I have really bad luck at weddings. I’m talking freaky bad luck. Let me explain.
We’re Not in Kansas Anymore, Dorothy
At my own wedding, a tornado took the roof of the church one month before the blessed day was to take place — and after the invitations were mailed.
Sorry About Your Shoes… and Your Honeymoon
For my best friend’s wedding, I picked up a nasty virus in nursing school that hit the day of the wedding. I spent the morning in the bride’s bathroom, vomited twice while getting dressed, and snuck off immediately after the nuptials to curl up in a corner and sleep. (The groom’s sister got sick later that night and, to my horror, the groom came down with the same bug on his honeymoon!)
But it gets worse.
Nice Underpants. Are Those Hearts?
When my brother-in-law got married, I prepared to greet the couple in the reception line, only to get my heel stuck in a cobblestone and tumble down the church steps while holding a baby. The baby was fine, but I landed in front of my husband’s family in a heap with my skirt over my head. I broke my foot in three places.
Quasimodo’s Look-a-Like In Pictures
And the ultimate wedding disaster came the day before my brother’s wedding. While picking up my dress, I was rear-ended, causing a three-car pile up. My dress was soaked in antifreeze and fire extinguisher spray, and my face swelled up like a plum. My car was totaled. Did I mention the wedding was a two-hour drive from my home?
Yeah, freaky bad luck.
Through all my wedding miseries, I’ve also picked up quite a few tips and tricks on how to plan a wedding on a shoestring budget. A smaller wedding budget still creates memories and gets you hitched; it just doesn’t come back to haunt you like a bad chili dog when the bills come rolling in.
How to Plan a Wedding on a Shoestring Budget
1. Inexpensive invitations are a great way to cut back on expenses. (Most of your guests will end up pitching the invitation in the trash after the wedding anyway.) To help make the invitation memorable for your close friends and family, consider framing the invitation and decorating the frame with special flowers or keepsakes from the wedding. You can also opt for handmade or scrapbook invitations for a personalized feel without excessive cost.
2. If you’re really pinching pennies for your wedding, the cost of food for the reception can be quite daunting. Instead of cutting out a wedding reception because you can’t afford the meal, try adding a request to your invitations and have your guests bring a covered dish or dessert. A potluck wedding is better than no wedding at all, and you won’t be stuck with a large catering bill.
3. Include the items you need for the wedding on your gift registry for your bridal shower. This especially comes in handy if you’ve already set up housekeeping and don’t need extra measuring cups, bath towels, or cookie sheets.
4. If you’re renting tables and chairs, splurge to have them delivered and set up. This additional cost will save you money in the long run.
5. For decorating on a budget, try going with fewer flowers and adding candles or edible treats for table decorations.
6. If you’re crafty, you can find tons of great instructional videos online to help you arrange your own wedding flowers.
7. Provide disposable cameras for guests to take snapshots at the wedding. You can also ask a friend who enjoys photography as a hobby to do your wedding portraits, instead of hiring a professional photographer.
8. Call your local culinary or vocational school to check out rates for catering and wedding cakes for less.
9. If your wedding dress covers your feet, consider wearing a pair of shoes you already own, or even white slippers for maximum comfort at a low cost.
10. Make arrangements to donate your leftover wedding food to a homeless shelter or church, or ask family members to bring containers to cart the leftovers home.
11. When making your seating chart, appoint one person at each table to oversee the reception. This person is responsible for cleaning up spills and ensuring rental property isn’t damaged. By making sure the facility’s returned to a pre-rental state, you ensure you get your deposit back.
12. Ask your church or social group to make cookies as appetizers for the reception.
13. Serve cupcakes instead of cake. (You can make these easily yourself.)
What wedding planning tips do you have for couples on a tight budget?