Times are tough for many couples at the moment and for some a wedding in the near future seems near impossible, some couples save and wait years for their big day, all to wish they did it sooner and didn't worry about making it so big! Now of course we love big extravagant weddings but they are not for everyone and not everyone can afford them and so we thought it fitting to give those people some helpful tips on how to have a lovely intimate wedding for next to nothing.
What to do first...
Adjust your expectations- if you absolutely can't afford a 'wedding' then don't look at bridal magazines and think you can recreate something similar without spending a cent, just stay away!
Keep it small- An intimate gathering for your non-wedding wedding will be easier to manage especially if plans change last minute (as it can with non-wedding weddings!)
How to pull it off...
The attire- You can wear anything you like on your wedding day- it doesn't have to be a big puffy white gown. If you are a little bit the traditionalist and you don't have any white items, you may be able to find something suitable in your local clothing store for cheap and bonus you can wear again. For the groom, what man doesn't have a nice shirt and a pair of dress pants in their closet. $0- $100
The flowers- You can walk down the street and pick a few flowers from the side of the road and walla you have the wildflower 'thrown together' look that is oh so popular at the moment. If you just can't arrange any flowers go to your local florist and get them to make up a small bunch of flowers, not a bridal bouquet but a bunch of flowers, discard the paper and walla...again! $0-$80
The ring- You don't NEED a wedding ring to get married but most women like to have one. You also don't have to have the biggest ring and you don't have to get it straight away so it's up to you! $0- $??
The date- For the non-wedding wedding you'd be better to choose a time of year where the weather is likely to be fine as your likely to be outside. Public places are generally busier during the weekend and in school holidays so choosing a date during the week while schools are in would be preferable. With the magic of email and phones you can inform your guests of the arrangements without any cost! $0
The legal parts- So there's no way to get out of paying for the marriage certificate and officiant (unless you know someone who can perform the ceremony for you) but it's not going to break the bank. Make sure you order your marriage licence in plenty of time, there are celebrants out there that don't charge very much or will be willing to discount their fee for a mid-week quick ceremony, they may not be the best on the block but for the non-wedding wedding they'll do. Search the internet to prepare a ceremony for your wedding day, you can choose to have a reading and can write your own vows or use traditional ones. Keep it short and sweet. Marriage license $122.60 Celebrant $200+
The location- There will be scores of great locations for your non-wedding wedding ceremony and picnic and the great thing about being out in nature there are many beautiful backdrops and no need for fancy decorations and it's freeee! Of course I can't recommend you try and hold a large wedding ceremony in a public place without consent but there's nothing to stop a small group of people gathering in one place for a special picnic is there? You just need to be flexible and considerate of your surroundings and other people. Check out local parks and reserves, take walks to find some lovely spots to shortlist. $0
The food- Who doesn't love a picnic? You can prepare food yourself or ask your guests to each bring a picnic rug (everyone has one) and a plate of food, one of your guests might like to make the cake or you can pick up something yummy at your local cake store for around $40. $0-$150
The music- We all have these days an ipod or something similar and we all know someone that can play the guitar if you want something playing as you walk down the 'aisle' or while your placing your rings etc. Don't be afraid to let nature bring the music either, sometimes the sweet singing of the birds and soft whistling of the wind is all you need. $0
The photographer- I'm sure most of your guests will bring a camera, ask them to take a few snaps and make you copies. $0
The honeymoon- Don't have one. Even some of the most elaborate weddings are followed by an absent honeymoon, usually because of work or financial pressures after the big day. If you like just stay home and enjoy each other, make a vow to do no housework, order take-out and do nothing that's ordinary. You may be surprised what you can find in your area to do, just down the road from me is a creek surrounded with hundreds of glow worms! You can also take some great walks or visit your city's museums if you haven't already. Pretend you are somewhere totally new. $0
The total: $172.60- $502.60 + rings
Remember it's not about how everyone gets there, what they have to sacrifice or bring, it's not about what you feel you are giving up. It's about two people wanting to join their lives and proclaim their love in front of their loved ones. Bring smiles and laughter and love to any place, any time and you will find a magical memory.