Even before I claimed the title “minimalist” I sought to have a minimalist wedding. Why? Mainly because I didn’t want the stress of a big production. Planning a big event is exhausting and I wanted to enjoy myself, not try to remember a million different things.
Besides that, we didn’t want to enter into our marriage with wedding debt – or burden our parents with wedding debt either. Brian and I were both in our mid-twenties when we got married and opted not to ask our parents to pay for anything. In the end, we spent less than $1,000 on our wedding (including the rings), which meant we could splurge on our honeymoon – total win!
With the average cost of a wedding hovering right around $30,000.00 these days, it seems like many couples just need permission to have something simple. I know there are some who want an extreme celebration, (but I bet they aren’t reading my blog!) So, if you are thinking about spending thousands of dollars on a 4 hour event, how about using that for a house downpayment and opt for some of these tips instead of glitz and glam:
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- Make decisions based on the couples enjoyment. Not to impress people. There is no need to invite every person your family has ever known, or have a certain style of wedding just because Aunt Shirley would be offended if we didn’t, or my friends will be mad if they’re not invited. This is for and about the couple who are tying the knot. It’s not about anyone else.
- Eliminate the unnecessary so you can focus on the important. That’s what minimalism is all about! So what is important to you, on your big day? Is a nice honeymoon more important than the ceremony? Each couple is going to have different priorities, expectations and desires. Talk it out- decide what each of you find important and leave the rest out of the celebration.
- Have a budget. After you’ve decided what is important, figure out how much each item will cost and then add everything up. Do you have enough money in the budget for it? If not, decide what steps you want to take to avoid going into debt (i.e. taking on a second job, asking family to contribute to certain things, researching cheaper options, compromising, etc.).
- Forgo tradition. With non-traditional options, it’s easy to simplify: email or Facebook invites, instead of printing, labeling, sending… Keep the service simple and put more work into the reception. Keep the guest list to immediate family members- or elope!
- Keep it simple. Dress, suit, cake, reception, decor (or none at all), flowers. Imagine everything and then scale it back times 10. Think it through: which image do you prefer?
Specific ways to go minimal:
- Save the date/invitations. Create your invite on Facebook or send out an email. For the older generation who don’t have email, print out a simple note with all the specifics just for them. (Because, that would be maybe 2 printed invites, right?)
- Guests. The smaller the crowd, the easier it is to plan for… and remember: This is your day. Invite people who you want to join you during this next season of your life.
- Bridal party. You technically don’t need anyone to stand with you- you just need someone to sign the marriage license as a witness. They can sit in the audience and still “witness” it.
- If you do want a bridal party, keep the attire basic and affordable. Perhaps get a color swatch from the fabric store and ask them to wear an outfit that has that as the main color. This allows them to get something they are comfortable wearing and they can decide how much they want to invest, rather than having a set “the dress is $200. and the shoes are $75.”
- Location. If you are a member of a church, the member price is often cheaper, but if you want to avoid decor, nontraditional makes it easier: public parks, zoos, beaches, public or private gardens, wilderness areas, roadside chapels, vacation cabins, bed & breakfasts. If you live in the city, consider a small town nearby over the big city venues.
- Limit the venue to one. If you have an intimate wedding in mind, consider using a banquet hall from a nice restaurant, have a quick ceremony and then sit down with your guests for a meal. Near us, there are a variety of places that can seat 20 and have a lovely fireplace at one end of the private room.
- Time. Weeknight weddings or morning weddings can save money, as well as offering a unique reception. A 10 AM ceremony followed by brunch can be very pleasant. (If you are a morning person, that is!)
- Service. Consider skipping a traditional ceremony, going to the Justice Of The Peace and then inviting all your guests to meet you for a reception to celebrate.
- Bridal Attire. For the groom- go with something he’ll use again, nice slacks and a white shirt are perfect, even purchasing a nice suit is often similar in cost to renting a tuxedo, and he can use it again. A quick search on Etsy.com can bring up simple and elegant vintage wedding dresses and if you want something of this years style- consider renting your dress from Rent The Runway.
- Flowers & Bouquet. There are many flowers that can be simple and elegant- consider a small bouquet of lavender, lily of the valley or carrying a single stem of your favorite flower.
- Rings. When you look at rings, get what you want, not what is expected by family or friends. Many men feel that to prove their love they need to produce an extravagant rock to draw attention. True love means being honest with your spouse-to-be, in what you want as well as respecting each other’s desires (Guys- if she wants something simple, let her have simple!).
- Reception. Keeping your party small means you can just make reservations at your favorite restaurant and not worry about planning a reception. If you want informal, consider a potluck or BBQ at someone’s home, or a local park.
- Gifts. There are some pretty cool options these days with SoKind Registry, and online cash registries, people can even help cover the cost of a fabulous honeymoon, which far more fun than an extra toaster, right?!
- Favors. To be honest, all the favors I ever picked up at weddings ended up in the landfill, so let’s save the earth a little and skip those altogether.
In the end, the wedding is about the couple getting hitched. It’s not about everyone else. It’s a celebration of your relationship with each other. If you want that celebration extravagant, go for it. If you want it simple and intimate with a handful of special people around you, give yourself permission to celebrate your relationship the way you want.
In what ways will you/did you incorporate your minimalist philosophy in your wedding?