There is a huge wedding industry designed to make people spend as much as possible on their big day, with the result that people are spending more on their weddings than they put down as a deposit on a house. And the strain of paying for it all afterwards means that the marriage doesn’t get off to the most ideal start.
Most of the money is spent on two big items – the dress and the wedding reception. Most brides want to look beautiful on their wedding day, but it’s not necessary to break the bank on a dress that you will never wear again. There is a big mark up on wedding dresses compared to evening gowns, so shop in the evening wear section and look for something cream or gold. If it’s a registry office wedding, consider giving the full length dress a miss and going for something knee length or calf length – the possibilities suddenly widen, and at low cost. Alternatively you can check out the vintage shops to see if you can find a reasonably priced antique dress.
Having the wedding reception in your home (or parents home) instead of booking a venue will reduce costs considerably. If the wedding is in late spring, early autumn or summer, you can hold it outdoors in your garden, which should mean there is plenty of space for all the guests. Instead of hiring a caterer, get all the members of your family to chip in to prepare a buffet lunch. Prepare a menu of what you want to serve, and allocate one item to each member of the family to make and bring to the wedding. Alcohol can be bought cheaply from the supermarket (it’s always a good idea to get a keg of beer too, as it adds to the home-made rustic feel). Similarly the cake can be made at home (though if you are nervous about it, order this).
Many people feel obliged to invite absolutely everyone they know to their wedding, including the person who they sit next to at work, and it adds to the costs. But remember this is really a family day. Invite your relatives and all your close friends. Don’t bother with acquaintances and work colleagues (unless they happen to be durable close friends).
You don’t need to have an official photographer. Instead tell all the guests to take photos, and ask for copies (in these days of digital photography, it’s easy to get copies sent to you on a cd). The more people taking photos, the more likely it is that you will get some really good ones. Only develop prints of the ones you like. The same thing goes for videos – it’s now simply to film using your smartphone, and then later collect videos from everyone.
You will need to order a bouquet and buttonholes for the groom and his supporters plus for both fathers, but there is no need to order flowers to bedeck the venue. Instead you can make pretty decorations by painting card into gold and silver horseshoes and bells (or purchase these decorations inexpensively).
Finally the rings. As you and your spouse will be wearing these rings for the rest of your lives, this is one place not to skimp. Get the best rings you can.
Inexpensive weddings can be more enjoyable than the full blown productions because instead of concentrating on the choreography and theatre of the day, you can concentrate on what is really important, which is making your vows in front of your nearest and dearest. That’s what memories are made of.