I don't know about you, but right now my Facebook newsfeed is filled with engagement announcements and wedding countdowns. It's hard to believe that one year ago, I was posting my own announcement!
With the wedding season approaching, I couldn't help but think back to my own experience and excitement of planning a wedding and getting every detail just right (not that it really mattered at the end, because even with things going awry, it was the most perfect day ever!).
For us, our biggest obstacle in pulling off a wedding was the cost. Weddings can get crazy expensive, with the average wedding costing over $20,000! Since my (now) husband and I are both savers, it went without saying that we wanted to spend as little money as possible on the wedding. We were just out of school with not a penny to our names and moving to a new country! Starting life is expensive, and we didn't want to spend everything we had on a wedding.
We had to get a bit creative when saving money, so I thought for fun I would share some of the ideas we went through with!
We Got Creative with Our Venue
The only thing we knew was that we wanted to get married outside. The where was a big question. We looked up venue after venue, and though beautiful, none of them were within our budget. I don't know when the idea struck, but I remembered a family friend who had a gorgeous backyard and made a phone call. They were delighted to have the wedding there! Due to rain, we didn't get our outdoor wedding after all, but their home made for a perfect shelter and ceremony/reception spot.
We Made All of the Flowers
Not a fresh flower was to be seen. From the bouquets and boutonnieres to the table decor, we made every single one. I had people thinking I was crazy and that it would look tacky, but it turned out spectacularly wonderful. All of the flowers were made out of maps and sheet music to go along with our themes of travel and music. It was a blast - and a lot of work. The only flowers we didn't make were the ones on our arch. A family friend had those already in her decoration stash! As the date of the wedding got closer, we enlisted more help. It was a fun and bonding experience, sitting around the table making them :)
Favours Were Called In
We called in a lot of favours from family and friends to help us out. They were all glad to do so! A cousin baked our gorgeous wedding cake, and a friend who was a hair stylist did my hair! Our families helped prepare all of the [delicious] food and we had quality live music for our ceremony from our musician friends as well! The other bonus to all these favours, were that it provided awesome opportunities for those we love to take part and make special memories.
I Found a Pre-Loved Dress
Never underestimate the amazingness of a pre-loved dress. There's more love in it, plus you get a very discounted price! Whoever wore it before you likely wore it once, and you will likely do the same. If you don't intend on keeping your dress, you can easily take it to a consignment store, or sell it yourself, once it's cleaned.
We Didn't Underestimate DIY
In addition to the flowers, we made almost everything for the decor. I did the centrepieces, the guest globe, the name cards, the photo booth.....just everything. There was a LOT of spray paint involved! Since I like to be creative in reusing things, I used a lot of the things I already had on hand, which saved us both money and headaches.
Our Invitations Were Digital
I don't necessarily recommend this one, but we designed and sent out digital invitations. I personally wanted physical ones (I adore snail mail and pretty stationary), but we were definitely in favour of saving money on postage and invites. Beside the venue, this is probably where we saved the most. To compromise, we settled on using Paperless Post, which simulated opening a letter. I liked that, and I was comforted in the fact that not many people keep wedding invitations anyway.
We Had a Short Engagement
This doesn't seem like it would save us money, but it really did! All of our planning and DIY-ing had to be done and executed in 5 months. Had our engagement been longer, things would have added up slowly over time. Our guest list would have been much longer (which would have resulted in a more expensive venue and more food), and I would have likely made decisions and then change my mind (I'm extremely indecisive), costing us money later.
So there you have it. Some of the ways we avoided spending a great amount on our wedding.
In the end, it's not how much you spend on a wedding that makes a great marriage. A wedding lasts a day, and a marriage lasts a lifetime.
Note: We did splurge on one thing: our amazing photographer. Our picture memories are something we want to look back on and remember forever. You can check her out and some of our wedding photos at her blog, here!