During the eleven years of our marriage, we’ve often talked about our own wedding day, especially when attending another wedding. It’s hard not to remember what our day was like while watching another couple on their special day!
The weddings we go to are often very different from the wedding we had, though. Our wedding was an extremely frugal one. The entire cost, dress included, was somewhere around $1,250, and that was $250 more than I was aiming for!
We are often led to believe that a wedding is the biggest event of our lives, and while we knew that it was one of the most important days of our life, we didn’t want it to be an expensive event. We wanted to get married to be together, not to have a wedding.
A frugal wedding made sense to us for a variety of reasons, and we managed to pull it off!
How We Did It
All of the details on how we managed to pull off a wedding for just over $1,000 would take an entire post, but some of the key things we did to help stay on budget included
- Buying my dress from an online surplus store and getting a free veil with it.
- Buying silk flowers from a bulk craft store and making our own arrangements with them.
- Making all of our wedding invitations.
- Giving very humble gifts to our bridal party.
- Asking our friends’ mom to take pictures instead of hiring a professional photographer and asking my uncles to record the wedding onto a VHS tape (I’m not that old, really!).
- Doing simple lunch foods at the reception and accepting an offer from a dear sister in the Lord for additional prepared food.
- Borrowing as many decorations as we could.
Why We Did It
More important than the how, though, was the why. Why go for a frugal wedding when you only plan on getting married once? For us, it came down to necessity.
Since we chose to get married at a young age, we also knew we were choosing to have a frugal, simple wedding. Considering our options, we were totally fine with that.
We knew that we could wait a couple more years to get married and have a bigger, pricier wedding, but why? Was a fancier wedding worth a longer wait? To us, the answer was a loud and clear no!
Both of us were coming from family situations with very limited finances. Jesse and I were fully prepared to pay for the wedding ourselves if needed because of different circumstances. While we ended up not paying for it, we didn’t want to see anyone else go into debt to fund our day.
I can also be extremely practical and Jesse comes from a background of real poverty. We didn’t see the point of putting extra financial strain on ourselves or anyone else for the sake of one day. We just wanted to be married!
The Benefits of a Frugal Wedding
The greatest benefit to our frugal wedding was staying out of debt. Finances can be a huge source of tension in a marriage, and we knew we didn’t want to start out with big bills over our heads if we didn’t have to.
Sticking to a small budget for our wedding also forced us to keep things simpler for the day. While some brides and grooms might find that disappointing, to us, it felt comfortable. We aren’t fancy people, and pretending to be so on our wedding would have felt silly!
Our frugal wedding plans also helped us remember that we weren’t choosing to have a wedding in order to relish in one day. We were having a wedding so that we could start our lives together. Our focus was never really on the one day. Often we felt like we just wanted to get it over with! Our focus was on the marriage that we desperately wanted to begin, and the wedding was just something we had to get done in order to be together.
Jesse and I with the pastor that married us
Would We Have Changed Anything?
While I have never once regretting having a frugal wedding, I think it is safe to say that we would have changed a few things in hindsight about our big day.
Jesse has always wished we would have invited more friends. To keep food expenses down, our guest list was really just family with very few friends invited. He used to often mention different people that he didn’t get to invite and wished he had, but he has a heart that hates to offend or leave anyone out. Our family-only guest list was somewhat hard for him.
Had there been more wiggle room, I probably would have picked a different dress, though I certainly liked the one I had. It was simple, pretty, and very modest, and I felt comfortable in it all day. It was a bit informal, though, so I might have picked a more formal gown if the budget would have allowed.
I think both of us would have liked to have more professional pictures, but without the professional photographer price. We didn’t know that some ladies in the church were getting into photography with nice digital cameras when we got married. Had we known that, we probably would have went that route for pictures.
Overall, though, our wedding was a genuine picture of what has been our married life. It wasn’t fancy, but it was warm, genuine, and filled with love for the Lord and one another. I don’t regret the penny-pinching one bit.