My husband and I are about to celebrate our fourth anniversary. This got me to thinking about planning our wedding. Are you surprised that I tried to keep the costs low, even though my daddy was paying? I didn’t think so! 😉 Weddings can be extraordinarily expensive. When planning my own nuptials, I couldn’t see blowing tons of dough on things that wouldn’t help us in our life together. I wanted to make the day special, include people I loved, and celebrate the beginning of our life together without feeling I was wasting anyone’s money.
My mom had passed away from cancer just before Christmas in 2006, before I even met my husband. She wasn’t there to help me plan my wedding, and she never even got to meet my groom. This was heartbreaking for me. I was never one of those girls who planned out and dreamed over every detail of my wedding. The only constant components in my vague dreams were that my dress would be white and my mom & I would relish every moment of planning that celebration together. Because she wasn’t there to do that with me, I went through a time of sorrow and grieving over the fact she was gone, and had alot of trouble getting excited about my wedding day. Planning it in a creative, family oriented, frugal way was the closest I could come to including her in my plans, so I finally threw myself into that. I knew she would want me to focus on my joy in the new family I was beginning, rather than in the emptiness I felt in her absence.
My nana (Mom’s mom) is hugely talented with floral arrangements, and offered to do my flowers as her wedding gift to me. She made this beautiful bouquet, did the lovely arbor we said our vows under, and created nice boutonnieres for the menfolks. They were all so nice, creative and special to me because every petal was placed with love and good wishes for our happiness in our marriage. You can’t put a pricetag on that! Also, one of my nana’s best friends is a retired hairdresser, and did my hair for me as a favor to my nana. That was so nice of her.
I love my sweet Uncle ‘Preacher’, who is my dad’s oldest brother and a pastor, and have alot of respect for him. He was my first thought of who I wanted to perform our ceremony, and he was kind enough to grant my request that he do that. His wife makes delicious punch, and offered to make some for our refreshments.
My brother is an amazing musician, so I had him play some pieces on the guitar while people were being seated and as I walked down the aisle. Folks were pleasantly surprised at how talented he is, and it is a special memory for me of his part on my big day.
One of my cousins is a terrific photographer who had done weddings before, and did our wedding photos for a fraction of the normal cost. I think she did an amazing job!
My stepmother, dad and some family friends helped with refreshments, and others helped my groom & me decorate.
I purchased my gown at a discount, without compromising getting the dress that made me feel like a bride. My sweet sister-in-law went with me. She was a huge support when I wanted to have a meltdown because I was wedding dress shopping without my mama, and made sure I didn’t settle for an “okay” gown because it was the cheapest one that fit. 🙂 Many of my “extras” for decorating and refreshments were bought at the dollar store or I found them at deep discounts, but they fit the simple theme I wanted.
All in all, my wedding cost very little and meant so much. There were moments when I wanted to cry, because I just wanted my mom there, but I knew she would be happy for me to be marrying the man I had chosen. It’s not about how much you spend. It’s about how much love you put into it. Our wedding day started our marriage off with oodles of love from our family and friends without putting anyone into tons of debt or financial stress. I know my thrifty mama would have been proud, and I could feel her spirit there with me, just as I can feel her love living on in me, my family, and especially my own motherly love for my babies every single day.
Stay frugal, remember what and who is important, and cherish every moment you have with those you love.