A Wedding For Under $500

If you’ve ever been on Pinterest for any length of time, you’ll have noticed all the pins about how cheaply you can throw a wedding: for under $12,000, for under $7,000, for under $5,000…

Here’s where we stand:

  • Bride’s dress: $4 (I ordered it from ModCloth and had to pay shipping, but the dress was free.  They had screwed up slightly on a previous order, and sent me coupon code for $50 off, which I saved for the right time)
  • Bride’s shoes: $7 (never-used pair of sandals from the thrift store)
  • Bride’s headband: $16 in materials, handmade by me!
  • Bridal Jewelry: $0 (handmade by my mom!)
  • Groom’s clothing: $0 (shorts, a polo, and his Keens)
  • Wedding venue: $0 (public park on the waterfront with a small gazebo, so no fee is required to reserve)
  • Officiant: $180
  • Flowers: $10 – 50? (I’m thinking of either heading to the grocery store for a bouquet or ordering a bouquet online to arrive the day before the wedding, and in either case, just using a few blooms from it)
  • Handmade bowl: $0 (for The Boy to hold the rings, handmade by my friend, an art teacher, and featuring the imprint of my grandma’s crochet *sniff*)
  • License: $60
  • Rings: $100?  (I know we can get a nice set on Etsy for $80-100, but haven’t ordered them yet)
  • Reception: $0 (Not having one! – just heading to dinner with family and close friends)

No cake, no invitations (although The Man seems to have invited the whole town to the ceremony!), no chair covers, no favors, no place cards, no limo, no boutonnieres, no formal photographer, no bridal party, no DJ…

We don’t need it.  We’ll have each other, and The Boy, and the people closest to us on the planet.  What more could a bride want?

PS No pictures now, because I want to share pics from the wedding afterwards!



Crafty Bridal Headband

In case you didn’t know, I have short hair.  No, really short.  I don’t have the luxury of getting my hair all done fancy for special events, like, I dunno… a wedding.  I’ve been pinning pictures of brides with short hair for awhile to get a feel for my options.  You know what?  There aren’t too many pictures of brides with short hair on the interwebs!  But the ones I did find looked super cute with a simple headband.

Next step was to price headbands, and when I saw that they run at least $25 or $30 (sometimes more), I thought I could make something I really liked myself, for cheaper (probably).  So I started pinning DIY headband tutorials like this one.  I still didn’t have a clear picture in my mind of what I wanted, but I was anxious to get crafty, so I headed off to Hobby Lobby.

This is what I came home with:


All told, I spent about $16 including tax on the various supplies.  I sat down one afternoon and started playing with the supplies, literally throwing things together to see what came out.  One of the first things I did was wrap the off-white ribbon (the kind that has a bit of wire in the edges, so it stays put) around the headband.  This particular headband even had a handy little wrap of ribbon around the ideal spot to place a feature embellishment:

headbandwrapped headband

(And even better, there happened to be a knot in the ribbon that ended up right at that spot, so I could still locate it after I wrapped the headband!)  I hot glued the ends of the ribbon to the headband when I was done wrapping.

Next I started playing with which embellishment would go on the headband.  I had picked up some flat-ish crocheted flower shapes in the scrapbooking section and started playing around with those to see if I could make it into something that looked decent:

placement1up close crochet

Then I stitched them down to the black felt right down the center, so it would stay in place.

Next I started beading the center of the flower with some glass pearls (4mm, I think), and some light pink crystal beads:


When I finished with the flower center, I added some “bridal trim” to the outer spokes.  The trim came in one long piece, but I simply cut each individual flower off and hot glued it in place:

"bridal trim"all trimmed

Next I hot glued all of the edges to the black felt, and cut the felt shape out.  I put a dab of hot glue right on the headband, and placed the embellishment on the dab of glue.  Then I cut some felt patches to glue to either side of the band to hold the embellishment in place:

glued felt patches to hold in place

And then I tried on the finished product:

finished headbandon the bride!

Not bad for $16 and a little crafty fun!

So Much Fun the Second Time Around

I’ve written before about what Pinterest has done for (or is it to?) brides, and I am still in awe of how much this one social network has probably changed an entire industry.  I can certainly tell you that I did not have a list of “must have shots” for my photographer at my first wedding, and I didn’t give much thought to the gifts for the bridal party (did I even give gifts?  I’m sure I did, but I don’t remember…).  And while it can be fun looking there for inspiration and ideas for my own second-time shindig, it’s a bit like watching one of the Housewives series… I gawk because I can’t wrap my brain around the fact that people actually live that way, and care so much about what other people think.

Of course I want my loved ones and friends to enjoy themselves, but this is a (ten minute) ceremony to mark our commitment to each other and to celebrate this hopeful new beginning that is The Man and me.  If the people I invite to share the day with us love us, they will enjoy it just for that simple fact.

Maybe a few of these from Walmart for the "bouquet"?

Maybe a few of these from Walmart for the “bouquet”?

I must say, the second time around is very liberating.  There’s so much you just don’t have to worry about (and so many more options!!).  And maybe it’s not so much the fact that it’s a second wedding, but that it’s a really small, casual affair.  Public Park, Friday afternoon, about ten people, including us, The Boy, and the officiant!  When it’s so small, you don’t need 90% of the stuff you have to worry about for a big wedding, and it’s SO cool.

So, yes, I still get lost on Pinterest for a time, but more often than not, I’m giggling at the posts about how to spend “only” $5K on your wedding, 15 “mandatory” wedding photos, and the 6 “rules” a man must follow to ask a girl to marry him…  Oh brother.

The Common Sense Bride (Who Has Done It Before)

Getting engaged has meant a mixture of emotions, many expected, and yet some unexpected.  And of course, now there’s Pinterest.  And anyone who has a Pinterest account has a wedding board of some kind – everyone.  This is a bit of a peek into the minds of the young brides out there who are planning their little hearts out (or more accurately, their bank accounts out).

You see, I did the whole big wedding thing the first time around, and I don’t begrudge them that at all.  But.

Pinterest has a way of giving you great ideas while also imposing some sort of expectation of craftiness.  Many mommy bloggers have written about the inability to “live up to” their Pinterest-ideal, as if it was some sort of new gold standard.  And now the brides have set themselves up for that, as well.  And this can only end in disappointment and exhaustion.  I can see those weary young ladies, staying up all night to craft this or that x300 guests for their wedding.  And then on to the next detail.

And the “resources” for the modern bride?  The $10-20 bridal magazine that is 99% advertisements for dresses (and since you will only wear one dress [okay, there is a high-dollar trend to have two dresses, one for the ceremony and one for the reception *gulp*], it’s really not that good of a return on your investment, especially when there’s this thing called the internet where you could find all of those dresses without paying the extra money for the magazine…  but I digress…), the “advice” blogs who dictate who gets to wear veils, and who doesn’t, and that yes, you should definitely provide your guests with favors because they will remember the details…  I call BS.  How many weddings have you been to?  Do you remember who gave favors and who didn’t?  I certainly don’t.  I can’t even recall a single favor I have received, that’s how little I cared about them, and those brides who did have them could have saved a ton of cash, time, and sanity if they had forgone that one detail.

I read one piece of good advice recently, and it was this: decide on the three aspects of your shindig on which you would like to splurge a bit, and keep it to three.  Mine would be photography, bouquet, and dress.  But you have to understand that for me, $300 will be splurging (and we may be talking silk flowers, and a photography student from the community college, here…).But while I have ideas of what I’d like, I do not have my heart set on anything in particular (and I know that The Man will have ideas, too.  We’ll be making decisions together).  I have the perspective of the Second-Time Bride who has realized the most important thing is something you can’t buy or craft from Pinterest.  It’s the love and partnership of the one you are marrying.  Nothing else really matters.

Now What?

When you tell people you are engaged, they immediately ask you something along the lines of, “Now what?”: Have you set a date?  Where will you live?  What are your plans????

While I’m not going to say that we haven’t thought about these things (because I am a planner, after all, and that is just who I am), I must say that I’m having a great time just reveling in the feeling of being engaged, of having someone who loves me utterly, who has done one of the most vulnerable and romantic things a man can do, which is propose that we commit our lives to each other.

And perspective is an amazing thing.  I’ve done this before, and it’s almost amusing to look at a bridal magazine and all the infinite, intricate pieces of a wedding that are out there as ideas, and products, and kits, and… whew!  It’s a relief to have this experience behind me that makes me shake my head, laugh a little, and say to myself, “So unnecessary”…

So while I’m thinking about the “getting married” part (which pieces are important, and which pieces just really aren’t) because weddings are fun, I’m also thinking about the “Now What?” after the wedding.  Being a wife, blending a family, the big changes in my life (our lives!), and the one man who loves me enough to take it all on with me.

Have a beautiful day!

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