Planning the Wedding

Get married after the pandemic without breaking the bank

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7 ways to plan your dream wedding

Planning to get married soon? Congratulations! However, we know that since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, things have become more complicated! While you’re waiting for things to settle down, you can still think about how you’d like to get married, if you’re making it more intimate, or if you’re just putting it off until later. These are tough times for brides and grooms in a hurry to celebrate in a big way! But as ever, we need love and kindness in our lives, so cherish that treasure and take care of it until you can celebrate the way you want to.

Coronavirus or not, let’s face it, not everyone has an unlimited budget for their wedding. So, how do you organize a day that resembles the two of you, and above all, that respects a small budget (and sometimes even a very small one)?

Make a list of your priorities

The first thing to do is to sit down and figure out what is most important to both of you. Of course, there will be compromises to make, but this list will give you clarity on what to focus on. For example, a ceremony at such and such a specific location, having all your families present, having an open bar, etc. But also, this list will shed light on what is NOT really important to your day.

The missing items are often the most revealing and they allow you to start cutting. So if, for example, a dance party into the wee hours of the morning isn’t really your thing, bingo! If you prefer something more intimate, yes! This may be a good indication that you can explore other types of weddings, which are often less expensive.

Dare to rethink the formula

Of course a wedding can be a church ceremony followed by a sit-down dinner and then a reception in a hall with a DJ. If that’s what you want to do, there are ways to do it, even on a small budget! However, this is not the only option.

A wedding in a museum can be done. A wedding at someone’s house with a food truck, that can also be done. A wedding during the day, it can be done! Instead of stressing out that people won’t appreciate a different format, trust that your vision will stand out and be original. The moral: if you want to do it, give yourself the right to do it.

Choose a place that steals the show

This is perhaps the most important tip: if the place is already beautiful, full of details and has a great atmosphere, it will make your job much easier.

Whether it’s a rustic cottage, an industrial loft, or even a small, really Pinterest-y eatery, if you love a place, why not ask the owners if they’d be willing to host your wedding? Even if they’ve never done it before, they might be willing to jump on board and be more flexible on pricing and terms than a specialty venue that offers pre-packaged deals.

Slice of life: while walking one day in the Eastern Townships, my girlfriend and I passed by a beautiful orchard that makes ice cider and spontaneously, we had the urge to ask them if they would be game to celebrate our wedding during the blooming of the apple trees. Not only did they accept, but they didn’t charge us for occupying their tasting room, only for the products we consumed. And the pictures it gave us were priceless.

Make the decorations yourself

Pinterest and YouTube will be your best friends here. It is possible and easy to make your wedding decor elements yourself; again, trust yourself.

It will take time and patience, though. Sometimes you have to change your plans and rethink them a bit. It’s important not to get discouraged!

The best way to stay within your budget is to stick with natural elements and rely on the seasons. For example, in the fall, centerpieces could be small decorative gourds that cost almost nothing in the fall, leaves and chestnuts picked up outside, and then large pumpkins placed all over the place as a reminder of the theme. In the summer, large bunches of field flowers in Mason jars. In spring, tulips are really cheap. And in the winter, even though there’s less choice, it’s still the season when orchids are half the price of the rest of the year.

Ask for help

If you stop to think about it, you probably have plenty of talented people around you. If your best friend loves DIY, explain your vision and let her go! If your sister-in-law has photography skills and a good camera, why not give her the task?

Other ideas

If your mom sews then this means tablecloths, curtains or decorative panels, background for photos, etc.
If your colleague has great taste in music then that equals to great playlist that you can play instead of hiring a DJ.
If your cousin is a graphic designer this means invitations and announcements are free.
If your aunt is a baking queen then your wedding cake, why not! If she’s intimidated or doesn’t think she’s equipped to make a big cake, she can make a few small ones instead.
Your brother is good at editing then this equals to video of the day.

Make your own food

It may sound like a crazy idea and it sure takes some planning. But yes, it’s okay to be your own caterer! Of course, you have to love to cook, and you have to have experience doing it in large quantities.

That’s what I did for my own wedding (I’m also a food blogger in my spare time) and everything went really well! I have to say though that we had “only” 40 guests and it was a cocktail party, with hors d’oeuvres only.

We had done some very nice and very good stuff for about 550$ in total, including dessert. That’s less than $14 per person for a TON of food. And we’re talking sushi, foie gras and caviar here!

It’s also perfectly fine to do simpler food. You just have to think about the logistics: the food has to be prepared in advance (the day before in our case), it has to be transportable, it has to be eaten at room temperature or it has to be reheated on site.

If you would like to explore this avenue, I suggest you think about a meal formula that is less elaborate than the traditional meal: a cocktail, desserts only, a cold buffet, even a brunch!

So, we can take advantage of this pause caused by the pandemic to better plan a wedding that resembles us in order to celebrate with style and love when it will be possible to get married again, without risk for the health of our guests.

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