Getting Married doesn't have to be Expensive!

Thinking about how I used my wedding dress to make baby blankets for my children made me think about my wedding. As you may have guessed, I didn't pay a whole lot for my wedding (as far as weddings go.) Like college and everything else, I paid for my wedding myself. I don't say that to be a snob, I've just been independent from my parents for a very long time.

So back to weddings. Our wedding had about 100 guests. Okay we had 100 RSVPs and paid for 100 meals, but I'm not sure how many actually attended. I paid for every part of our wedding except for the bridal shower and groom's dinner. We negotiated an amazing rate for our groomsmen's tuxedos and my bridesmaids and flower girl only had to buy shoes.

I kept a spreadsheet to keep an accurate account of all of our wedding expenditures and was outraged when the total came to $3000. The dresses & accessories, the flowers, the decorations, pictures, invitations, church rental, a catered dinner for 100, cake, gifts, the wedding license, required premarital counseling, 7 days in Cabo San Lucas, and flights for our pastor and his wife to make it to the wedding are all included in the total.

I spent $40 on my dress (and the flower girl's dress was made from the leftover fabric.) Would you like to see what $40 buys in terms of a wedding dress:
Yep, that's me (7 years ago, lol... I got dressed in the church office so the scenery is a little bleh.)

Here's the view from the back.

This was my favorite part. When you have your dress made, you get to decide all the details and I wanted the train to pin up so I could walk around easily. I loved this part.

Here were my bridesmaids in their $6.33 dresses. I smiley'd their faces since they've never agreed to be put online for the world to see.I have no idea why I put the bouquets on my dress - lol, but this is what our homemade flowers looked like.

Our biggest cost was the meal portion of our ceremony. Our church required us to use their catering service and while it wasn't the most expensive dinner possible, it was more than I wanted to pay.

The biggest money savers were the following:
  • Printing and sending our own wedding invitations
  • Making my own floral arrangements and wedding decorations. I chose red and white roses for my flowers and was able to buy them at an extreme discount after Valentine's day.
  • My mother made our wedding cake. She read books and practiced for months to make my sister's wedding cake and was well practiced for our wedding.
  • My mother made my wedding dress (total cost $40 for mine and the flower girl), my flower girls dress, and all but one of my bridesmaids' dresses. The other was made by my mother-in-law. The bridesmaid dresses cost just $19 for all three of them. I saved so much on the fabric by buying the fabric at an outlet store when it was on sale & by using the stores coupons.
  • We didn't have a dance or serve alcohol. We had our wedding and reception at the church so it wasn't even an option (woo!)
  • I did my own makeup because I wanted to look how I normally do and my sister did my hair.
  • Using airline miles to pay for all of our flights. My husband wanted his childhood pastor to officiate at our wedding and he had moved across country so we flew him and his wife out for the wedding. Plus we went to Cabo for our honeymoon.
  • My sister-in-law is a photographer. :)
  • I reused my sister's wedding shoes and her veil (which my mother made for her)
  • My husband's sister put together the music for our ceremony and our church provided an engineer to run the music and video.
A lot of people look forward to the gifts you receive at your wedding, but don't fall into that trap. We received a few small gifts and $100 in cash (Thanks Steph!) It's not a money making venture, so don't count on it. :)Try to keep it in perspective. I consider our wedding to have been expensive, but I know most people spend so much more. My own sister spent over $600 just on her dress. My parents spent a lot of money on an open bar at her wedding and I think the DJ cost her quite a bit as well.

You can have a beautiful wedding for a lot less than the "average." Our wedding ceremony wasn't perfect, but it was everything I could have wanted.

I even reused so many items from our wedding. My flower girl threw faux rose petals that I still have in a crystal bowl in my bedroom. They match our decor and have sentimental value.

The long white roll that I walked in on was reused to make patterns for baby clothes. I made a huge set of reusable diapers, sleepers, blankets, and clothes for our kids. I sold the flowers and decorations on ebay for more than I spent on them. My youngest sister reused the veil, crinoline, and wedding shoes. And we all know what happened to the dress.....

We also had a fun time and created a lot of good memories. And all without going into any debt.


blueviolet said...

You are beautiful, absolutely stunning!!!!

Anonymous said...

unbelievable for those dresses. lol for the smilie facies

Stacey said...

Great Post -- And saving money on your wedding is an easy thing to do. There are plenty of web sites that you can uses to buy and sell used wedding items online. I used at

Roodlyne said...

Wow! $40 where is your mom when I was getting married. your story kinda sound like mine, my dad pass away and my mom was oversees, I was pretty much on my own too.I made my own veil for 1.99, got my shoes at payless fro $15 they were gorgeous! we got a good deal on flowers and the girls at church made the arrangements but I spend a fortune on my dress I'm so ashamed i'm not gonna tell how much :(
great story! $40?!!

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