Oily Rag: Say vows without breaking bank

By Frank, Muriel Newman

Summer is the season for weddings so no doubt many will be planning their special day - and despairing at the cost. Over the years we have received some top tips and comments from readers about trimming wedding costs. Here are two we liked in particular.

W.G. from Waimauku writes, "My husband and I have been oily raggers for years. We got married in the gorgeous garden of one of our local craft stores and walked to the reception at our local hall. When our friends and family asked what we would like as gifts, we asked them to contribute to the day from what they were good at. We put a hangi down in our backyard that was transported to the hall in someone's ute. One friend made our dresses, another was our transport, another made our cake while yet another iced it. Our parents bought beer and wine, and my husbands' workmates took photos and presented them to us later in an album. Still another person found a two-man band for little more than a good hangi meal. We had a brilliant day for 140 guests that cost considerably less than friends spent the next weekend just on their photographer! "

Dedicated oily ragger S.W. writes, "Get married in summer. The weather will probably be nice enough to get married in the great free outdoors. You will also need less material in the bride's dress as it won't need sleeves, and the groom won't need a jacket.

Also, free flowers will be abundant.

Use clubs. Car clubs, floral arranging clubs and photography clubs or students. Our local Zephyr club lent us cars and drivers. The same was true of the floral arrangers using free flowers from Mum's and her friends' gardens, and all they wanted was to take photos. Speaking of photos, hire a student from a local polytech course or amateur photography club. If you're worried about the results, hire two photography students.

The dress. Don't be afraid to wear second-hand or borrowed dresses. After the big day it really does hang in the wardrobe for years. If you buy a second-hand dress, you can always alter it to make it original. Or use the dress or some of the fabric your mother or another special person wore. I have heard of a woman who sewed her wedding dress from an offcut of curtain fabric at a furnishing warehouse. It cost her $20 to make the whole dress!

If you are an oily ragger you can bake a cake. Hire cake tins from a bakery if you want different sized tiers. Use a computer to make your own invitations. There are so many flash fonts and clip art pictures that it is a huge waste of money to have invites done at the printers. Deliver local invites by hand to save postage.

The gift list. Make a list of all the household and garden implements that would lead to a productive newlywed oily rag lifestyle! Organise them into price brackets, ie., $10-$20, $20-$30 and so on. Then, when people ask what you want, you can give them suggestions in a price range to suit their budget.

The reception/wedding dance. The wedding reception is usually the expensive bit because you are feeding a huge number of people. Why not invite guests to a light afternoon tea straight after the service. Enlist friends and relatives a few weeks beforehand to do some baking. If you have a church wedding, there will probably be a hall with a water boiler you can use after the service. Then have a very small wedding breakfast for immediate family only, either at home or at a restaurant. There are lots of cheap, fun alternatives to hiring an expensive venue and band."

Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips at www.oilyrag.co.nz.

- Hamilton News

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