I’ve come to the time in my life where more and more of my friends are getting married. Good for them. As one who has gone through it myself, I’m a big fan. However, once the conversation moves to the planning portion, I’m at a loss. Once they start talking about the various hardships involved with choosing napkins, locations, etc. I can’t help but laugh quietly to myself. Then I think of this video, and laugh even harder.
So here’s my little secret: I planned my entire wedding, and I did it exactly how my wife and I wanted, for less than $1,000 (rings included). So for those who think a wedding is impossible for under $30,000, ditch the magazines. They’re lying to you.
So how did I do it? Here’s a quick breakdown.
- Got married on a public beach (free)
- Purchased inexpensive rings
- Purchased a very nice dress that wasn’t a “wedding” dress.
- Bonus: it can be worn again!
- Had my father (a minister) do the service
- Had only immediate family at the service
- Had 4 separate receptions*
- One for our friends at a local bar the night of the wedding.
- One for my side of the family the following day (hosted by my parents)
- One for my wife’s father’s side 2 weeks later
- One for my wife’s mother’s side a few months later (planned around people coming in town)
Now, I understand that my experience can’t translate completely to you. But think these few things over.
- Decide EXACTLY what you and your spouse want first
Sounds easy enough, right? But remember, everyone else is going to have ideas for you. My wife and I decided what we wanted our wedding to be, before anyone else had a chance. Once we knew that, we could go ahead with the rest of the planning.
- Spend your own money whenever possible
There’s a reason for this. My wife and I didn’t have much money at all (still don’t, in fact) when we got married. She was still in law school, I had only recently began working a job that paid decently, and we were planning on purchasing a home. So every penny that went towards the wedding was money that couldn’t go towards the house or something more important, like student loan payments. Also, if someone else is footing the bill, they’ve got the (somewhat) justified reason to request that the wedding have / do certain things. Which leads me to my next point…
- Tell your family to (politely) butt out
You’ll have everyone tell you it’s “your day”. Then, they’ll proceed to tell you exactly what they think “your day” should be. Ignore them. You want to get married in a big church? Go for it. Want to get married in Vegas by a drive-thru Elvis? Rock on, do it. Don’t think that just because your mother wants something, you have to do it. Unless that’s what you’ve done your entire life. Which in that case…well…good luck.
- Pull favors and cut corners wherever you can, with one exception
As you can see above, we didn’t spend a lot of money on things that are traditionally expensive. In my opinion, the only thing worth the money is getting a good photographer. After all, the pictures are the only thing you’re really going to remember years down the road. And if it ends in divorce, you’ve got something tangible to burn.