Money Talks, So Should You

Balancing Act: Wedding costs we're skipping

Esther Goh
by Esther Goh , Dimespring 30 (@eemusings)

It blows my mind that some people spend the equivalent of a down payment on a home for a single day. Weddings are expensive, but personally, I'd rather drop five figures on a house than on a party.

Our small, casual wedding will clock in at about one-fifth of the price of the "average" wedding. We're having fewer than 50 guests and a relaxed daytime buffet event. Sure, we could have just done a registry wedding, but if I was going to tie the knot, I wanted a little bit of celebration around it. Unfortunately, nobody we know owns an awesome property suite to hosting a wedding, but we were lucky enough to find a rustic little place out west that was just perfect for us.

READ: What should I know about my fiance's finances?

Obviously, a frugal wedding entails cutting costs in some areas. Here's what I deemed unimportant:

Yup, we're skipping blooms. Just because I'm a woman doesn't mean I automatically like flowers, mmmkay? Sure, flowers are pretty. They're also kinda ... lame. They make me sneeze, they're expensive, and then you have to figure out how to get rid of them after.

All the details
We chose a pretty funky venue that should speak for itself. Decor? Favors? Candles? Embroidered napkins? None of that jazz. I simply don't care enough about any of it (though if you do and have the energy to handle it, kudos). Ultimately, it's about the people  that's what matters most to me.

Dishes and cutlery
All right, we're not disposing of these entirely. But we are planning to go disposable. Not very formal, but they save a lot of hassle, particularly as ours is a DIY type of wedding rather than an all-inclusive one where you simply walk in and walk out.

Live band
I'm not inherently opposed to spending money on a live band. However, we have a very eclectic playlist (I made it, so it spans the gamut from Elton John to Mudvayne) and a tight venue with no space to accommodate anyone who's not a seated, dining guest.

INFOGRAPHIC: The high cost of being in a wedding party

You know, I've heard people say that weddings would be unbearable without alcohol. I think you probably shouldn't be there if you need to be sloshed in order to tolerate the event. Also, try attending an Indian wedding sometime  now THOSE are epically long and alcohol-free affairs.

My partner and I rarely ever drink, and we're both very fussy about what we do drink. I personally won't be touching a drop on the day, because a few sips in and I get a.) the dreaded red-faced flush (which is not quite the bridal look I'm aiming for) and b.) insanely sleepy.

Luckily, our venue is super relaxed, so we've made it BYOB. Drink what you want, I say.

I get that it's not the kind of wedding that will appeal to all. Some people might call us cheap (hopefully behind our backs rather than to our faces) but this reflects our style and it fits in with our budget. Anyone who can't get behind that should probably disinvite themselves.


Esther is a 20-something writer and editor from Auckland, New Zealand, trying to balance living for today with saving for tomorrow. Esther is a member of the Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on personal finance.