Guest post: OTT weddings and cutting costs

Today’s post is part of a Yakezie blog swap on the topic of weddings! You can read my post over at Fiscal Phoenix.

Before we cut our cable, I enjoyed watching Say Yes to the Dress.I was continually fascinated by the women who would spend $10,000 to $20,000 on a dress. True, the dresses were often gorgeous “princess” dresses with elaborate detailing and beading and a gorgeous train. Yet, I could never imagine dropping so much money on a dress I would wear one time for one day. ONE DAY!

American bride wearing a Contemporary Western ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How We Cut Costs for Our Wedding

When I got married 10 years ago, I just happened to fall in love with a wedding dress that cost a little over $100. After alterations, the final price tag was just a bit over $200.

Because I come from a very large family (my dad was the youngest of 10 kids and my mom was the second youngest of 9 kids and I have over 40 cousins on my mom’s side alone), my husband and I knew we would have to keep things simple to be able to afford to invite over 250 guests. In the end, my husband and I made all of the table decorations, made our own flower arrangements and did much of the other prep work ourselves such as wrapping the silverware in a napkin with a bow around it and even making our own arch to walk through when we entered the reception.

My aunt made our wedding cake, my cousin was the D.J., and my uncle took the wedding video. We had a hot buffet of food we had made the night before the wedding. Our wedding was DIY, and we only spent $6,000 for 250 guests. That price is not just for the reception, but for every single wedding expense.

What I loved about our wedding was that there was no residual effect. We didn’t have to put any of the wedding expenses on credit. We weren’t still paying for our wedding years or months after it happened. What I disliked about our wedding was that we did so much ourselves, we were exhausted when it was over!

Over the Top Weddings

I have attended plenty of weddings where the bride and groom dropped a great deal of money and were paying the wedding off for several years. What I noticed about these weddings is that they had a lot of little things that people didn’t want.

My friend had a wedding where they gave out flower bulbs so people could plant them and remember the wedding. This is a nice idea, but in reality, most people probably didn’t want plant bulbs, so they didn’t plant them. To me, that was wasted money. While the napkins that have the couple’s names and wedding date embossed on them are pretty to look at, at the end of the day, they are just napkins. People aren’t going to bring them home and cherish them; they are going to use them to wipe food off the corner of their mouth.

I may not be the best person to ask about these issues because I am a bit of a minimalist when it comes to parties and decorating. However, considering fights about money are the number one cause of divorce and couples tend to fight more when they are saddled in debt, starting a marriage in debt because you had an expensive, over the top wedding doesn’t seem like the smartest relationship choice.

Melissa blogs at Fiscal Phoenix and Mom’s Plans where she writes about finances, getting out of debt, food and family.

6 thoughts on “Guest post: OTT weddings and cutting costs

  • Reply Michelle May 4, 2012 at 17:15

    Wow you did really good with your wedding. And I loooove watching Say Yes to the Dress, but I could never drop $10K on a dress like those girls do.

    • Reply Fiscal Phoenix May 5, 2012 at 02:47

      It was a challenge, and we did go a bit over. Our budget was $5k, and we ended up at $6k, but we still didn’t go into debt for it, which was our goal.

  • Reply nicoleandmaggie May 5, 2012 at 00:44

    I don’t think anybody noticed that we had neither wedding favors nor flowers. And several people asked my mom if my JCPenny off-the-rack prom dress was custom-made.

    Here’s our “the wedding post”: http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/the-wedding-post/

    As we get older, more couples in our cohort are having weddings like ours rather than the more expensive kind. We’ve been told that after going to a decade or two of weddings they know what is worthwhile and what isn’t.

    • Reply Fiscal Phoenix May 5, 2012 at 02:46

      I wish more people would realize this! I would rather use the money for so many other purposes.

  • Reply Emily @ evolvingPF May 6, 2012 at 13:47

    That’s the advantage of being in a big, involved family! My husband’s extended family does weddings like that – very DIY with all family members pitching in on setup and cleanup. For our NC wedding we didn’t have any family nearby so we asked selected friends for favors and outsourced all the food-related stuff. That’s definitely the expensive part of most weddings.

  • Reply Yakezie Blog Swap #20 Round Up May 7, 2012 at 02:17

    […] about how she intends to save money on her upcoming wedding on this site. I shared that our  250 person wedding cost only $6,000 on Musings of an Abstract […]

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