’s done all the time and I just never noticed it… like how I just recently noticed that people take their dogs into Home Depot (apparently that’s okay?).

What say ye? If it’s “acceptable”, I would like to do the boutonnieres because I think the solid hued outfits could use a little somethin-somethin. Let me know!

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