Washington Island, WI
How can it have been almost two years since I’ve been married and even longer since I’ve written a blog?
It seems as though in the world of social media and influencers there’s a certain type of pressure on us entrepreneurs, and it's especially clear in the wedding industry. We should blog, be extremely social, know how to do our hair (I just can’t), have our Instagram grid be perfection and also work work work work work. The pressure made me stop in my tracks and dread my beautiful new office chair.
This week, I was able to finally find time and space to think about these frustrations and roadblocks and get over the brick wall I created around myself.
I have had this blog on my to-do list for too long and just decided that I am not going to put pressure on myself to write a perfect blog, because I am not a writer (plus my mom is the only one reading this)! So this blog is going to change and morph into whatever I want it to be, I apologize ahead of time if that’s not what you came here for.
What I do know is that I love weddings and I love being a part of something so intimate and special. I love seeing it from a completely different perspective then the family or friends that are involved. I get to see the behind the scenes chats between grandmas, the toddlers under tables eating extra pieces of cake, the little moments where the couples catch each others eyes and check-in on their love. It’s just wonderful, and I would like to share that glimpse with whoever cares to read it.
So after all of that I thought the best place to start is to share my own wedding. Technically, it’s impossible to coordinate your own wedding. But it will give you a glimpse of who I am and maybe inspire you to DO YOU for your wedding.
My Husband and I knew that a traditional wedding just didn’t feel like us. We also knew that it had to be STRESS FREE! Stress free is different to everyone. What one person might think is stressful; someone else might not think is a big deal. The top five things that stressed us out about planning our wedding were; money, making sure our immediate family members were there, being the center of attention for too long, and photographs.
Money is a constant stressor for every wedding. I know a lot of people say to “set a budget and stick with it.” But our approach was really to pick out a few things that we knew were important to us and putting our funds towards that. Obviously we also had to realize that we were not by any means wealthy so we could only really pick 3 things that we were willing to spend some buckaroos on and those were family, party and photographs to prove to our future children we were not always so old and ugly.
Like I said above the most important thing to us was for both of our immediate families to be there. Now this seems easy peasy for some, however we were both from two different states, so either way people were going to have to travel and we didn’t want them to have to spend a lot of money. This is why we chose Washington Island, WI. Kurt’s Family ventures up there every year and my family loves to travel and had never been to Washington Island, so I knew I could tap into their adventurous spirits and get them up there. They were also able to inexpensively rent a large house because Washington Island is a hidden GEM of a place.
We did have to sacrifice a few things when we made this decision (I have a huge extended family that were super important to me back in Ohio, so to compromise, we threw a large low key party back home as well). We decided to only invite our immediate families to save us and them the stress of trying to find rentals on a small island and having to coordinate planes, trains and ferry's for all. So we ended up with 25 people and 7 dogs (only ours pictured below).
The second most important thing to us was that everyone had a good time, so we bought alcohol, and lots of it. Costco was my friend and I choose a few different varieties of beer and wine, bought them in bulk and left it at that (we also had bourbon available for old fashions but didn’t buy more than 2 bottles).
The third most important thing to us was having a lasting memory of that day. Now as you recall, being on camera was one of our major stressors so I decided that I was willing to pay $$$ for a photographer that could capture our day and make me forget my weird smile or awkward poses. I contacted a photographer friend who is the salt of the earth and makes anyone she meets feel lovely and wonderful. – Bahareh Ritter of Ritter Collective is an ANGEL!! She lived out in TX at the time so I begged her to travel to the middle of nowhere on Lake Michigan for an entire weekend and take photos of 32 people for two days. She said yes! To see her amazing talent see the gallery below.
So recap! We spent money on Travel/bringing our family together, booze and photographer. You say, how about your dress? How about food? How about decorations?! Well, those just weren’t on my list of super important things to me. If they are to you, then put them on that list!
For those of you who don’t believe me here is our budget listed out from most expensive to least expensive:
Travel for family - $5000 (now our family helped pay for this and this brought 12 people up to an island in WI for a week…pretty great deal!)
Photographer (package) - $3500
Food - $350 (including tip!)
Booze - $300 (we bought this over a period of 6 months and got a deal when we bought in bulk. It also lasted us for an entire week and long after).
Facility Rental - $250 (honestly, we can’t believe it either!)
His outfit - $100 (not a suit)
Dress - $100 (on sale, and not a typical wedding dress)
Flowers - $80 (from Whole foods and then hand picked from a farm where we were staying, with permission of course).
Décor - $50 (thrift store finds, birch wood from the woods and fabric that I already had which I made into runners).
Total for a week long rental of a farmhouse on Washington Island, WI, rental of wedding venue, food, booze that lasted us not only for the wedding but all week long, dress, photographer that we flew in, put up and got AMAZING photos from and a built in honeymoon with both of our families that we love = $9500. Worth every penny and honestly it was not stressful at all.
I guess my advice for a non-stressful wedding is to pick your top three and focus on the task at hand….being married to your best friend. If your top wish is to have everyone you love be at your wedding, but you don’t have the budget for that, maybe have a small ceremony and a large BBQ somewhere. If one of your top three is to do a destination wedding but you don’t want to ask your family to travel all that way, get married with your family surrounding you and then take an extra honeymoon. If you want an all inclusive wedding, full meal and party for 250—DO IT….but obviously hire me to coordinate it :-)
All photos in this post were taken by Ritter Collective - Check them out at rittercollective.com !!