There’s more than one reason a couple chooses a DIY (do it yourself) wedding. But whether it’s budgetary or creativity, it’s undeniable that while a wedding may be a bride’s best day, to guests, it is a lovely party, in which they’re happy and honoured to share. A party. Most often, for everyone other than the bridal party, the couple’s extravaganza is, at most, a three- (to sometimes four-) hour party. It’s far too easy for the soon-to-be-wed to get carried away, to get swept up in bridal fever. Varying vendors – including magazines, websites, clothing designers, florists, venues, bakers – put the marketing campaigns on full throttle: a couple is not just encouraged, not just compelled, but made to feel obligated to tack on all the bells and whistles.
What couples may not consider, in the “heat of the moment,” in the midst of wedding fever, is that wedding funds – whatever your budget or how much you “go over” it – are gone, the very next day, maybe even before you go on honeymoon. A wedding, while a big emotional investment, is, in no way, a financial investment. The U.K. average wedding price costs £20,000 (more than enough for the down payment on a starter one-bedroom flat in the easily accessible-to-London area of Sevenoaks, Kent; and more than enough for down payment on a sweet piece of residential land in the family friendly Adelaide suburb of Ridgehaven).
So before you lay out your life savings (or a chunk of your parents’), do know that there are do-it-yourself options for which you can save thousands of pounds/dollars.
Last year, the Daily Mail reported on a couple whose pretty wedding cost £1 (spent on the bride’s gown). Georgina Porteous and Sid Innes married at their Inveness home, in their barn, and made wedding rings from antlers Porteous found on their property. His suit was something from his closet, the bride’s aunt baked the cake, her father performed the music, and guests contributed the food (a dish each) and drink. The vicar and the photographer did a services trade with the couple. The couple made good use of the websites Freecycle (.org and .net are two different sites) where items and services can be exchanged or traded.
Granted, Porteous’ and Innes’ was an extreme (it begs the question, was the food and drink the guests brought in lieu of presents?), but it illustrates, if a couple considers the actual goal is to be married, not demonstrate an excess of extravagance, it can be done. A beautiful budget wedding may take a lot of footwork (especially for the wedding planner-less couple), but it can be an excellent way to determine how well the couple work and make decisions with each other. Collaboration and compromise are key.
The quality of paper and home-printing today make creating your own “Save the Date” and invitations (not to mention “thanks you” cards), incredibly professional and inexpensive.
Save on rings
If you’re not quite skilled enough to make rings from discarded antlers (and, please, who IRL can do that?), the non-superstitious can look to vintage rings. You’re more likely to get a good deal on rings if you visit a pawn shop; call them antique anyway. No one calls jewellery “used” anyway. What about an heirloom/family ring?
For example, you might find a location which would offer you a blank palette, or one that would provide tables and chairs, leaving the rest to you. A park, for example, can be a beautiful location for a gathering of friends and cost 10% of a fancy venue. The Adelaide City Council site lists no less than 12 Adelaide Park Lands where couples can wed (for a very reasonable $281 AUD for 1.5 hours). Anyone of those could be, for example, a dream location and the best wedding venue Adelaide.
A little help from my friends
Solicit friends, use Facebook friends– you may know people who would be happy to provide a service (photography, flowers, hair, make-up, baked give-a-ways, the actual marriage ceremony, music) as their present to you. You can rent or borrow a gown or suit. The options are many, even if your bank notes are few.