Challenge 1. What to Wear
Like I said, I'm not big on fancy.
I got it from a second hand store with a double digit price tag that would make your jaw drop. And it looked gorgeous.
The tiara I ordered didn't arrive in time due to the date change so we went out and bought a matching set from Diva. Again, double digits for the set.
It was late afternoon and all the good flowers were already gone, but a little florist had just opened up next door. When we asked about getting a custom wedding bouquet by the next day, the florist nearly had a fit.
But as she was composing herself, my eye caught a little white bucket filled with beautiful rosebuds and ribbons with decorative ladybugs pinned on them.
Not only that, they were totally in our double digit price range! The florist nearly had another fit when I told her I'd take two. "For a wedding?" she scoffed. Don't be sucked in, ladies and gentlemen. Traditions can be broken!
Challenge 2: The venue
Having an indoor option is important incase of bad weather on the day, but we wanted an outdoor venue. After looking at a number of options, including expensive wedding venues and public parks, we decided that having it in this wild and beautiful backyard would be perfect.
Fortunately, our friends who own the property were more than willing to host the event, and even help pull out the weeds and get the place all dressed up!
Money saved on venue: $1000+
Time and energy spent on cleaning it up: a LOT (but if you are happy with the overgrown look, it would still have looked amazing)
A word of caution, if you have an outdoor wedding, especially in a strapless dress, WEAR SUNSCREEN! I know it's the last thing on your mind when you are zipping up your wedding dress or buttoning up your tux, but unless you want to go on your honeymoon red as a tomato and wincing with every step, WEAR SUNSCREEN!
Challenge 3: Decorations
Mostly donated, handmade, collected or bought at the dollar store, the decorations were absolutely magical.
The blue bottles were soda water bottles collected by a friend of mine from a church event
The flowers in the bottles were from spotlight and came in bundles of 10 for $10
The white heart was brought home by my mum
The hanging vine ball was borrowed from someone at her work.
These banners were a personal favourite of mine, maybe because I made them and got to choose what they said. They were so easy to make, too.
I had a bunch of potato sacks left over from a sack race at my 18th, and I think we bought some more from the pet store (apparently they get used as dog beds). I cut out a triangle template from a cardboard box and traced it so they'd all be roughly the same size. I then printed the alphabet in a huge size and a font that I liked as a reference point. The letters were drawn with black sharpie pens.
I went through at least three of them because the material was pretty rough, but it showed up a lot clearer and was easier to work with than paint.
This hanging jar was never meant to have a branch in it. I only discovered later while looking through the photo album that what was meant to be a visual example of "this is the sort of branch gumnuts are found on and I want the jar full of gumnuts", ended up hung up exactly how I had left it and photographed as a unique masterpiece by almost every camera at the wedding!
Challenge 4: The Aisle
Despite the best efforts by all our wonderful helpers, the ground was still pretty rough. And like I mentioned before, I wasn't wearing shoes. The roll of hessian that we ended up buying was pretty pricey (contact me to buy it!) but we were sort of running out of time to find a cheaper option. It looked fabulous, and it all felt so natural.
The pot plants that lined the aisle were borrowed from someone at my mum's work who had just had a shabby chic themed event. Totally convenient! This day definitely couldn't have happened without the incredibly selfless generosity of everyone involved.
Challenge 5: The Food
Our families, with the help of their friends and their friends' friends, put together an amazing banquet of deliciously tasty treats for morning tea. Not that I got to eat any of it of course because we were off in fairyland taking photos (I would recommend you try and get in at least one cupcake and a few friendly conversations before leaving for photos).
The cake was supposed to be made by a relative, but he lives overseas and the sudden change of dates kind of spoiled that plan. But the little $10 pack of cupcakes with the pink and blue flowers totally worked with the colour scheme and no one seemed to mind. The cake is all gone in 10 minutes anyway. Seriously consider how important it is to you.
Other Rules We Broke and Last Minute Tips:
Morning Wedding with no dinner reception
It was lovely to have everyone stay just for morning tea. We had lunch on the way to our last minute honeymoon!
No formality (except the legal stuff)
The wedding dress code was semi-formal, we weren't wearing shoes and we did a star jump in the middle of the ceremony!
No invitations or thankyou cards
The friend who designed them was gracious enough not to charge us since she hadn't made them yet.
Sorry guests! But I wasn't planning on doing them anyway, and no one complained.
Huge money saver! Fortunately neither of our families drink.
Potpourri for the flower girl
Instead of fresh rose petals which cost a fortune, we picked up a pack of potpourri and a white bucket from the dollar store. Note: if you don't have shoes on, try not to step on them...
Last minute change in pastor
The original pastor couldn't make it so a friend led the ceremony and my grandpa (ordained minister) made it official.
Last minute change in Maid of Honour
The original maid of honour was overseas but a wonderful friend stepped in and, being the only bridesmaid, picked and bought her own dress.
We didn't throw the bouquet
It was in a bucket, so someone would have been knocked out for sure.
Honestly I was so happy to be marrying Mr M, I hardly remember doing anything else!
If the cake is important to you, go all out. If you really want it in that cathedral in the city, save your money for that. For us, we were advised to put our money on the photographer, and I would absolutely have to agree. The amazing photos above of the wedding day were taken by Special Memories Photography. She even went the extra mile and photoshopped out of half the photos a random cardboard box we accidentally left behind the altar! If you live in Queensland, you should definitely check out her website.
I also want to give a shout out to the folks at Dollar Store Crafts for being able to sum up my advice in a single sentence, and I quote, "Spend money on things you think are important". Check out their page.
At the end of the day, your wedding day will be memorable. You'll hang photos of it on the walls and tell stories about it, maybe even to your grandchildren. But it's not the price tag that will make it memorable, and it's not the fancy wedding cake that you are committing to spend the rest of your life with. My one prayer for you is that your marriage will be the real fairytale you work towards, no matter the cost.