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.