As some of you know, at the end of 2017, Zach and I got married! I thought it would be fun to share with you some details of planning the wedding, how the day actually played out, and share wedding photos. Since weddings have so many details, I am going to break this up into a series of posts, starting with the ceremony.
We got married in Sacramento, California, at a small, local theater called The Guild. We were originally looking for a church to get married in, as we’re both Christians, but found that 1) all churches are pretty much decorated for Christmas in December and are not keen at the idea of you taking down the decorations, and 2) they require you to use their pastor and go through their marriage counseling. I was pretty determined to not have a Christmas tree or poinsettia in any of my wedding photos, and we already had our own officiant and counselors lined up, so we opted to look at other locations.
When searching Sacramento wedding venues online, a popular theater kept popping up, but it was very big (could seat something like 800 people) and expensive. I pulled up Yelp to search for theaters, thinking there may be some that don’t advertise as a wedding venue. The Guild was one of the first that popped up, and from the photos alone, it appeared to be exactly what we were looking for — something intimate with a vintage vibe. We booked an appointment to see the place and loved it even more in person. It was cozy with really cool exposed brick walls and a cute lobby with a snack stand. The Guild primarily rents out the space for plays, movies, charity events, etc. We were only the second wedding ever held there! It was fun knowing we had something so unique for our ceremony.
After deciding to have our wedding at a theater, the wedding took on a subtle movie/theater theme, which was reflected in some of the details of the wedding. For starters, we created a playbill to use as our program (Diane’s idea!), which included cast descriptions, a synopsis, and an endnote from Zach and me. Our performance was titled “Happily Ever Edwin,” as Edwin is Zach’s last name and my new last name, and was also our wedding hashtag (#happilyeveredwin). Diane and I designed the Playbill, and then I got them printed at a local print shop. They were originally designed in Microsoft Word, but we realized that when it was time to print, there were quite a few issues. I decided to move the entire design to Microsoft Publisher using their pamphlet template — which ended up working great and was so much easier than using Microsoft Word. It ended up being quite a labor of love but seemed to be well worth it once guests saw them — they were a huge hit! People came up to me all night telling me how much they liked the playbills. We also thought the playbill was a good idea because it gave guests something to read while waiting for the wedding to start, since our wedding started a little later than planned due to a very minimal amount of parking near the theater. The theater only had a small lot that was shared with residences, so from what I heard, traffic and parking held people up quite a bit. Word to the wise — if you get married in an urban setting, remember to account for traffic and parking for your guests!
Money-saving tip: DIY does not mean cheap, just in case you weren’t aware. While all the labor to create them was free, it did take several hours to design and assemble them. Also, color prints cost quite a bit. We only had one page of color, and it really hiked up the bill. I think in total, it cost $120 to print 140 Playbills. If you are doing DIY projects for your wedding, definitely think about the cost of all the materials! ALSO, if you have printing needs, do not use Fedex, Staples, or Office Depot. Call around to your local print shop. Look for placesnamed something like “Dave’s Copy & Print” because they are SIGNIFICANTLY CHEAPER. We probably saved $60-$80 using a local shop. The guy (literally one guy who owned and ran the entire copy and print operation) even gave us nicer paper once we saw they were wedding programs, and at no extra charge!
The theater also had a glass case for posters in the lobby, and I wanted to fill it with our own custom movie poster (below). Our photographer, Krizel, who also does graphic design, made us a movie poster with one of our engagement photos. We decided to title our movie “Happily Ever Edwin,” as well, so it matched the playbill. I sent her a few movie posters I liked — minimalist with toned-down/washed-out colors. We absolutely loved the way the poster turned out, and guests seemed to really enjoy it, as well. I made sure to include some family and friends in the credits on the poster, which hopefully people noticed!
Since the lobby was pretty bare on its own, we filled it with framed photos, a few signs, and baskets of our playbills to fill in the space. I think looking back I would have liked to add even more, especially to the shelves behind the snack stand, but we had already spent so much on playbills that I wasn’t ready to shell out more on anything else. Diane also made us some really lovely chalkboard signs to welcome guests to the wedding, remind them to grab a playbill, and give them the address to the reception. They looked amazing! Overall, I’m really happy with how everything turned out.
Money-saving tip: If you need to frame a lot of photos for decorations, buy dollar-store frames! I was able to get several different sizes and styles and loved the way it turned out. These weren’t meant to be long-lasting and definitely feel very cheap, but they’re perfect for a low-cost decoration. I also got all the photos printed at Wal-Mart, which is inexpensive, and you can just upload all the photos online and have them printed in the store typically within an hour.
The stage itself was also very bare. We knew we wanted some kind of arch and asked our florist if she could make one as well as provide a few arrangements to line the stage. She designed a beautiful white trellis with flowers and greenery woven through it, and three gorgeous flower arrangements. Our general color scheme for the wedding was burgundy/wine, gold, ivory/white, and black, which she made sure to incorporate into the arrangements. I wanted to add a little twinkle to the stage decor, so I also added several fake candles (no real fire allowed!). I bought the candles at JCPenney’s Black Friday sale and a few at Big Lots and the Dollar Store. The candle stands were from the 99 Cents store of all places! Candles stands are so pricey, and Diane found these sets of three for $5.99 for basic white candle stands. Most places I looked, one stand would be $12! Overall, I really loved how sweet and romantic the stage looked.
Another important aspect of the ceremony was our music selection for the processional. Since movies and musicals were part of the theme of the wedding and, just in general, are something Zach and I love, we decided to pick instrumental versions of a few songs from movies that were special to us. For the parents’ and grandparents’ processional, we had a piano-only version of “City of Stars” play from the film La La Land. The bridal party walked down to an instrumental version of “I See the Light” from Disney’s Tangled, and I walked down to a piano-only version of “Main Theme” from Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille. If you haven’t listened to the Ratatouille soundtrack before, I highly recommend it. It’s an absolutely beautiful soundtrack. I was so happy with our song selection when I got to see them in action at the wedding. They created such a sweet ambiance to the ceremony processional. At the end of this post, I’ve included a Spotify playlist with all the songs we specifically picked for our wedding ceremony. We originally planned to play the songs off of Spotify at the wedding but found that the audio quality was better if we downloaded the mp3 file, which we purchased from Amazon. I felt like it was 2003 again because I cannot remember the last time I bought an mp3.
We also planned to exit to the music played in the end credits of La La Land, literally called “Credits,” but unfortunately the technician running the sound did not play it during the actual exit at the ceremony. Luckily, that was the only real hiccup of the day.
Our bridal party consisted of six of my closest girlfriends and eight of Zach’s best guy friends and my brother, which made for quite a big bridal party — we barely fit on the stage! But it was such a surreal and special feeling to have all your best friends together. As adults all living in different cities, or states even, it can be hard to see anyone very often, so to have everyone together and in one place was the best.
Since the theater didn’t have a center aisle, and the side aisles were a bit narrow, we had the guys walk out separately onto the stage from a side entrance while the ladies walked down the left aisle by themselves, along with our ring bearer and flower girl (who looked so cute!). My brother walked me down the aisle, which was so wonderful, especially because he lives in Georgia and I don’t get to see him often.
Walking down the aisle to Zach and looking out at all our friends and family in the crowd as well as our bridal party up on stage was such an amazing moment. Planning the wedding had been a long, expensive, and stressful process, and it was at this moment that I felt myself take a breath and truly enjoy the fact that I was getting married and got to be surrounded by so much love. I was giddy, grateful, and just so overjoyed.
We had a dear family friend perform the ceremony and marry us. He was not ordained and had never married a couple before, but was up for the challenge and did an amazing job! We gave little to no direction — just told him to be himself and that we welcome humor. In general, we just wanted something simple and traditional. He provided a great balance of storytelling, humor, advice, and biblical scripture on love.
As I said, our exit music was the only hiccup of the wedding, but we made the most of it and just started cheering as we walked offstage and the crowd cheered back. We went back to the small dressing rooms behind the stage with our bridal party to take a few moments to celebrate. Everyone was so happy and laughing — it was great. Cocktail hour at the reception location began right after the wedding, which most of the guests headed over to while our family and bridal party hung back for a few photos.
We also had a friend coordinate the wedding the day of, which was an enormous help. She made sure the bridal party knew where to be, told people when to walk, and generally made sure everything was in place before, during, and after the wedding. I definitely credit her for making sure we had such a lovely ceremony!
Overall, our ceremony was so sweet, fun, and beautiful. I absolutely loved having it in a theater, loved the themeing, and loved having all our friends and family there.
Now, please join us for The Reception!
Edit 1/23/2018: I forgot to mention that our Smoosh photographer, Phillip Kohl, also took a few photos which are included in some we have shared! I marked the photos taken by him and everything else was shot by our photographer, Krizel.