My big fat budget wedding
When we first announced our engagement, The Bargain Queen felt like she had to start planning the wedding immediately. She looked at bridal magazines, checked out web sites and read online forums. That created a growing sense of panic, because even though The Bargain Queen was seeking out information on chic, non-traditional and inexpensive weddings, there was nothing that seemed right. In wedding magazine terms, a $10,000 wedding is really cheap and holding a traditional wedding in a park instead of a church makes it low-key and non-traditional. This really wasn't what we had in mind.
The other horrifying thing was the amount of time and money that went into organising even the 'simple' weddings - and the bride was supposed to do it all. The magazines were full of long checklists of things she must do, buy, choose or demand. The Bargain Queen isn't that kind of girl. She never dreamed of a big white dress or a church ceremony, let alone a wedding DJ, so organising all that stuff was never going to happen. It was quickly decided that half the work in organising 'our big day' would be done by Mr Bargain Queen.
Once that was decided, we sat down and talked about the traditions that actually mattered to us. Neither of us wanted a church ceremony, and finding a celebrant sounded like a lot of fuss, so we decided to write our own vows and get married in the registry office. That limited the number of guests considerably, so we made the wedding our 'little day' with only family present, and decided to have the reception a few months later and make that the 'big day'. That also gelled well with wanting it to be fun for our guests - let them skip the dull ceremony and throw a great party for them instead. Mr Bargain Queen's father offered to take everyone out to lunch afterwards, and that sounded like a brilliant idea. He then added a limo and a water taxi to the mix, which turned it into a really fun day.
In terms of budget, the things that did really matter to us were looking good on the day and buying really nice rings because we'll wear them forever. A lot of money was spent on rings (nothing budget-priced there!), and a reasonable amount was put aside for clothes. In the end, The Bargain Queen liked the gold Akira dress she already owned more than anything she saw in the shops, and we found a great Jasper Conran jacket on sale for Mr Bargain Queen and built an outfit around it. The biggest splurge clothes-wise were new shoes for The Bargain Queen - and then she broke her foot two weeks before the wedding and had to wear flat sandals instead. *sigh*
We'll share some tips on planning a non-traditional, budget conscious wedding soon.