The details we SPLURGED and SAVED on for our wedding at Pittsburgh’s Energy Innovation Center!

September 12, 2019

We’re spilling the tea on all of the decisions we made when it comes to budget!

Let’s start with how we SAVED:

SAVE: Linens & Napkins- we ordered these from cvlinens instead of renting them. It was close to half the price, but the downside was that every single one needed steamed – shoutout to the Olive & Rose team for making magic happen with the steamer! We went with higher end ones for the main tables and then picked the cheapest white polyester option for the other tables that were covered with things (like buffet and dessert tables).


SAVE: Silverware – we saved close to 50% by buying mass amounts from Sam’s Club, instead of renting them. We also realized that none of our entrees or desserts required spoons, so we excluded them from the place settings altogether.


SAVE: Appetizer & Dessert Plates – we opted for sturdy plastic plates instead of real china and saved a lot in rental fees this way.


SAVE: Glassware – we calculated enough glassware for 1 water glass, 1 wine glass and 1 highball glass/person. After those were gone, we switched to plastic, saving on rental fees.


SAVE: Chargers – I bought them for $1/piece in downtown Los Angeles and brought them back to Pittsburgh, piece by piece in my luggage across multiple trips. They were plastic, but you couldn’t really tell, and most rental companies were charging upwards of $10/piece to rent.


SAVE: Catering – our venue let us bring our own caterer, so we picked one that was reasonable and delicious. We went for a buffet of italian chicken, sliced beef, pasta, potatoes, green beans, salad and rolls. It wasn’t surf & turf or anything fancy, but everyone seemed to like it regardless!


SAVE: DIY decor – we DIY’ed floor decals, the pantone escort card display, card box, mirror decals, signage (with the help of Mixbook and my Friend Amy) and, of course, our epic ribbon display! We paid for supplies, but saved a lot by doing the labor ourselves.


SAVE: Alcohol – our venue let us bring our own alcohol, so we were able to choose what was served and only paid for what was actually consumed. We also skipped the champagne toast and I don’t think anyone really missed it!


SAVE: Ceremony – we held the ceremony at our reception venue, our friend married us, and our other friend provided the music, eliminating any additional ceremony costs.


SAVE: Hair – I didn’t find it necessary to hire a high end team that traveled to our hotel, so we went to a salon and saved more than 50% per person.


SAVE: Transportation. Since our venue accommodated the ceremony and reception and had plenty of spots for photos, we didn’t need a fancy way to transport the bridal party!!


SAVE: Bridal Party Attire – this wasn’t necessarily a save for us personally, but it definitely was for our bridal party! Girls were able to pick any pastel dress and pair with any footwear/jewelry choices they wanted. Most ended up with dresses from ASOS that were under $100. They were also not required to get hair/makeup professionally done. The guys were able to wear ANY navy suit and brown shoes of their choosing – even one that they already had in their closet. We provided socks and ties as a gift, and they all looked great together!

OK – now for where we SPLURGED:

SPLURGE: Makeup – the hair salon that we went to offered makeup for 1/4 of the price that we ended up paying, but I was so happy with our choice to have a commercial makeup artist work on site. She was a total pro and knew how to have the makeup look great on camera, and also last all night (without airburshing btw).


SPLURGE: Florals – I was very adamant about not using any cheap “filler” flowers, so we went with all higher end blooms, and I am so happy that we did!


SPLURGE: Photo & Video – Yes, I am a photographer so I may be slightly biased on this front, but we were so incredibly happy with our photo/video team, and now recommend them to everyone we know. A good team will be organized and efficient, assertive yet friendly and will deliver absolutely gorgeous images! I’ve heard way too many horror stories about wedding photo mishaps to trust anyone that isn’t a complete pro. If there is an option priced way below other options, there is probably a reason. There’s is no such thing as getting a “good deal” when it comes to wedding photo/video. If a professional is in high demand, you will pay more, and that’s how it should be! We also made sure to include a photobooth and it was a real hit!!!


SPLURGE: Desserts – We are a sweet tooth family, and we had to uphold the Pittsburgh Cookie table tradition. Instead of homemaking thousands of cookies, my parent’s sourced them from the best bakeries in the city for an epic spread. We also rented a cotton candy machine, and hired my sister’s friend to operate it throughout the night.


SPLURGE: Sweet Heart Tableware – I wanted one, highly styled table for photos, so we got rainbow flatware (that I now use for shoots) and two place settings with fancy glassware from Anthropologie. I am so happy with how it turned out!


SPLURGE: Honeymoon – since we got married right before Graham’s residency started, we knew that it may be a while before we had the freedom to take a long trip to Europe. So we went all out and spent two weeks in Italy and Greece.

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