By Abby Berman Mazenod and Jessica Ziegler
Abby Berman Mazenod (Tracing Abby) and Jessica Ziegler (SoCalFitMom) …we are bloggers and best friends. We thought we should share with you our wedding experiences… “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of both big and small weddings while being in each others bridal parties. Here is our take on each of our experiences…
All photos from Jessica’s wedding were taken by Adam Booth.
Overall pros and cons of a Big or Small Wedding
-Jessica (big): I enjoyed many aspects of having a larger wedding. There were more people to party with and share your special night with, it was nice to see people we were not able to see all of the time, the fact that you get more gifts, of course ;), and a chance for out-of-towners to have a mini vaca! What was so great about people coming from out-of-town was that we were able to get together with them multiple times before, and after the wedding! Another big pro for me was that I could have all of my closest friends in my wedding party, my life time friend Abby (you may know her), my college roommate, my sister-in-laws, my long distance friend, and my two other friends that I had known most of my life. Even better, most of my bridesmaids already knew each other!
There are a few cons to having a big wedding. It does lack intimacy…I tried to grasp a little of that intimacy by having it in my parent’s backyard…I think that was a great choice! Another con is that because my budget was $10,000 and 145 people were attending, I had to really pinch penny’s. Looking back on it, the DIY and bargain shopping was half of the fun!
-Abby (small): Because there were fewer people, it was easier to chat with everyone. We could go a little further with our budget and really splurge on things like the dress, cake, flowers, alcohol and food. It seemed like it was a little less overwhelming altogether while still feeling special. But I do have a big con…I didn’t get to have a real wedding party 😦 …I had always dreamed of the girls I would have as my bridesmaids… my high school best friends, my cousins, my sister-in-laws, and they were kind of excluded from the intimacy of it. That was a bummer. I did have the best Maid of Honor though!!! (Thanks Jessica!!!)
How many people came to your wedding?
– Abby (small): Just our immediate family including my Grandpa and our nieces and nephews, and our MOH(Jessica J)+1, BM+1, and our Minister/Photographer (We got a two in one deal with our friend Andrew). 21 Adults + 6 Kids + Bride(Me) + Groom(Patrick)= 29 total
– Jessica (big): We had 145 guests. My husband is from Montana and we wanted his whole family and friends to attend; therefore, we wanted to be able to have a lot of people, but have a small wedding vibe.
Where did you have your wedding?
-Jessica (big): Originally we were going to have it at my parents neighbors house across the street. While in the processes of planning, she ended up selling her house. My next option was my parents house. I am very glad that we ended up having it there because it added a little intimacy, and his family and friends were able to see the house I grew up in. It added that intimacy that otherwise, would have been lost.
-Abby (small): At a local restaurant where we live, The Villa, in Woodland Hills. They had a separate room for dinner parties upstairs, with a balcony where we had our ceremony, and their amazing staff did everything! After the ceremony and fancy dinner, we had some of our friends meet us for casual drinks and karaoke at our favorite bar, The Oaks Tavern, in Sherman Oaks.
What was the most stressful part about your big/small wedding?
– Abby (small): I kept worrying about making everyone else happy. I knew that certain people wanted a big wedding for me, so I kept feeling obligated to make it bigger and kept feeling guilty that I wasn’t making it bigger. After I decided that I didn’t care about giving those people the wedding of their dreams for me, everything was smooth sailing.
-Jessica (big): hummm…deciding where I wanted to have it based on money or how much work I wanted to put into it. I realized early on that either I spent a lot of money, or spent less money and did A LOT of work. I went for lots of work for a few reasons: 1. I’m cheap! 2. I wanted certain things that a venue wouldn’t allow (my cute Golden Retriever Dexter, and alcohol from an outside source…my dad brews beer).
How were you able to budget? Did you stay within your budget?
– Jessica (big): As I stated earlier, I had a $10,000 budget, and hit it right on! I did a percentage system. I went through and decided how much (percentage wise) I would spend on each part of our wedding. If I didn’t spend that amount in one area I would use that money and put it in an area I went over my percentage budget. I was shocked at how well this way of organizing and budgeting worked! One area we were able to save was on alcohol, because of my dad, and a friend of ours who is in the wine business. We saved on the cake because I reached out to a high school friend who kept posting the cakes she was making to Facebook. I ordered my flowers from Costco (they were beautiful!) and cupcakes from Vons grocery store…we got so many compliments on those cupcakes! We hired the neighbor girl who had just received her bachelores in hospitality to be the bar tender. We had an ecletic decor because I borrowed dinner wear from Abby’s mom, my mom, and my moms other friend Linda. To save even MORE money, we used tea pots with flowers in them as the center pieces…as you can see, I reached out to many people and found ways to make expensive things affordable by innovation and compromising!
-Abby (small): I also had a $10,000 budget. Which I felt was huge for a wedding of less than 30 people! We were able to totally splurge on the top shelf open bar and dinner, our cake, and my dress. We were able to save by buying the flowers at a local flower market and the vases and supplies at a wholesale mart (Thanks Mom!), and I was able to do the table flower arrangements with the help of some awesome friends (Thanks Ladies!). After everything was said and done, we decided that we couldn’t have this incredible night without celebrating with some of our friends! We decided to do a small open bar after the main event at our favorite bar, which our really good friend happens to own, The Oaks Tavern in Sherman Oaks. In the end we didn’t do too bad… I think we only went $400 over budget!
…Abby’s cake, made by The Bread Basket.
How much was your partner involved in the planning?
-Abby (small): I have to give him some credit, he planned a lot of the after party. It was actually his idea! We felt weird about not celebrating our marriage with all of our amazing friends, so a casual bar afterwards was perfect! He approved of almost everything once I had picked it out, but I did all of the big stuff for the actual wedding, along with the help of my mom and Jessica. My mom was really awesome and was really excited to help me. I would have freaked out if she hadn’t taken on so much. (Thanks Mom!)
– Jessica (big): 0%! Ha! I am just joking. He picked out the groomsmen’s outfits and never seemed annoyed by the millions of questions I would ask him everyday. He is good at knowing what he likes and doesn’t like…that helped me a lot because I am indecisive! As Abby stated, I have to give SO MUCH CREDIT to my mom…she made her backyard look SO BEAUTIFUL and I know it was a lot of hard work! Also, our friends were just so much help with setting up the rental equipment and making sure everything was in order. There is NO WAY I could have done this without them!
What wedding drama did you encounter?
– Jessica (big): Very little actually! I should have hired another professional “helper” to make sure things were running smoothly. It was too much work for one person, and I was really hoping my mom wouldn’t feel like she needed to step in to help, and she did. That is also just the nature of my mom.
-Abby (small): We didn’t invite our extended family… and we freaking LOVE our extended family. We seriously absolutely adore our aunts, uncles, and cousins, so it was really hard to not invite them. They were of course invited to the after party, but most of them couldn’t come from out of state/country for an after party… that’s just ridiculous. I still feel a little guilty about that.
What was your least favorite part of planning your big/small wedding?
-Abby (small): It’s annoying figuring out how to stay within your budget, it’s annoying asking people to help you make flower arrangements (even though they didn’t mind), and it’s annoying to limit your guest list.
-Jessica (big): This is hard for me! I had a lot of fun planning, but if I had to choose…having to communicate with people about their venue…or about anything really. I just wanted it to be simple. All pricing should be listed on their website. I just wanted to look up everything on websites and no one would post prices! It was driving me crazy! I would have to e-mail or call different venues and that takes too much time for an impatient person. Now you have got me all heated…thanks Abby 😉
What will you remember most about your wedding?
-Jessica (big): Getting married of course! I’m reminded every day when I wake up next to this super cute guy I call my husband, and hold our amazing little girl who is 1 year old already!
-Abby (small): When Andrew, our Minister, finally pronounced us “Man and Wife”, it was such a little group that everyone immediately stood up and started hugging everyone else! It was the cutest thing ever! I don’t think I’ve ever seen my parents happier! I will never ever forget that moment. Possibly the greatest moment of my life.
What was your favorite part about having a big/small wedding?
-Abby (small): It seemed so special. I’ve never had a happier day! I think I needed a small wedding because I am naturally a total stress case. Having a small wedding allowed me to relax. The big things to plan were easier, because they just weren’t that big.
-Jessica (big): It was great to have our friends and family come from all over, even ENGLAND, to celebrate our marriage with us! We still hear stories from our wedding and it is 3 years later!
Why would you recommend a big/small wedding?
-Jessica (big): I would recommend a big wedding on a budget. It is simple to DIY and saves you A LOT of money. Get together with your girl friends and make the center pieces, or do your own bouquets. In a big wedding you lose some of the intimacy, but you gain anonymity. Having a big”ish” wedding allowed me to invite people on our guest list that we would have cut otherwise, and if that happened we wouldn’t have invited a friend of ours from Idaho, and my MOH wouldn’t be getting married to him in September!
-Abby (small): Intimacy. We are people who enjoy taking time to enjoy the company that we are with individually. I hate leaving somewhere and feeling like I didn’t get time to connect with someone. Also, I feel like it was much easier to stay within budget while splurging on the fun stuff!
What did you like about each others weddings?
-Jessica (big): Abby and Patrick’s wedding was so beautiful and intimate!!!! Almost everybody knew each other and we all felt included and special to be celebrating with them! This is just how Abby and Patrick are…so thoughtful and giving even when it is their day! The food was AMAZING, and the staff made us all feel like royalty!
-Abby (small): Jessica and Jesse’s wedding was awesome! It was the giant party that you think of when you are picturing a great wedding! They had a d.j., a dance floor, open bar, a photo booth, and the food was great! What was really cool was that even though there were a lot of people, it seemed like everyone knew each other. That’s probably because cool people like Jessica and Jesse always attract other cool people 🙂 . It was all together a great party, and because it was at her parent’s house, it still had an intimate feel that many big weddings can’t achieve.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about our weddings! We had so much fun planning and attending them and we know that you will too!