This is Part 1 of a 2 Part Series. Read Part 2 Here.
In case I haven’t written about this topic enough already, I had a wedding this weekend. It was a gorgeous day and everything went pretty much perfectly. The sun shone, the bugs and rain stayed away, and my hair held up in the humidity until after dark.
It wasn’t all that easy though. Since I’m currently trying to get out of debt, I wanted to have a wedding that wouldn’t break the bank. Even though the average wedding in Canada cost $26,000, I had no intention of going anywhere near that amount for mine. I planned on DIYing everything, calling in all of my outstanding favours from family members, and having a laid back, casual wedding that everyone could enjoy. Here’s how I did it, and how much things cost.
Instead of renting a venue that could have been very expensive, we opted to have the wedding in my husband’s (weird typing that!) sister’s backyard. We helped them get the yard ready by painting the deck, buying some plants for the garden we would get married in, and generally sprucing the place up. We also got them Paul McCartney tickets as a thank you for allowing us to use their space and for helping out with the wedding in a million different ways.
Total Cost to Us – $330.00
The one thing I cared about was my wedding dress. I talked about finding it here. Fortunately, it was in budget. It did, however need to be altered which was expensive. I also opted to buy a second dress to wear for the party and rehearsal dinner, in the interest of keeping my big white dress in salable condition.
To save on extra costs, I didn’t buy any shoes or jewelry, opting instead to go barefoot and put daisies in my hair. The hair was done by my sister’s husband’s cousin, and my make up was done by my sister who might as well be a certified make up artist.
The boys rented tuxes instead of buying suits. It was a big cost saver and they all looked damn good.
Total Cost to Us – $1640.65
Licences, Officiant, Certificates, Ceremony
This is the only mandatory part of getting married. Our officiant was my husband’s (still weird) other sister, which was a huge cost saver and a lovely personal touch. The licenses and certificates we couldn’t really save money on, but we saved a boat load on the ceremony by picking our own flowers, renting a local hall and it’s entire contents to supply the chairs and AV equipment, and asking relatives to handle the photos and music. We bartered weeding some gardens for the most beautiful programs I’ve seen in awhile.
Total Cost to Us – $530
Reception – Decor, Etc.
The reception was also at my husband’s sister’s place, in a tent that was rented for us as a wedding gift (aka: free). The tables and chairs came from the aforementioned hall, as did the sound system and cutlery. Wine glasses were borrowed from a friend who’d had a wedding last year. The biggest single expense for the reception was definitely the two porta potties we rented, but they were worth every penny.
The decorations were 100% DIYed. It was a bit of a nightmare getting everything to come together. I was scheduled to leave the venue at 11am on Saturday, to get my hair and make up done. When 11am rolled around, the place didn’t look ready at ALL. I was extremely anxious as I was getting in the car that it wouldn’t all get finished, or it wouldn’t be finished the way I had been imagining for 18 months. Luckily, family and friends pulled through, and everything turned out perfectly.
The flowers were picked by family members and a bunch of my nieces, instead of paying for them, we made our own arrangements, even my bouquet was DIYed! They looked awesome, even better than a professional I think, since they looked relaxed and not too perfect.
Total Cost to Us – $750
All of the preparation, decorations, and the ceremony itself was fairly low cost, and exactly how I was imagining it. To find out how we saved money on the reception food and entertainment, read Part 2 here.
How did you save money on your wedding? I want to know!