contributed by Mr. & Mrs. A. C.
The things I learned from planning my wedding can easily carry over into other areas of the budget. For our wedding, we got everything we wanted, but didn't spend a fortune. Instead, we sat down and decided exactly what was important to us? Do our co-workers really care about us? Do our parents' co-workers really even know us? Do all of those far-flung relatives that we haven't seen in 20 years really want to travel across the country for our wedding? In the end, what really mattered, as in most situations in life, was close family. We invited our children, parents, and one or two very close friends (the definition of a very close friend was one we had known since before we could remember). In total, there were 15 people there, including the photographer. Our handful of guests have remarked that this was the most enjoyable wedding they had ever been to. Why? Because it wasn't stressful, and we didn't have to divide our time between 300 people.
We booked a small wedding package at a bed and breakfast, which included almost everything you'd need for the wedding. For under $2,000, they made a lovely sit-down dinner, made the most delicious wedding cake any of us had ever tasted, provided music, brought in a minister to marry us, and included a beautiful honeymoon suite for the wedding night. We ordered a small package of flowers, which included only bouquets for the bride and maid of honour, boutineires for the groom and best man, and one centerpiece. (This involved the principal of only buying what you need).
The photographer was a professional, who happened to be a personal friend of the bride, and offered a steep discount. The groom wore a suit from his closet, and the bride chose a tea-length dress. Tea length dresses are generally less expensive, but also don't require special undergarments, so they save even more. The bride's close friend for 25 years is also a professional hair stylist, and did the bride's hair as a gift. Grocery store flowers at a cost of $3 were used to decorate the bride's hair, instead of a veil. By having a gorgeous garden ceremony, a reception on site, and staying at the same place for the wedding night, we saved heaps of money on transportation. No need for limos! The maid of honor's dress reminded everyone of Pippa Middleton, but no one could tell it was purchased on clearance at a consignment shop for $24.
The staff at the B&B took care of clean up and no one in our family was required to "pitch in" with a job, and instead they could just relax, be happy for us, and enjoy the wedding. All of this was affordable because we kept things small. The people who were truly important to us attended our wedding, and there was no way we could have afforded such a classy wedding had we invited a large number of people. Most people also are very understanding when you say "we're having a family-only wedding." We no longer understand the emotional lure of big weddings. We ended up much happier than the stressed-out, over-whelmed brides who have big weddings.
Has anyone else ever noticed that no one does huge weddings twice? People who are getting married for the second time, never have big weddings. They're just too expensive and too stressful, and they know from experience that they don't want a repeat of that experience. We chose quality over quantity and wouldn't change a thing! Our wedding was perfect!
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