I’ve been slowly planning a wedding for over a year… but now with the wedding behind us I feel it’s time to share the truth about weddings.
Yes the day is all about you and your partner, the love you share, the life you’re about to embark on etc etc but …
Weddings are expensive. Remember you don’t have to include EVERY item of a traditional wedding.
The biggest expense is generally the food, photographer, venue… or in our case it was the food, venue and furniture hire. You don’t need to include EVERY item of a traditional wedding… we didn’t have a flower girl or pageboy, a DJ or band or a paid photographer.
If you’re clever there are way around things, we used a Spotify playlist which I created after trawling through popular playlists on Spotify. My Don’t Hire A DJ mega mix was a combination of old school and current music… and it was a huge hit!! The list cost nothing and the sound equipment plus lights were less than $200 to hire, and the dance floor was definitely alive with dancing.
Our photos are care of a friend who is clever with a camera, and luckily my husband is clever with Lightroom. We also used the WedPics app so our guests could all share their pics from the day too. Photographers can easily cost an arm and a leg, and that was a cost I wasn’t comfortable with.
You will end up doing things to keep other people happy.
It’s not necessarily a negative thing, but your wedding will consist of things which are there to make other people happy. As is often the case in life, you will do things because it means more to someone else. I’m not hugely traditional. I wouldn’t have handled someone asking my Dads permission to marry me but at the same time I knew though that the tradition of walking me down the aisle would be important to him.
People will tell you over and over “it’s your day… do what you want” but in a way it is also your parents day. Your parents will go into your wedding day with their own worries and anxieties and there will be certain aspects they’ve always imagined being a part of.
Your day won’t necessarily be as important to other people as you’d like.
You’ll invite people… they will acknowledge the invite and then almost inevitably you’ll have to chase people for an RSVP. It’s okay. Even people who have had their own wedding will need to be chased. Just remember people lead busy lives, it’s easier for them to forget, be sure to remind them gentle.
There may even be some people who see your wedding day as a chance to attend a “party” with free booze rather than seeing the day as a chance to be a part of huge milestone in your life. Some people won’t realise that for them to have “made the cut” and to have been invited is a huge honour. Don’t let it worry you.
Guest numbers will change 2-3 weeks out from your big day.
Life happens. People will discover that for whatever reason they can’t make it to your wedding… don’t take it personally. Some may discover they have to work, can’t afford to come or simply have other commitments. It’s okay.
Some guests will not pace themselves if there is a bar tab.
If you attended my wedding you’ll know who I’m referring to, but hey we don’t mind, we wanted our day to be fun and for people to have a good time. I didn’t want a stuffy wedding where my guests felt uncomfortable.
We created lawn games, and bought cheap games from Kmart to make sure people were occupied, interacting with one another and not just sitting around getting drunk. However, knowing people would be drinking we organised shuttles. Shuttles weren’t something we budgeted on, so we asked people to pay for their shuttle ride.
Top Tips for Your BIG day.
- Important features – You and your fiancée will need to sit down and determine what elements or features are important to you and which things you’ll happily forgo. If you’re on a budget you won’t be able to do everything. We decided we wanted our day to be casual and fun… so opted for a buffet BBQ (although it was still very tasty) lawn games and a play list of old school sing-a-long songs.
- Head Count – Where a cheap wedding can easily differ from an expensive wedding is by the number of guests. Before you pick your venue and start spending money work out the guest numbers. Our venue had a maximum capacity of 120 (including staff) so we knew we had a cut off point.
- Money Saving Finds – Websites like Mod Cloth, Etsy and TradeMe are a haven of affordable dresses, decorations and gifts. I didn’t want bridesmaid dresses that wouldn’t be wearable again, so bought something that my girls could easily re-wear at another occasion… and my day wasn’t shabby because of it.
- Delegate – Something I could’ve done better. Determine when people like your parents, bridal party (and anyone else who’s offered to help) is arriving and have the list of tasks ready. You most definitely will be RUSHED OFF YOUR FEET and will need to share the load, don’t do yourself what someone else can easily do for you. There will be some things that only you can do.
- D.I.Y – Do your D.IY. items well in advance!! I didn’t and then got a little stressed about it. D.I.Y is totally possibly and thanks to Pinterest there are so many cute and cheap ways to fill your wedding venue. Potted plants add colour and can be easily reused at home later unlike cut flowers which will simply die after the wedding.
- Sometimes simple is best – Our wedding decorations consisted largely of bunting and hired festoon lighting. On the tables we had doilies glued to jars/tin cans with small white candles inside, silver teapots with seedlings planted inside, old tea tins with seedlings inside, borrowed scrabble pieces and small jars dipped in gold glitter again with candles inside. Outside the venue were potted plants from our garden. I didn’t really have a colour theme, I just had the vague idea of vintage garden party. We didn’t do dance lessons, we didn’t even plan a first dance… while busting out some shapes on the dance floor I just grabbed my hubby for a dance and it all evolved from there and we HAD SO MUCH FUN!!!
- Ignore EVERY ONE ELSE – I tied myself in knots worrying people wouldn’t have a good time, and everyone was coming at me with advice like “everyone feeds off the brides energy, so don’t be stressed or nervous“. I felt this huge pressure to entertain guests before and after the wedding. Don’t worry about everyone else, be up front and tell people what’s available in the area entertainment wise and let them know what events (if any, are planned outside of the wedding). It’s not your job to make sure everyone has a great time… just focus on yourself and your spouse-to-be.