Friday, May 23, 2008

Wedded Bliss without the debt

It's wedding season and I just finished reading Donna Freedman's article on her daughter's debt free wedding.

My own wedding eleven years ago was very budget friendly. My husband and I were working hard at paying off our college and consumer debt. Neither one of us thought it was appropriate to ask our parents to pay for our wedding or to go into a lot of debt. I also was never a girl who daydreamed about her 'perfect' wedding day- the groom yes, but the affair- no.
I spent $100 on a white chiffon gown from The Jones Store. I wore a pair of pumps from my closet. Hubby wore his only gray suit that he wore to job interviews. We paid one hundred dollars for a marriage certificate and for the use of a Reverend to marry us at the city hall. We were married on a chilly winter Friday afternoon. Our parents were the only attendees. We did get a small bakery cake, some sparkling cider and nice florist flowers. I insisted on a real florist bouquet and boutonnieres for the groom and fathers. The Moms each got a pink rose bud to hold. We took our parents to dinner at the Old Spaghetti factory.
For our honeymoon, we booked a room in a Bed and Breakfast in Eureka Springs. The total for our whole wedding and honeymoon was under $700 I'm sure.

To include our whole family we had a separate small reception a few months later at a social hall in my home town. We designed and printed out simple invites ourselves on stationary and envelopes that were deeply discounted/discontinued at Office Depot.
One of my Mom's friends made vegetarian egg rolls and cooked them on site as her gift to us. We ordered a big sheet cake with a wedding cake topper from the Wal-Mart bakery. My Mom and I laid out a table with veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, melon balls, and other things we'd bought from Aldi. We had punch and pop on a separate table. My Mother was friends with a florist and I picked boquets at a whole sale price. I used vases I'd been collecting from thrift stores.The other decoration was fairly minimal and had been collected at discount stores months before.
My Father-in-Law read some verses from Song of Solomon and lead the prayer. I vividly remember thinking that I was so glad that I didn't have to get married and have the reception on the same day. For the hall rental, decorations, and food we spent under $300.

So, for the wedding, the honeymoon, and the reception we spent $1000. And we could afford to pay it all without going further into debt.

Since our wedding there's been a few times I've regretted our meager wedding/reception. I would do things differently if I got to do it over again. I would have gotten married in a church.
I would have bought the dress I really liked instead of the one I ended up with. I might have had the wedding and reception on the same day and just had cake and punch.
But, two things I absolutely do not regret- The man I said "I do" to and that we didn't add to our debt.


Motherhood for Dummies said...

our wedding was really simple and I loved it. It made it easier to plan and not as stressful since we were cutting out a bunch of stuff. I loved it :)

badhuman said...

Our wedding is in July and while our parents could afford to give us some money they don't have endless reserves so we are creating the wedding of our dreams on a budget. The dress came from ebay, the local gardens are infinitely cheaper then the city botanical gardens, the cake is from a small bakery, the few real flowers are coming from a lady who works out of her house, the rest we got at 75% off last summer when the silk flowers were discounted to sell, the flip flops are from my closet and his converse will be worn again and again. Our invitations were made on Office Depot paper and printed using a free downloaded font from the internet. The centerpieces are custom lollipops from a vendor on Etsy and the "meal" is a dessert buffet. It will still be "custom", it will still be "uniquely us" but more importantly we will walk away from it with all the bills paid.

Mercedes said...

Maybe it is because it is wedding season but I was also thinking of my own wedding a couple of days ago. We only had 25 people attend and the total was less that $1500. Sometimes I wish for a bigger wedding. But the people who loved us where there and that's what matters.

Natasha said...

Our wedding was also a very simple affair on a winter day 11 years ago. It was also done on a budget of less than $2,000. We stayed one night at a local B & B as well. I was finishing up my last semester at college at SIUE, and we did not want to go into more debt. It was done on the cheap with a DJ and cake (the cake was a wedding gift to us from a cousin of DH's) at the reception, but no sit-down dinner.

I totally agree with you. For me, it was not the wedding that was important, but the marriage. We are still very much in love today.