I’ve mentioned a few times that my sister is getting married in September. It’s caused me to pause and think back to my own wedding. Our wedding was NOT extravagant by any means…but it got the job done and I was pleased with it.
The Average Wedding Budget
I’ll admit that after a bit of research, I feel shell-shocked. It astonishes me that people spend so much on their wedding. The Knot says that the AVERAGE wedding costs $27,800. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Do you know what I could buy with that much money? It gives me heart palpitations. Our wedding budget was $3,000. Quite the contrasting number, huh?
Having a $27,800 wedding doesn’t make you happier…and actually, it could make you less happy if you end up making payments. Payments on a wedding? Good grief.
So, I thought I’d share a little bit about how we had our church wedding for only $3,000. I know MANY of you have done it for a lot less (courthouse weddings are cheap!). It IS possible to get married without giving your Daddy a heart attack.
First, we decided to have our wedding at Barry’s parents’ church. Since they were members, we only had to pay a $50 cleanup fee. Not too shabby. A few of the other venues we looked at charged fees starting at $500. Uh, no. Moving on…
Then we decided to have a cake and punch reception. I’m astonished at the amount of people who feel like they need to serve an entire meal at their reception. Let me debunk a myth here – just because you have a wedding doesn’t mean you have to serve a meal. If it’s in your budget, great…but if you’re going to have to stretch things and stress out about cost, forget the meal. It’s not needed.
People are just there for the cake. Really. When I hear that someone is getting married, I only think about the cake. I don’t worry if there is going to be a meal – I could care less. I want cake. Just give me the cake, baby.
We bought everything for our reception (punch, nuts, etc) and asked some of the church ladies to serve. It worked out fabulously. Our cake was done by a family friend who also agreed to serve it…so I got a great deal all the way around – except I got cheated on the eating part. I was too busy to eat cake, so I only got the bite for the picture. Barry’s family polished off all the rest of the cake while we were on our honeymoon. I felt gipped. In fact, I will be eternally bitter. Amen.
Save money on your cake by asking a friend to make it. I promise that a few years later, no one will have the slightest clue what your cake looked like…what you wore…what the bridesmaids wore…or what kind of flowers you used. They’re only going to remember that you got married – and they’re keeping tabs on your status NOW as a married couple.
Use Your Connections
We found the invitations we liked at a wedding store and then scoured the internet to find them SUPER cheap. My sister made her own invitations for very cheap and they are stinkin’ cute. We printed our own wedding programs on our computer.
The same lady who made our cake was also a wedding caterer, so she had all the chairs and decorations that we’d ever need – and she let us borrow them for FREE. I’ve had a few friends who were also able to get that type of a deal. The moral of the story is, ask around to see what your friends can offer as a gift…wouldn’t you rather have free tablecloths and decorations than some coffee maker that will likely break in two years? This is the PERFECT time to use all the connections you have.
I bought our cake topper and my garter on the clearance table at a store. For my flowers, I chose daisies, which are a very cheap flower and just so happen to be my favorite. If you’re on a budget, calla lilies are NOT a good choice. Amen. Ask your florist what is in season during your wedding and go with that flower…if he/she is a good florist, they’ll know the cheapest and prettiest route to take.
Our photographer was a friend of Barry’s family, so I got a good rate there. Photography is expensive folks. I opted not to have one of those people that follows you around all day and gets everything on camera, including a runner in your pantyhose. Instead I asked friends to take pictures as well, so I had lots of different vantage points.
My bridesmaids dresses were $69 from Chadwicks. I went with something pretty simple so that they could be worn again if the girls wanted to. I did not buy the dresses for my bridal party – but I did buy them a gift. I didn’t have the budget to buy their dresses…in fact, none of the weddings that I have been in have come with a furnished dress. It’s not needed, honey. NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR YOUR BUDGET. It’s what you’re working with – if they don’t want to buy the dress, that’s cool. They have a budget too. They can still be your friend if they’re not in your wedding party.
My mom made my wedding dress for $100. We picked out the embellishments, pattern, and material. She also made my veil. I was very proud of it. I wanted to wear her dress, but she didn’t find it until about a year after my wedding. Bummer.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a dress. You are wearing it for a few hours for crying out loud! Consider buying one at Goodwill (I’ve seen some AWESOME ones there), at a consignment store, from the classifieds. Or get this…rent your dress. Yes, I totally went there. Enjoy the dress for a few hours and then take that sucker back. Then you don’t have to store it. Amen and amen.
So, that’s just a little bit about how we saved – and we had around 150 people attend the wedding. It really is possible to have a nice wedding on a small budget. I’ve had some friends get married, spending TONS of money…and then they got divorced a few years later. It’s not about the wedding – it’s about your marriage – invest in that and you’ll never have buyer’s remorse.
*This post is linked at Finer Things Friday on Amy’s Finer Things, at Tip Me Tuesday on Tip Junkie, at Works for Me Wednesday on We Are That Family, at Proverbs 31 Thursday on Raising Mighty Arrows, at Frugal Tuesday Tip on Learning The Frugal Life, at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable, and at Frugal Friday on Life as Mom.