With wedding season just around the corner, but also with all the questions I was asked after my small wedding, I couldn’t help but share with you all the tricks that have helped me get through it.
Why opt for a small wedding?
Because it’s so easy to get carried away and believe me, it goes up fast!
Do it, if that’s what you want.
We felt that having a small wedding was the best option for us and for our future, mostly that we want to buy a house… and that going on an amazing 3-week honeymoon was a must!
ENDING UP WITH A LOAN FOR YOUR WEDDING
The idea of having a small wedding is not the first idea that came to mind when thinking about my future wedding.
I’m no different: I would’ve wished to have a $50,000 budget, a beautiful venue, 250 guests, 3 dresses and a camel that would carry me to the ceremony!
Come on, who doesn’t want that? Well, not my husband … neither does my budget. #Lolilolol
Normally you choose to have a small wedding because you really love your partner, because you don’t want to tighten your belt for the next 5 years for a 12-hour event and because you don’t want to wait until you are rich to get married.
Love has no price, so why do we put a huge price on the name of marriage?
So here are my tips for organizing a small wedding that reflects your image.
THE NUMBER OF GUESTS
That’s where it all starts. And that’s where you have to put up barriers. Inviting everyone is so easy, but selecting the right people is even harder.
Believe me, the fewer guests you have, the easier it will be for you to organize your big day. We had 35 guests, and we were supposed to have only 20 initially. Create rules that will help you select these people. For example, invite people you’ve seen twice in the past year, don’t invite co-workers, etc.
We also took the liberty of not allowing our guests to bring their boyfriend of the moment that we’ve never met. Also, no children were invited. I love children but know we wanted a hell of a party it wouldn’t have been the ideal place for them. 😉
With all my heart, I know it’s not easy to cut people off your big day. But know that people will understand. This is your day, don’t stop yourself from getting married because you have a family of 75 people you never see and feel the pressure to invite them.
If they love you, they’ll understand. You shouldn’t even worry.
You have to think of everything to save money. Look for an AirBnb with a backyard, ask a friend if he/she would like to open the doors of his/her home to you in exchange for money and a housekeeper for the next day. You could even rent a big chalet.
Think outside the box and how much you could do to save money. Often, you can rent your city’s municipal hall, which is also a cheap option!
Once again, think outside the box. Forget the traditional 6-course dinner, food is the most expensive. Do you have the skills to cook? Do you have a family/in-law who also wants to get involved?
We made a raclette, with fine meats, fine cheeses and a couple of side dishes. It took us two days of preparation. We bought everything at Costco and saved a lot of money at the same time.
And if dinner stresses you too much, you can also start your wedding at 7 p.m. and offer only cold snacks. Really, the sky is the limit and I am sure your idea will be the right one!
This is also so expensive!
To give you an idea, we had 35 guests, and we didn’t want to limit our guests’ drinks, so it was an “all you can drink.” We had wine on the tables, beer and strong alcohol as well as juices and extras to make cocktails.
Providing alcohol to our 35 guests cost us $2,000. It goes up fast.
Because our wedding was at my parent’s place, we didn’t have to pay for a liquor license, and two of my sister’s friends came to help us with the cocktail service, the appetizers and clearing out the dinner tables.
Again, if you don’t have the budget, you can do a “bring your own wine” and provide a few drinks. You know your guests best, and I’m sure you’ll come up with a great idea.
Spend time wandering the aisles at Dollarama. It’s impressive how much you can find to decorate your room on a small budget. Do a “DYI” search on Pinterest—the best place to find a bunch of decorating ideas at a low price, in my opinion!
Also, Amazon is a very good option. Plan in advance what you will need and order it all online.
To be honest, we didn’t really have a budget, but we kind of knew how much we wanted to spend. We were very aware of what we could afford ourselves and our family had helped us SO much in the organization of our small wedding.
Now let’s dive into the real deal: here’s my 35-guest marriage in numbers. I didn’t include our flight tickets to Quebec since I don’t consider it as part of our wedding budget, nor the engagement ring since it isn’t part of the wedding day.
Photographer: $500 (my cousin who’s a photograph, gave us a deal for the day).
Flowers: $575 (for my bouquet, for the cake and light touches in the room)
Room decorations: $1,800 (to rent the tables, the chairs, buy the raclette grills and for the decorative elements)
The wedding bands: $1950
My outfit: $750 (for the fabric of my dress and the accessories)
My husband’s outfit: $850
We had several free services such as the room’s rental (aka my parents’ house) and the sound system’s rental (which belongs to the family). We didn’t have a DJ, but rather a Spotify playlist and an unlocked iPhone. Everyone could improvise itself DJ by playing their songs.
One of my wedding gifts from my family was also beautiful handmade plates and bowls—also used for the wedding.
Also, I didn’t have a “stationery expense” section because I created everything myself for the invitations. The costs are, therefore, part of the decoration category.
We got married in my dad’s garage, and it cost us $10,025!
It’s not a joke when I say it goes up really fast.
HOW TO ORGANIZE A WEDDING FOR UNDER $5,000
I know it’s scary when you look at it that way, but there are many things we could have done differently to lower the costs.
First, by only offering a few cocktails, and selling the following ones for $3 each. By reducing the quantity and quality of food—we had way too much food for my wedding #Lolilol.
We didn’t put any limit in terms of food, and it would have been very easy to lower the cost.
I also spoiled myself with all the fresh flowers we used as decoration, but in reality, you can only buy what you need to create your bouquet.
You can reduce costs by renting a suit for your future husband and creating a lot of DIY decorations with items found at Dollarama.
Also, nowadays you can send your wedding invitations online for free (and I recommend it as it’s really an unnecessary cost; everyone has forgotten to send it back to us!).
Ask a friend to take a picture of you to reduce costs, our phones all have great cameras these days.
Here’s how I would allocate a budget for a $5,000 wedding.
Room decorations: $900 (rented tables, chairs, sound system and decorative elements)
Rental of a room: $250
The wedding bands: $1, 000
Bride Outfit: $800
Bridegroom Outfit: $250 (rented)
To organize a low-cost wedding, you really have to forget all the “basics” of a traditional wedding. Because in reality a wedding is a 15-minute ceremony and that’s all you need to be married. That’s it!
What surrounds the ceremony is up to you and your future husband. Be creative, allow yourself to create a day that looks like you and that stands out. Don’t be afraid! Having a unique wedding is so much fun!
If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to ask me!
This post was translated from French to English by:
My name is Aimy and I am a second year-student in translation studies. I discover my truths through my passion for literature, arts and culture. I have a keen eye for beauty, a lust for life. For me, every day is a chance to acquire knowledge and create. As Einstein once said, “creativity is intelligence having fun.”