Monday, April 14, 2014

planning our wedding: everything is expensive, but these 5 things are FREE!

here are some ways i didn't just "save" money, i didn't spend any!

1. borrow your friend's jewelry. at my ladies weekend (aka: bachelorette party), i asked everyone to bring any/all of their gold earrings. i tried them all on and knew immediately which one i wanted to wear. the sweet thing was that the pair that jumped out to me belonged to my oldest childhood friend annette. it was particularly meaningful because we chose not to have a bridal party, but still wanted our close friends to know they were precious to us (upcoming blogpost on this topic). i stood as annette's maid-of-honor and hadn't planned on reciprocating that role for my wedding, but it was special to have a piece of her hanging on my ears! FREE (and priceless)!

2. do your own hair. i could've gotten something elegant and fancy done, but the occasion didn't really call for it. because our whole wedding was more low key, i didn't have any problem curling my own hair. (side note: i felt more confident doing my own hair than my makeup so i paid someone for that. you can see how much i paid here for my lack of makeup skills. *gulp*) the morning of my wedding, my friend steph drove to michael's and found the flower i wore in my hair for under $5. she and mary helped me clip it in and voila! hair done! i think steph said not to worry about the cost, so if i'm remembering correctly, i guess it was FREE! ;-P 

3. look around your house. you may be surprised by what you find tucked away in your cupboards and closets. we ended up using the following that we had on hand: large canvas, clothes pins, straws, card stock, floral tape, pillows, markers, compostable utensils, some nice dinner size napkins, and a shell alice (sister-in-law) found last summer in france to hold our rings. 

most of us tend to be accumulators. we own a lot of stuff "just in case." well, time to dig into your "just in case" stock pile and use them up. you've already paid for these items so it's not a new expense. 

4. borrow everything you can think of. instead of creating more waste or purchasing things you won't use again, ask around. if you want to have those cute glass water dispensers with lemons in it (i did!), i'm sure someone in your community has one. ask around. people want to support you! or maybe you have a friend who has a really cute sense of style and would be willing to loan you a few decorative things here and there, ask! call on your community for support. 

on a related note: one thing that samuel and i were clear on was that we would much rather spend money on a small gift (we chose a pair of movie tickets) or a meal with someone who helped us, rather than spend that money on buying one-time goods for the wedding. connecting with people outweighed having the "perfect" __fill in the blank__.

5. if you can't find it for free, forget about it. sometimes it's easy to get married to an idea you simply "can't do without." well, you can. if it costs something or requires too much work, it may not be worth it. try to simplify your process by cutting things out. it's likely that very few people, if any, will even remember...and you probably won't either. make your wedding planning process as easy as possible. it's such an emotional time, so reduce any additional stress. FREE and FREEING!

most of all, it was vital for samuel and i to keep coming back to two things:
  • as special as our wedding day would be, it is just one day. it's one event. what is far exceedingly more important is that we spent time preparing for our lifelong marriage, not just an event. 
  • my friend heather reminded me that "your wedding is a celebration of you, not a reflection on you." remember that you're creating a space to connect and celebrate with dearly beloved guests who love you! they are not there to judge you, they're there to love on you!


  1. i borrowed my cousin's diamond studs, about an hour before the whole shebang. i was going to go earring-less but she threw a fit. i walked into the MAC store, without an appointment to get my face done (it was free, with the purchase of $50 of something, so i bought my bridesmaid a tube of lipstick and some fake lashes) and my hair. i did have to get my hair did. when it was long, i would throw it into a ponytail, i am useless with the pretty stuff and it was an expense that had to be made but i kept it as low budget as possible.

    1. i had totally considered getting my make-up done at a counter on the morning of my wedding, but that felt too stressful for me so opted to hire someone. i'm so glad i did b/c it made my morning a bit easier than having to run around from place to place. :) thx for your comment!


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