Cheap and Easy: The Story of a Wedding

12 Jun

I honestly believe that marriage can work. I believe if both partners can commit to and actually live a life of equality, then marriage can be both beneficial and joyful.

However, I don’t think marriage is for everybody and I would never judge anybody for wanting to stay single or live with a partner minus the legal marriage contract.

Like most things, marriage should be a personal choice and that’s what it was and is to me.

As I mentioned yesterday, Jason and I got engaged in December 2005. I didn’t want a long engagement because I had no desire or budget for a large formal wedding. I also wanted to get married as close as possible to our ‘meeting in person’ anniversary. June 15th happened to be a Thursday so we decided on Saturday June 17, 2006: a lovely day for a wedding.

Now I wish I could go back in time and plan my wedding for June 6th! Jason would love to have 06/06/06 as an anniversary date!

I knew two things going into planning mode: 1. I wanted it to be small, and 2. I wanted it to be cheap.

Small and cheap, just like me!

How to have a small and cheap wedding, Eating Dirt style:

1. Hire your mom as the wedding planner. Don’t pay her.

2. Stay away from bridal gown stores. Buy a black dress from the clearance rack in Sears.

3. Print out the invitations on your computer.

4. Invite 50 people. Or less. Keep it small and fair by (aside from immediate family) only inviting “local” guests.

5. Don’t worry about bridesmaids and groomsmen. Ask your brother to be your maid of honour and ask your fiance’s brother to be the best man.

My "Maid of Honour"

My “Maid of Honour”

6. Don’t hire a caterer. Buy a few things from the grocery store and tell everyone to bring a salad. Potluck wedding!

I wish I could go back and try all the food.  I was so wired, I barely ate!

I wish I could go back and try all the food. I was so wired, I barely ate!

7. Don’t buy a professional wedding cake. Just go to the grocery store and buy a few cheesecakes from the frozen dessert section.

Serving cake!

Serving cake!

8. Don’t worry about hiring a band or a dj: Say no to dancing and fun of any kind. Have a slide show with personal photographs to the tune of your favourite songs. I’ve heard people hate slide shows but who really cares?

9. Say no to booze. Don’t worry about hiring a bartender or whether or not you should have cash bar or open bar: Find a partner with alcoholic parents (to match your own alcoholic parent) and have a dry wedding.

10. Get your mom to use her connections to book a location for cheap, like the basement of the church she attends.

11. Take people up on their “gifts of service” offers
– one friend can play the piano
– one friend can take all the pictures
– one friend can be in charge of the slide show
– two friends can be in charge of setting up the food and decorations

My piano friend!

My piano friend!

My slide show friend!

My slide show friend!

My food and decoration friends!

My food and decoration friends!

12. Don’t have a honeymoon. Just drive four 18 hours with your 6’4″ brother-in-law in the back of your small car, and visit the other side of the family.

Grand total of wedding: $2000

Marriage license: 100.00
Justice of the Peace: 125.00
Dress:100.00
Flowers: 100.00
Rings: 300.00
Hair and Nails: 150.00
Non pot luck food: 200.00

Miscellaneous (balloons, table cloths, etc): 150.00

Working on the flowers...

Working on the flowers…

Picking up the balloons!

Picking up the balloons!

My mom put aside $1000.00 for me when I was born so I could use it if I ever got married. Thanks to her ingenious saving capabilities and her generosity for putting forth the additional $1000, we managed to have a simple and stress-free wedding. And of course, nobody went into debt because of it; being in debt from a wedding is no way to start a marriage.

Everybody said the wedding reflected our personalities and nobody was surprised that I wore a black dress. People said they would’ve been surprised if I wore a white dress! To me, that was such a terrific compliment.

If I could go back in time, there are things that I would do differently. For one thing, I would try to make it even cheaper! I would find a less formal dress at a second-hand shop and find a naturally flowery place for the ceremony and dinner (to eliminate the need for any decorations). I would still take the offers of service, except for photography. I still appreciate the photos my friend took of our wedding, but after several professional family photo shoots, I find myself wanting professional wedding shots too.

But it’s a small regret. The important thing is that I don’t regret getting married. Seven years is a relatively short period of time, but so far it’s been a good decision.

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Thank you Jason for being my parnter in crime.

Distracted by a lady bug.  Not much has changed in seven years.

Distracted by a lady bug. Not much has changed in seven years.


Getting married is a personal choice just as wedding planning is. By talking about my small and cheap wedding, I am in no way condemning your larger and fancier wedding. I do have concerns about the “wedding industry” but I recognize the rights of every individual to make his or her own choices.

3 Responses to “Cheap and Easy: The Story of a Wedding”

  1. Barbara Y. October 18, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    That would have been fun!
    Thought of this post today when I read this in the Globe and Mail:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/meet-the-new-breed-of-bridezilla-fork-over-the-cash-or-face-social-media-wrath/article14902806/

  2. Barbara Y. June 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Sounds like your wedding planning was a lot of fun. You could do it your way with no pressure and were left with not only good memories, but no debts.

    • L.W. June 13, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

      Hey, if I could go back in time, I’d get married on your beach! But only if you let me…heh

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