I’m so ridiculously tired of reading wedding blogs and listening to brides (engaged and married) that judge other people for the amount of money they plan to spend on their weddings. In this day and time, I understand the need for people to be frugal and financially responsible. With that taken into consideration, there is nothing wrong with having a medium or large sized wedding if you can afford it–especially if “affording it” means that you can pay cash for everything. I set a budget, and I have no choice but to stick to it. Whatever I cannot afford, I cannot have. But that doesn’t mean I have to have a small wedding if I don’t want one. It also doesn’t mean I have to have a wedding in someone’s backyard or in a park. Those are all great ideas, but you don’t HAVE to do that just because you are on a small budget! There are some really nice venues out there that aren’t totally outrageous! You don’t HAVE to do anything you don’t want to do.
Here’s the truth of the matter: I’m a pretty simple girl, with a pretty simple life. I don’t own a car and I don’t have children. I don’t buy expensive designer things and I don’t spend my money partying all the time. We do, however, value our money. Our income is modest. We’re not balling out of control; however, when people say, “You could buy a car with that money”–I want to say, “With that car you bought, you could have bought a wedding!!…I could buy a car NOW!! And I don’t want one!”. The average cost to own and operate a car is about $892 per month. I don’t have those kind of expenses. People think it’s outrageous that I would save $800 a month for a year, but that doesn’t seem that bad to me, personally. I think it would be outrageous to spend $900 a month just on transportation. People will say, “That could be a down payment for a house”…well, at this point, I don’t know if I even want to stay in California to own a home here. And if I could save up $10,000 in a year for my wedding, I could easily save up the same amount next year for a house. The point is, you don’t know what someone’s financial position is. For some people, 30k is not that much. Others will struggle to pull together $1000 for their wedding days. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you TRULY can afford the amount of money you are telling people you’ll pay them!
I totally respect people’s desire to have a small wedding with only 20 people; however, just my immediate family plus my fiance’s immediate family, plus the two of us is already 15 people. I have a lot of friends and family that I want to share my special day with. I don’t have anything against small weddings–AT ALL. Very small, quaint, beautiful. I get it. I also get, that’s not for everyone. I personally feel like my wedding is one of the biggest celebrations I will ever throw in my life. This does not mean we need personalized toilet paper in the bathrooms (guests love nothing more than to wipe their asses with your monogram the day of your wedding). But it does mean that I’m going to step my game up for one day. This is the celebration of the love we share!! And that is a reason to celebrate!!
She had a simple ceremony with a few friends. And the pictures looked absolutely gorgeous! She had the cutest floral print dress on, and her husband had a gorgeous purple tie on. It was so cute. Just as I shouldn’t knock her small intimate wedding, people shouldn’t judge someone’s desire to have a wedding that is bigger. This venue worked for her. It was exactly what she wanted…and with her being the bride, she should get what she wanted.
Instead of telling people what size wedding they should have, and how much is “reasonable to spend” I would encourage people to be creative and find ways to get as close to their dream as they can without busting the budget. I can see where it’s unrealistic to have a wedding for 300 people on a $3,000 budget; however, you can totally have a beautiful wedding for less than a 1/3 of what the average wedding costs. A $10-12k wedding is totally do-able.
1. Be realistic. How much money can you spend without having to take out a loan, or owe money at the end.
That’s going to determine what kind of money you can spend. Then start saving, aggressively. That means if you have that wedding with 100 people on a $10k budget, you may have to say no to things like “bouquet preservation”. (I don’t really see the point of freeze drying flowers for $400, but whatever…)
2. Lengthen your engagement, if possible.
We agreed on a long engagement, and mainly because we wanted to make sure we could afford the wedding. We figured we could save X amount of dollars each month, and then we counted the months we would need to reach our goals, and then added two more months, so we have cash free and available for miscellaneous expenses that we might encounter closer to the wedding. We could go get married at the Justice of the Peace tomorrow; however, we know if we want to have an actual wedding, we needed to save money in advance. Some couples must marry quickly for one reason or another. Some couples just can’t wait, and will have a shorter engagement; however, lengthening your engagement could really aid your wedding plan, because you can do things really far in advance, which makes you less stressed out because you can give each task your all. I noticed my bridesmaids are more than willing to do DIY things while we’re having fun without pressure, rather than running a sweat shop a week before the wedding.
3. Instead of having hot appetizers with servers for the cocktail hour, opt for cold, self-serve snacks. I work at a place that sells amazing cheeses. So I decided to have fruit, cheese, and other appetizers that are classy, filling, but not going to cost $4 per person per appetizer. It still looks beautiful, and it gives a healthy option for snacking before dinner is served.
4. Buy things as you go. I made my own centerpieces and cake stands. I am spending a large percent of my decoration budget on LED lighting. I give myself a “wedding allowance, and I buy things as I go. Instead of buying every single thing I need to make my 15 centerpieces, I buy what I can afford at the time; once one project is over, I start the next. I think this is easier, because it’s easier for me to take $50 a week and spend it on wedding supplies than to take $400 at one time and buy everything I need. This doesn’t really in itself save you money, but it does allow for you to not stress out about doing the same project 15 times until you burn out. I’m extremely crafty, so the level of DIY I’m taking on may not work for everyone…but if you are creative, you can really get a lot more for your money.
5. Choose a venue that includes things like lighting, a sound system, chairs or tables.
Factor how much money you save on finding a venue that offers more than just a blank room. We are having our wedding at the Enchanted Manor in Valley Village.
6. It’s not all about the bling. Some people would NEVER do this, but I’m not splurging on expensive wedding rings. The only jewelry I wear is body jewelry. I have enough bling stuck in my face already.
We love these titanium rings we found on Etsy. They are inexpensive, and simple. For me, having a simple ring was all I wanted. No diamonds, no frills. I understand, some people really value jewelry and they will want to spend more of their money on jewelry; however, if you could live without a super expensive ring, you could save a lot of money! This set costs less than $50!
7. Don’t skip the flowers totally, but try to use them strategically throughout your wedding decor.
I absolutely love flowers, but let’s face it. Flowers are expensive. I wouldn’t suggest you go 100% flowerless, but you can cut down on the amount of flowers you buy. You can use flowers like Hydrangeas that take up a lot of space, but don’t cost so much. You could have jars of baby’s breath here and there. Baby’s breath is not only very beautiful, it’s super cheap. Another thing you can consider is having your bridesmaids carry something in place of floral bouquets, like fans, or baskets filled with silk rose petals that they can drop as they go down the aisle. You can find baskets on clearance after Easter time. If you’ve extended your engagement, you can totally save on after-holiday sales. That basket you wanted once cost $20 around Mother’s Day…now it’s on clearance for $2. Save the expensive flowers for your bouquet. My centerpieces are actually made with mason jars and firefly lights. I spent about $17 creating each one. I don’t even know how much 15 floral centerpieces would be, but the best thing is, I can create my centerpieces as I go, and they will not wilt or die while I’m waiting for the wedding. I showed one of the groomsmen my centerpieces, and he couldn’t believe how well they turned out. He said, “You’ve outdone yourself”. That was a good feeling.
Well, this whole rant has to do with people telling other people what to do. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the whole “go-to-the-courthouse-it’ll-save-you-money” mentality being pushed onto people and making people feel guilty for wanting to have a wedding for more that 10 people. It’s your day! If you want it small, great. If you want a big party, great! But don’t judge a bride’s budget. Not everyone feels the way you do, and some people…well, they’re just better at stretching a buck than other people.
I’ve got to get back to making my cake stand…peas and butter, little Peacocks…