Real Wedding: Michelle & Troy

sunset kiss

Can you imagine planning a wedding for 90 guests, in less than 1 month and with a budget of $2,150? Michelle and Troy did it and in Santa Barbara no less. Find out what stressed Michelle most, how she got her wedding dress for less than a typical dinner out, and what the GROOM did as a DIY wedding project. Here is my interview with this bubbly bride.

Michelle’s Story…

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Q: Describe your wedding.

A: Originally, our plan was to get married, just the two of us in Greece. We had everything booked and then decided at the very last minute to get married at home instead and go to Greece for our honeymoon. The wedding was very casual and beachy themed. In our invite, we told everyone that sun dresses, flip flops and jeans were acceptable attire.

We got ready together at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara. It was so fun to be together with our friends in the hotel room. Our ceremony was at the beach just below the resort. We gathered there as the sun was low in the sky while my good friend officiated the wedding. It was magical.

For the reception, we booked a new local winery. Both Troy (aka The Groom) and I love Mexican food, so we decided to hire a local taco man to cook up authentic tacos, rice, and beans right outside the roll-up door of the winery. The juke box served as our music and the coconut chiffon wedding cake was purchased from a restaurant that offers amazing desserts. I love pink, so my bouquet had pink flowers, the tablecloths were pink and we had lots of pink details.

Bride Michelle

Q: How did you do an entire wedding for $2,150?

A: The only reason we were able to keep to this budget was because so many friends helped us. Cindy made my beautiful bouquet and Shannon did all our reception flowers. All the details turned out so beautiful! Tomi got ordained on the internet and married us. George and Lalo dropped off the tables and then picked them up at the end of the night. Catherine did the photography. The amazing thing is all these friends did this as their wedding gift to us. Oh, and one important note. I got my dress on Ebay and spent a whopping, $60! I spent more just to alter the length of the dress.

Q: Did you use a wedding planner? If yes, was it for full planning, design planning or month/day of coordinator? Did you use a professional or hire a friend?

A: We hired someone to set up for us. A friend of mine who has handled events in the past, set out everything for us about 30 minutes prior to the reception time. Troy and I organized everything in individual boxes and labeled them so she knew where they belonged. But we gave her full reign on how to organize the items. She had a friend assist her. We paid her $120 for 30 minutes of work.

Michelle and Troy Ceremony Collage

Q: What part of planning a wedding stressed you out the most and why?

A: There were several things. First, the vows really stressed us out. We researched on the internet but everything was too religious or silly. Second, was shortening the guest list. We know a lot of people and it was hard to decide who to invite. In the end, we decided that if we had not spoken or seen the person in over a year, they didn’t make the cut. Third was the stress with the timing of getting to the ceremony and having to set everything set up for the reception.

Q: What surprised you most about planning a wedding?

A: We really didn’t know how much linens, decor, flowers cost. It’s definitely not cheap. But in the end, it just tied everything together. I realized that everyone wants to help, and honestly, I usually want to do it myself, but knew I couldn’t. So, I accepted help and am so glad that I did.


Q: Did you have any DIY (do-it-yourself) wedding projects? 

A: Troy made our cake topper out of copper wire that read “Hitched.” The copper wire was recycled from our house remodel.

Q: What is your favorite memory about your big day?

That my friends were able to celebrate with us. Honestly, I thought I was going to lose it when I walked around the corner and saw everyone at the ceremony. It was like “wow” they are all here to see us and we wouldn’t have that moment if we had done it alone in Greece.


sitting on truck 2

Q: Do you have any regrets or are there things you wish you would have done differently? 

A: I would have thought more about what type of photos I wanted. Things like family photos and getting a few fun shots from above. Looking back, I probably should have hired a day of wedding planner to deal with clean up and monitor the food as we found out that people from one of the neighboring breweries were eating our tacos! Lastly, was the fact that we had to clean up everything at 10pm.

Q: What advice would you give a newly engaged bride-to-be?

A: Give yourself time to plan your wedding. We did ours in 3 1/2 weeks and we had “wedding brain” the whole time. If you are doing a destination wedding, check the government sites for requirements prior to booking flights. You and your groom should be on the same page about spending the money and how the money will be spent. Troy and I didn’t argue about money. It was fun trying to find alternative ways of doing something at a lower cost. Keep it simple. What’s important to you? For us it was food and the setting. Oh, and make sure you’re not the one cleaning up at the end of the night!

Q: Describe your honeymoon. 

A: Greece for 15 awesome days! We were supposed to get married there, but there was so much red tape that we decided to do it here with our friends and family. We visited Crete for 4 nights, Santorini for 6 nights and Athens for 4 nights. Loved loved loved Santorini. The people there are so friendly and makes you feel like home.

Greece montage


Wedding Vendors:

Reception Venue: Avelina Wine Company

Ceremony Venue: Haskell’s Beach

Catering: “The Taco Man”

Wedding Cake: Fresco

Wedding Planner: Juli Askew

Photographer: Catherine Marciel

Officiant: Friend

Florist: Pretty Fetes

Rentals: Town & Country Rentals

Dress: Ebay and accessories by

Groom’s Attire: Cubavera for shirt and Banana Republic for pants

Hair & Makeup: Lacey Maxwell


Rings: Bryant & Sons


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