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Jour 168: How to have the frugal wedding of your dreams

HOW CUTE is Audrey Hepburn's wedding ensemble here?
Totally something she could wear again.

Hey, guys. Remember how my parents got married for $74.34 in in 1972? While it would be admirable to attempt a wedding for the same amount today (and I have to admit, that sounds like a fun challenge to me), this inflation calculator tells us that the equivalent in 2012 dollars would be about $377.88. And that, my friends, is completely do-able.

If you don't want to go down the route of crazypants frugality, here are some frugal wedding ideas inspired by my parents' epic feat of wedding thriftiness:

1. The Dress
(This dress costs $17.80 at Forever 21 and, I think, would be a supercute mod wedding dress)

My mother made her own dress, which was "a simple blue linen A-line." The crucial detail here is that this is the sort of dress you can wear to other stuff besides your wedding. I mean, feel free to buy a new dress for the wedding, but make sure it's not so uber-bridal that it won't be suitable for any other event.

To save some extra $$, make the dress yourself! (Note: this involves first learning to sew. I would personally not attempt this, as I am way too impatient to sew my own stuff. But you could save heaps of money sewing your own dress if you know what you're doing!)

(I can hear Monty and Lori from Say Yes to the Dress charging up from Atlanta to beat me up about this. Sorry, guys! Still love your show! But your business model is insane!)

2. The Decor

My parents repurposed flowers that had been used at a previous wedding in the same church. You may not be so lucky as to have your wedding right after another wedding who didn't clean up - but you can save $$ on flowers in a couple of easy ways. Firstly, schedule your wedding in a church during or right after Christmas or Easter - when the church will likely already be decorated! Or, you could get married in a public place (i.e. a park, public gardens, etc.) where there are already flowers that are free because they're in nature! Another option is to wedding-share with another bride; hold back to back weddings and split the cost of the decorations.

3) The Officiant
You need to pay a minister, usually, to marry you. But if I've learned one thing from sitcoms, it's that anybody can get ordained on the internet! There are websites that do this for free, so you and your chosen officiant won't have to pay anything! (Note: you should probably check first to make sure their internet credentials are valid in the place you're getting married) Or, if you know somebody who's qualified to marry people, maybe they can do it for you for free in lieu of a wedding gift, or at a discounted rate.

4) The Rings
(This ring from House of Harlow 1969 costs only $55! $110 for two!)

Personally? I hate wearing rings (and all jewellery, but that's another story). If you really want to squeeze your finger into an uncomfortable thing that you'll spend all your time fiddling with and will likely lose, then the most frugal thing to do would be to buy a non-wedding ring. Like, buy a cute and nice ring, but it doesn't have to be gold-and-diamonds or whatever. My parents got theirs for $43.34 ($223.31 in 2012 dollars) and I bet you could get something nice and pretty good quality for that much.

5) The Reception
(Eww, who invited Pete Campbell?)
My parents and their guests all went to a pub for food after their wedding. My grandfather (mother's father) paid for everybody's food (I should  mention there were like, 10 guests). If you have a bigger group of people, you could take everyone to a restaurant - often you can get a discount for large groups, and there may be a prepared menu you can order from (which decreases the costs a bit more). I guess it's kind of chintzy to get everyone to pay for their own meal (I would, but I'm a jerk), so another option could be to do it up potluck-style, or do some of the cooking yourself.

This whole setup sounds totally appealing to me - but of course it does. Look at my genetic makeup. But honestly? If you can step back from the wedding industry hysteria, it doesn't have to cost a year's worth of rent to get married. It can cost $73.34 (or $377.88 if you don't have a time machine).

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