Wedding season is upon us, but I jumped the gun and got married in early November. It was a simple affair, and while we didn't set out with this specific goal in mind, the total wedding cost came in at just under $1000.
This sounds impossible to the betrothed among us who are currently arguing over $28,000 quotes for flowers, right? Recent research from Emory University in the United States found a strong correlation between the dollar sum people spend on their weddings and the probability of their divorce. That's right: the more you spend, the more likely your marriage will fail.
Here's how to wed on the cheap for a long, happy marriage.
Do a Keira and wear clothes you already own
I bought a suit online from J Crew a year ago, at 75 per cent off, and thought at the time it'd be a nice outfit to get married in. My husband is in the Army and rarely has the opportunity to wear his dress uniform with medals. So when we were planning our wedding, it was a no-brainer that I'd wear the suit that'd only seen the day of light once, and he'd wear his military bling. When you don't place any sentimentality on wearing brand new garments to your brand new marriage ceremony, you feel far more comfortable on the day. Take a page from Keira Knightley's book (she wed in a five-year-old Chanel dress from a red carpet event) and re-wear something you already love.
Total cost? $0.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Take regular transport
Solange Knowles arrived at her wedding last week on a bicycle. We took Uber cars (at a cost of $14 and $22) because they feel like you have a private driver anyway. No white limousines, no tacky ribbons on bonnet ornaments so you're seen a mile off. When you take regular transport to your own wedding, be it an Uber car, taxi, or even a ride from a friend, you still get everywhere on time, which is all wedding transport is really for.
Total cost? $36.
Solange Knowles, wearing a pre-ceremony ensemble by Stephane Rolland, and her fiance, music video director Alan Ferguson, ride bicycles on the streets of the French Quarter en route to their wedding ceremony at the Marigny Opera House in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo / Getty Images
Go to the registry
Because celebrants' fees are upwards of $500 plus travel, we had our marriage ceremony at the registry at Births, Deaths, and Marriages. We loved that we received our marriage certificate straight away (which a celebrant can't do); making the marriage all the more "real". This felt quite the feat, considering the trials and tribulations the gay community has gone through for that piece of paper. The administrative nature of a registry wedding is actually its appeal: you don't even meet the registrar until ten minutes before the ceremony. There is nothing to organise, nothing to control, and, vitally, nothing to go wrong.
Total cost? $200.
Don't get a photographer
We only had seven guests at our wedding, all of whom are very proficient with their iPhone cameras. Neither of us like "posed" photos so we asked our Instagram-age friends to snap away and catch our special day with action shots. The result? Over 200 photos, a good dozen of which are print-worthy and truly capture how happy we were in the moment.
Total cost? $21 to print the photos.
Or a florist
As for flowers, we weren't fussed and would have been happy with something from someone's garden, but my mother-in-law wanted to organise a bouquet for the table as a gesture. It came at no cost to us, but added a little "wedding" something without going overboard.
Total cost? $0.
Go to a restaurant
Instead of paying a venue fee, overbuying on booze and going through the stresses of organising catering, we went to a restaurant we loved - and let everybody order exactly what they wanted. There could be no running out of wine, and no cold and unsatisfactory hors d'oeuvres. Before the dinner, we had oysters and champagne on the waterfront. A very generous friend bought us several bottles of wine as a wedding gift, which was far more useful to us than a gravy boat will ever be - and seriously cut the meal's costs down.
Total cost for both pre-dinner and dinner events? $700.
Stay at home
Believe it or not, some people don't actually like hotels. We are those people. When travelling abroad we prefer the comfort and ease of staying with friends, as we struggle to sleep in strange beds; need access to a kitchen so we can cook for ourselves; and can't stand always-on aircon. So, for our wedding night, my husband and I just came home instead of paying for a hotel. We got to see our dog, sleep in our own bed, and wake up the next morning and cook eggs for the first time as a married couple. This felt more special (and cost us nothing) than any "opulent" hotel ever could. For some, there's a bit of magic in spending your first night just as you'll spend every other night for the rest of your lives.