My wedding was the happiest day in my life. It was a living testimony to the love shared between myself, my wife and God. Almost two years removed from the date, I continue to look back on it with the fondest of memories, a smile on my face, and with pride that the planning and follow-thru of the event was an exemplary example (hugely thanks to my wife) of frugality in action.
For starters we took a debt-free and unconventional approach to our nuptials. We opted to pay for our wedding, in cash, on our own without aid from family members. My take on it goes something like this: We have been blessed not only in our careers but also to have based our personal financial decisions and behaviors on God and grandma’s ways of handling money at a younger age. That, along with the fact that my in-laws lived in a house equivalent to an estrogen-filled ocean, led me to lobby my wife that we take the event on our own, so that our families could enjoy and celebrate with us, without worrying about the event “following them home.” Plus, as far as my in-laws go, the people have paid for enough weddings already and may have another on the horizon, so I just thought I’d give them a breather for once J
So, armed with our set budget THAT WE STUCK TO, the cash saved for, we sought out to plan a festive and frugal affair that our family and friends would enjoy celebrating along with us. Here are a few key lessons I learned and that helped us keep costs down.
Perhaps the greatest achievement in my pursuit of being “The Ultimate Cheapskate” is this bad boy. We got my wife’s dress for FREE!!!! Using one of the best resources known to the internet, we have freecycle.org to thank for this. Now we’ve been freecycling for years now, but when we saw, “Wedding Dress” in one of our daily emails, we just had to check it out. Thankfully, my wife loved the dress and her awesome 4-H (whatever that is) skills allowed the few alterations that had to be done on it go through without a hitch.
The Venue and Date
We chose a place that could accommodate the ceremony and reception at the same location. Our event contract also included a ton of what I call “gimmies” that saved us the hassle of going alone for finding things like: Our wedding cake (included in the ticket price), a decorator who worked the venue before, a favorably priced open bar, and flexibility on the menu. As my wife and I consider ourselves to have diverse palates, the traditional steak/chicken options just sounded (and tasted) bland and boring to us. So our main course were traditional Hispanic options and was LESS THAN the traditional boring packages. Date wise we went with early spring, so we took a chance that there would have been rain (there wasn’tJ, in fact, the weather was PERFECT!), and we were wed on a Sunday. A less trafficked day and at a better rate than Fridays and Saturdays.
Perhaps the coolest thing beyond being frugal, is forcing your bridal party to do it too. My wife had no formal requests, but instead gave her ladies the following (loosely translated) decree, “I want you to look great and be comfortable. So grab your best black dress, only new if you want it to be, and come to celebrate along with us. Don’t worry about style, length or shade, be you and we are going to love having you be apart of our wedding.” Ain’t she great J! And you know what, our bridal party looked great and the “different tones of black” made the wedding pictures look amazing and I would make this decision and recommendation every time. Which leads me to:
Hair, Make-Up and Photography
Free, free and free. Considered wedding gifts, these were tasked to family of my wife whom she knows and trusts, and have had experience making her look fabulous. Her comfort was my best investment.
You know what makes for bad pictures? Unpredictable and inconsistent flower arrangements that cost an arm and a leg because they are associated with a wedding. Some petals shine, others falter. NOT OURS! Our flower arrangements were of the replica nature and all looked flawless. Plus, it’s really cool to be 2 years removed from our wedding, have my wife’s bouquet in our living room, and have them look as sharp and beautiful as they were on that day.
Home-made, professional looking and the best I’ve ever seen!
To sum it all up, my wedding was the best money, time and effort spent in my life. And to the woman I married, I’d make the same decision to live our lives together 10 times out of 10.