After our wedding ceremony and honeymoon in beautiful Saint Lucia, hubby and I returned to New York to celebrate with the friends and family that weren’t able to make it abroad.
Having our wedding in the Caribbean was the right decision for us and we would do it over 1,000 times if we could, but it meant that we had to sacrifice having some really important people there. So we made it up by throwing a big backyard barbecue at my parent’s house so we could celebrate with everyone back at home.
We kept it pretty casual, lots of dancing, good southern barbecue food, and plenty of drinks to go around! We saved some traditional elements, our first dance, our dances with our parents, and cutting our cake (which we actually did at both celebrations) for our New York reception. It helped make it feel like we were celebrating a wedding, even though we had been married for a few weeks!
I sort of wish that I had more pictures of our celebration at home, but spending the time actually dancing and celebrating with our guests sounds like way more fun than standing in front of a camera the whole time. We also didn’t spend any money on photography, and it was 100% worth the savings.
Since most of our wedding budget was spent on the ten day trip to Saint Lucia, and we didn’t want a big, over the top wedding anyway, we felt comfortable at $4000 to spend on our party back at home. Here’s how we broke it down:
- DJ: $1,000
- Tent, table, and chair rentals: $1,000
- Food and alcohol: $1,500
- Decorations and favors: less than $500
I saved a ton of money by doing the decorations myself. A few vintage looking wine bottles stuffed with about $20 worth of wild flowers from the supermarket and some candles gave a nice pop of color and a a touch of class to the event. I tied the wine bottle decorations in with a little welcoming table for cards and well wishes. I didn’t really want a guest book, so I used an old mason jar, some vintage paper strips, and a wine cork board to get the message across. I ordered an old card catalog for cards and displayed a photo from our Saint Lucia wedding. I also ordered more of the same mason jars and filled them with homemade granola as favors.
Everything came together so seamlessly and didn’t break the bank. I’m 100% convinced that weddings do not need to cost more than this. Even if we didn’t do the ceremony abroad, we could have easily found an affordable location and officiant, and celebrated with our guests just the same. It doesn’t need to break the bank to be fun: a lot of our guests actually said that our NY party was the most fun they’ve had at a wedding. The most important thing is that a wedding marks the start of your life together and should be what two people who love each other envision for their celebration.