Saturday, June 7, 2008
Whether you're in a hurry, you have a tight budget, or if you simply want to get married without making it a big production, it's still possible to have a real wedding. Instead of spending huge amounts of time and money, use your own creativity and resourcefulness, and that of understanding family members and friends.
Take care of the legal stuff as soon as you decide to get married. Go to the courthouse and get the marriage license. (Note that in some countries you may need to wait a month or more after acquiring a licence to have a legal ceremony.)
Spread the word. Invite people by email, phone, or (if you trust your delegates) word of mouth. If you have more than two weeks, use a computer to design and print your own invitations, but remember that they'll take time to go through the mail.
Find an officiant, but don't look in the phone book first. If you don't have somebody in mind, ask people you know. Just about anybody can become an officiant, and chances are that word of mouth can put you in touch with somebody who has, or is willing. Choose somebody you are comfortable with.
Write the ceremony yourselves. This step is not about haste or budget, but about having a ceremony that is meaningful and comfortable for you.
Obtain rings, if you choose to wear them. Jewelry stores may try to sell you the fanciest, priciest thing, but meaning is far more important here than cost.
Go casual. Let everyone know that your wedding is a barbecue, picnic, beach, or luau theme. It is much easier and less costly to orchestrate these gatherings than something more formal or fancy, and nobody will mind that everything doesn't all match. Tell everybody to wear jeans and sneakers, sandals and shorts, and their favorite Hawaiian shirt. People are a lot more comfortable in casual clothing, anyway, and it will put everybody at ease.
Wear clothes you already own, or buy something simple that you can wear again.
Get married in your home, or your back yard, if you can.
>Have the wedding and the reception in the same place. Your guests won't have to stop everything and get lost going from here to there, and you won't have to prepare and clean up two different venues.
Borrow chairs or inquire about renting them. Ask around and get creative. Otherwise, rent from a local party center.
Keep cleanup simple, See if a party store near you has an inexpensive roll of plastic tablecloth material in the color of your wedding. Cut it to length and don't forget to tape it down, especially if you're outdoors.
Appoint a "stage manager", if possible. A level-headed high school or college student is ideal, particularly anybody who has had experience in band, drama, restaurants, or the like. This person will help you watch timing, direct and assist with setup, run last minute errands, line people up for group photos, and so on. Offer to pay this person, especially if he/she is a "starving student", treat him/her to a nice dinner, or return the favor.
Keep favors simple,or skip altogether . Avoid making favors that will require a lot of assembly. For our wedding, we got a selection of attractive dollar-store fans as favors that doubled as colorful centerpieces, plus some pinwheels and bubble juice for the kids who attended The weather was warm the day of the wedding and the fans were very well received.
Skip the flowers or buy just a few from a supermarket (go for color, not price) A single open rose or camellia floating in a bowl of water can be very elegant.Alternatively, for centerpieces, consider simple candles
Skip the photographer, unless you know an amateur or hobbyist who is eager to try her hand at it. Let your guests know that you'd like copies of their snapshots. You'll probably have dozens of cameras in the crowd, and some of them will get good pictures. It's easier than ever to share photos. You'd have a hard time stopping people from taking hundreds of photos of your wedding. Do take the time to line up different groups of your guests for photos after the ceremony. maybe ask Bill & John David
Place plenty of trash cans and, if possible, well-marked recycle bins in discreet but visible locations. Many guests will naturally clean up after themselves when given the opportunity.
Consider doing your own music with wedding CD
Don't feel guilty or timid asking for help. Most people will understand completely and they'll be delighted to pitch in.
If people offer to help, let them! You might be surprised at how many people volunteer, when given an opportunity to do something besides dress up, show up, and eat. Let your "stage manager" assist you in putting these people to work.
Relax and have fun, knowing that by letting this event be informal, you've saved yourself and your guests a lot of stress and hassle!
Do something separate for the people where you work. Including too many people from your office can expand your guest list dramatically. They probably don't know your family, anyway, so they may feel awkward showing up and trying to fit in. Instead, have cake or snacks in the lunchroom or go out for drinks after work one day and invite anyone you like or just announce it generally and let people decide for themselves whether to join you. This gives everybody a chance to celebrate and meet you while keeping your wedding a little more intimate
- A willing partner.
- An officiant.
- A minimal budget. With many weddings costing as much as luxury cars, $500 is a very minimal budget.
- Helpful friends and family members.
- A location.
- A quantity of food.