Thursday, September 20, 2012

Saying "I Do"

A few months ago, bf and I finally decided to make it official after ten years of dating. The day was everything we could have hoped for: relatively low-stress, simple, just the two of us with our families. For two laid-back souls, it couldn't have been any more perfect ♥

All photos by the talented Leah @ Studio Juno. Note: Most are originals, but some have been cropped for a closeup.
[photo above]: Our original location choice for the civil ceremony. We simply loved the greenery and intimate feel of the alcove overlooking the Potomac River.
[photo below]: Wearing false eyelashes for the very first time results in the right one coming unglued. Of course. And I had no idea how to fix it.

All mushiness aside, the details behind the scenes for those interested:

There isn't really a back story behind our decision to get married. No proposal story, no engagement ring to show off. Sorry romantics :( All I asked for was to be married on our anniversary, whether it be this year, next year, etc. The date is special to both of us, so it wasn't too hard to convince bf. We loosely chose this year because the timing felt right, but at the same time, fully aware that if our laziness wins out, there's always next year.

Location: Originally we planned on having a civil service at the local courthouse. Turns out, the only counties/district that offered this on site were located farther away, so it wasn't as hassle-free as we had hoped. We figured if we have to put some work into this, then we would rather ask an officiant to marry us at a more scenic location (trees, water, etc.) closer to home instead. Old Town Alexandria fit the bill nicely. There's a stretch of about 4 miles of waterfront that overlooks the Potomac River which made for great photo backdrops.

Our actual civil ceremony was held in the public garden at Carlyle House. It came down to $175/hr with a minimum 2-4 hours for a permit to get married along the waterfront or for free at a nearby public garden. It was a pretty easy decision to go with the garden, even if it meant there's a chance random strangers could be looking on during the ceremony... or possibly even photobombing. We completely lucked out the day of and had the garden all to ourselves. The forecast predicted t-storms on and off throughout the day, and while we experienced a few sprinkles here and there, that meant everyone else stayed indoors.

My look: My bridezilla moment was figuring out what I wanted to wear. Usually I trust my gut and just go with the flow, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure this one out. I kept waffling between options until the very last minute, and only then did I woman up because I ran out of time. Initially I was going to wear the Sunner Delancey dress with either my Miu Miu flats or Ann Taylor Iris sandals while carrying a bouquet of peonies tied with a navy ribbon. In my head, I was envisioning a casual and preppy look.

As much as I love the Sunner dress, I found myself "just browsing" other dresses. I suppose looking back on it now, in my heart I knew it wasn't "the one?" Then Ann Taylor came along with a sale on their wedding collection. I told myself that I was ordering and trying on dresses "for fun." Given my track record, who was I trying to kid?! The Juliet gown fit me nicely off the rack and only needed hemming, so there I was, back to square one with decisions to make. At this point, we were ten days out and neither bf nor myself had our outfits picked yet, hahaha. Sigh.

I eventually decided that yes, the Juliet gown is the one because: 1) bf's outfit ended up being more formal than originally planned and 2) my mom expressed her desire to see me in a longer, more "bridal" dress. So I nixed the original idea and went for casual elegance instead, with a black and white theme. I used two photos for styling inspirations: a 2010 J.Crew ad and a gorgeous Paris elopement. Both were simple, girly, and completely my cup of tea.

Flowers were a bit tricky. I knew I wanted a small bouquet, as a normal-sized one would be too grand for the occasion. As for the actual flowers, I figured I would just pick something that's currently in season. I walked into Whole Foods the day before and immediately fell in love with mini white calla lilies. Whew! Glad to have some decisions that didn't require much thought. The clean look and size of these flowers were simply perfect.

For hair, I debated between loose waves a la Blair from Gossip Girl or a low ponytail down the middle of my back. I personally think I look better with my hair down but wasn't sure if my frizzy hair can withstand the hot and humid summer heat. I ended up with a look that's somewhere in-between, mostly down with more curls than waves and one side clipped up. The curls didn't last the entire night (I blame the typical humid summer weather), but for a good enough portion during photos, so that's all I could really ask for.

His outfit: I left bf's outfit completely up to him. Was it smart? In hindsight, probably not, haha. He ended up buying a suit at full price on the very last weekend and finished accessorizing the night before. There were a few moments of panic, like when we drove to three malls to find all the suiting pieces in his size, or also placing a rush order online for accessories to complete the ensemble. His shopping style is the complete opposite of mine, so I'm just glad that we both loved the final look of a dark gray suit with a skinny black tie.

Photography: We nixed the idea of asking a family member to take photos pretty early on. A stress free day should be for everyone, not just the two of us. We're not entirely selfless for wanting a pro though. If we were going to get all dressed up, there better be some awesome evidence to show for it when we're old and toothless (sorry family and your point-and-shoots).

We stumbled across Studio Juno after googling for outdoor weddings. We fell in love with her photos, both the composition and bright colors that seemed to pop more than other photographers'. Thankfully she was available on our day and patiently put up with our slow decision making as we didn't have any details to relay back until about a week prior.

I had mentioned that the two of us are kind of awkward in photos. It doesn't matter that I take outfit pictures for the blog, acting natural in front of the camera will never come easy. Leah helped put us at ease, giving directions on how to stand, where to look, etc. We had a great time, laughing and enjoying every minute possible.

Cost breakdown: Both of us are pretty good savers, so money wouldn't have been an issue had we wanted a traditional wedding. Luckily we have pretty cool parents so nothing was really expected of us... besides inviting them I suppose. We talked about what was important to us vs. just doing things for the sake of tradition. From here, we slowly came up with a plan. Sure there were some areas where we spent more money (ahem hair + makeup), but there were also others that pleasantly surprised us. Since I'm nosy and I like hearing others talk about personal finance, it's only fair if I share too. Perhaps some people may even find this helpful:

Location: $0 at Old Town Alexandria - waterfront and Carlyle House garden

My outfit: $153 Ann Taylor Juliet gown + $0 hemming by family friend + old J.Crew sash from dress / $30 flower hair clip from Etsy StudioMirela / necklace (gift from aunt) / old Valentino ballerina flats / $190 hair and makeup at Beautiful Life Salon / $17 mini calla lilies bouquet from Whole Foods

His outfit: $545 Express Micro Twill Photographer suit (jacket, vest, pants) / $63 Express 1MX Extra Slim Fit shirt / $42 Express skinny stripe silk tie / old Bostonian shoes / $0 boutonniere by family friend

Rings: $24 hers and $20 his wedding bands

Officiant: $50

Marriage license: $30

Photography: $500 with Studio Juno

Dinner afterwards with family: $340 for 10 people at Carlyle

Total = $2004 (We do have plans to treat relatives and friends to dinners at a future date, so that cost is TBD. Same goes for the honeymoon... TBD.)

Thank you for letting me share!

133 comments:

  1. Full face unobscured by sunglasses! Good grief, Cee, you are gorgeous (as I suspected)! Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures and the behind-the-scenes action with us :) Like you, I love these personal posts and especially love that you even gave us a breakdown of the costs! I'm, ahem, also of the nosy variety...

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    1. Thanks S! Keep in mind that this is probably the best that I'll ever look :)

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  2. Finally!!! I was about to send you an angry email demanding that you release your beautiful wedding pictures to me... :D

    You look simply gorgeous, as you always do. Other C looks pretty dapper too. :p These photos turned out beautifully and the descriptive prose made me feel like I was there with you on the day of the wedding.

    Thank you for sharing Cee. I'll be reading and re-reading this in the future for the pretty pictures. :DDD

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    1. ...forgot to say that your dress choice was spot on. I think the shorter AT crochet dress would've worked too but I just LOVEE your final choice. It's very "you" - classic and elegant. :)

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    2. HAHA somehow I doubt you can sound angry, Elle. Thank YOU for dealing with me while I was going through full-on bridezilla mode and talking me out of the Sunner/birdcage veil/Marchesa knockoff phase!

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  3. The pictures are beautiful and I love the idea of a simple wedding. Is this the first time we're seeing you without sunglasses on? If so, I don't know why you've been hiding behind them for so long cause girllllll, you're gorgeous -wait, SewPetiteGal beat me to it...but...it's the fact! Can't believe you only spent ~$2k on everything. Congratulations again!

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    1. Thanks Pauline! You're too kind. A girl probably looks the best on her wedding day, right? Because I sure don't look like this the rest of the time :)

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  4. congratulations!! you look so beautiful and blissful, Cee! i like the calla lillies so much and the lightness in all the theming. remember this day for the rest of your life and so impressed with your budget!

    pandaphilia style

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    1. Thanks Angie! I had no idea calla lilies came in the mini size until I saw them at the store. It's definitely high up on my list of favorite flowers now!

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  5. You look amazing! I'm so glad you're showing a picture of your face for once :}

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    1. Thank you, Minnie! This is a one time anomaly :)

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  6. Congratulations...and thanks for all the details! Very thorough!

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    1. Thank you, Kalei! Writing out the details was beneficial for me too -- brings back fond memories of the day, something I can read again in the future, and of course I had fun writing it.

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  7. What beautiful photos! And congrats!! :)

    xo,
    Morgan
    seemomogo.blogspot.com

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  8. So beautiful, Cee! I love small and intimate weddings! You looked gorgeous! (And it's so nice to finally see your face! LOL!) If I ever get married, my wedding could never be that small. My parents have way too many siblings (9 each) and we are all very close, especially my father's side. Small is nice, but I think the best weddings are the ones where you can share the special moment with those who are most important to you, and I guess for me, that's all 100 of us! Haha. Thanks for sharing such a personal post. I love it.

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    1. Yes, I agree whole-hardheartedly with your sentiments, whether it be eloping with your SO, having a few hundred on hand, or somewhere in between. Do what you feel is most right for the two of you.

      I also think age played a big role for me. I don't remember my exact mental state from say, 6-8 years ago, but I'd be more inclined to have a traditional wedding like most people just because it seems like the "right" thing to do. As I'm getting older, I find myself just wanting to relax and enjoy the days instead of stressing over details.

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  9. Congratulations, Cee!!!! What a beautiful couple you make, and you are so gorgeous! I love the wedding dress you picked, too. Wishing you lots of happiness! :)

    Love, S
    http://shamelesslyoverdressed.blogspot.com

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  10. wow such pretty scenery for $0.

    bravo to both parental units for being so easy going. no wonder u both turned out that way too.

    honestly, sometimes i hear wedding dramas, and i just want to do a ceremony like this. low key.

    congrats! i look fwd to hearing where you'll be going for ur honeymoon.

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    1. Aubs, I can see you in the Reem Acra gown at both a grand wedding or a low key garden-type wedding.

      Not surprisingly, honeymoon talk has stalled. We both hate planning so after a little bit of progress, our brains feel fried and we need a break. Then when we come back to the topic later on, we forget what we had talked about before and end up going over the same things, lol. And the cycle starts over. I'm thinking a cruise somewhere because it's less planning than normal trips, but I'm not much of a beach person so I'm crossing off the Caribbean... perhaps a cruise around the Mediterranean instead.

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  11. You are beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I love reading more about my favorite bloggers personal lives. Your dress was perfect - makes me question the benefit of a 5k dress. I will be checking out Ann Taylor if my "big day" ever arrives, lol.

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    1. In my case, it was probably one of those "never tried, therefore don't know what I'm missing out on" in regards to dresses, haha. I like to say, never say never especially if a nice dress is high on your priorities list :)

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  12. Beautiful photos :) I loved the simplicity of the wedding yet it was intimate for family and friends ;) Gorgeous!

    katattack2000.wordpress.com

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  13. So fresh and beautiful - congrats!!

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  14. You look so beautiful without the sunglasses.....Congratulation Cee....thank you for sharing.....=)

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    1. This is probably a one-time anomaly. I'll be back to wearing sunglasses soon, lol. Thank you, Tiffany!

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  15. Yay! We finally get to see the beautiful wedding pictures. You're are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing your special day with us.

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    1. Took me long enough, right? I wrote bits and pieces here and there and really just needed that final push to edit and finish it off. Thank you, Ying!

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  16. Congratulations!!! You look beautiful and I love your no-fuss wedding day. I'm planning my own wedding and boy is a traditional wedding a pain in the neck to plan. I really admire your laid-back approach and how you didn't lose sight of what's really important!

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    1. Thank you for the sweet comment and your tweet! It's really our laziness combined with efforts in the past helping friends plan for their weddings did we decide to go down this route :) If I was the first of my friends to get married, boy, that might be a whole 'nother story. Stay sane and best of luck with your wedding planning!

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  17. The wedding looked amazing! Props to you for making it casual, cheap, and chic! =) I got my hair done at beautiful life salon for my chinese wedding banquet. They're amazing! On a side note, I was scrolling along my blogs in my reader and when I came to yours, I asked myself, "who is this?" Then I realized I was reading your blog! lol Thanks for the reveal.

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    1. Beautiful Life Salon really is popular among the Chinese in the area, isn't it? I had no idea until my friend told me to book them asap. Otherwise, who knows what my backup plan would've been.

      Haha no worries, I'll be back to looking like my normal self on your blog reader soon :)

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  18. Beautiful wedding! This is exactly what I want to do one day!

    I love the low key and simplicity of it. Congratulations Cee and your husband! :)

    You look gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you, Jen! Great minds think alike? ;)

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  19. Congratulations! You look absolutely radiant. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post. You make a wonderful, handsome couple.

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    1. Thank you, NDTran! I'm glad you enjoyed reading the post.

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  20. Ok I got shivers seeing your pics this wedding is so stylishly laid back you and apparently the husband too! Love,love, love! Soooooo beautiful! <3

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  21. Ok I got shivers seeing your pics this wedding is so stylishly laid back you and apparently the husband too! Love,love, love! Soooooo beautiful! <3

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  22. Congrats on getting married! I wish you guys eternal happiness together! :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your well wishes!

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  23. Wow! I must say, you guys really did it right. I love everything about this and if I and the bf bite the bullet, I've always imagined something small similar to what you guys did. I also love when grooms wear 3-piece suits. Boys look so much better in suits than tuxedos! You looked gorgeous (sans sunglasses! Yay!), and congratulations!!!

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! We have to give all the credit to MIL for the 3-piece suit idea. I actually suggested wearing just a vest (wanted to stay pretty casual) and he was opened to it. But MIL said he'd look like a waiter in a vest with a white shirt, so she pushed for the jacket. I'm glad we were able to have two different looks for him (with and without jacket) and for me (with and without sash) in the end, though!

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  24. So nice to see under the sunglasses, Cee! You guys make a beautiful bride and groom! I love the simplicity and elegance of your wedding! I chuckled that your outfit completely beat his in the savings department. Well done on everything :)

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    1. Thanks, R.L.! I'm definitely the spender of the two of us, so I had a good laugh too after I totaled up the numbers. He does plan on wearing the suit to future events, so the cost is a bit easier to swallow.

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  25. Awww congrats!!! Your photos look wonderful. :) I think its really great that you guys did it exactly the way you want it. Weddings are so expensive (I should know from mine!) and it's just so stressful to deal with everyone and everything. Yours looked so calm and relaxing. That's how I would want to feel on the special day. :)

    xo - Sheila

    http://sheislovely1.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Sheila! For someone like me who stresses out rather easily, I definitely wanted to keep that to a minimum. There were still times where I felt like a chicken with its head cut off running around, but when it was time, I just let everything go so I can enjoy as much as I could. I'd glad that showed through the photos :)

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  26. Hi Cee,

    I have been "stalking" you for about 1 year. I love your blog! I am about the same age and under similar financial situation as you. So I learn quite a lot from you on building my own closet. But I am just too lazy to create my own blog or even write something online. This is my first time engaging in an online community. Because I am just so glad to see the happiest moment in your life! Congrats!!

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    1. Hi there, thank you for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment. There's still many times where I feel like I don't know what I'm doing with the blog, so it's nice to hear that I've been helpful. I get quite lazy at times too so I understand the whole blogging/commenting cycle. If you have any questions though, feel free to ask. Thank you for the well wishes!

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  27. This an awesome reveal...so many things...like SPG said, no glasses, plus we get to see your handsome man, and your wedding day. :) You look absolutely gorgeous and genuinely happy! Congratulations! :)

    And reading through this, I have to list all the similarities I found between us...we were married on our anniversary, no proposal story (neither of us are very romantic!), my bouquet was calla lilies, and we have been together for about as long as you guys have.

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! I think I just got goosebumps from reading you and your husband's background O.O Great minds think alike can't be more true in this instance, hehe. Have you ever posted about your wedding day before and I missed it? If not, I'd love it if you'd be willing to share someday!

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    2. Nope, no post. Maybe I will post a few pics in the future. :)

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  28. Wow, Cee!!! A classy wedding for just a little over $2,000??? I'm definitely going to take this path as well for my future wedding. I love how relaxed it was :)

    You look SUPER gorgeous in those photos, and your other half looks so handsome in that suit!

    Ahhhh, queue the girly squeal!! :)

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    1. Thank you, Megan! Can't wait to let out my own girly squeal when it's your turn ;)

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    2. Oh, you're too funny, Cee! hahah :)

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  29. How wonderful! You guys look absolutely beautiful and so happy!

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  30. this is lovely :) looooooove that i get to see you without sunnies on!! you two look so happy. this type of thing is our plan as well. one day, whenever, lol

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    1. Haha don't get used to it. The sunglasses will be back in no time ;) It still surprises me that so many people have commented that they too, want a small wedding. Because in real life, I haven't met anyone who chose this route. I suppose I need a larger sample size.

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  31. Such great pictures! And I love how simple and laid back everything was. If I could do mine over again, I think I'd go your route. The big giant 250+ person wedding was way too expensive and such a pain in the butt. I would have been happier if it was just family :)

    You look amazing in the dress! And I love the hair and makeup too :)

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    1. Do you think age played a factor in your train of thought? I feel like if I was younger, I'd be more inclined to just follow what is traditional. And also, if I was the first of my family/friends to get married, I would have had no idea the amount of planning involved. But now, older and wiser, I know myself better.

      PS - Would love to see your wedding photos sometime if you're willing to share :)

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  32. awww congrats! you looked absolutely beautiful!!

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    1. Thank you, Khatu! I can say the same about you (from the photos I've seen). Can not wait to see more!

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  33. Gorgeous! And thanks for showing the budget for the wedding! Didn't realize you could have a fabulous wedding for just around 2,000! :)

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    1. Thank you, Guia! Want to know a secret? We didn't budget for the various aspects of the wedding. We kinda just found things we liked, but made sure the cost felt reasonable. Then for some reason, when I added it all up, my first reaction was, "Whoa, $2k is a lot of money," lol. I'm not sure how that made sense when we were okay with the individual costs.

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  34. This is actually what my idea of an ideal wedding would be. I'm super jealous that you get to do a wedding for $2000! I bet it was definitely a lot more intimate and a whole lot stressful than the normal big extravagant wedding too. I'm still trying to convince my mother but I don't think small weddings in my family would ever happen cuz we're Vietnamese.

    I can't believe your wedding dress is $153... it looks SO good on you. Like $1000+ good. Guess in your case, the person makes the clothes :)

    Bouquet is super simple and beautiful as well... it's from Whole Foods?! Haha, amazinggggg! I'm in love with your wedding!! Congratulations Cee!

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    1. Thank you, Thoa! I wonder if your mom would be open to a small, intimate ceremony for exchanging vows. But then at a later date, treating the relatives to dinner? That's our plan and we specifically told everyone to treat it like a regular ol' dinner. There won't be dancing, DJ, cake, and all that's involved with a regular reception. That could help save some costs. It's easy for me to say, but everyone's family situation is different. I hope that whichever route you decide to go with, that you'll be happy :)

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  35. This is awesome, thanks for sharing. My BF and I have been slacking in the wedding planning department and we both really just want something small, special and simple. This was great - your pics are great and look beautiful!

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! Believe me, DH and I are the biggest slackers in the world. If we can plan a small wedding, you two definitely can too :)

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  36. Thanks for sharing your special day! you are beautiful and I love your gorgeous dress! Makes me question the elaborate and high price tags (well thats their choice!). I also love how personal your ceremony was and and $2K!!

    P.S.Your new follower!

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    1. Thank you so much! Like I told Elissa above, in my case, it was probably one of those "never tried, therefore don't know what I'm missing out on" in regards to dresses, haha. I like to say, never say never especially if a nice dress is high on your priorities list :)

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  37. Congratulations to the lovely couple. You both look so happy. I stumble upon your post only about a month ago and like it alot. You are just beautiful and classy in your wedding gown and I just love your bouquet, simple yet elegant, just how I would have like it for my own wedding. It goes to show that you don't need to break a bank or have lots of pomp and pagentry to be beautiful on your wedding and be happy. THank you for sharing with us about your special day. all the best and happiness to you both always.
    ps:
    Gosh, funny how I also always wanted a low key wedding surrounded by family and close friends.

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    1. Thank you for the well wishes! Go with your heart and have the wedding of your dreams (if there aren't serious objections from your loved ones). Be happy and don't have any regrets. That's about all the advice I'm fit to give :)

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  38. GOrgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous and I love the breakdown too. Good ole Elle emailed some of us in the middle of the workday to check out this post ASAP! I couldn't click over fast enough. Thank you for sharing pics from your special day with us.

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    1. PS - what a treat for us to see the husband too!!

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    2. Lol, you guys are too funny. I hope the post was worthy of the mid-afternoon work break ;)

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  39. I love your non-traditional approach to marriage! It's not about the proposal or the fancy fairy tale wedding, it's about a union between two people and I love that you did it so intimately. I've always love your style and now I'm a fan of you! Congrats!!! Wishing you and your husband nothing but happiness!

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    1. Thank you, Helen! I'm not as eloquent, but you summed up my feelings towards weddings and marriages perfectly.

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  40. You guys are such a lovely couple and you look gorgeous in your wedding dress! Really really happy for you!

    I like old town Alexandria! Great choice!!

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    1. Thank you, SS! Would you believe that the first time I've been to Old Town was to scope it out for a potential ceremony site?! I've lived in the area for practically my whole life, lol! Then a few weeks later, my second visit was to get married.

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    2. Oh really?! Old Town is such a nice place so surprising... Are u planning to go more now?

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    3. I do live closer to Old Town now, so yup, I've been going more often. The charm gets me every time. Gosh, I sound like a sap :)

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  41. Congrats! You both look just happy and beautiful together! Thanks for sharing the story and the break down! Love your dress and flower!

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    1. Thank you, NP! I'm glad you enjoyed the post :)

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  42. You need to seriously show your face on this blog more! :)

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    1. This is probably a one-time anomaly ;)

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  43. Congratulations on having the wedding you wanted. You look stunning. May you and the Mr. have a lifetime of happiness and good fortune. Cheers to you!

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    1. Thank you, gi-gi! Everything wouldn't have been possible without the important people in my life, so I have to thank them for allowing me to have the wedding I wanted <3

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  44. Congrats! You guys look great! I love your dress a lot, and I really like how you kept everything simple and within budget yet very elegant. I really enjoyed reading this...helpful tips for me for the future =).

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    1. Thanks, Tina! Even though I didn't do a whole lot of planning compared to most, I still had to do some research. Definitely feel free to ask any questions for your future planning, and I'll be happy to share. Us NoVA people have to stick together :)

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    2. LOL!! An unrelated question, do you mind I ask where in NoVA you guys bought the house? We've been "casually" looking around, but can't decided where to settle. It's price VS. location but I feel like we should act soon before prices go up due to the new metro etc.

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  45. Congratulations!!! You look stunning. A wedding is supposed to reflect the couple getting married and its supposed to be what they want. I'm so glad that it was everything you wanted it to be. Congrats. Wishing you and your BF a lifetime of happiness.

    Agi:)

    vodkainfusedlemonade.wordpress.com

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    1. Thank you so much, Agi! Like I told gi-gi above, everything wouldn't have been possible without the important people in my life, so I have to thank them for allowing me to have the wedding I wanted <3

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  46. It was so beautiful thank you for sharing this wonderful memory with us :) I love the simplicity of it, its nice to forget about the huge big wedding and have a small beautiful wedding with just the right people.

    http://classysmile.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you, Zulema! I couldn't have voiced your sentiments better myself.

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  47. I adore how this whole wedding came together and how intimate it was, big plus you did an awesome job to keep the expenses down which left you with money for honeymoon or etc later. As much as i have fun witnessing extravaganza weddings, i truly yearn for an intimate one like yours. Beauty..simplicity and pure love -to everything justespecially looked perfectall and beautiful. You looked lovely. Glad to finally see the full face behind sunglasses. Double bonus for seeing Mr as well.

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    1. Thanks, Nelah! I can't take too much credit for keeping the expenses down :) Would it be horrible to say that I didn't pay too much attention to the cost during the weeks leading up to it? We figured we had already picked and chose certain things that are most important to us, which already helped eliminate certain costs. So for the ones that were high on our priorities list, we went with what we liked, but did try to keep the cost at a "reasonable" level.

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  48. awwwwwwwwww!!!!! thank you cee for sharing this with us, what a special day for you guys!! You looked gorgeous and that dress is simply perfect! One thing I have learn is never trust hubby when it comes to clothing. It's always best to have me shop for him bc he will always ended up paying retail where I can find it so much cheaper way way before.

    I love the photography too!!!

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    1. Thank you, Yvonne! Glad to hear my husband isn't the only one, haha. I was searching for Express coupons the weekend he decided on his suit. Of course, there was none to be found... until a few weeks later. D'oh! It's an expensive lesson, but I've learned it :)

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  49. Though I always visit your blog, this is the first time I want to comment--you look beautiful and bf (aka husband) looks radiant as well. I too had a low key wedding almost 9 years ago and used the money I saved for more important things...like a house. Love your blog! Sonia

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    1. I was pleasantly surprised to hear many others want or had a low-key wedding like you and I, because I haven't really seen that in real life. Thank you, Sonia, for taking the time to leave a thoughtful comment.

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  50. Wowsers! Cee, you looked gorgeous on your wedding day! I'm so happy you shared your photos and your pretty face!!! I love the hair too! I'm also amazed at your budgeting....while still looking super classy and elegant!

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    1. Thank you, Olyvia! Like I told Nelah above, I can't take much credit for the budgeting... because we weren't actively trying to save. We just figured out what categories were important to us and took it from there. It helped that many of the big-ticket items weren't a high priority.

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  51. This is also the first time that I have commented, although I love your blog and your style. Thank you so much for including us in your intimate day and for all of your authenticity and honesty--it makes it real and more meaningful than pretending to be in a fantasy life! I always value your realness. Wonderful pictures--you look beautiful!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I do try to be myself, but if my ego ever balloons, don't hesitate to call me out on it :)

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  52. You look gorgeous and I am beyond impressed by your wedding budget... It's the time of my life now when everyone in the office is talking about weddings, weddings, and more weddings! One of my coworkers scheduled her wedding in Oct, 2013 and she's already freaked out since March this year. Your post will be the first thing I am sending her first thing on Monday! Thanks for sharing with us.

    p.s. Beautiful Life Salon has been the one and only place I would go to get my hair done. I am glad they did a *beautiful* job for you!

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    1. Thank you, Julia! I can't take much credit for the budgeting because we didn't consciously try to keep costs down. We just figured out what was important to us and it just so happens that many big-ticket items weren't. Hey, you won't hear me complaining, though :) Best of luck with your coworker and her planning. Hopefully she won't stress out too much and remember to enjoy every step along the way.

      PS - Perhaps I'll run into you at Beautiful Life Salon sometime?

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    2. Congratulations Cee! The pictures are beautiful. You look absolutely stunning, gorgeous! So happy for you two!

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  53. Congrats!!! Your wedding is exactly how I wanted my own wedding to be..laid back and not too much planning...unfortunately my husband has a large family and well...he wanted a more traditional wedding. You look beautiful in your dress...great thing you picked a long gown. I think it was very smart of you to hire a real photographer...because in the end you only keep your memories and pictures. :-)

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    1. The actual wedding day passed by in a blur, so what you said is so true about memories and photos. I still find myself reflecting on our day quite often. Thank you for your well wishes, eliz!

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  54. Congratulations, the pictures are lovelly.

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  55. congratulations on your simple wedding! i love the idea of not having to plan so much and just doing it because it felt right -- which definitely shows that it was all out of love! also so great to see your face after years of reading your blog - you should definitely show it more often!! wishing you and your husband many many years of happiness and love!

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    1. Thank you so much for the well wishes, Cindy! Unfortunately, the no sunglasses look is probably a one-time anomaly :)

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  56. I'm usually a lurker on your blog, but wanted to bust out and say congrats! I love that you did exactly what you wanted for your special day. I agree with many others above who commented that small intimate ceremonies are desirable, and to see how yours turned out just confirms it. You look beautiful and the pics are gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing! Congrats again.

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    1. Thank you so very much, Mina! I'm just thankful that the loved ones in our lives let us have the wedding we always wanted. No pressure, no expectations. I couldn't have asked for more :)

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  57. Congrats, Cee on your beautiful wedding.

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  58. I'm just seeing these photos and I agree with everyone that it was a simply beautiful one-of-a-kind wedding. A dashing and handsome groom and a beautiful, very feminine bride. Much happiness to you both. You are setting a wonderful example to future brides out there that you can have a beautiful ceremony on a tight budget!!

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    1. Thank you so much for your well wishes!

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  59. Darn that schoolwork - I missed this post when it first came out! Anyhow, you two look radiantly happy together and best wishes for the future.
    That is exactly the kind of wedding I'd like to have ... simple, chic and heartfelt. :) Congratulations!

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    1. Thank you, Carrie! I hope that one day you will have the wedding of your dreams as well :)

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  60. Beautiful wedding!! I loved how you did it all on a budget but still kept it very classy. Congrats to you two!

    A Little Piece of Fashion and Beauty

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  61. Hi Cee,

    What did your $500 photography package include? On their website, the price starts from more than $3000. Thank you!

    Linna

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    1. Hey Linna! Leah was with us for 2 hours. We spent most of the time taking engagement-type photos and then the last half hour was the ceremony. I'd suggest shooting her an email with details of your day and your expectations, ie: # of guests, ceremony and/or reception, etc. so she can give you a more accurate quote. Feel free to send me an email if you have other questions!

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  62. Hi Cee,

    Thank you for sharing the details of your lovely wedding! This was very useful as I am planning for my own upcoming wedding which will be very small and low-key. I love how you were able to show how a smaller ceremony can be beautiful, intimate, and for some people, a more desirable option (as a larger wedding can have many headaches and dollar strings attached to it!).

    Thank you again for sharing your special day with your readers! It warmed our hearts and also provided very useful information for us :D

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words <3

      I'm so glad to be of inspiration, in whichever form that may be. I hope you and your fiance have the most wonderful wedding day and a lifetime of love and happiness!

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I'd love to hear from you. Constructive criticisms welcome!

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