I Got Married! And I'm Still Debt-Free.
My day didn’t go by too fast. It was just right.
Well, where do I start? Besides the obvious statement that I am now a married woman…(sorry boys). I guess I’d first like to state that my now-husband and I were able to pay for our entire wedding by saving heavily over a 6 month period, and also putting chunks of money towards items as we went. We worked our asses off. And it was worth it. Every penny.
Holding zero debt after the one life event that most couples struggle with was extremely important to us. We wanted to enter our marriage with a clean slate and clear VISA.
Before I go any further, I’m sure most people who read my blog are expecting a modest and below average budget. You'd be surprised... so, bare with me. It's true that we are definitely below the average $40k wedding price tag, but that doesn’t mean we were able to spend just $5000 and still have all that we wanted, which was this:
My husband (how wild is that) and I wanted to be able to spend a weekend away with our closest friends and family, while allowing them to spend a minimal amount of money. As most of our best friends are still in post-secondary or just graduated, we found it unfair to ask them to shell out for a destination wedding or a $500/night hotel room.
We chose to get married in Canmore, Alberta. Canmore is a beautiful town that has mountain scenery (and can also come with a hefty price tag during the summer months). However, we were smart-ish. The two of us chose this beautiful bed & breakfast to host our wedding weekend. We were able to rent out the entire facility Thursday-Sunday and charge our guests whatever we felt was appropriate. Breakfast was included each morning. Plus, there was more than enough rooms to sleep all 36 of us comfortably.
We asked our guests to pay $200 per person for their room, food, and alcohol for the entire weekend.
Thursday = movie night with wedding party and family Friday = ceremony followed by reception Saturday = kickball game and further festivities Sunday = goodbye breakfast and departure
It was just what we imagined. Only better.
What made us even happier than all of the memories we shared during that special time, was the fact that we came in under budget *skies part, angels sing*. Because, you know, we care about our finances.
Check it out!
Not only was our final wedding payout over $7000 under our original estimation, we also ended up breaking even! For us, it feels like we saved all of this money, took it out to admire our hard work, and then put it back in the account like nothing ever happened. Success!
Now – for those of you who are inspecting my budget, judging, laughing, and choking at some of the numbers, I feel like this is my chance to defend or agree with all that you’re thinking.
It’s true, I busted my budget on a wedding dress and jewelry that... I may never wear again. My 18-year old self is saying “don’t question it girl, the photos say it all”, but my 26-year old self is saying “you idiot”. Especially considering that at about 10:45 on my wedding night I got way too low during Baby Got Back and busted the “back” wide open (#onlyme).
On the flipside, my hubby killed his attire budget getting a suit on sale online, and then not needing any alterations! Oh, to be a dude. As for the rest, I blame beauty magazines *flips hair*.
I feel like I have zero explaining to do here. My bridesmaids went above and beyond, so spoiling them was not out of the question. For the groomsmen, we decided to purchase their pants and ties as a gift, so that they did not have to worry about finding the same pants in 5 different cities. We took our parents for a lovely champagne lunch as a gift, and our wedding favors were homemade tie-dye jerseys for the Saturday kickball event. Flashy, right?
My flowers were great, especially since I’m the farthest thing ever from a female and told them to just get me “whatever would look best and was within my budget”. Each of my bridesmaids received a flower crown and small bouquet, I got a lovely bouquet myself, and then for the rest of the reception I ordered a bucket of flowers for $200.
Rentals included all of the table cloths, speakers, projector, chair covers, and beyond. Invitations were over budget because originally I was going to make my own, cutting down the design costs and printing, but my laziness won out, and we ordered through Minted.
The venue was the cost of the bed & breakfast in its entirety. Yes, for the whole weekend. Yes, for the setup and take down of each event. I mean, that is pretty much amazing and if you don’t agree you must know something that I don’t. We were over budget on dinner because we opted for a sit-down instead of buffet, which was the better option in my opinion. Dessert was donuts from Modern Jelly, and my lovely professional pastry chef friend from YYC made & gifted us an incredible crepe cake.
Liquor was another one that we lucked out on. We have quite a few friends who were able to slide us a deal or two. 90% of our booze came in at cost or staff pricing, which saved us heaps of money in the long run. Buying liquor for a weekend filled with 36 wine and beer lovers was extremely hard. But we had a lot leftover, which is better than turning up dry. Did I mention it was an open bar?
The “weekend food” included lunches, dinners, and late night snacks for Thursday – Sunday, and the game supplies were merely a permit to use a local field for our kickball game.
*takes deep breath*
Well, now that I’ve written the longest blog post of my life, and you’re like “okay Alyssa, we get it”, I’ll move on.
In the end, weddings are expensive no matter which way you spin it. If a vendor hears the word “married”, you can guarantee the price will increase by a good 30-40%.
So, I learned some important lessons the process (good and bad):
Flexibility will save you money, and lots of it.
The smaller the wedding, the more you can do.
Let yourself lose control. Just this one time.
Treat your wedding day like any other day to avoid stress and nerves.
Apple music/your brother is a great DJ.
Know what you want before you put down any deposits.
People are more generous than you’ll ever understand.
Don’t worry about inviting everyone you know.
Your wedding dress doesn’t care how much you love to dance.
Nothing matters but your genuine love for one another.
People told me that the day goes by so fast you won’t even remember it. Which is why I spent my time relaxed, never in a rush, and always breathing in the important moments. My day didn’t go by too fast. It was just right.
What was your wedding like and did you go over budget? Not married yet? What are you ideally wanting to spend? Let me know in the comments!