It seems like most couples getting married these days choose to have a big wedding with a white dress, elaborate ceremony, sit-down dinner, DJ and dancing; not to mention pre-wedding activities like bridal showers, stag and doe parties, bachelor(ette) parties and rehearsal dinners.
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching couples exchange their vows. I also love eating the tasty dinner they serve and then burning it off on the dance floor later.
This is me at a friend’s wedding last fall – do I look like a hater? Also, yes I am wearing my own wedding dress at someone else’s wedding :)
Despite my demonstrated enthusiasm for other people’s weddings, Mat and I just weren’t interested in doing the same. We didn’t have the time, patience or money to organize a big wedding and to be honest, it wasn’t how we wanted to declare our love for one another anyway. Here are the details about the cost and planning of our own minimalist wedding in case you’re wondering if/how it can be done:
We called to our parents and siblings to let them know that we were getting married the next week. In total, we had 8 people at the wedding, plus Mat and I = 10. We paid for my brother to fly to Ottawa which cost about $200.
We both wore clothes we already owned, except for the new shoes I picked up on impulse the night before (looking back, I should’ve worn what I already had). They cost about $50.
My mom brought a pretty bouquet from home, made by a florist friend of the family. It was gorgeous and made me feel really special :)
We had our engagement rings (plain silver bands) engraved with something special instead of buying new ones. The engraving probably cost us about $20.
We hired an officiant to do an “elopement” ceremony for $300 and we wrote our own vows.
We asked Mat’s dad to take a few pics during and after the ceremony. Everyone had a digital camera or phone on them so we have some other nice candid shots from them, too.
We looked up parks in Ottawa that had gazebos (in case it rained), chose the one closest to our apartment and showed up on the morning of, hoping there wasn’t another event happening there.
We asked for no gifts or money but our close family and friends still spoiled us with thoughtful presents.
We got married at 9 in the morning so dinner, drinks and dancing were out of the question. Instead, we had breakfast at a cafe across the street and my parents sneakily paid for everyone’s meal even though we had planned to treat everyone.
We took an 8-hour train ride to Rimouski, QC to spend a week at Mat’s family cottage; and, to visit his uncle, aunt and grandparents. The tickets cost us about $500.
We spent a total of $1,000 on our wedding and honeymoon combined.
There are a few things we would change about our wedding if we could do it over: we would have given our families more time to make travel arrangements, we would have paid for everyone’s travel & accommodations, and we probably would have had breakfast at Mat’s mom’s house instead of the cafe because it would have been more cozy and relaxed (and she makes really good food!).
Overall, we are both really happy with how we tied the knot and feel like it was the perfect way for us to start our “forever” together: stress-free, debt-free and happily in love.
PS let us know what you like/don’t like about weddings (big or small) in the comments!