A Chic Wedding that Didn’t Cost a Gazillion (Part 2)

Continued from A Chic Wedding that Didn’t Cost a Gazillion


Planning chic DIY wedding wasn’t only about the crafts and consumables.  I needed to plan logistics, and that included a variety of spreadsheets and checklists.  I modified a Martha Stewart wedding checklist to fit my needs and went from there.  Knowing we would be sailing off on our honeymoon out of Galveston helped settle the place we would be married.  Among many things, my Maid of Honor (eternally grateful, Angela, thank you!) helped me select a venue in Galveston.  Being the huge control freak that I am, I ruled out a beach wedding immediately.  The Houston/Galveston area does not get rain often, but when it does it’s a torrential downpour.  Of the remaining indoor venues on the island, we found this New Orleans inspired flat in the Historic Strand District owned by two engineers who ran their firm upstairs, and rented out the empty space downstairs for events.  This place was perfect: it fit the budget, was in a great location, and did not have any “spending minimum” requirements for local vendors or bartenders.  This allowed us to cater the event ourselves, bring in our own beverages, and do things our way.  The Bienville Social is a long rectangular space with a skylight in the middle that separated the first and second floor.  We decided to separate the front and back halves of the space with a poinsettia curtain backdrop, thus dividing the space into a ceremony area and reception area.  I measured tables & chairs, and used the blue prints from the venue to plan the layout.


Photo credits: Bienville Social, Cupcakes and Lollipops
Photo credits: Bienville Social, Cupcakes and Lollipops


The venue also provided their office space to be a bridal staging area, which was nice place for me to have mimosas, get dressed, freak out, and watch people come in from the second floor.  Angela (Maid of Honor) could also supervise the setup and goings on downstairs from the skylight.  With limited space and budget, our guest list was critically small (40 people) between our two families and friends.  We just didn’t have the space for more.  It ended up being a packed house, with every single chair being spoken for by an RSVP.  I made reserve signs with scrapbook paper to hold the chairs in the front row for our parents, sister, niece, and grandmother.




Considering we barely had room for people, we didn’t have room for a 4 piece orchestra.  Luckily my new Sister-in-Law is a high school music teacher and sings like an angel.  She graciously sang Ave Maria to open the wedding ceremony.  Taking full advantage of the Bienville Social’s sound system, we used my iPad for the rest of the music.  I walked down the aisle to Turning Page, a beautiful instrumental from one of the Twilight movies.  Not the 1000 years song…that other one.  Hate Twilight all you want, but the song is moving.  To officiate the ceremony, our dear friend Morgan got ordained online (yes, people actually do that) and married us (yes, legally).





I like efficiency and get bored easily so the ceremony lasted five, maybe ten minutes.  We said all the necessary key words and didn’t bother with sand mixing or plate breaking.  Let’s do the thing and have a party so we can go on a cruise, ok?  Following the “I dos” and kiss, the wedding party went upstairs to sign the marriage license, bustle my dress, and take some pictures.





Meanwhile downstairs the party was getting underway.  The poinsettia curtain had been parted, and our guests were making their way to the bar, brunch buffet, and reception tables.  We only set up four reception tables, and none of which were reserved, so it was nice to see everyone mixing it up.




We wouldn’t have saved so much money had it not been for my friend Alycia, who catered the reception with her homemade goodies.  She really hit it out of the ballpark with the Sunday Brunch theme: she cooked, chopped, prepped, transported, setup, broke down, and hauled off every single item served.  She was brilliant!  She served Christmas morning frittata, finger sandwiches, gazpacho soup, vegetables with hummus, caprese skewers, chocolate cherry scones, fruit skewers, and banana muffins.  I provided a pumpkin cake and my homemade preserves, but that doesn’t even count.  Everything was a wonderful complement to our wedding cake (lemonade dream cake from PattyCakes Bakery).




Another one of our friend’s, Josh, bartended the reception (thank you, my friend!).  We couldn’t have picked a more friendly Guinan to sling drinks and cheer.  We purchase a few cases of Freixenet Cava to be served by itself or used in mimosas, poinsettias (sparkling wine and cranberry juice).  Josh also served bloody marys, pomegranate punch, and a variety of sodas, juices, and teas.  I vaguely remember seeing a bottle of whiskey floating around as well, but I’m not sure where it came from.  The more, the merrier!




At the end of the morning, it was a great event.  The ceremony was short and sweet, the reception was intimate and brunchy, and we were able to make a fast getaway at 1:00pm to board the cruise ship for our honeymoon.  It rained, no, it poured that morning, and I hear that’s good luck.  Glad we didn’t have that beach wedding…





Photo credit: Cupcakes and Lollipops Boutique (Sandy, you rocked this, thank you!)

3 Comment

  1. Genna says:

    I think I took that pic of u and Jerome smiling. ☺It was a beautiful wedding and I was privileged to be there. Love you!!

  2. Amanda says:

    I just happened to come across this blog post while researching Bienville Social as a potential venue for my own small wedding and reception and OH MY GOODNESS your wedding is exactly what I’m hoping to accomplish! As a fellow control freak who is also hoping not to spend a fortune, thank you for posting this. Beautiful wedding, beautiful pictures! Congratulations!

    1. Sheila says:

      Hi Amanda! Thank you for your kind words. I LOVED the Bienville Social and highly recommend it! Congratulations on your engagement and good luck on your upcoming nuptials. I’d love to hear how yours turns out! -Sheila

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