Our Minimalist Wedding

Minimalism was not our intention. My husband has a small family, so not a lot of guests on that side. The focus on my end was just to keep it simple. Truth be told, I couldn’t be bothered with all of the planning, headache and heartache.  I’d seen enough of that in the various weddings I’ve attended or been a part of for the better part of 3 decades.

No thanks.

We both agreed that we wanted something where our guests could feel at home. Where they could chat and laugh without having to scream over loud music. Where they could get their clothes dirty with food stains. Where children could frolic in the pool or in the backyard.

Oh, and we had to have two weddings. First, there was the civil ceremony in the Fall. Our parents are in their eighties and it was important for us to have them witness our vows. The Church wedding would take a few months and we had to schedule pre-Cana sessions, a kind of counseling for those getting married in the Catholic Church.  These sessions could take a few months to complete. So a civil ceremony was the answer. The mayor of a local village came to my sister’s house and we had a small luncheon afterwards. It was beautiful.

The “big shindig” took place the following Summer. At first, we were going to have a cool food truck cater the party in my sister’s backyard, but they were busy, so we went with a more traditional caterer. Which was fine, since we were also able to hire two wait staff.  So far, the wedding costs were a few hundred dollars.

Since there is a pool in the backyard, I insisted on hiring a lifeguard. This protects both my sister and her husband financially as well as protecting swimmers. It was a good investment, and we hoped we did not have to make use of it. Thankfully, we did not. This added another hundred or so. So far, the wedding cost is still under $1,000.

My two wedding dresses were bought at a national designer discount store for less than $60 total. The Fall dress was an awesome fuchsia and the Summer dress was just that–a Summer dress, white with lace.  Inexpensive white sandals and a handmade lace shrug from Etsy completed the outfit, for less than $200. The hair clip was from a dollar store.

My hair is naturally wavy, so all I did was step out of the shower and let it dry naturally. The bangs I styled.

The makeup was what I wore daily.

My husband bought his suit and shoes.

Still, the wedding so far costs less than $5,000.

We rented tents, tables, chairs, and portable toilets. The table linens were donated from local restaurants. Hey, it helps to have a sister who is known in her hometown.

We decided not to hire a professional photographer. What we wanted were those candid shots gotten only from friends and family. Turns out a friend decided to bring his professional-grade camera and played photographer for the day. Later, we printed out those pics on shutterfly, and POW! a cute little wedding album for less than $100.

My brother-in-law provided live music for us, for free. Free and priceless.

The alcohol served was a gift from my sister, as were the simple centerpieces.

Bouquets and boutonnieres were bought from Bunches Direct a few days before the wedding.

The cakes were bought at a local big box retailer.

Did I mention the wedding and engagement rings? Mine are sterling silver with cubic zirconia. The hubby’s is a simple sterling band. Just a couple of hundred dollars for them.

Our honeymoon will be a weekend at Wellneste Lodge this coming June. I bought it as a Christmas gift to my husband via Groupon. The cost? $250 for a two-night stay.

The whole wedding cost between $5,000-$6,000. Where we live, $20,000 is considered inexpensive.

We kept asking ourselves, “What’s more important, the wedding or the marriage?” Of course, it’s the marriage. So why waste so much time and effort, not to mention money, on something so temporal as a wedding?

On the big day, it rained a little and the lifeguard got sick. I shrugged it all off. My sister said to me, “I’ve never seen such a relaxed bride.” Of course. The wedding already happened, we were joined in union. The party afterwards was just a celebration of that. Stuff goes wrong. Stuff goes right. Why worry?

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The Fall Wedding. The shoes were actually given as a birthday gift from the matron of honor the previous year.
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The Summer Wedding. Husband used the same suit, just a different tie.
For those who want to see the back of the dress.
For those who want to see the back of the dress.