How to Have a Spectacular Wedding at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands for Only $5,000

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I think when people hear the phrase “budget wedding,” the images that come to mind are disposable plates, plastic folding chairs, tissue-paper pom-poms and shiny faux-satin bridesmaids’ dresses. But I don’t necessarily think that HAS to be the case. Yes, milking each penny for all it’s worth so 100 of your friends can eat CostCo cold-cut pinwheels is one way to do it. After visiting the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, I’d like to personally suggest the “uber-downsize.” Like, REALLY downsize. Make it an intimate affair in a luxurious setting with elegant food and incredible ambience. And only invite 10-15 people.

***Today's post is reflections from a fabulous press trip courtesy of the Hyatt Carmel Highlands in Carmel, California. My girls, Karen Ruth and Donna Schantz, womened up and attended on behalf of Tulle Nation so we could find out how to have a spectacular wedding for only $5,000!***

Getting the chance to scout out wedding venues at the gorgeous Hyatt Carmel Highlands sounded like a dream come true, until I remembered I was writing for a BUDGET wedding blog. There I was, plopped in the lap of luxury, wondering, “Could $5000 buy me more than some prime rib and a massage at this place?”

How to Have a Spectacular Wedding at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands for Only $5,000

I think when people hear the phrase “budget wedding,” the images that come to mind are disposable plates, plastic folding chairs, tissue-paper pom-poms and shiny faux-satin bridesmaids’ dresses.  But I don’t necessarily think that HAS to be the case. Yes, milking each penny for all it’s worth so 100 of your friends can eat CostCo cold-cut pinwheels is one way to do it. After visiting the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, I’d like to personally suggest the “uber-downsize.” Like, REALLY downsize. Make it an intimate affair in a luxurious setting with elegant food and incredible ambience. And only invite 10-15 people.

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I’ll admit, it takes a certain type of couple to be able to do this. But if you need a bit of real class to make your special day everything you dreamed it would be, cutting the proverbial fat of guests to indulge in a sumptuous wedding might be the right decision.

How to Have a Spectacular Wedding at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands for Only $5,000How to Have a Spectacular Wedding at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands for Only $5,000

Let’s walk through the logistics of this. You could rent the Hyatt’s lovely gazebo surveying the Pacific coastline for between $1250 – $2500 (day-of-the-week depending), but I’d suggest you splurge with them for your reception instead. Carmel is rife with beaches and state parks that offer low-cost or free ceremony venues based on party size and amenities (chairs, arches, musicians, etc.). Let’s assume you throw down 10 chairs, a homemade arch, and hire an acoustic guitarist to play for an hour on the beach before and after the ceremony – $500 would be ample funds.

How to Have a Spectacular Wedding at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands for Only $5,000

Post-ceremony, head off to one of a million breathtaking overlooks for sunset wedding photos, and then, it’s time for dinner. Your reception, hovering over Carmel’s signature cypress trees and crashing waves at Pacific’s Edge Restaurant, will be worth every dime. Order a la carte in the main dining room for up to 12 people, or rent the private wine room and work with the chef to create a personalized prix-fixe menu (including wine pairings and wedding cake) for $165/person. For 15 people, including tax and tip, you’re looking at $3250. The wine list is impeccable, and the food is fresh, local, and phenomenal. Best of all, the restaurant’s atmosphere lends itself to needing little to no décor for a beautiful wedding feast.

How to Have a Spectacular Wedding at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands for Only $5,000How to Have a Spectacular Wedding at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands for Only $5,000

Throw down a last chunk of coin on a $500-ish ocean view room with a plush king-size bed and wood-burning fireplace for a romantic wedding night; you won’t be disappointed. And the grand total is — $4250! From our theoretical $5000 budget, you’ve got extra left for a couple centerpieces, bouquet, dress, tux and DIY details. BOOM. And while you didn’t have a drunken dance-fest with all of your pals, never fear – you can reserve the back room of your favorite local bar the next weekend and invite your friends to come party (cash bar only, of course). Trust me, they’ll come: it’s your wedding!  AND you get to wear your dress again – score!

How to Have a Spectacular Wedding at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands for Only $5,000
Image Courtesy of: Carol Olivia

The bottom line is this: budget weddings ALWAYS involve sacrifice – but you don’t have to give up an unbelievably baller venue in order to stick to a tight budget, you just have to be flexible enough to think outside the box. So check out the Hyatt Carmel Highlands – it’s truly breathtaking. 

Image (2)Karen hails from outside of Richmond, VA and is now currently living in Los Angeles, CA with her gigantic red-headed husband and 3 children (2 bitter, angry cats and a pit bull). She recently got married and has since been enjoying the endless stress that is being a fully-finctioning adult that no longer can rely on her parents for financial support.

In her free time, she enjoys hiking, making margaritas, watching Shark Week, and cooking elaborate meals on weekdays to procrastinate paying bills and doing other, more important work she should be doing.

Karen learned the art of cooking from her lovely and talented mother, Donna, who has recently moved to beautiful wine country where she spends her days sipping cabernet out of a goblet, working on her tee-shirt line (www.snottees.com), mentoring foster children and keeping her husband and dogs in check. "California dreaming'" is a real thing…