Becoming engaged and picking a wedding date can be one of the most beautiful experiences of your life! Choosing a date that is not that far off can cloud even the most optimistic with doubt and stress. Take heart! You CAN have a beautiful wedding on short notice and without a lot of money if you are willing to be flexible!
If you have a venue in mind, call right away. By some miracle, a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the near future MAY be available. If not, consider that early morning garden breakfasts or late evening candlelight suppers can be just as romantic; sometimes more so. Weeknight weddings and receptions are equally beautiful (and often much more affordable) too! Ask the venue coordinator what they have available, and see if any of those dates might be good for you.
With not much time to plan and run around, you may also want to find an all-in-one location. This would mean someplace that you can have the ceremony and follow with the reception. This eliminates many additional worries. You need less transportation, you don’t have to decorate two places, you don’t have to find caterers because they’re included, you don’t have to order a cake because they do it for you…those kinds of things. Some options for these kinds of weddings are boat cruises, churches or places of worship that offer a hall and kitchen (many times you can have the women’s group of the church prepare the meal). Some reception halls will let you bring your own Officiant or Minister and use their gardens for the ceremony when you hire them for the reception.
If you can’t arrange an all-in-one venue, then be sure to look into City Hall ceremonies. Despite what people think, some of the City chapels are beautiful and are arranged with rows of chairs for guests. They are also often located on or near parkland for photos.
When a couple decides “at the last minute” to get married, it often means they do not have a large budget, as who puts money aside for such an event when it is hardly a glimmer on the horizon? Low budgets can still do the job, with creativity, planning and flexibility, but do not try to accommodate a guest list of 400! If you keep the guest count low and plan a simple and elegant event, you’ll have memories to cherish forever AND some money left in the bank!
The key is: what do you both want? Do you want something simple and let’s just get married, or do you want the full “Wedding Day” treatment? Both can be done with small budgets and short notice, but you must be organized and flexible.
Things to Consider When Planning a Low-Cost Wedding
- Keep a list of everything you need to arrange. Decide which ones are essential to realize your dreams, and which are optional. Assign a realistic price estimate for each item. If the first supplier can’t give it to you for that price, then find another. Start with the most expensive items. If you can save on these, then you have more left over for other things that may be slightly more than you anticipated. Consider a formal evening gown instead of a “Wedding Dress” or check out the re-sale and consignment shops for beautiful gowns at drastic reductions.
- Choose flowers that are in season during the month of your ceremony; nothing fancy and imported. Many florists have pre-set wedding packages, but you are not confined to those. Ask for the colours you want in flowers, but price out different blooms with a friendly flower shop assistant. Not every bouquet needs to be made up of roses and other expensive blossoms. The florist will consult with you and you’ll be pleased with the results. Single flowers for the ladies to hold and simple boutonnieres for the men keep costs down. You will find simple corsages can also be affordable for Mothers and Grandmothers too, so there is no need to eliminate the lovely moments just because you are on a budget!
- Do your own make-up or have your favourite hair stylist do your hair and makeup. Find family members to drive you around on the day.
- Take the basic photo option from a photographer. You will want photos, so really try to work this into your budget. Supplement the basic purchased package with friends and family who have cameras. With all the digital cameras out there now, arrange for a website that posts the photos for free and tell all your guests about it so they can send the photos to you for upload. That way, if there are any you love, you can print them at a low cost later.
- Ask the members of your Wedding Party to pay for their own outfits as a gift to you and your fiancé instead of presenting you with a gift they purchased. (Do try to get dresses for the ladies at a proper dress shop that they can actually use later).
- Ask lots of questions! You are paying people to provide a service for you, so do not be reluctant to make them work for it. If you want something for a lower price, ask them if it’s possible! If you are unclear about something, make them explain. If you don’t like something, say so. This is YOUR wedding, not theirs.
- Do not be nervous! Enjoy it! You will only be able to plan and execute your own Wedding once in your life, so make it wonderful - even if it is short!