Wedding on a budget

If you get the Herald on Sunday, you might have noticed this article, on having a wedding on a tight budget, and a second article on the example of our wedding, with a nice photo of my wife Sarah and myself. Alice Hudson points out that:

While reports say the average Kiwi wedding costs $19,000, the budget crisis is forcing couples to go to great lengths to keep costs down – and hopefully still afford a worthwhile honeymoon.

Some engaged couples, such as Christchurch’s David Moyle and fiancee Kelly, have decided to put off their nuptials indefinitely.

They’ve told prospective guests “We couldn’t afford to have a wedding and a baby”.

This situation is quite common. People are choosing to live together rather than getting married because of the perceived cost of a wedding. This is very unfortunate, because marriage forces you to actually think about whether you are prepared to stick together for the rest of your lives, and provide a stable home to raise children in. It is on the other hand easy to start living with someone to “see how it goes”, end up having children and realise later that you aren’t prepared to stick together. However high the divorce rate gets, defacto relationships still split up more than marriages, and when this happens it is terribly hard on children. Marriage is important as it forces you to think about the future rather than just going with the flow.

But weddings don’t have to be expensive. You can of course get married in the registry office for a couple of hundred dollars. But even a fancy wedding doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Our wedding cost around $5-$6000, which got us (with a lot of very generous help from friends and family):

  • A lovely church in the country, that could take 200 guests
  • Wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses, suit hire, flowers
  • A professional photographer
  • Custom-made rings (we invested in these as they and the photos are the only things you keep from the day).
  • A Rolls-Royce and an Armstrong Siddeley for wedding cars (borrowed from friends and family)
  • An afternoon tea for 200 guests in a country hall (catered for by the local netball club)
  • A professionally iced wedding cake (baked by my mother)
  • …. etc etc.

You don’t need to spend $19,000 for a lovely wedding! I cannot think how our day could have been better. Having an afternoon tea instead of a reception meal was great as we could invite everyone (including the extra people who happen to turn up to the wedding on the day) along, rather than having to make a short list of “special” guests and offending those on the fringes of the list who get left off… The fancier you want it though, the more help you need from family and friends.

Our snazzy wedding!

Our snazzy wedding!

If you want to get married, go for it! It doesn’t have to cost the earth. Marriage is the best thing you’ll ever do. Don’t worry too much about the wedding, the wedding is unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Getting married is about the Marriage, which lasts the rest of your life, NOT about the one-day wedding. Big difference. Focus on making the marriage work. Do a pre-marriage course, it is the best investment you’ll ever make, Marriage Ministries does great courses through churches throughout the country – if I can only offer one piece of advice, that would be it.

P.S. The article says we were married on January 14, and have a 3 month old baby, which could give quite the wrong impression if someone thought it meant January 2008 rather than January 2006!

2 Responses to “Wedding on a budget”

  1. Brandon Warner Says:

    Samuel and Sarah,

    I wanted to mention a popular service that helps couples afford a dream honeymoon after the high cost of a wedding. The honeymoon registry is an increasingly mainstream registry option for engaged couples.

    When Traveler’s Joy first started accepting Members over four years ago, we realized there was a large number of engaged couples that were not satisfied with the diversity of the traditional wedding registry market. Since then, the honeymoon registry has become a mainstream option for brides and grooms and the industry has experienced significant growth.

    We are proud to have helped thousands of couples travel to destinations they may never have considered – a great feeling for everyone at Traveler’s Joy.

    I encourage you to contact us with any questions about our service. Most importantly, enjoy your honeymoon!

    Best Regards,

    Brandon Warner
    President & Co-founder
    Traveler’s Joy Honeymoon Registry
    Traveler’s Joy, Inc.

  2. Mr Dennis Says:

    Obviously we won’t be requiring your services as we were married 2 years ago but some readers may find them interesting to consider.

    The best idea I know for a great cheap honeymoon is what we did – rent a cabin in a campground for a week (after we had the first couple of nights in a hotel). These can be something like $50 per day, so great value. We packed a microwave, electric frypan and a box of food in the car and cooked most of our own food in the cabin, spending far less than if we were eating out.

    You can do it even cheaper – my parents went tenting for their honeymoon. And there is no need to travel far, so long as you don’t tell people where you are going you’ll be left alone!

    To be blunt, you don’t need anywhere fancy for a honeymoon. If you fly across the world for it you won’t see much of the scenery anyway – you’re on your honeymoon, there are more interesting things to do than look at the scenery… Anywhere in NZ is fine to do that!

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