I get a ton of questions about who did what for my wedding and for how much. In today’s post, I’m going to give you the lowdown on vendors I used for my southern Oklahoma wedding. People value the almighty dollar in different ways, and I may have divvied up the budget differently than you see logical or worthwhile. But, this is just a representation of my priorities for my wedding day. Yours may be different, and in that case, power to ya. But for all my photography snobs & fresh flower fanatics, this one is for you.
Every time I log onto FB and see some really cheap wedding photography edited in picstitch & then put out for the world to see, I want to claw my eyes out. Bad photography is my equivalent to Mama June’s cammo wedding dress. It’s a definite don’t.
At the end of your wedding day (if it’s anything like mine): glassware will have broken, your dress will be ripped from people stepping on it, the bouquet has wilted, the band will pack up & leave & most people will be too drunk to remember what you served them for dinner, let alone how it tasted. The memories, captured in photos, will be all you have.
I used Kayla Hoffsommer with Kayla Marie Photography. I paid a little under 3k, and got the following in return:
- Travel to my home for full engagement shoot
- 100 edited engagement images
- Travel to my home for the rehearsal dinner
- full rehearsal dinner coverage with two photogs
- A wedding day itinerary, planned by Kayla. She made the day go seamlessly all thanks to her advanced planning and scheduling.
- Two photographers to cover the entire wedding day, sun up to sun down & beyond. I’m talking getting ready, family pics, first look, reception and late night dancing.
- All the images from the day, edited, in high resolution jpg images on a CD. I have thousands of pictures.
At Kayla’s suggestion, we did a first look, wedding party and family pictures before the ceremony. Post ceremony, we probably spent 10-15 taking traditional extended family photos. It was completely stress free and flowed perfectly. I couldn’t have been happier or more comfortable.
If that price point freaks you out, here is another thing that makes Kayla great to work with: she is 100% flexible on payments. If you want to book her a year in advance, pay $25 dollars one month & $300 the next, she’s completely cool with it as long as you have paid in full come wedding time. If fantastic photography is your dream, no one can make it happen like Kayla can.
(PS – The first time we met Kayla for our engagement shoot, she peed in some bushes down by the river. That really sold Cory that THIS was our kind of photographer)
I have been to some really lame and painfully awkward wedding receptions. And the only solution….is more cowbell. Just kidding (sort of).
Really, what you need is a live band. After the cake cutting and first dances, the band started up. And which band did I choose, you ask? Strongwood (not to be confused with morning wood). They play all over SE OK. My uncle Kevin, or “Rock ‘N’ Roll Kevin” as I’ve always called him, is the bassist. At this particular gig, he wore a shirt that depicted the phrase “I don’t give a rats ass” which he traded in later in the reception for a Macklemore-eque, knee length faux furr coat. Rock on.
Having a band kept the mood light, and it really felt like a party. Everyone moved out of their seats and onto the makeshift plywood dance floor for a good time. It was far superior to sitting in a church dining hall, making awkward conversation with Granny Mae just to fill the silence. Get what I’m sayin’? Party people, a live band is a must. Go here to book Strongwood!
People, I know weddings are rough to budget for. I get it, I do. But for the love of love, DO NOT use fake flowers. Calling them “silk” flowers does not make them any less fake, either. I always heard that fresh flowers were so expensive, and I know that in and of itself can be intimidating enough to opt out of them altogether. I was quoted 10k by one vendor. Hell to the no. But I’m about to let you in on a little secret, and once I do, can we all collectively agree to NEVER use fake flowers again unless we are decorating a cemetary? Okay, deal.
I was a bridesmaid in July of 2012 and got to know Bokchito Flowers & Gifts. When Morgan (the bride) explained to me her vision for her flowers, I was anxious to see how they’d come together. Morgan had some big ideas & a unique vision. But when the shop showed up with the arrangements, I was blown away by how eclectic and yet cohesive they were. All the colors Morgan envisioned, with texture and fullness to each arrangement: it was all there. I was sold.
Bokchito Flowers did all my wedding arrangements for a few hundred dollars. I’m talking altar arrangements, bridesmaid bouquets, corsages, table decorations and roses for all the special women in our lives (grandmothers, mothers, my Mimi aka Rock ‘N’ Roll Kev’s lady). I remember first laying eyes on the flowers for the big day as I walked out to the woods for our first look. I was, again, blown away at my vision-come-to-life.
The florist, Tammy, doesn’t shit around. And that’s something I appreciate. I came to her with ideas of peonies, garden roses and baby’s breath. Of course, I’m not a florist: simply an avid Pinterest user. But Tammy knows her stuff, and she helped me see the light. She said garden roses and peonies would break my budget, and baby’s breath was nice to look at but smelled like ass. Who wants to smell like ass on their wedding day? So we decided on light pink roses (which he let mature & open up to give me that garden-rose look I wanted), antique hydrangeas, larkspur (totally her idea, LOVED it), a little baby’s breath, wax flower (for fantastic texture) and for the bridesmaids bouquet’s only, white tiger lilies. Gorg.
If you are in SE/Central OK, you MUST use her. She is wonderful to work with, affordable & so very talented. Check her out here!
Fidela at Effectos Hair Salon is the only way to go. She showed up at my house on the wedding day, SICKER THAN A DOG, and proceeded to do seven women’s hair. Like Tammy knows flowers, Fidela knows hair. I wasn’t so sure about it when it was first done…It seemed too hard, structured. But that’s why I’m not a hairstylist, because come wedding time it had relaxed to a perfect messy perfection. She also knew just what to do with my french net veil.
Wondering why the hell I wore those awful mismatched prints to get ready in? Yeah, I don’t know either.
Other wedding day vendors:
Dress, sash, jewelry & veil // JJ Kelly Bridal Salon in Edmond, OK
Make Up // by Laura Neal, Mary Kay Consultant
Tent, tables, chairs, groom & groomsmen attire // A1 Rentals in Sherman, TX (affordable & great service!)
Cake // The Classic Cake Company in Ada, OK
Altar Construction // McW Construction based in Coleman, OK
Food // “Uncle” Benny Lewis, catered by Sodexo & Murray State College
Bagpipes // Bennie Hill from Norman, OK ($300 for the most beautifully badass entrance in Johnston Co. wedding history? Done & Done.)
My biggest advice for throwing a meaningful, beautiful & affordable wedding: call on your tribe. So many wonderful resources are just a phone call away. Every detail of my wedding was made possible by a family member or friend, or small businesses within my own community.
Also, give the vendors some creative license. You are hiring them for a reason, so sit back, relax a little & watch them make magic.
photo credit: hiromy via photopin cc