Wedding on a budget:
My husband and I are a gay couple. That’s right, two dudes. So there’s no “bride’s family pays” kind of thing. Even though that is a pretty outdated unwritten thing anyway. We were focused on paying for our wedding ourselves. Since it was our decision we didn’t think it was right for our families to pay. They helped in whatever way they could but we didn’t let them financially. We found out very quickly how expensive weddings were. I compiled a few tips to help you save up and consider other ways. No one wants to start their life in extreme debt from an expensive wedding.
- Tip 1: There is no rush.
Everyone seems to think you get engaged then you HAVE to rush to the altar.
We waited a year and decided to have the wedding date be our anniversary date. Since I asked him to marry me on our anniversary it seemed fitting. So it made sense to take our time and use that year to save up.
- Tip 2: Buy things slowly.
Every time you go to the grocery store, buy a bottle of wine, or a couple liters of Coke. Get whatever supply you need throughout the year, if the expiration date allows. Much better than dropping hundreds of bucks at a time on supplies. Just adds an extra 20 or 30 bucks to an existing expense and you can slowly accumulate and keep track of what you have. Just make sure to have a closet or a spot in your home that you won’t see your stockpile of liquor or beverages. I don’t have much self control so I had to hide my stash or I would be too tempted.
- Tip 3: Find unusual venues.
We looked all over. Found reasonable and cheap venues but at strange places. Of course all the beautiful places we wanted were over $4,000 and that wasn’t including the liquor license and other expenses added on. We even found a multi purpose room at the 55+ community my grandparent’s lived at that would’ve only been $100! but the flooring was awful, and we couldn’t do much decorating. We decided to stop stressing and just do it in our tiny backyard. Free, and we could save some more money this way to spend on the honeymoon. Plus getting married in our first home was very special to us. It was very intimate and we got to show off all our hard work we did in renovating the house.
My best friend had his wedding at a community center for $50. They wouldn’t let him decorate the walls in the room they rented but they decorated the chairs and tables. I did it their own way, and it turned out lovely!
- Step 4: You don’t need to invite everyone you know.
This step sucks. We had to dwindle down our guest list to under 70. which seems like a lot but when you start factoring friends, family, family friends, distant family, co-workers, neighbors, guests, and everyone else in your life, these numbers can add up. We decided to keep it small.
We chose to limit it to Immediate family, and close friends. I have a lot of internet friends and people I don’t see on a yearly basis. So we just decided to invite the friends that we went out of our way to see, and would go out of their ways to see us since most of them were not local. At the end of the day it was our choice who should be there. Not anyone else’s. So yes, we got flack from some of the family for not inviting certain people, but it was our day.
Drama did occur, but honestly who wants the annoying homophobic uncle there anyway? We also weren’t going to invite someone we met once because it would make a cousin happy.
Just keep telling yourself this is for YOU. This is YOUR day. Don’t let family bully you into inviting people you don’t want there.
- Step 5: Network!
Use your connections! My husband was able to borrow chairs and standing tables from his job which helped IMMENSELY. He also knew a printer that created some signs for us at a discounted cost which was nice! We got a photo booth for cheap because his stepdad knew a lady. We used my dad’s big ‘ol car to haul things back and forth the day before. Most people in your life WANT to help you with your big day. Let them!
- Step 6: Saving’s account
I have Fidelity and they make it very easy to open a saving’s account. No fee, no hassle, just a few button clocks and BAM – Savings account.
Put away money. You have to. Every paycheck drop a 100 in there.
Every bonus, drop the majority in there.
Tax refunds, stimulus checks, Christmas money, and any additional money you receive should be saved.
- Step 7: cut back.
Yea, I know. It sucks. But you can give up that $5 cup a coffee a day and make it from home or the office. Make your lunches or dinners at home and cut back on spending your money at restaurants. I am a man of many hobbies, so I had to put those on the back burner. It’s all worth it in the end.
- Step 8: Make your own decorations
Centerpieces and giveaways can be cheap. Don’t spend a 100 bucks a centerpiece when you can make one for 5 bucks each. You can class up things from the dollar store and NO ONE will ever know.
- Step 9: Don’t be afraid to ask for money
We already had a home, so our registry was small. Just a few things that would be nice, but weren’t necessary. We preferred cash and had a way for people to send it to us. Venmo or PayPal can work perfect! Most people wrote out a check or stuffed cash in an envelope that they gave to us at the wedding. It felt weird to ask but we were able to enjoy an amazing honeymoon with all the cash people gave to us as a gift. It was much better to have fancy dinners and fun experiences we will always remember instead of getting 3 toasters.
- Tip 10: DIY until the day you die.
We created the decorations, the invites, the registries, and everything else we could think of. We had the wedding of our dreams. Yes it was stressful, but WE did it together and by ourselves. We made our own magic by putting on an amazing wedding by ourselves with the help of the people we love. Pinterest is an amazing source for doing it DIY. Also blogs are great for this too! Check out another post we have involving DIY gift bags for your wedding party: Wedding Party Gift Bags
Budgeting is hard and weddings are expensive. Whatever you end up doing just try to tell yourself that you’re doing your best! Talk to your partner and work out what will be beneficial for you both.
You got this! This is a stressful time but you 100% can do it! It’ll all be worth it in the end!