The Smog Shoppe in Los Angeles is one of my all time favorite venues. It's the perfect combination of elegance, style and total approachability and to be honest, some of the best weddings we've seen on SMP have come straight out of this fabulous venue. And this next one, photographed by Love Ala Photography, is at the top of our list. Not only is it completely adorable/chic/gorgeous/insert-your-own-gush-here...it was also designed for $12,000. And in one of the nation's priciest cities...that kind of makes it completely steal worthy! To see even more, click right here.
For the big day Eric and I had three priorities...celebrating with our family and friends, a reasonable budget and representing who we are. We wanted a small meaningful ceremony in LA, our home, with our family and close friends. We wanted to have quality time with everyone while still allowing them to have their own vacation. After all LA is an amazing city!
After family and friends, our next concern was the budget. We wanted to spend approximately 12k total on our wedding and thus did a lot of the leg work ourselves.
We also had a lot of help from our family and friends. I think our dear friend and wedding coordinator Amy said it best, “I'm totally down to help with any/everything for the next 10 months. When my grandmother and grandfather got married during the war, their families joined together and gave them a 'Hope Chest' filled with items to start their life together. That's what a wedding is. The community joining together to bless your union. The (official) start of your life together. So, if that's driving to the Rose Bowl, writing on chalkboard glasses, heavy lifting tables and chairs, supervising the bar staff or holding your dress up while you pee, I'm there.”
Just a few ways we chose to save money. Designing and printing our own save the dates and invitations. My mother and sister scoured garage sales in the Midwest for mason jars to hold candles and also found the gorgeous blue containers that held the flowers. Having our wedding at the Smog Shoppe also played a major part in keeping our budget down, as the space is gorgeous without having to do anything to it. We loved all of the raw wood and the succulent wall is beautiful and takes the place of needing the extra cost of floral arrangements. The flowers and plants we did use were picked from our garden and arranged by my bridesmaids. Other benefits to having our wedding at The Smog Shoppe include having all of the equipment needed for a DJ so you can get a cheaper rate for a plug and play DJ or you can just bring your own iPod. They also have a huge projector screen that you can do a slideshow on or just play some cool movies for added ambiance. And last but not least you can supply your own alcohol.
We wanted our wedding to reflect us and our lifestyle. We wanted it to be California, outdoors, fun, laid back, rustic, colorful, unique and meaningful. I picked three jewel tones for the bridesmaids and let them choose their own dresses. The groomsmen wore their own black suits and we gave them each matching ties and pocket squares and fun colorful socks from Urban Outfitters. We chose to leave the tables bare for the family style dinner provided by Epicurean Umbrella. For the ceremony we asked our dear friend Michelle Van Dillen to marry us. We couldn’t imagine getting married by someone who didn’t really know us. We went to the library and researched all things wedding and put together a meaningful and heartfelt ceremony that included our marriage intentions and our own vows. We had my brother and Eric’s sister in-law read I Carry Your Heart with Me by E.E. Cummings and an excerpt from A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. Although I made it through the ceremony tear free I can’t say the same when I watch the wedding video today. It was a truly special ceremony.
Advice for future brides…The most important thing, no matter the budget, is that the wedding reflects you and your partner. Ask your family and friends for help. It will be the greatest and most meaningful gift you can receive. The best piece of advice I was given was to relax and just enjoy everything! Make sure you take several moments to just pause and take everything in. Once the ceremony starts the rest of the day goes by SOOOOO fast and it is truly hard to remember it all. Relax and enjoy it and just know that everyone who is there loves and supports you. In the end nothing else matters.
Photography: Love Ala Photography / Cinematography: A2K Studios / Flowers: DIY, succulents and flowers grown in the couples garden / Event Design: Bride & Groom / Event Planning: Amy V. Dewhurst / Ceremony + Reception Location: Smog Shoppe / Invitations: DIY Bride & Groom / Shoes: Nina / Dress: Oleg Cassini Style CT326 / Caterer: Epicurean Umbrella