contributed by Mr. & Mrs. Ireland
I would like to share the story of our frugal wedding. My husband and I were in the start of our careers. He proposed to me only eight months since we met, and at that time, I was living in the UK and he was living in Ireland. I moved over to Ireland a month after our engagement, keeping one of my part-time jobs in London. We rented a house, bought a car with the help of my future in-laws, and adopted two cats and a dog. Then we agreed on the date of our wedding and submitted a notice to a local registrar. It was a beginning of July and the wedding was due in the beginning of October. There was no time to waste.
We both agreed that our wedding ceremony will be small, consisting of a few close friends. So we emailed everyone and then prepared and sent away the invitations. It was important to notify people as soon as possible as flights tend to be more expensive the longer you wait. We also lined out our bride and groom outfits, wedding meal, flowers, and food for our guests (all our 5 guests stayed at our home with us).
Being a keen frugal fashionista as well as a professional researcher, I used the internet to compare different classic and current trends in bridal wear. Pretty soon it was clear that buying a new wedding dress (even with a discount) is one of the most expensive options. So I decided to use my grandmother's white wedding dress and enlisted the help of a local dressmaker/alteration lady. The dress looked like a night gown, but the material was great. I chose a pencil dress silhouette and Kate, my dressmaker, did an amazing job. On eBay, I found a beautiful pair of red court shoes by Hobbs. For my head piece, I was lucky to find a small wedding hat. It was sold in a charity shop and cost just a fraction of a vintage hat in a vintage or bridal store. Underwear and tights had to be "invisible" due to a dress, so I used regular skin tone ones and not special bridal underwear. The total cost of my outfit was dress (including alternations) for $70, shoes for $20, tights and underwear for $30, and hat for $10.
Knowing how much my husband hates suits, I managed to find on the internet a picture of a groom wearing a very funky combination of black shirt, black suit trousers, a red tie, and red Converse shoes. My idea received 100% support. Oh, I forgot to add that during my life in London, I became a proud owner of an old bowler hat. This added an extra touch to my fiancee's outfit. Apart from suit trousers that he already owned, we spent $40 for the good quality shirt, $10 for the red tie (both items were bought from a designer outlet shop), $70 for the shoes with 10% going to support a children's charity.
The next thing was to decide upon the wedding meal. Considering that all our guests were coming from abroad, we decided to have our reception dinner at a traditional Irish pub. There was one near our home and we loved the food, atmosphere, and staff of the pub. After talking with the manager and placing a booking, our hearts were at peace. Our final bill was $200 including the tip. It would be appropriate to mention that our attempt to make a homemade wedding cake failed. So we bought an organically produced fresh cheese cake and a pot of raspberries to decorate the cake with our initials, spending extra £20. There were no complaints.
Two things that were not cheap on our wedding were flowers ($200) and a photographer. Three girls that were in my wedding each had a small rose bouquet that we made a day before the wedding ($5 each). My bouquet was made by professionals and cost $100. Each man, including the groom and our small dog that came with, had a red rose buttonhole made by professional ($15 each). We decided to spend this money on flowers as this is one of the details that leaves a chic impression. When we look at pictures we do not regret the decision.
In addition to flowers, we booked a professional photographer for the ceremony and an outdoor session that was carefully chosen by my fiancee. The total price was $200, including CD with all the pictures.
Finally, what I totally forgot to mention was my make up and hair. I did a lot of research. My choice was to save rather to spend. As my hair is boyish short and I managed to find an original and stylish hat, I saw no point in booking a stylist. I had a hair cut three weeks before the wedding and styled it on the day of the wedding with a little wax. The makeup was a similar story. I was and still am fortunate to have a kind of skin that looks better than an advert of an expensive foundation. So with a little eye shadow, mascara, and hot red lipstick, I looked gorgeously classy.
Like any other wedding day, ours passed surprisingly fast. We had a great day enjoying every single moment of it. When we shared our pictures with people who were not at the wedding, everyone complimented our choice of garments. Also those who were with us told us that they enjoyed the day and the food and had a feeling of being on holiday, experiencing Irish food, culture and scenery.
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