Tag Archives: finances

How to Have an Inexpensive Wedding

Having an inexpensive wedding is easier than you think!

My little sister just got married yesterday. Memories of my wedding keep coming back to me lately. Maybe it’s because we had several similarities to our ceremony and reception. My mom had kept an organized binder of budgets, receipts, plans, etc from my wedding and has been pulling it out many times to get ideas on how to make my sister’s wedding inexpensive as well.

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Now, granted, weddings are more expensive they are today than they were in 2012 because of inflation. And, granted, Mormon weddings are less expensive because 1) we get married for free in an LDS Temple, 2) we don’t have cocktail hour or open bars because we don’t drink, and 3) we don’t have to pay a minister (they do it for free in the temples). But, we wanted to try to keep my wedding as frugal as possible for both my wedding and my sister’s wedding.

So, I have a few tips on how to help you have an inexpensive wedding as well! (All pictures are from my wedding as my sister’s wedding was just yesterday and we don’t have the professional pictures yet.)

Having an inexpensive wedding is easier than you think!

Go to Bridal Fairs

When you finally get engaged, jump on this bandwagon! Seriously! Photographers, invitation makers, dress stores, caterers, etc will all be there! You can window shop, grab information from everyone, and most likely, they will have discounts or sales for those who see them at the bridal fair! My sister Madison got quite the discount on her wedding dress because she talked to the boutique at a bridal fair!

Have the reception in a backyard

I knew I wanted an outdoor reception, and we didn’t want pay much for a venue. Luckily, an old family that we had known growing up had retired close to my college (yes, I got married in college–Mormon!). They had a beautiful backyard and were more than willing to let us use it for our reception. Cost: $0. (They also joked that it was a good excuse for them to update the garden and paint the porch.) Madison’s reception was in our backyard, so again, no money was spent on the venue!

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Go to discount bridal stores

My little sisters love watching Say Yes to the Dress. But, I just balk at the idea of spending sooooooooo much money on a wedding dress. Seriously? Do you need a $30k brand name dress that you are only going to wear less than 24 hours? In Utah, there are a ton of bridal stores. We went to all the ones having a sale. My dress was on discount, so we bought it. I also bought some ribbon with one of my wedding colors on it, and wanted some more lift in the skirt, so my mom and aunt sewed it up for me.  Cost: $500. Madison went to a small boutique. They were just beginning, so she got a good discount and exactly what she dreamed about in a dress!

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Do your own invitations

I spent hours trying to find a good company or business that would do my invitations, but it was always hundreds of dollars, and I wasn’t really in love with any of the designs. While at Michael’s, we found some adorable blank orange invitations. So, we formatted what we wanted it to say, then used my Uncle’s work printer to do a high quality job. We also printed an engagement photo at Costco to go along with it. Madison found someone who was trying to begin a wedding invitation business, so it cost close to nothing for her professionally designed invitations.

Use and abuse family talents

If you have family members who have talents that are wedding related, ask them to help you out for the wedding. Still pay them, but trust me, it’ll be much, much, much cheaper than getting professionals. My aunt was a wedding planner turned SAHM, so we “hired” her to decorate the reception for both me and my sister. We “hired” another uncle and aunt who love doing flowers for events and have a beautiful garden to do all the bouquets, boutonnieres, and table centers.  My mother-in-law and her sister grew up in a catering family, so they took care of the family luncheon for me. Our bishop’s wife made Madison’s cake. I designed her bridal shower invitations and all other handouts at the shower.

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Do your own primping and primming

Don’t go to a hair dresser and a nail salon. Find someone in your family who can primp and prim you well enough. Both Madison and I did our own makeup. Madison did my hair and she did her own. I did my own nails.  It was less stress for both of us because it was one less appointment for us to worry about.

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Don’t use a caterer

We just couldn’t believe how expensive catering was! Since my reception was in the evening, and had an outdoor English garden party theme to it, we wanted something light for refreshments. The family had already eaten at the luncheon. So, we bought Costco cheescake, fruit, lemonade, and “china-looking” plasticware. No one could tell the difference! We hired the daughter and friends of our family friends to be the waitresses and keep the tables clean and the food and drink stocked. Cost of food: $200, Cost of girls: $50 each. For Madison’s wedding, we did use a local bakery who gave us a bazillion cookies and eclairs. Many girls and women from our church congregation came and helped to keep the food stocked and clean up…all for free!

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Don’t use a bakery for the cake

There are so many talented bakers that make cakes from their home. Bakeries and companies overprice their cakes. But, if you find an individual (which there are so many of in Utah), it’ll be cheaper. Our cake was everything I wanted–simple, with my colors, and the flavor was very summery (pink lemonade cake with strawberry jelly filling and lemon frosting). Cost: $200. Madison’s cake was done by our Bishop’s wife, for free!

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Of course, Madison’s wedding was still more expensive than mine, but that’s because we got married 4 years apart, and over the years, everything is going to continue to cost more (especially in wedding concentrated Utah!). But, there are always ways to save money on your special day.

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How did you save money on your wedding?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

5 Positives of Moving Into Your Parents’ Basement

As you know, we will be moving into my parents’ basement this weekend. We’ve known ever since I decided to quit teaching that it was a possibility. We hemmed and hawed between finding a super cheap apartment (which means very tiny and very low quality in Salt Lake County–housing is expensive here) or Justin adding 35 minutes to his commute and living with my parent.

We wanted living with my parents to be a last resort. I mean, you know the stigma of returning to your parents’ basement–you’ve failed financially, life isn’t working out for your, etc. We’ve always been proud of the fact that we both graduated from college without debt and the fact that besides the used car we are 2/3rds done paying off, we have absolutely no debt. We’ve lived in nicer housing and have had more amenities than many couples our age. We had enough in savings to completely cover the cost of my pregnancy and labor with Rhys. We technically could afford to stay here, but that would mean living paycheck to paycheck with no savings or wiggle room. So, we swallowed our pride and accepted my parents’ offer of temporarily moving in with them.

And, we feel good about it. We feel at peace. We feel that God is telling us this is a smart move for us. And, it will also help us to grow and learn.

So, we are trying to look at the bright sides of moving into my parents’ basement. Because, when you are strapped for cash and having to rely on family help, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. There are some positive outcomes to temporarily moving back.

Taking your spouse and kids and moving back into your parents' basement isn't the end of the world. There are a few positive outcomes you can focus on.

Save Money
We do have to get a storage unit for our stuff, and we will have to help out with food costs, but we will be saving so much money. All of that extra money will go directly to building back up our savings account. This is the biggest plus–we are saving a ton of money.

Support
We have the emotional support of our family. My parents have been in the same situation when I was very young, so we’re not alone. My parents also happen to work about 15 minutes away from Justin, so carpooling is an option. We will also be able to help and support them. Both my parents work, one sister is away at college all day, and the other has high school. So, they don’t have homemade dinners often, and cleaning is sporadic. I will be helping them with that.

Family Time
Rhys will be very entertained. He has two puppies to play with now, plus two adoring aunts, and two grandparents that spoil him like crazy. Justin and I will also have adults to talk to. I will be able to strengthen my relationship with my two sisters, especially my sister who is ten years younger than me.

Amenities
I’m not going to lie. This one is a little selfish. My family has DishTV and Netflix–all the shows with recording capabilities! They have all the craft supplies I could want, including a sewing machine. And the kitchen! Oh the kitchen! KitchenAid mixer, immersion blender, and so many other fun cooking toys! And a quality washer and dryer!

Growing as Adults
Life won’t be perfect. I’m sure there will be disagreements, arguments, and tensions sometimes. Sometimes we’ll just all be annoyed with the lack of privacy. But, it will help us to continue our growth as adults. We will learn patience like never before. We will learn humility and gratitude like never before. We will learn service like never before. We will learn teamwork and cooperation like never before.

We don’t know how long we will be living with my parents, and it’s definitely going to be a full house with us three, but we are just so very thankful that we are able to. And aren’t going to take it for granted at all.

Have you ever moved back in with parents after being married? What was your experience like?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.