So, I’m sure you’ve heard that a nice young couple called Kate and Will got married on Friday. I have to admit, I watched the ceremony from beginning to end (all 15 minutes of it! Didn’t it seem short to you?) and a few tears were shed. Of course, it was a lot easier for me to watch it than a lot of other Americans, seeing as how I’m almost in the same time zone as the UK- only an hour off. It was beautiful, she was beautiful, the hats were beautiful, and no matter how much it cost, I bet the royal wedding did a good job of bringing many, many pounds into the UK economy.
But there are very few of us who have a budget like the royal family, and let’s face it, if you’re reading this site, you’re probably not interested in spending extravagant amounts of money on your wedding. So here are some of my favorite frugal wedding tips.
I’ve been married twice (once when I was only 20- gee, wonder why that one didn’t last; once to my French guy), and both times the weddings were pretty frugal affairs. For my first wedding, I think our biggest extravagance was the food; it was catered by the people who owned the restaurant next door to my father’s book shop. We rented a wedding and reception site, but got a good deal because the wedding was on a Monday. My best friend’s mom made my dress and the cake came from a local grocery store (it was delicious!). My mother, a letterpress printer, made the wedding invitations (as she did for my second wedding) and the table decorations were potted tulips, irises and hyacinths, also from the grocery store.
My second wedding was a French affair. I think the biggest expense (although not for us) were the plane tickets for our guests who flew in! My husband and I decided to get married before I moved back to France, and so most of the planning went on while I was still living in Seattle. My husband and my mother-in-law planned the entire thing- much easier than trying to plan things long-distance. I only took care of my wedding dress, which was a vintage cocktail dress that I bought from a second-hand store for less than $50. The wedding ceremony was held at city hall (as are all French marriage ceremonies), and the reception was held at a local restaurant/dance hall. I’ve actually been back several times since then as it’s a popular spot for bachelorette and birthday parties. We didn’t have to decorate or pay for a DJ- those costs were all included in the catering costs.*
My tips for a frugal wedding are (based on experience):
Use your friends and family (lovingly, of course!). What skills do they have to offer that they could give you as a gift, instead of spending money on something you might not want? I still have the dress that my best friend’s mother made, even though the marriage is long over.
Think outside the box. Do you have to get married on a weekend? Maybe you could have a private ceremony at the city hall and then a big party later. Do you have to have a big fancy dress? What else could you wear? What could you use to decorate?
Remember, above all else that the reason you’re getting married is because you love your spouse to be and want to be with him or her for the rest of your life (or, as my first wedding vows put it: “For as long as your love and faith shall endure.”) That will make everything else seem worth it!
What was your wedding like? Was it frugal? And what are your tips on saving money on a wedding?
* A sweet story: my husband’s grandmother died several months before we got married. I had only met her a handful of times and she died before we even decided to get married, but she left us money in her will to pay for our wedding.