You want to have a glorious wedding and you deserve to. What you don't necessarily want to do (or aren't able to do) is spend a lot of money. You will spend money at your wedding, there's no getting around that. But by keeping the focus of the wedding squarely on your marriage and the community support you want for your marriage, you are able to rethink common wedding wisdom.
These areas of the wedding are big ticket. Here are some ways to step outside common wedding practice.
- Venue: Do you need a prestigious address or are you willing to look at something funky and fun? You do need a vessel to hold this glorious event. But a couple hundred dollars of fabric can turn a so-so venue into something fabulous. Many of the best venues are worth multiple thousands of dollars. Is that worth it to you? Where in your community can you hold your wedding? Parks, Restaurants, Warehouses come to my mind. What comes to yours?
- Size: There are things to be said for both big bashes and intimate parties. What makes sense for who you are and how you live your life? You might want a small wedding and a huge party that's far more casual. If you want to encourage the wedding theme, find a way to celebrate your wedding vows and the statement of support your community made during the wedding ceremony
- Hospitality: Are you interested in welcoming your guests into your life and providing them a wonderful experience? What kinds of experiences could you offer that didn't cost an arm and a leg? This is one of those over-arching questions. What is the feel of hospitality that you want to invite your guests into? What's your style? Are you formal people? Then you may want a sit-down dinner. More casual? Have a wedding picnic.
- Community Building: Are you interested in having your guests meet and mingle? Are you aware that a formal sit down dinner is probably the worst way for that to happen? Think of your wedding as a mixer. Plan games and table events that get people chatting. That's what you want: for your guests and your partner's guests to come to know one another, and to know you and why you're perfect for each other.
- Family Reunion: How are you going to get people together who haven't seen one another for a long time? Are there activities throughout the weekend that can bring diverse groups together and not cost a lot of money?
- Good Food: Who doesn't like great food? What kinds of great food aren't going to kill your budget? How can you have great food without spending lots of money? Catering is often less expensive than a venue's food. If you put someone in charge of food day of, even if you hire someone to arrange and organize, you can bring food from different favorite venues and have a feast. Creativity about food is always a good thing!
- Entertainment: Do you want to dance? How do you use music so that it offers you the entertainment you want and doesn't destroy your budget? Is this a place where your community can be helpful? If you're not dancers, nothing says you have to have a band or a dj!
- Clothing: are you aware you can rent dresses as well as tuxes? Do resale? Could be not insignificant. You can have a dress made. You can wear a friend or a family member's dress. You can ask your bridesmaids to wear fabulous dresses that they have. A little coordination can make this fabulous. You can wear a great suit. Often this is a stellar investment in your future. Every man should have a fabulous suit. This may cost more than rental, but you do get to move it into another category: work clothes!
- Décor: How elaborate does this need to be for you? What other ways could you think about this that didn't include thousands of dollars? This is harder in a big city, because you can't ask your friend to bring a fabulous screen from home in a taxi. Have a competition. Ask (how ever many tables you have) talent friends to decorate a table. Give them $100 per table. Tell them they can't spend more. Give them a color or a theme and see what happens. Tell them you'll supply the tablecloths and linens. Or not.
There are so many ways you can think differently about your wedding. You spend money where it's important to you and you find creative, less expensive ways to celebrate in areas that aren't as important. You spend money where your values are and as your values dictate. When your wedding looks like you people will have a good time and be happy to support and celebrate your marriage. Marriages that are supported and celebrated by their community will thrive. That's what you want, right?