Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cheap Weddings

During my wedding planning days, I was constantly coming up with great wedding blog topics. I planned to write about all my brilliant money saving ideas, do it yourself projects, and about how weddings aren't about spending thousands of dollars on food and napkins and favors and stupid little things that nobody's ever even going to remember so why don't we just focus on the getting married part!! But now that it's all over I'm less inspired.

However, I thought I should just share with the world that I had a cheap wedding and that's ok. Well "cheap" might be relative, but in wedding world where the average cost of a wedding is $24,000, mine was quite reasonable. The wedding industry doesn't want you to think that this is possible, but it is. And here's how:

Rule #1. Pray. You're gonna need it. Also God makes stuff happen, so that's cool.

Rule #2. Don't listen to the wedding industry. It is seriously evil. It will make you pay double (or triple or quadruple) for everything just because it's for a wedding. It will also try to convince you that if you don't do things the "right" (most expensive) way, you're wedding's going to be a terrible embarrassment for you and your family. But it won't be. Do whatever you want. My reception was movie themed and I served popcorn and movie candy as appetizers. Tacky? Maybe. Delicious? Yes.

Rule #3. Don't listen to other people. Unless, of course, they are your finace or parents or whoever is helping pay for the wedding. But beyond that, just take everyone's opinions with a grain of salt. And there will be opinions. Hundreds and hundreds of them. From people you barely even know who think they know what your wedding should be like. They will criticize your brilliant ideas and tell you that you really need to include this one really little detail because it's sooooo important and everyone else does it. This was the #1 cause of any breakdowns I may have had while planning.

Rule #4. Go to Hobby Lobby. Seriously, I love that place. They regularly put their wedding stuff on sale and just going in there is inspirational!

Rule #5. Ask friends and family to do stuff for you. Ok, this one's a little bit hard because some of us don't love asking people to do things or don't have a wonderful family who's always ready to help. Luckily, I am blessed with a great family and group of friends who were excited to help. I had my uncle's band play at the reception, my cousin and uncle sing at the ceremony, my bridesmaids put together my flowers and designed my invitations, my mom printed all of our invitations and programs, my friend Laura made my cakes, the list goes on. It was a team effort. But I much preferred working with my friends and family instead of random people that I don't know. It gave everything an intimate feel and saved money!

Rule #6. Do your research. This may be time consuming, but if you want to save money it'll be worth it. I looked at plenty of over-priced reception venues before finding the one we settled on which I randomly discovered on a caterer's website. I looked into wholesale flowers and found I could order them very reasonably from the grocery store. I perused paper sites and ordered samples to try out for my invitations. It's some extra work, but I was really happy with everything I found. And the internet can tell you how to basically do anything.

Rule #7. Don't be afraid to do things the "wrong way." Most of all the little wedding traditions everyone holds so dear are actually kind of dumb and certainly optional. If you don't get any meaning out of them, don't do them, but you're going to need some confidence. If you're the type to give in the peer pressure, this cheap wedding stuff might not be for you. I had my reception at a park district senior center. It even said "Senior Center" on the huge sign out in front. But I sucked it up because it was a really nice place and very reasonable. I didn't have an open bar. I didn't do a bouquet or garter toss. I didn't do everything the church wedding coordinator told me to do. I had a rather casual movie themed reception. I bought popcorn at the dollar store. Yes, I broke many, many "rules" but people had fun and I got married and that's all that matters!

Rule #8. Be yourself. I got lots of comments about how our wedding was so "us" and I really like that. It wasn't some impersonal event that a wedding planner put together. It was clear that we carefully picked each detail and our personalities came through in it. And most of the time the reason it was so "us" is because we didn't do what was typical. Just do what you think is fun.

So there you go. That's all I could come up with for now. Cheap weddings. Don't be afraid of them.


Kaytee B. said...

I 100% agree with everything you said. You had a wonderful, beautiful wedding and it was FUN! No one was walking around wishing they could poke their eyes out like at most weddings. Instead, we were eating junior mints and discussing the awesome decorations. Plus, if it was not held at the senior center, we would not have been able to see the picture of the sexy old lady in the leather jacket with metal studs and spiky hair.

Kara said...

"During my wedding planning days"...
cuz those were SOO long ago... ;)

Love it.
This post was also "totally you".

Thank you for sharing your insight and experience. I'm glad I got/get to be part of it! :)

Moe said...

probably the best part of the planning was the looks on people's faces when you described how this wedding was gonna happen. Many were inspired, others weren't so sure. So glad you and scott didn't cave under the pressure. It was amazing how friends and family were not only willing, but so excited to help . . . they were the answer to prayer!

billscessna said...


We delight in showing pictures of your movie themed wedding. We had a wonderful time and were so happy to be with your delightful family, you are precious.

Love, Uncle Bill and Aunt Pat