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Church Bells Are Ringing – Savings for the Bride and Groom

The flowers are in full bloom, the church bells are ringing, and it’s time for the season of love. Yes, weddings are in full-swing, albeit tiny. 

Even though you can’t host a large wedding right now, there is the option of hosting a reception in the future. Hey, at least it’ll help you reduce some expenses. 

I remember being flabbergasted when I heard the average cost per wedding when Michael and I got engaged. They were ranging anywhere from $10,000-$35,000. Yikes!

I don’t know if you remember the movie or ever watched it, but I loved, “The Wedding Planner”. I dreamed of what my special day would look like. I had envisioned the dress, the flowers, the candles, the church, etc. I had it all planned out and lived for the day. 

I had always wanted to get married in the spring. I love tulips and hydrangeas. I pictured them being everywhere in the chapel and the reception. That was until I met Michael.

Michael and I were madly in love with each other. We knew that the Lord was blessing our relationship toward marriage. We had finished schooling and both had good jobs. We were ready to take the next steps. We sat down and looked at our calendar after we got engaged to plan the wedding date.

It was middle of October. Even though I had always wanted a spring wedding, that seemed too far away to us. Yes, I realize it would have only been a few more months, but we weren’t willing to wait. Based on family birthdays and anniversaries, February first looked like the best time. 

That’s right. We had two and a half months to pull this off. I threw all my plans out the window when I knew that marrying him meant more to me than certain flowers and things. Because we didn’t have much time to save for our special day, it was time to get creative. 

If you’re like me, you don’t want a long engagement or to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding. I realize at the moment that you’ll probably have to have a small ceremony for now. That’ll give you time to save up for a reception in the future once COVID lifts. However, you might want to save some of that money for a nice honeymoon, a down payment on a house, or to create a solid emergency fund. If that’s the case, here are some tips to keep your wedding beautiful and affordable.

1) Buy fake flowers

I went to Hobby Lobby in the States. They had a sale on. I bought my flowers for my bouquet and all of my bridesmaids for $50. A few of the flowers had buds branching off of them. I cut them off, wrapped them up with some extra leaves, and made boutonnieres out of them for Michael and the groomsmen. We had three bridesmaids and three groomsmen. Done!

2) Creative Aisleway

I wasn’t sure how to decorate the church aisle until my cousin gave me a great suggestion. We printed pictures of Michael and I growing up. We went to the Dollar store and bought silver frames and purple ribbon. We placed the pictures down the aisle (about every other pew) starting with our baby pictures at the door and finished with our engagement pictures at the front of the sanctuary. It was beautiful. It told a little story of us growing up leading up to that special moment in time when the two became one. That was probably only about $30 for printing the pictures, buying the frames, and the ribbon. Then a few of the family and I made paper snowflakes for the other pews.

3) Various Services

People love to help out for weddings. Oftentimes they are willing to discount or gift their services to you in leu of a wedding gift. I was very grateful to have my sister-in-law do my hair, my cousin take our photos, and my husband’s family print and design our invitations. They all did quality work. I was much more grateful to have their services than receive a physical gift because those were all great gifts in themselves! I was speechless and thankful. If people mention to you that they are willing to help, and you know they are quality, take them up on it. It may not be exactly what you envisioned, but it’ll be a great savings. Be honest with them though what you want and work together on it. 

4) Creative Spaces

Michael and I both had a certain idea in mind of what we wanted for a reception hall. We were looking for something like an old estate home or country club type feel. However, most of the places we were looking to rent were $1,100 or more, just for the room itself. That didn’t include catering or linens. That was way too much for us. I was working at a really nice retirement home at the time. Most people that visited called it “posh”. I approached my boss with the idea of having our reception there. She was thrilled with the idea, as were the residents! I worked with the chef to create our own special menu. We got a really great deal on everything. Sometimes you have to think outside the box with the church and reception hall, especially if you don’t have much time before the wedding date. Ask around and see what you can come up with. 

5) Centerpieces

You could easily do these yourself. You could purchase vases and coloured rocks from the Dollar Store. Put some candles or flowers in the center and bam, you’re done. I couldn’t get too fancy with these because of the time the retirement home had to set up the dining room between the seniors’ lunch and our reception. I needed something that they could quickly set on the table. So, I found beige plastic plate. My family and I went and collected a TON of pinecones off the ground. One of my dads loaded up his pressure washer with silver paint and sprayed all of the pinecones for me. Costco had a sale on flameless candles. We put the candles in the middle of the plate with the silver pinecones all around them. You could barely see the edge of the plate, so it worked out nicely.

The servers set the centerpieces in the middle of the table and walked around with the remote to turn all the candles on. It was super inexpensive, quick, and pretty. The room itself had enough elegance that the centerpieces accented it well rather than overwhelm it. 

Centerpieces minus the candles in the middle

6) Staging

This can get costly and tricky. I wanted the church to be just as beautiful as the reception since that was the moment that mattered most to me. If you’ve got some crafty people in your family, put them to work, graciously and if they are willing of course. I always wanted large columns for my wedding. One of my dads came up with the idea to make our own. He bought sonotubes from Home Hardware. They are pretty much large cardboard tubes. We painted them and made wooden bases and tops for them. Being the engineer and handyman that he is, he created supports in between each one and added pot lights for added effect. One of my moms bought yards of tooling or fabric from a local store and draped them in between the columns. We instantly had an incredible backdrop set. Again, to save cost and make the most of that beautiful set, my brothers took it down after the ceremony and set it up behind our head table at the reception while we were off getting our photos taken. 

7) Vehicles

If you’d prefer to drive something fancier than your own vehicle, ask around. I wanted a white jeep, but there weren’t any available. So, one of my dads got creative. There was a friend of his that had a nice white Cadillac SUV. His friend was away on vacation and told my dad that he could use it for our wedding. It was really generous of him, and we enjoyed the perk of a nice ride. Save yourself on the crazy expense of a limo or renting a car if you can avoid it. Hey, you might even get chauffeured around by the vehicle’s owner, or a friend or family member. 

8) Favours

I don’t know if this is still as big and important as it used to be, but adding favours to the cost of your wedding can really add up. Michael enjoys hot chocolate. So, I decided to surprise him and have a hot chocolate bar at our reception. We had marshmallows and candy canes available to add to the hot chocolate packages. In order to save on the favours, I bought plastic spoons at the Dollar Store. My sister-in-laws, mother-in-law, and a couple of my nieces pitched in and we made a fun night out of decorating the spoons. We melted chocolate, then dipped the spoons in it to coat the rounded part. We made sure there was enough to fill the spoon ladle. We put crushed candy canes on some and marshmallows on the others. When they dried, we wrote R&M on the backs. 

I’ve seen other people give little plants or tree starters as favours. To reduce the cost of these, you could buy the seeds, tiny starter pots, and dirt. Start your own seedlings if you have time rather than buying them already started. That’ll save you a lot of money as well. 

There are tons of ways you can have an affordable and still beautiful wedding. It’ll take some creativity and help from friends and family, but it’ll be worth it. You’ll enjoy the making memories in the process with those who are helping you. 

All the best on your special day!

(All professional photos were taken by Melissa Moore-Robison)

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