Felicia and Matt have grown to be very dear to my heart – okay, that might be a bit of an understatement. I adore these two and we’ve grown very close over the course of their engagement and wedding. It fills me with joy I can barely describe to be a small part of this story – this monumental, intimate, and joyous little cross-section of their story and the beginning of their next big adventure.
It was a bit of a surprise when, after I had booked them for their wedding just two months from the big day, Matt messaged me asking if he could use our “engagement session” to propose to Felicia. I knew from that point these two weren’t your average couple – anyway, you can see the photos from that incredible, emotional, beautiful morning here.
But fast forward to July 13 – one of the most intimate and emotional weddings I’ve witnessed. The vows they exchanged with one another were among the most beautifully written and loving I’ve ever heard. I came home from that day with such a sense of passion and love, and as someone who photographs these things for a living, I knew this one was different.
You don’t find love like this often, and when you do, you hold onto it for dear life. You make it a point to see each other every day, you lift each other up through hard times, you come to love and appreciate each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies as these two have.
For those of you planning a wedding right now, I know how daunting it can be to consider the never-ending laundry list of expenses. The average wedding in the US costs a whopping $33,000 – and startlingly, the rate of divorce goes up by a factor of 1.6 for couples who have weddings that cost more than $20,000.
Why do we place such importance on the wedding itself? Why do we care so much about how expensive the cake or dress is, or how big and lavish the venue is? Why do we brag about how expensive our wedding is, then go broke when we can’t afford a house? Why do we place so much importance on a single day, when marriage is a lifelong commitment? To put it bluntly, why are our priorities so backwards?
This wedding was small and intimate – and one they planned together. They chose this quirky art-gallery-venue in Baltimore which fit their personalities so well. They DIYed almost every aspect of their day, including all of the decor and place settings. They visited thrift shops to select plates, glasses, and old antique vases for centerpieces.
Some numbers, for those of you who eat that sh*t up:
Overall wedding cost: $13,680
Guests: approximately 50-60
- Photography: $3400
- Venue: $3050
- Catering & open bar: $2800
- Videography: $2575
Now, if you’re keeping track, these four vendors ring in at just under $12k, and over 85% of their overall costs.
- Decor: $538 (centerpieces, bowls, tablecloths, doughnut sleeves, cake topper, signs, wedding arbor, picture frames, etc – everything was either DIYed, thrifted, or purchased on Etsy to support small businesses!)
- Tableware: $387 (plates, silverware, glasses, and napkins – thrifted/purchased instead of rented!)
- Chair & table rentals: $175
- Favors: $65
- Cake & donuts: $65
- Flowers: $375 (purchased wholesale and assembled DIY)
- Dress: $250 from Lulu’s
- Makeup: DIY
- Officiant: a friend!
One of the best parts is that they’ve been able to start selling a lot of their decor and tableware, so they’re making a chunk of that money BACK.
Despite the somewhat “small” budget, this wedding was extremely intentional and well-thought-out – especially considering they planned the whole thing in two months. And it was beautiful – just scroll through the photos below and see for yourself. They didn’t skimp – but rather, their focus on what was important to them. Photos and documentation, a beautiful setting, handwritten vows, small details they hand-selected together, and most importantly – celebrating with their closest friends and family.
As you scroll through this gallery, I encourage you to forget all the numbers and statistics – because that isn’t what weddings or marriage is about. It’s the moments that were shared, the commitment that was made and the vows that were exchanged. The raw, vulnerable feelings of love, excitement, tears, and joy that were felt by all – that’s all that matters here.
To add to the overwhelming emotions that were shared on this day, Felicia had found out shortly before the wedding that she was pregnant, though at this point not many knew. She decided to use this moment to share the news with her father.