Last time, we wrote about why an expensive wedding can be harmful to your marriage and is really unnecessary. I’m going to assume if you are reading this article it is because you at least see some of the advantages to simplifying your wedding. Though you may have “drunk the kool-aid” of this culture which says you are substandard if you don’t go all out for your nuptials, resist the Dark Side and see that this can be an amazing opportunity to start further ahead than most of your friends.
Here are ideas that have worked for couples I have married.
1. Choose a church as your venue. By far, and by a long shot, churches are less expensive than other venues. Of course, someone’s back yard is cheaper still, but a church has some advantages. First, you often have people in the church who can help you with wedding planning for next to nothing. Second, they usually have all the equipment you might want to jazz up the look. Third, there may be someone who is a pastor at that church who could officiate. There, you have solved three other problems. If you do it in a back yard, all those things have to be rented or brought in. Also, many churches have halls that could be used for the reception, killing another expensive bird.
2. Buy simple plain wedding bands. As you no doubt have read many times lately on Facebook and other sites, diamonds used to be worthless until DeBeers started a massive advertising campaign in the 1930s. Before then, people didn’t have diamonds in their rings. The expensive stones were rubies, emeralds and sapphires. Now, you could get a ring with those stones for a quarter of the price of a diamond ring. I prefer white or yellow gold with no stone. A nice ring with no diamond costs about $200.
3. Have your friends and family plan the reception and bring the food. Every time I have seen couples do this, it works out so well. If you have no family or friends who are coming, then why are you bothering to have a large meal? One of my kids went to a club that he helped to manage and we had food brought in. It did not cost very much and we all enjoyed it.
4. Skip the wedding dresses, tuxedos. Buy wedding clothes you will wear again…like a nice suit and a beautiful dress. Don’t bother with matching bridesmaid dresses. Let them pick out the ones they want and give them a color pallette to work from. That way, they also will be able to wear their dresses afterward.
5. Ask for cash instead of gifts if you have been single for a longer time. When you get married after age 30, you don’t need most of the stuff they give you, but the money will be well appreciated.
6. If you have a friend who is halfway decent at photography, ask them to do it. It will be incredibly cheaper. But, if you do that, also give out disposable digital cameras to all the guests and ask them to fill them up with pictures. You may find some of these are the most memorable moments.
7. Engage the services of a pastor instead of a wedding coordinator. They have usually done enough weddings to know all the variations that can be done and they are not very expensive.
8. Have big tables at the reception. With more people at the same table, they can sit beside someone they want to be with. Assign their tables, not their seats for that reason. This way, with bigger tables, you need less centerpieces and save money that way.
9. Have it earlier in the day rather than at night. The earlier the reception, the cheaper the cost of food and entertainment. Plus if you have a midday reception, you will be more rested for your honeymoon.
10. Stay away from roses. Go to wholesale florists and pick out daisies, peonies and mums. They are so much cheaper than roses.