Planning a wedding on a budget

The big question has been popped. The ring’s on the finger. You can’t be more excited to grow old and wise with the person beside you. Your heart is full.

But now you have to make this whole thing happen.

It can be easy to get caught up in the we-deserve-it-no-matter-what-it-costs-because-it’s-our-day attitude: the industry of opulence and expectation has come to define what weddings are all about. According to a Weddingbells survey conducted in 2012, the average cost of a Canadian wedding comes in at $23,330; and The Knot says it’s even higher in the U.S. at $28,400. Though it takes a bit more time and creativity, you can still make your wedding beautiful on a budget.

1. Pinterest is your friend.

Though you might have to wade through the unreasonable (ceremonies in the forest with millions of chandeliers hanging from trees! Tree bark wedding cake with your initials carved into it!) there’s a lot on Pinterest that’s worth it. Try not to have unrealistic expectations for your DIY creations, and leave plenty of time for yourself to master your craftiness. There’s a reason exists.

2. Kijiji’s cool too.

Once people get married, they want to sell all their wedding stuff. Looking for picture frames for your table numbers? Mason jars? Arches, chalkboards, table runners? You can save a lot  buying second-hand.

3. Buy bridesmaids/groomsmen attire off the rack.

Chances are your bridesmaids and groomsmen don’t have a lot of spare cash reserved for buying clothes for your wedding. It might take a bit more scavenging, but there are some beautiful dress clothes out there that don’t happen to cost $500 apiece.

4. Skip the DJ, make a playlist.

DJs can cost over $1,000, and you might be a little disappointed with the result. Think about asking one of your dance-loving friends to make the Best Playlist Ever, with your must-have grooves included. This will not only save you some funds, it will also save your guests the pain of swaying to too many ’80s rock ballads.

5. Accept help.

They say leadership is the art of delegation. Well, so is wedding planning. People who love you will naturally want to be part of the planning and preparation process. So when Auntie Lorna offers to tackle the centrepieces, take her up on her offer! Accepting help is not only a great way to include people in the celebration, it can also save you a lot of time, effort, and money. Just be sure to either give extremely detailed instructions, or give up a little control in what the end result will look like.

Though planning a beautiful and creative experience for your guests is important, it’s not the main purpose of the day. Your wedding is ultimately about making vows to your spouse and to God, in front of a whole bunch of people. And that’s priceless.

Photo (Flickr CC) by Jordan Smith.

Published originally in Issue 17 of Converge Magazine.