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How to have a wonderful budget wedding

by Angela
(Derby, England)

Just because money is tight is no reason not to have a fantastic day. My now-husband and I had a wedding 4 years ago that cost only about 2000 GBP (Approx. $3,047.20), and that included the honeymoon. Yet plenty of people have told us that it was the nicest wedding they'd been to. So how did we do it?

Firstly, it is important to get the focus right. Remember the old adage that a wedding is only a day, but a marriage is a lifetime. For our wedding we focused not on what was currently trendy, nor on what was "expected", but on what we both liked and wanted. This was a day for us to celebrate our love with family and friends, not to show off.

Next, sit down together and work out who you know with skills that might be useful. In our case, my cousin is a master-baker, so I asked him to do our cake as his present to us. A friend of my Dad is a keen semi-professional photographer, so he was asked to do the posed photos, and ended up giving them to us as a present. For more candid shots I asked a favor of my boss's daughter, who had just finished studying photography, and my boss gave them to us as her wedding present, and my nephew, who was also studying photography at A-level did some candid shots too.

Videoing the day was more difficult to arrange, but I asked my friend with a video camera to do it. This was the least successful budget idea, as she didn't stay for the reception, but at least we had a record of the ceremony. For the music in the ceremony we tried to find what we needed on CD, to avoid having to pay the organist. However, in the end my cousin, who was jointly officiating, arranged for the band at the Salvation Army she led to play the tunes we needed and be recorded.

I know most of you will not have that option, but do you know anyone who can play an instrument well who would be willing to record the tunes you need? For the meal, we asked friends at our church to help, and for the cost of ingredients at the cash and carry we had a lovely buffet, complete with people to serve up.

Finally here are a last couple of ideas. As we weren't paying a photographer we bought disposable cameras and placed on each table at the reception, with instructions to please take lots of photos and leave behind. This gave us lots of candid shots which are a lovely reminder of the family and friends who attended our special day.

Our last tip saved on time and money getting from church to reception: check if the church has a hall that you can rent for the reception. In our case this was right next-door, which made life easy for everyone. It was a good size, and we were able to decorate it exactly how we pleased.

I hope that these tips have been useful and that you will be able to create a memorable day which everyone who attends will remember for years to come, for all the right reasons!

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