Confessions of a Frugal Bride

Since wedding season is gearing up, Moolanomy is running a cool contest for posts about weddings.  Fortunately for my upcoming marriage, I have recently embarked on a serious effort to reform my terrible financial habits. Unfortunately for the wedding industry . . . I have recently embarked on a serious effort to reform my terrible financial habits. I’ve already blogged about how my transformation has led to a paradigm shift in my wedding planning. Now, with seventy-four days until the blessed event, I’m ready to confess all the ways I’m cutting corners on the wedding. If you’re planning a wedding soon, here are nine ways to make your wedding planner cringe and your pocketbook grin.

Confession #1: I don’t need a wedding planner.
Seriously, planning a frugal wedding is not a labyrinthine process shrouded in mystery. Basically, you’re throwing a big party. Unless you are incredibly busy or planning a wedding across the country, you don’t need a professional. Read around on the Internet, puruse a couple of planning guides at Barnes and Noble, and trust yourself! I know that can I plan the wedding of my dreams.

Confession #2: I’m making my guests sit outside in July.
I didn’t rent a fancy hotel conference room or book an exotic wedding locale. Instead, I’m forcing all my guests to sit outside in muggy, July weather at our favorite state park. I was kind enough to rent the lodge there for $170 for the day, so they will have a place with A/C to cool off. Am I torturing everyone just to save a few bucks? Not really. You see, this park is where the future husband and I had our most memorable date. We love the outdoors; we love to hike, and we love that we’ll get married in a space that is meaningful for us.

Confession #3: I’m not paying an officiant, a baker, or a single musician.
No, I’m not planning on running away as soon as the ceremony is done so that I don’t have to dole out checks. Instead, I have beautiful friends who are willingly donating their talents to our wedding in lieu of gifts. Since we’ve got plenty of toasters and towels, these gifts are much more valuable. Hooray for amazing friends!

Confession #4: I never was able to wear a bridesmaid dress again.
Not even the very tasteful black one that one bride bought for each of her six bridesmaids. I loved every bride I stood up for, but hated every dress. So, I am going against the grain and asking my maid of honor and bridesmaid to pick out their own dresses — no restrictions. No, they won’t be all tastefully lined up in matching dresses. But, they will be there, finally celebrating my wonderful relationship rather than listening to me drone on about another bad date. After all that they’ve put up with, I want them to look and feel fabulous that day!

Confession #5: I hate wedding videos.
So, no videographer for me. It was an easy way to cut costs. Just like ballet or modern dance, a wedding is best enjoyed live. The beauty of that moment will come from everyone who has gathered together to wish us well, not some stranger’s super-cool camera angle.

Confession #6: My mom and I have a secret desire to be caterers.
Since this will probably never happen, the wedding is a great opportunity to indulge our fantasy. While other folks may dream of sitting back and basking in the princess-y glow of being a bride, Mom and I love the idea of creating the food for everyone. For us, our own cooking is central to every other holiday and life-event, why would a wedding be any different? Now, before you think we’ve completely lost our minds, I am hiring two people to serve and coordinate the food at the wedding so that I won’t be stuck behind the buffet table all day. But even with that, I’ll cut the food cost at the reception in half.

Confession #7: I haven’t saved a single wedding favor from a single wedding that I’ve attended.
Sorry everyone! Your matchbooks, napkins, cookies, and jordan almonds were all adorable. And they all went into the trash once the fun of your wedding faded. So, I won’t be shelling out top dollar for favors that get lost in the shuffle of life.

Confession #8: I won’t be wearing Manolo Blahniks at the wedding.
For the last five years or so, during my shopaholic days, I dreamed about buying super-expensive shoes for my wedding. I decided that you don’t wear the dress again, but you can wear the shoes again. The problem with this fantasy? Well, when the choice came between $500 for shoes and $500 for food or photography or anything else in our $4000 wedding budget, the shoes lost out big time. This doesn’t mean I can’t ever have expensive shoes. I just have to wait until I’m out of debt. Once I shifted my thinking from fantasy bride to frugal bride, charging money for shoes while I’m working so hard to get OUT of debt seemed really stupid.

Confession #9: I’m having a great time being a frugal bride!
You may remember that scene from Father of the Bride where the bride feels guilty about all the money her dad’s spending for the wedding, so she falls asleep reading “frugal” tips in a bridal magazine. Steve Martin finds her, flips through the magazine and shudders at the mere thought of his baby having to cut corners. Well, what’s amazed me the most about this process is how I don’t feel like that at all. I’ve designed the wedding and cut corners in ways that reflect who I am and what the future husband and I value. This wedding will be a better reflection of us than any “typical” $20,000 wedding. I’m having a great time planning the wedding, love my friends and family who are helping me, and can’t wait to stand in front of them and commit to the love of my life!

9 responses to “Confessions of a Frugal Bride

  1. Pingback: The Best Wedding Tips and Stories Giveaway | Moolanomy

  2. I’m not even sure how I found your blog…just clicking away from one debt/money blog to the next…and I found you. Anyway, I really like it and plan to stop by often. I love your frugal wedding ideas. You’ve definitely got your priorities straight. As long as you have a contingency plan for rain (tent? pavillion?) no one is going to mind being outside for your July wedding. In fact, I’m sure they’ll love it.

  3. I love the idea of letting the bridesmaids where what they want.

  4. mydailydollars

    @ Barb

    Thanks! I’m glad you liked what you read. Yes, we’ve got the lodge which will fit everyone if it rains. I’m certainly crossing my fingers for good weather!

    @Navillus You’re site is great!

  5. I think I still win with the frugal wedding — $65 for the marriage license and nothing else. Go me and my so-non-traditional-wedding-that-it-never-actually-existed wedding. 😉 Sure, for a while I was disappointed there would be no white dress and no reason to splurge on shoes, but I got over it. (I had the same idea to spend like $500 on shoes… Go figure!) We didn’t want to wait and save up for it, so we did ourselves a favor and didn’t do the debt. In the end, we still ended up married just like everyone else. 🙂

    Of course, my decision isn’t for everyone, so I’m somewhat unique in this aspect… I like to joke that the money that would have paid for a wedding went to pay off our car instead, so we have something tangible and not just pictures of one day in our entire history together for the same price. (It works for us, so what can I say?)

  6. Pingback: Festival of Frugality #125 - Save Some Money If You Are Rich Edition

  7. Hey…I just finished a post like this. You can see how we saved $$ at

  8. Pingback: Weekly Accounting and Carnivals « My Daily Dollars

  9. We saved money by buying bud vases and having just a single rose and greens at each table.

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