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.
February 20, 2013 at 6:19 AM
I’m sorry to hear that your Mom wasn’t there to help plan and share in your special day. But like you said you would have made her very proud in the way you orchestrated and handled everything! Like you, my husband and I kept our wedding very simple and inexpensive. We planned it all in 3 weeks and spent $1000 (that included my dress, a photographer, flowers, a church we rented at a historical park, a meal, table decorations, favors for all of our guests and my uncle who is a singer did the entertainment)! It really is about the marriage and not that one day!
February 20, 2013 at 11:02 AM
My mom was always proud of me, so thankfully I don’t have any doubts about how she felt toward me. That helped some. 🙂 We planned our wedding out in about a month, because my husband is a firefighter and was starting paramedic school, so by the time we figured out a date where we could still have a couple of days for a honeymoon, that’s all we had left. 🙂 You are right. A wedding is about starting a marriage and life together, not about the details of that one day of celebration.
February 20, 2013 at 10:59 PM
I was also upset about my daddy not being able to attend my wedding, and walk me down the aisle. But I know that he was there watching over me and that he is still everyday!!:)) I love reading these!:)) I love the pics:))
February 25, 2013 at 8:45 PM
I’ve been trying to make time to work on my own wedding coming up in Aug. Luckily like you I’m blessed w amazing people who are putting it all together pretty cheap. I was so consumed w other things that it didn’t dawn on me until just the other day that the only 2 men in my family were gone and I have nobody to walk me down the isle and give me away. My father passed 14 yrs ago and my cousin whom is more like a brother unfortunatly is gone away for a while. I began to cry in disappointment then it dawned on me that my mother who has played as both mom and dad could do so. Its not traditional but at the same time it means a lot to me for someone to walk me down the isle and give me away to my husband to be.
February 26, 2013 at 9:22 AM
I can totally relate to how you felt. That’s how I felt about my mom not being here to plan and celebrate my marriage with me. When someone close to you has passed away, you have to adapt your traditions to your situation. I think that having your mom walk you down the aisle is a fantastic solution. The point is having the people you love supporting your marriage and celebrating this step with you, and we both figured out ways to do that even with a parent missing. Best wishes with your upcoming nuptials! 🙂
February 26, 2013 at 8:17 PM
sorry about your mom. i can relate to not wanting to spend a ton on the wedding day even when someone else is paying. just seems like such a waste of money! i got my wedding dress for 150 bux and told anyone who complimented me on it and still do 10 years later. 🙂
February 28, 2013 at 10:28 AM
Thank you. I’m big on being a good steward of whatever you are managing, whether it is yours or someone else’s. There are limits to scrimping, because I’d rather not majorly sacrifice my quality of life or time with my family to save a few pennies, but there are many ways to save simply. $150 is not bad at all! 🙂 My dress was my only splurge, and it cost $300. It was at a deep discount, though, and I loved it so much that my sister-in-law made sure my daddy knew how much I preferred it over the $99 dress I also had picked out. My penny pinching side was screaming there, but I’m happy about it now. 🙂