Money—most of us never seem to have enough of it. Regardless of your income, every dollar seems to be accounted for before it even hits your pocket. There’s no doubt about it—life is expensive. One benchmark event in life is notable for being quite expensive—the wedding day. Weddings seem to be synonymous with “breaking the bank.” But when Victor and I got married, we were determined to check off all the essentials without blowing our finances.
Over the years, I have attended weddings that cost as much as $25,000 and weddings that cost as little as $200. Regardless of the price tag, all the couples finished the day with the same title—Mr. and Mrs. When it was my turn to hear wedding bells, I wanted to spend more effort on the significance of the day rather than racking up some serious debt.
I was glad Victor felt the same way. Both of us were recent college graduates. We had student loans and old cars. We didn’t know a whole lot about life. But we did know that we didn’t want to fork out a ton of money for a couple of hours, especially when we could put that money to better use for our future lives together.
We were pretty frugal from the get go. Our dates were thrifty, but still romantic: star-gazing, hiking, and picnics were always our top choices (and they cost next to nothing). We knew we could take the same approach for our wedding.
So just like my sister Amanda, who planned a wedding in only two weeks, we called on our friends. We were amazed at how eager people were to help before we even asked. We found out that most of them had some pretty awesome talents like baking, decorating, playing music, and officiating. I found a dress that I loved at an amazing discount, but it was about 4 sizes too big. Again, another friend with another talent performed the necessary alterations, and I was set.
Victor put me in charge of the honeymoon, and I was thrilled when I found a vacation package for three days in Orlando and tickets to Disney World for $150. Sure, things didn’t go exactly as we expected—including having to listen to a timeshare pitch—but we have some wonderful memories from that trip.
Our entire “getting married” expenditures were less than $500—from clothes and food to marriage license and honeymoon. A lot of people tend to put off getting married because they think they can’t afford a wedding. But Victor and I are just one couple among many who had the perfect day for a price we could afford.
It really set the stage too for how we would handle our finances together. To this day, we try to be conservative in all our spending. I’m so glad we didn’t overspend on our wedding. Whether we had spent $500 or $5,000, we were still going to get the same title at the end of it. Today, we are Mr. and Mrs. and our wedding is one bill we are not still making payments on.