The Most Affordable Wedding, EVER

Everyone’s been asking me…how’d you do it?

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Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Hey guys, it’s me! I hope everyone’s having a great week, staying hydrated, and enjoying their current serum. It’s a beautiful day here in the corner of my apartment I’ve styled to look acceptable on camera. As some of you may know, I recently planned literally the most affordable wedding ever, and because I love you guys, I’m going to reveal all of my secrets as to how I did it. Pour that iced coffee, get cozy on your West Elm couch (discount code at the end of this post), and get ready to save a ton of money.

My Secrets To The Most Affordable Wedding, EVER

  1. The first thing you need to do, is lose the husband. I mean seriously you guys, this is where the financial trouble starts. It’s all adorable and viral when he gets down on one knee during his old high school’s homecoming parade, but really what he’s asking you to do is go bankrupt. Think about it, you save a cool, what, $30K at bare minimum just by being single? The math is pretty clear here, husbands kill your budget. I get it, couples get to split rent, but they also have to split $250 a head for dinner, you know what I’m saying? Once you get rid of the husband component of your wedding, the rest of it is — lol—cake.
  2. Next, venue. Obviously you could book a gorgeous villa overlooking a body of majestic water with absolutely no guarantee the weather will even let you have the outdoor ceremony you paid for with zero discounts in the event of rain, but why on earth would you do that when you can just stay home and hang your Ikea art? I mean really, who needs an expensive banquet hall with mediocre salmon and quinoa when you can make a recipe from Instagram at home? You’re already happy with the parking situation, the seating is comfortable, and there’s no need to worry about getting lost on your way there —you’ve been before. I mean its up to you, but I’d rather spend my evenings reading a new female celeb autobiography tell-all as opposed to fighting with some venue manager who just wants you to shut up so she can get to pilates.
  3. Alexa plays better music than any DJ. I said it.
  4. Honestly, I kind of can’t with wedding dresses. Has there ever been such a swindling of the population at large using nothing more than fabric and thread? It’s like…white, that doesn’t mean you can just jack up the price of a garment that would be $49.99 in navy blue, you know what I mean? Also your cost per wear is terrible. Seriously, one time? How is this fiscally responsible to anyone? You’d literally never spend that much money on anything else in your life with single-use intention but a wedding dress? People throw caution and dollars to the wind like they’re ticker tape. While we’re on the topic of logic, do you have the closet space to hold onto that human-sized marshmallow for the next, what…30 years until your daughter gets married? I don’t. I can barely keep my winter coat in there and it has to share real estate with my extra paper towels. Also, let’s not with the passing down of the dresses. The percentage of women who see their mothers’ dresses and a) fit into them and b) consider them sartorially viable in the current decade is so small you might as well just save yourself a ton of trouble and money and invest in a new pair of Target pajamas instead. (Discount code at the end of this post.)
  5. You guys, diamonds are a budget killer. We’re talking literally thousands and thousands of dollars on an item roughly the size of a frozen pea. And look, I’m all for accessorizing! Jewelry is my thing, all of my followers know that. But if you’re going to decorate your phalanges, why not get a little more for your money, hmm? Hop over to BaubleBar for some seriously budget-friendly stacking rings, or a pearl statement piece because we’re going to be seeing them everywhere this summer. I’m not an affiliate with them yet but once I am it is over for you bitches.
  6. Obviously bridesmaids are a no. And this is one of those great moments where you get to save yourself and your friends some cash at the same time! Karen can’t be mad at you for the next 15 years for making her spend $350 on a dress, $425 on a flight, $650 on a hotel room, and fuck knows how much on Lyfts around rural Colorado over wedding weekend when you never asked her to do any of that stuff in the first place! I mean when you think about it, saving money and being a good friend are the purest forms of self care. It all just makes good sense. There is no situation in the world where buying eight identical monogrammed robes and charm bracelets that will be in a Marie Kondo donation pile by October is a sound financial decision. They don’t want to spend the money, you don’t want to spend the money, just keep bottomless brunching once a month for somebody’s birthday and let’s keep our expenses manageable, okay?
  7. Why the hell would I dip into my savings for printed invitations when text messages are free? I don’t need to kill trees just because I’ve found love, and neither do you.
  8. Like I get it, wedding shoes are a moment. But in reality, you’re going to wear them literally once, because there’s not a huge list of opportunities that call for white bedazzled heels once the marriage license is signed, and they’re going to kill your feet the entire time because you were too scared to wear them to break them in lest you accidentally scuff them by running into a door jam. Inevitably you’ll end the night with sore, filthy bare feet that you’re going to have to scrub to high heaven before you even think about letting them touch your clean Brooklinen sheets (discount code at the end of this post), so let’s all just be honest about what makes financial sense and keep it comfy and budget-friendly in a good pair of sneakers.
  9. There is no way, and I mean no way I’m paying upwards of $500 for wedding day hair and makeup—not after what I pay annually at Sephora, no thank you. They should be gifting me all that glam just for keeping them in glitter and business. I am one YouTube tutorial away from fabulous I don’t need to outsource a damn thing.
  10. I refuse to pay top dollar for the union of flour, eggs, and sugar. I’m sorry, I’ve baked enough seasonal cakes decorated with dehydrated orange slices and rosemary sprigs to know that I’m being taken advantage of here. It’s also always been so strange to me that we choose to celebrate major life events with cake when breakfast tacos are the far superior food. I mean seriously if a man came to me and said “let’s get married and feed each other breakfast tacos instead of overpriced, dry, previously frozen cake with icing that ignores your lactose intolerance” I’d marry him on the spot. Why on earth would you pay a grand for a cake that takes a week to assemble when you could just (wisely) use up the forgotten produce in your home to bake a scrumptious 45-minute banana bread to lightly toast with a little vegan butter?
  11. A wedding planner? Excuse me? I’ve waited for this day my entire life and I’m supposed to what, let someone else drive? I don’t think so. While I fully appreciate her business degree and penchant for spreadsheets, we all know I’m quite the little organizer (you’ve seen my pantry), I think I’ll save a dollar and captain this ship.
  12. I don’t pay good money for things that wilt and die in 24 hours, I don’t know about you. The wedding bouquet is, essentially, the world’s most expensive photo booth prop. Heaven forbid brides have, what, empty hands in picture? Post-ceremony that thing is sitting on top of a round table draped in hotel linen and completely ignored until someone slips the bride a $20 to toss it in her direction. I’m not buyin’ it—literally. There’s something seriously messed up about paying $800 for one bouquet of flowers when I can very clearly see that seed packets cost mere pennies at Home Depot. Have garden, will plant —don’t swindle me, Stacey. For those of you city dwellers without backyards or plots of dirt, the flower selections at Trader Joe’s are getting very respectable these days. I suggest you look into them and then repurpose one of your cute candle jars as a mini vase to style atop your work from home desk. Pin it.
  13. What even is a rehearsal dinner? Nothing is rehearsed, except the tears I’ll inevitably shed the next day when the bill is ten times as large. I have to feed people twice? Um, hello, I’m the bride, shouldn’t people be bringing me gifts of grilled cheese? This seems backwards. Also if it were really up to me we’d be having the rehearsal dinner at a food truck park because everyone knows I love sampling flavors from around the globe, but aunt Susan can’t handle spice so we have to do this shit at the Outback Steakhouse. (Discount code at the end of this post.)
  14. Do you have any idea how much it costs to decorate the back of chair? It’s highway robbery and honestly I prefer the sight of my own velvet dining chairs unencumbered by ribbons, eucalyptus fronds, and other frippery. The degree to which those in the wedding industry will turn anything, even the backs of chairs into an opportunity to make money should be our first indication that this is all simply a racket.
  15. Officiants charge fees? My uncle Greg is a notary public, that’ll do just fine.
  16. Memories? You want memories of your wedding? So do literally all of the guests you’ve invited who are filming every second of it on their phones like Scorcese even though it specifically said in the invitation text message that the bride prefers everyone just live in the moment. Crowd. Source. Your. Photos. Photographers and videographers are incredibly pricey and you’ll be lucky if you have your proofs by Christmas. However, every single person you’ve invited to the wedding has a full phone battery, and I hear cousin Karl is pretty creative with angles and light. Set up a group photo album, and don’t let anyone leave without upload confirmation. Done.

In conclusion, the way I saved money on my wedding was simple: I applied a little logic, I cut a few corners, and I never even left the house. Saving money is easy! And I’m so happy to be able to share my secrets with all of you. Because when I gaze lovingly at something and say, “til death do us part,” bet your ass I’m looking at my bank account.

(There are no discount codes at the end of this post.)

Written by

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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