Here’s a riddle for you: what do the following have in common?
- A 2014 Toyota Yaris
- My wedding budget
That’s right, they’re the same. So it’s a little tongue-in-cheek to say “here’s how to have a frugal wedding!” because when you’re talking about something that costs as much as a car, it’s a lot of money to spend on one day. I suppose it’s better than having a Mercedes-level wedding, but that’s hardly the point.
Weddings are expensive, plain and simple. I was talking (listening, mostly) on Joe’s podcast several months ago with a couple wedding planners who said, maintain the guest list, make it as small as possible, always have an alternative plan if you’re getting married outside, and after that, do whatever you want.
That’s fine advice. Really. But not for me.
See, I’m lucky to be part of a huge, loving, rowdy, supportive, amazing extended family, who I get to see once a year (at minimum). We have a big reunion (only we don’t call it that, reunions have sheet cakes and people checking their watches to see if it’s time to leave) every summer where we take over a campground (and motel!) and we spend four days eating, drinking and catching up. So I can’t have a small wedding. I don’t even want to.
So, if I’m not budging on guest list size, how will I keep my costs down? Let’s see.
Part One: The Venue ($600)
We are getting married in a park underneath Portland’s prettiest bridge. This has been my favorite park for as long as I’ve lived in Portland.
We’re having the ceremony and the reception outside. On a Sunday. In September.
In the middle of the day.
It’s going to be awesome.
Getting married in a Portland park* means we have to play by their rules. We have to provide porta potties (more on that in an upcoming post!). We can’t have hard alcohol (saves money right there!) and we can’t have kegs (well, there goes the money saving part). Only beer in cans and bottles, and wine in bottles. Okay, fine.
It’s lunchtime on a Sunday. That’ll probably be enough!
We secured our venue the day after we got engaged, because apparently, getting married in a Portland park is a very popular idea. In fact, they open for booking on January 2nd, and people camp outside the night of January 1st so they can get their favorite park on their favorite day. We got engaged on the 7th, so luckily we got to skip that craziness but we did want to call first thing on the 8th.
At that point, most dates had filled up, so thank goodness for that Sunday in September!
Also, the advice about having a plan B if the weather goes bad? Well, plan B is having the same exact wedding, but with giant golf umbrellas. Hey, it’s only a few hours out of anyone’s day. And if it rains, it really won’t rain that much.
And the venue is sometimes the hardest part. I’m happy with giving Portland more money instead of forking over several times $600 to some hotel or ballroom or something. Picnic in the park is much more my style.
*More information about booking a Portland park can be found here.