You Really Can Have A Wedding For $1,000
By Maigen Thomas
There is ONE thing and ONE thing only to remember: The Wedding Is Not Important.
If you can ‘have and hold' that mantra — you're going to do just fine. Because I hope you, dear reader (and everyone else who will ever get married), will understand me when I tell you that the wedding really doesn't matter. The wedding is just icing on the amazingly delicious, fulfilling and fat-free cake that is your love for each other: The Marriage. So, yes, the wedding doesn't matter one bit. Remember that. Now breathe, you're looking a bit blue.
Here are the basics of what makes up a wedding:
– Pick a date
– Invite people
– Arrange for food and beverages
– Get hitched
Pick a Date
They say Love Don't Cost a Thing, and the same goes for setting a date. Quit freaking out already. Pick a date between six months and a year from the happy moment of engagement. If three years works with your schedules, pick a date three years hence. Some provisos: Nothing within two weeks of a major holiday or either of your birthdays. You WILL get shafted for presents. And, for the love of… Not on Valentine's Day. Period.
Under $1,000 Budget Tip: Depending on your region, try not to book in June and July. They're the High Rent months for weddings. Having my wedding in August (so I found) got me a ½ price discount on the Estate Fee (the cost of having my wedding at a location I really wanted). Also, bear in mind the time of day you would like to have the wedding and reception. Five pm on, and you're looking at expensive night rates. 11 o'clock in the morning isn't too early for the wedding, and an afternoon reception is lovely and far less expensive at most venues!
FREE: A friend's gorgeous backyard. To decorate, have friends and family ‘loan' potted plants and greenery to spruce up a sparse area.
Here's the tough question. Who really needs to be here for your big day? Close, cherished friends and family? Extended relations you see every three years for a picnic? The people you went to high school with — a decade ago?
If you want to really have a great time on your wedding day, invite only those people you really love and care for. Quantity does not equal quality, unless you plan on selling those shrimp forks your third cousin four times removed gave you to pay off your massive catering bill. Make a list. Separate people into whatever you want to call the groups: Close Family and Cherished Friends, Family and Friends, and of course “People we know, who may or may not be related to us.”
Under $1,000 Budget Tip: Make your own invitations. Enlist the help of an artistic friend to design one for you on the computer and print them yourself. Alternatively, gather a gaggle of great girlfriends and scrapbook-style your way to gorgeous, one of a kind invites. They don't have to be perfect. They need to embrace YOUR style, not force you into a style you aren't.
FREE: There are quite a few online sites that let you design your own invitations and keep track of RSVPs. Maybe inviting people online doesn't jive with Miss Manners, but it is free, cute and ‘with the times'. Who doesn't have email these days? My grandmother RSVP'd for my Bridesmaid's Luncheon online. She's 85.
Food and Beverage
Oh, Food and Beverage. Weddings are the reason caterers have jobs. They know they have you by the balls, so they charge exorbitantly. These days, some — if not most — people expect to come to a wedding and be fed. They don't eat breakfast and lunch so they can belly up and wreak havoc on the buffet at your expense. Somehow, weddings have become the All You Can Eat Buffet of the 2000's, and it doesn't have to be that way.
Also along the lines of What People Expect For Free is alcohol. I went with no alcohol at my own reception. Partly because it was prohibitively expensive when provided by any venue other than the local 7-11, partly because it was a noon reception, and partly because there were going to be recovering alcoholics in attendance. These are all important aspects to consider when making the decision about whether or not to include alcohol.
Under $1,000 Budget Tip: Have a Dessert and ‘Sham'pagne reception. Serve an assortment of small but lovely desserts such as individual cheesecakes, tarts, tortes and pies; biscotti and cookies; candies and mints. Don't forget the wedding cake! These should be accompanied by coffee, tea — and ‘Sham'pagne — sparkling fruit juices and sparkling water. Ask those wonderful older ladies in your family and circle of friends if they'll help you out by making something each. They would love to be such a big part of your ‘Big Day', and it keeps you from feeling like you're in the trenches by yourself!
FREE: Even I'm not so delusional as to think you can get food and drink for free. I have no free tips for this area, I'm so sorry to say.
One of my biggest decisions for the wedding was who I wanted to marry us. I'm not a church-goer, so I couldn't immediately fall back on a pastor or minister I knew well. I also didn't want to get married in a church, so I had to find a non-denominational minister who was willing to go along with my desire for a ceremony where God wasn't mentioned specifically. This should be a really easy decision, and less expensive than almost anything else to do with the wedding.
Under $1,000 Budget Tip: Go with your own minister in your own church. If you don't have one, ask your family how they feel about theirs. Go to church with your family members a few times to get an idea for the minister's style and personality.
FREE: Ask a close friend how they feel about being an ordained minister. Your friend can become a non-denominational ordained minister, able to perform your marriage rites. You should probably check this out with plenty of time, because you'll need to know your state's laws on officiating marriages.
You shouldn't really need any help with this. At this point in time, you will have already arranged for the location, people to attend and the food and drink to be available. Now, it's time to kick off your shoes and relax. Or down the Jell-o shots you and your bachelorette buddies made the night before in preparation for the reception!
Other Budget-y Tips
The Dress: Check eBay. Check the Junior League. Check Sample Sales. Don't pay full price. It's absurd what they charge for wedding dresses. You could also make your own. Check with your family — chances are that someone has a dress that would look lovely on you, have meaning, and can be altered without too much cost.
The Music: Ask a friend to play DJ. The last three weddings I've attended (including my own), the music has been mix CDs that the bride and groom made together. It's far more fun and personal than having a DJ ‘accidentally' play the chicken dance, or heaven forbid, the Macarena.
The Favors: My husband and I chose to write a poem together about how our love has grown, attached it to tiny ivy plants, and asked people to wish us well every time they watered the plant — as it grew, so would our love. You can totally steal that idea, if you want. If nothing else, I hope it encourages you to branch out from Jordan almonds and tulle. Also, you don't even need to do favors.
The Flowers: Not nearly as important as you might think. But if you absolutely can't live without them, have your own bouquet done at your favourite florist — everyone else can have wildflowers. Do you have a neighbour who has a plethora of daffodils every spring? Maybe they'll let you have some!
In the end, it really comes down to how much you care about ‘Appearances'. If your wedding is more about making the Society pages or Keeping up with the Kardashians than about celebrating your love together, then please feel free to disregard anything stated here.
But if you really want to have a fabulous time, uniting yourself with the one person who completes you, in front of the people you both care about the most, then you can save as much money as you want and you'll still have the perfect wedding. There's no amount of money that can buy the happiness you already have.
For more information on Wedding Planning on a Small Budget, check out more from Maigen Thomas and Wedding for $1000 at http://www.weddingfor1000.com. Find ideas on every part of wedding planning and ways to save money in the process. Free downloadable and printable table numbers, guest cards and more!
Article Source: You Really Can Have A Wedding For $1,000
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