Ian and I have talked about marriage for quite some time and it finally seemed like the right time for us to go forward with it. As any gentleman does, he asked my father's permission to marry me via Skype since my dad lives overseas. My dad gave his permission but wanted Ian to do a couple things before we could get married: 1) Tell his family and 2) apply Ephesians 5 to our relationship.
Our original plan was a courthouse wedding with just a few witnesses once Ian had fulfilled the first requirement, but I knew my dad wanted to be there. It providentially worked out that there was a two week class Dad could attend if he flew over so he would not be coming just for a one day occasion. So, I quickly started planning the big day.
"How does one plan a wedding without any money?" you ask. Well, you are asking the right person. While the average wedding in 2012 cost over $28,000, Ian's and my wedding cost around $1000 - and, while simplistic, it did not look skimpy.
So, for those of you dying to know, I present Little Momma's Tips for a (Very) Low Budget Wedding:
1. Exclusivity. Invite as few people as you can. Ian and I invited immediate family, aunts and uncles/cousins, and three friends each. The total ended up being around 45 people in attendance.
Inviting almost no one means you can invite people verbally and get a verbal RSVP. It also means that at your reception you don't have to mingle with dozens of people you either don't know or don't care about. Exclusivity results in less food preparation, smaller cake, and a smaller (perhaps less expensive) venue.
If people get offended they weren't invited to your wedding, explain that it is a very small and intimate affair for monetary purposes and they will usually understand. If they are still sore about it....well, it's your wedding and you don't want someone that childish there anyway.
2. Resourcefulness. MINISTER - For our wedding, I asked my brother to officiate. Not everyone has an ordained minister related to them but a justice of the peace is not very costly either and they come to you.
|Oh my. That's him on the right. Generally wouldn't want the minister of the wedding dancing like this.|
VENUE - I also used my brother's church - a small, country venue that fit the modest feel of the wedding. Antioch Christian Church doesn't charge for weddings, but, as a minister, my brother requires the couple to go through his one-session premarital counseling. I am sure there are other small churches, if you look hard enough, that either don't charge, or just request a donation of any amount for their services. For the reception, I used the basement of his church.
DECOR - For decorations, my mom borrowed tablecloths and fake floral arrangements from a friend whose daughters used them for their weddings. Various small purchases for the minute details such as candles and sequins were made at a party store.
CAKE - Mom sought out a woman who went to our church who runs a local bakery with her father called Pastry Plus. I went through a book of designs, opted for butter cream icing instead of fondant (does anyone actually like the taste of fondant?), and she cut us a fantastic deal for the two layer cake that would feed around 55 people. I highly recommend their work!
|Vanilla icing, vanilla cake. Enjoyed by all!|
MUSIC - Who even needs a DJ anymore? Let's all stop funding this non-job and go with the music we've already paid for on our computers and iPods! You get to customize your ceremony and reception music, which ensures that the music will suit your taste and what you want to dance to. The processional was a piano-only version of Alicia Key's If I Ain't Got You with the traditional Wedding March for the recessional. My dad and I did our father-daughter cha-cha to Something Stupid by Michael Buble featuring Reese Witherspoon and Ian's and my first dance was to You're the One by Dondria.
PICTURES - Simple. Had my cousins take some. As someone who has been in a very fancy, expensive wedding before, I will tell you this is the better way. If they have more than a camera phone, at least.
|A wonderful picture taken by a non-professional photographer|
-While some might see it as bourgeois, my wedding had an understated elegance that was very inexpensive and practical. I had a wonderful day with my family and my husband. It wasn't about the glamour and grandeur: it was about getting a new name (well, for me); uniting with someone who makes me laugh every day, who relates to me and cares for me; and who I want to be with every day forever.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
And for the record, I love my ring, sans flashy diamond.
|Man and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Ian Kelley|