Footnote Frivolity***, Gen DIY-er, Money Matters, Thriftster weddings

Mustbethrifty challenge for 2013: plan a wedding under $15K

Last year I posted about Josephine and Patrick’s thrifster wedding. Theirs was an incredible effort of beg, borrow, or buy secondhand and they ended up spending just over $7K, less than a fifth of the average Aussie wedding budget.

Cheap Geek and I are now organising our big(ish) day and we’ve set our budget at $15K. It’s an amount that we can save in the upcoming months, preventing us from starting our marriage with communal debt*.

With my copy of Kelly Bare’s The DIY Wedding – Celebrate Your Day Your Way and Ariel Meadow Stallings’ Offbeat Bride – Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, I will tackle the big ticket wedding expenses such as venue, catering, flowers, attire, and photography in the typical mustbethrifty fashion, i.e. by blogging about it.

The first item on the agenda is venue. Our preliminary guest list indicates that we need a place that will hold 100-120 people. Unfortunately, ‘anything that has the word “wedding” attached to it costs twice as much–and that includes more traditional wedding venues like ballrooms, hotels, and private estates’ (via Offbeat Bride). Time to think outside the bridal-industry box.

I’ve been hitting the Offbeat Bride website for inspiration. I particularly admire Heather & Tim for their ingenious use what they had around them. Their ceremony was to be held at Contemplation Point, a piece of public art in their local park, so the two led their wedding guests on a five-block walk from their home to the location. Heather and Tim particularly enjoyed ‘see[ing] the smiling faces of crossing guards, joggers, and pedestrians as…[they] made…[their] way to the park’.

Now that the horizons have been expanded Battlestar Galactica style, I going to shrink them with the nitty gritty. Are there toilets? Is there good lighting? Can the venue be accessed a day earlier? Are food, alcohol and loud music permitted (and can you organise it yourself or is it done for you)? Are there hidden expenses (i.e. cleaning, security) in the contract? Does it look good on its own or does it need major cosmetic surgery? The last question is particularly pertinent for anyone wanting to save money on decorations. After all, ‘the better it looks on its own, the less you need to adorn it, which means less work and less expense’ (via The DIY Wedding).

We didn’t look for long since I had an idea for a venue. A few years back, the local lawn bowls club had made an impression on me with its wrought-iron gates, its pennants and beautiful grounds. It had toilets, lighting, a bar, a kitchen, a piano, tables and seats**. Guests who couldn’t dance, could have a crack at the game on the green. More importantly, the hire fee was only $300, compared to the thousands spent on one family friend’s wedding reception venue***.

Ok, so we’ve got our venue. What’s next on the wedding list?


*Speaking of communal debt, I’ve heard of one couple spending $60K on their wedding. They put everything on the credit card and didn’t pay it off. This couple were friends of a friend of a friend, so their story could be an urban wedding myth. Let’s keep it mythical: paying 20% interest on 60K is no way to start a life together.

**Mum was particularly worried that the lawn bowls club didn’t have tables and seats.

***That was just for the venue. Food was organised through an external caterer.

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2 thoughts on “Mustbethrifty challenge for 2013: plan a wedding under $15K

  1. Pingback: must be thrifty

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