$9,200 - Rehearsal Dinner (including 7% taxes and 23% gratuity). We were originally supposed to be outside on the beach, but rain moved us inside to the ballroom where we were originally supposed to have our reception. We were not charged anything additional or expected to meet the room minimum. The rehearsal dinner included a wonderful pasta buffet for 25 (three kinds of pasta and a wine bar). They had centerpieces free to use and did all the set up and break down for us. It was really important for us to be able to stay together and enjoy private time as a family for the first night, rather than try to coordinate at a restaurant or off-site. Most of our guests stayed directly at the resort.
$2,500 - Ceremony (including 7% taxes and 23% gratuity). This included all the white chairs and set up, as well as the outdoor space and indoor back-up space. We were originally supposed to be on the lawn outside, but tropical storm Alberto brought us inside. We were able to use the small ballroom for the ceremony, where we were originally going to have the reception. It would have been free to hold the ceremony on the beach, but there would have been no back-up space and people could walk right through the middle of the ceremony with it being a public beach.
$39,500 - Cocktail hour and Reception (including 7% taxes and 23% gratuity). This included use of the space plus set up and break down, a wooden dance floor, all white-washed linens with ballroom chairs, five different appetizers for cocktail hour plus a brie bar and a sushi bar, a plated dinner with chicken and fish for everyone, an open bar for 4 hours, a champagne toast, a two-tiered wedding cake from a local baker (we really enjoyed the tasting). With the tropical storm coming, we had to move inside. Since there were no other weddings during our weekend, we actually moved the ceremony to the room we were supposed to have the reception in (it had the best view of the gulf), and then we moved the reception to the largest ballroom with beautiful large windows. It took a bit of extra coordination on our part to shift the plans, but the resort did the heavy lifting. We weren't charged a penny extra.
$2,500 - Remaining resort costs (including 7% taxes and 23% gratuity). This included three nights in the gulf bridal suite ($970), two nights with two queen beds for my brides-mates ($810), two robes from the resort ($180), and a couple resort fees and taxes. We got one free night for the wedding, as a gift from the resort.
$3,000 - Videographer (all in, including taxes). He arrived early so we could try to beat the rain and get some outside shots. Unfortunately, the rain started right as we finished getting ready. However, he stayed late for free to help capture some of the extra things he would have missed. We also had the ceremony live streamed for free, a special we got for booking and putting down the deposit early.
$5,500 - Photographer (all in, including taxes). This included 3 hours of rehearsal day coverage instead of an engagement session, 8 hours of wedding day coverage (but she stayed late for free), a USB flash drive with all images in high resolution so that we have 100% control over printing costs (this is where many photographers get you), and reprinting copyright release. This spending is right in line with our priorities of capturing the day. Our photographer does weddings full time, has an amazing portfolio and is extremely dedicated to her craft. Unfortunately, our wedding day was rained out, but she found us some amazing spaces to shoot and really captured the day. On top of all that, she offered to go out with us for a free beach session later so that we could capture the epic beach sunset photos that tropical storm Alberto tried to steal from us. I can't wait to put on the dress again! We are so grateful we hired a true professional dedicated to her craft and can't wait to see the beautiful images she captured.
$2,000 - Our wedding singer. He was the most talked-about part of the entire event. He is very talented, and we enjoy listening to him at the bar. He played the guitar for the ceremony and played and sang throughout cocktail hour and the entire reception.
$630 - Flowers. The number itself seems low compared to other weddings, but we only got two arrangements for either side of the "altar," a bouquet for me, and a corsage for my mother. They also threw in a boutiniere for free. Flowers weren't particularly important to us, so we got specific arrangements for the places that would make the biggest impact. Also, we saved money since we didn't need flowers for a bridal party.
$175 - Hair and Makeup. We had someone come to the resort and stay until we were dressed, which was perfect. We ended up getting a discount.
It meant so much to have our family together celebrating and supporting us. We loved being able to spend quality time with everyone at the resort over the whole weekend.