This is the fifth and final installment of my Wedding in a Week series. To read the rest of the saga, check out the other four installments, in which I talk about how we decided to get married within a week, got our food and decorations sorted out, got ourselves ready to get married, and finally walked down the aisle!
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After going through the receipts, I found some extra costs that I figured I should at least acknowledge in the interest of transparency.
The Marriage License
I realized I totally forgot to mention the fact that we got our marriage license at the court house on the Wednesday before our wedding. It was a quick process — we were in the court house for 11 minutes, and part of that time was just us walking around being lost — and didn’t cost much, but it still counts as a wedding expense. It was also probably the first moment I internalized what we were doing and got excited, haha.
Oh Charlie, You’re Charming
I mentioned in the Bride & Groom post how I got several items in my bridal outfit from Charming Charlie. What I didn’t detail, however, was all the other fun little things I grabbed.
While there, I discovered the store had a section in the back full of wedding-related stuff. I bought some Bride and Bridesmaid socks and a hideous yet amazing travel mug that said “Miss to Mrs” on it. I didn’t NEED a bride mug, but since I wasn’t going to get an engagement party, bridal shower, or a big bachelorette party, I felt like a ridiculous mug was the LEAST I could gift myself.
I also nabbed a box of props for our planned photo booth. I definitely could have found them cheaper online, but by the time we had decided to have a photo booth, there was no time! I paid for the convenience of getting them immediately.
Finally, when I was checking out, the saleswoman pitched me a tote bag filled with pampering goodies that was CC’s special deal that week. Normally I would have said nope to that nonsense; I hate being up-sold when I’m checking out. I realized, however, that I could use the pampering items as bridesmaid gifts, along with the socks, so I actually got the gold and hot pink tote. I have never felt more girly than I did leaving the store carrying that bag. It was pretty fun.
Letters & Lights
In the week before the wedding, we went to Michael’s, where we bought the instant camera and film I mentioned in the Big Day post. While there, we also bought some wooden letters to represent our initials and a little string of battery-operated LEDs. Together, the letters wrapped with the lights made an adorable decoration that we now have in our home. It’s on a timer and makes me smile every time it turns on in the evening.
A “Guestbook” That Wasn’t
I wanted some record of who was at our wedding, but neither Joe nor I was enthusiastic about a guestbook. Instead, our friend bought us a picture frame with wide matting. During the wedding, the matting was removed and put on a table to be signed by guests. We also grabbed a few archival ink pens from the craft store to make sure the signatures don’t fade over time. Now, we’ll be able to see our guests’ lovely messages all the time instead of hiding them in a book that would probably collect dust.
The marriage license was a quick but essential part but of the week! Cost: $30
Bridesmaid gifts: $32 for socks for 4, $50 for the tote bag with all the stuff inside. That’s $82 total, or about $27 each. If I’d had more time to prepare, I’d have gotten them something more personal, but they enjoyed the gifts anyway and everyone wore their socks while getting ready on the wedding day, which was adorable. Cost:$82
Bride mug for me! 100% unnecessary, 100% amazing. Cost: $12
The letters and lights from Michaels were a little splurge that is still giving us joy months later: Cost: $42
The frame/matting for our “guest list” was a wedding gift from one of my bridesmaids. Cost: $0
Archival pens will help our memory matting last. Cost: $10
Total wedding cost so far: $4,998
The biggest lesson I took away from this experience is that, with the right help, amazing things can be done in a very short amount of time. If Joe and I had put our heads together, I’m sure we could have thrown a perfectly lovely celebration, but there’s no question that the party became a real wedding because of the help we had from friends and family.
Another major takeaway from our experience was that making any choice is often better than making no choice at all. I’ve agonized over so many decisions for longer than a week, but the week of my wedding, I was forced to make every decision quickly, which eliminated any time I might have spent second-guessing myself. From colors, to decorations, to invitees, our wedding was made up of a thousand little choices that could have stressed me out, but didn’t because I just didn’t have time to fret about them.
The last lesson was the reminder that of something that we all know, but sometimes forget in the panic to throw the perfect wedding or other celebration: it’s about the PEOPLE, not the THINGS. Did the things we bought add to the wedding? Absolutely. But when we first decided to get married, we were thinking we wouldn’t have those things, and that was okay. I’m so glad we had what we did, but I was more happy that our guests could come and that I was marrying my best friend. All the rest was icing on the wedding cake.
All told, our wedding cost almost exactly $5,000 to put together. Some people might argue that this was still too much to drop on one day. Others might think it’s crazy cheap. However, when choices are limited, you go for what you think will work the best with the time you have.
Everything in this post except the marriage license could have easily been cut from our budget to save some extra cash. However, none of these items were priced beyond what we might have spent on some groceries or a nice dinner out, and they provided us with memories and fun that will last longer than either of those things.
I wouldn’t change it for the world.
This is the last of my Wedding in a Week series of posts. I hope they have inspired you to challenge what you think you HAVE to spend, whether it’s on your wedding or something else. I’d love to hear your stories of how you’ve done something similar, whether it’s planning a wedding or something else you’ve managed to pull off quickly and cheaply.
Keep Learning, $aving, & Growing!