Miami Beach Wedding · The Raleigh Miami Beach Hotel in Florida

WEDDING INSPIRATION + GIFT GUIDES  ·  2 FEB 2014

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Our Dream Wedding At The Raleigh South Beach

Around this time every year I get nostalgic for my first encounter with Mr. SB. We danced into each other at a crowded bar in Gramercy eight years ago. Who says you can’t meet your future partner when you’re out on the town? Then, flash-forward five years later, he proposed in upstate New York. After about 18 months, and many possible unique wedding ideas later, we landed on a Miami Beach wedding at The Raleigh on South Beach.

Even now, a new home abroad and a few anniversaries later, we’re still thrilled how our special day turned out. The team at THE RALEIGH MIAMI BEACH + THE SURFCOMBER (where we stayed) really went above and beyond. We truly couldn’t have asked for a better group of people. We had such a blast the first time around that we may renew our vows (or just throw a huge bash) for our fifth wedding anniversary.

For anyone who has seen Father of the Bride, you know how insanely expensive weddings can be. It seems like anytime you mention the word “wedding” to a vendor they instantly triple their quote. Since we were on a limited wedding budget, I’ve listed a handful of creative ways we cut costs for our big day.

WEDDING MUSIC //

This was one of the easiest ways to save some coin. We created three Spotify playlists (all playlists in the Wedding folder) a few weeks before the wedding and asked many of our friends + family for their top hits. We created one playlist for the ceremony (mostly Bob Marley), one for dinner (a blend of classics: disco, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac), and one for dancing (a collection of everything from Marky Mark and Ru Paul to Calvin Harris and Pitbull).

SAVE THE DATES + WEDDING INVITATIONS //

While this is a bigger wedding trend now, the fact that we sent out Paperless Post Wedding Invitations was a disappointment to some. I’m very glad so many couples have jumped on the digital bandwagon, as it saves so much money (and paper) and makes tracking your guest list a breeze. As an added bonus, Paperless Post lets you print your wedding invitation so you can have it as a souvenir (I’ve since framed mine in a little white box frame from IKEA).

TABLE ARRANGEMENTS + FLOWERS //

Flowers are crazy expensive. In order to cut costs as much as we could we only featured flowers in the bridal + bridemaids bouquets, as well as the corsages + boutonnières for the parents. Even after all that cutting, the cost was still several hundred dollars.  To ensure that money didn’t go to waste I immortalized all the arrangements with Forever Flowers. This is one of the few things I didn’t mind spending money on. The outcome was gorgeous, which was a black shadowbox filled to the brim with all our colorful flowers.  In regard to table arrangements, it can be a lot cheaper to purchase something you like or to purchase vases at wholesale prices online and have them shipped to the venue.

WEDDING DRESS //

While I desperately wanted a bridal gown from the brilliantly talented Tatyana Merenyuk, I simply couldn’t afford it. While this approach won’t work for everyone, I popped into the Lord & Taylor in Midtown and tried on a bunch of dresses. I wanted a flowy, Grecian-inspired dress, and luckily there were a few options that really did the trick. The one I settled on was a size too large, and sold out everywhere in the tri-state area, but I paid my favorite tailor around $75-$100 to make some alterations and it ended up fitting perfectly. All in all, my dress was about $350.

All photographs by the lovely + talented MICHELLE MARCH