Planning an Intimate (and Cheap!) Wedding – Once and For All +GIVEAWAY ~ Tales of the Ravenous Reader


Squeeee I have been waiting for this post! Christy here to celebrate Once and For All and share how I pulled off an intimate wedding with less than 6 months of planning from engagement to wed! 

And I didn’t even piss off too many relatives.


Welcome to my super tiny but super fun wedding that didn’t break the bank!

Disclaimer: Weddings are a personal thing and there’s no right way to plan or have one. They’re also one of the things everyone has an opinion on – which people love sharing unsolicited. So this post comes from my perspective, as a person who honestly does not enjoy weddings and would never in her life have a big one. Your mileage may vary.

The biggest thing about planning an intimate wedding is figuring out where you’re going to focus your attention. Which details matter most to you? Chances are, with a small wedding, your guests will be your closest friends and family. I’ll note what mattered to me most through the process.

We got married on Thursday, November 19th, 2015. 

Venue – Wedding & Reception

When possible, having them in the same place or within walking distance is ideal. Coordinating transportation, especially for out of town guests, is a nightmare. This was one thing I wish could have been different but was not possible with the wedding venue.

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I absolutely did not want to do any decorating or worrying about what the venue looked like. So I chose a venue that needs no adornment – San Francisco City Hall. I wanted beautiful photos and ease so there was no question that SF City Hall was it for us. It’s a popular choice for a wedding venue so we opted to rent the fourth floor for an hour for the ceremony. They also provided us the chairs for a fee. We called it good with that.

12278824_10206646197167867_7217288071906202454_n-7532001 For a reception, we picked Zazie, a brunch place across town. They allowed us to create a family style menu and, again, no need to decorate. They also let us bring in our own cupcakes, which we had a friend make. 


People who are still getting to know me are always shocked to hear that I absolutely dreaded wedding dress shopping. Ugh, the thought of trying on dress after dress…Just no. I didn’t have the dream wedding dress in my head (nor the dream wedding) so it was just going to be a chore for me. I happened to mention this to my mother in law and she said, “Well, I still have my dress…”


Turns out I was the third person to wear the dress. She gave me permission to have the dress re-fashioned so I worked with a seamstress to create a new bodice and sleeves and shorten the hem. It was perfect. 


The dudes all got to wear whatever suit they had in the closet. My husband bought two new suits and some fancy new shoes, which he’s gotten plenty of mileage from since then.


Speaking of shoes, these Irregular Choice shoes were a total splurge. They were the first thing I picked out. Completely uncomfortable and impractical. But so cute! 


Where we focused the most attention was on the details involved in supporting the wedding. Specifically, the officiant, music, and photography.


City Hall will supply you with a judge to officiate but we invited our friend Thor to do the job. It was payback since I officiated his wedding a year before. We both got ordained online. 


Chris and I met at a concert and music is an important aspect of my life. We worked with an acoustic guitarist to play a selection of music before the ceremony, as I walked down the aisle, and after. I walked to Canon in D. 

We also worked with a photographer who specialized in weddings at City Hall. Everything moves quickly and the venue is a working city building, so having her was a godsend. She knew all the best spots and how to maximize light. She also helped with a lot of the day of planning because she knew how things worked. As you can see, she did a beautiful job.

For transportation, we took Uber (upgraded to Uber Black…Though I was tempted to use Uber Pool haha).

The Details

I chose to not have bridesmaid’s because all of the girls who attended are equally special to me. I did pick one person to support me day of – my uncle.


My dad offered to be an audience member (he’s the guy on the far right) so that my uncle could walk me down the aisle. See, my aunt and uncle are childfree but are like parents to me and it meant a lot that my dad was willing to share that honor with my uncle. He joked, “I have other daughters!” LOL.

The Honeymoon

We got engaged, bought a house, I changed jobs, and got married all within the span of 6 months. We were SO ready for a vacation. Unfortunately, our wedding date got moved by a week because City Hall had a celebration…And we had already set our honeymoon. So we took a pre and post wedding honeymoon. Highly recommend…I was so not stressed leading up to the wedding!


That’s right…My amazing husband let us spend a weekend at SupernaturalCon with my favorite boys as part of our honeymoon. Cheesy shirts and all. Jensen even gave us marriage advice. 


We also did a Disneyland stop one of the days.


And, because he’s amazing, he let me take a detour to see Marissa Meyer while we were there because I missed her tour in NorCal. Yes, I even found a way to sneak in a book event on my honeymoon. HA.

November 19th was also an important day…The release of the final Hunger Games movie. We totally planned a morning wedding so we could see the first showing that evening.


The weekend after the wedding was the inaugural Heroes and Villains Fanfest so we spent our first weekend as a married couple at a con with the cast of Arrow. 


There you have it! My one bit of advice is to figure out how you’ll go with the flow because stuff will happen. Being gone the week before the wedding sounded like a really terrible idea but what choice did we have? It turned out to be one of the best things that happened. Also, HAVE FUN. It’s supposed to be a party to celebrate your commitment and love for each other and that’s less fun when you’re stressed! 


Click to submit your pre-order receipt!

97804252903302b252812529-6268761 ONCE AND FOR ALL
by Sarah Dessen
Published: June 6th 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Find It: PRH Website | Amazon | B&N

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine. 

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants. 

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

About Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels for teens, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews, and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association. Sarah lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine. Visit her online at

Tour Schedule

Week One:

May 29 – Lost in Lit – Bookish Wedding Ideas May 30 – The Young Folks – Top 10 Reasons to Read OAFA May 31 – Icey Books – OAFA Spotlight June 1 – Andi’s ABCs – OAFA Inspired Wedding Invites June 2 – The YA Book Traveler – Bookish Wedding DIY

Week Two:

June 5 – Alexa Loves Books – OAFA Playlist June 6 – The Perpetual Page-Turner – Author Q&A June 7 – Ex Libris – Review June 8 – Pop! Goes the Reader – OAFA Inspired Wallpaper

Week Three:

June 14 – Once Upon a Twilight – Review June 15 – Bibliophile Gathering – Review June 16 – Dark Faerie Tales – OAFA Inspired Photoshoot

Week Four:

June 19 – A Page With A View – Quiz: Which Dessen Character Are You? June 20 – Bookworm Everlasting – Review & Photograph June 21 – Fiction Fare – Favorite Quotes from OAFA June 22 – ButterMyBooks – Review June 23 – YA Bibliophile – Character Easter Eggs in OAFA

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of Once and for All by Sarah Dessen (ARV: $19.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 29, 2017 and 12:00 AM on June 26, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 30, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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