So as many of you know, Jordan and I got engaged last summer and are currently planning our January 2017 wedding. I’m sure that exactly 0 people will be surprised to hear that we are trying to keep our wedding as frugal as possible. Why? Well, the average wedding apparently costs over $31,000!! I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t think it’s worth it to spend the better part of my annual salary on one day and Jordan doesn’t either. Spending that much money on our wedding is not in line with our values. So instead we’re trying to make sure that our wedding is all about our communities, meaningful, fun, and frugal.
I feel like the wedding is a really great example of the benefits that a frugal lifestyle brings. By choosing to spend less in the rest of our lives, we’ve been able to save a significant amount of money towards our wedding. At the same time, by choosing to have a frugal wedding, we need less money overall for the big day. These two things combined mean that we’ve been able to save 73% of our projected budget in 7 months, all while Jordan has been finishing his degree and looking for employment in his field. The small frugal choices we make every day compound over time for a much bigger result.
So, how have we been making our frugal wedding dreams into reality so far? Well it starts with prioritization. Jordan and I have had a lot of conversations about what is and isn’t important to us for our wedding. What is important? Spending this big day surrounded by the people that matter most to us. At the end of the day, that’s it. That’s why we’re getting married instead of eloping, because it’s important to have our marriage be centred in our broader relationships and communities. Everything else is really secondary to that. Knowing this has enabled us to focus on what’s really important – our people – and to stress less about the rest. Chair covers? Not a big deal. Fancy dress? Nice, but not the most important thing. An activity table for all the nieces and nephews to have fun at? A must.
So knowing our priorities, how are we making our wedding musts more frugal? Well, we’ve thought of some creative ways to cut costs in a number of areas:
- Venue – We’ve opted to go for an amazing local art gallery that has low rental fees AND lets us bring in our own food and alcohol. Many places we looked at had clauses stipulating that you had to use their bar and caterer, which brought the price up substantially, so Latitude 53 was a win for us.
- Drinks – since the venue lets us do our own, we’re choosing to go the DIY route. My lovely friend Paul (mixologist extraordinaire) is going to man the bar and mix drinks for us. This is cheaper and will actually result in much better than you can find in most bars in this city, so I’m a happy lady. We also have a very generous couple of family members who are covering our bar costs, which is amazing! (You know who you are. Thank you!!)
- Food – Similar to drinks, we’re going the DIY route. We’ve asked Jordan’s brother and mom if they would do the catering, which we’re both very excited about (they’re excellent cooks). We also opted to have an afternoon wedding and reception, so we will simply be serving snacks instead of a full meal. Again, this means a slightly lower cost.
- Decor – We’re getting married at a venue that comes with artwork, so we’re not planning on doing much extra decorating at all! Yay art gallery wedding! We’ve also asked my Mom (whose hobby is going to garage sales) to source some vases for us, which we can use to decorate the tables with. They may not all match exactly but I doubt anyone will notice.
- Cake – We’re incredibly lucky here. My talented older sister makes very fancy wedding cakes for fun and is doing our cake as her gift to us. So cost = $0.
- Rings – Again, we’re incredibly lucky. Jordan’s father is a goldsmith and he is making our wedding bands for us. I love this not just because it’s frugal but also because it’s so special that our bands will be made by him. Jordan’s dad didn’t make my engagement ring (pictured at the top) but Jordan and I chose to go with a lovely sapphire ring from the jewelry store that was much much cheaper than your average engagement ring and more in line with my personality.
- Wedding Dress – I bought my dress off the rack at a store in the mall. (I think it’s technically supposed to be a prom dress actually) It looks beautiful and with the cost of alterations, it’s still going to be less than $300.
- Makeup – My makeup obsessed sister offered to do my makeup and I happily took her up on it. There will be a bit of a cost associated with this, as I have to buy makeup, but I’m ok with that since I will be able to use it again after the wedding. Plus Moira, being makeup obsessed, has lots of products that I will never buy, so she is letting me use things like her setting spray and primer and such.
- Save the dates and invitations – We plan to go the digital route (we really need to send these out already!). By sending them via email we save tons of postage costs and it’s better for the environment. We’ve found an artist on Fiverr that we plan to hire to design them.
Listing these out, you’ll see that our family and friends are helping out with a lot of our frugal wedding choices. Truthfully, we couldn’t pull this (or many many other things) off without them. Our nearest and dearest are such an integral part of our lives. That’s why we’ve chosen to centre our wedding in our people and have our people involved in our wedding. While this post is all about being frugal, at the end of the day, we’re really trying to make our wedding all about being together with our loved ones.