A couple from Scotland spent less on their wedding day than most people dole out for their morning coffee.
Artist Georgina Porteous, 36, and 39-year-old singer-songwriter Sid Innes budgeted just $1.56 for their big day. Yep, you read that right. The pair are dedicated to recycling and self-sufficiency, according to the U.K.’s Metro News, so they vowed to keep the day they exchanged vows super simple.
So how did the couple throw a great fête for 70 guests for such a paltry price? Porteous and Innes said their “I do’s” in a barn on their property behind their cottage. Porteous spent $1.56 on a vintage ivory wedding gown that she found on freecycle.org, a network of exchanges and gifting, while Innes wore an old tweed suit. The couple’s rings were handmade by Porteous using antlers she found in her garden. Her mother officiated the ceremony and a neighborhood reverend donated his services for free in order to make it all official.
For the reception, the venue was decorated with locally grown flowers, hay bales, and lanterns that community farmers contributed. The newlyweds asked their guests to bring food and drinks for a potluck picnic and Porteous’s aunt baked the cake. The wedding photographer who captured the festivities bartered his services in exchange for some film editing by Porteous. And the affair’s music came courtesy of the bride’s father, who played jazz on the saxophone.
“We thought we’d do [our wedding] differently and we started to become quite obsessed with it and ways to save money. It was exciting, fun and a challenge,” Innes said in a YouTube video. One fee the couple couldn’t get out of paying? The $109.23 charge for a marriage license. Hopefully, it was totally worth it.
While cost-cutting measures that Innes and Porteous took for their nuptials are certainly extreme, there are plenty of ways to have a budget-friendly wedding. Here are some tips and tricks for thrifty ways to tie the knot.
The dress — If you don’t have a a friend or family member who can lend you a dress (that she probably wore only once), there are a lot of great websites that sell once-worn wedding dresses. “When my clients come to me and are looking to keep costs down, I recommend that they resell their dresses,” Tracy Taylor Ward, owner and principal designer/planner of Tracy Taylor Ward Design, told Yahoo Shine. Sites like NearlyNewlywed.com and Tradesy make the process easy. And if you’re lucky, you might even make a profit if you sell yours. Sample sales, consignment shops, eBay and e-commerce site Etsy, which focuses on handmade and vintage items, are great options as well.
The rings — Not everyone is as deft at ring-making as Porteous is, but Etsy has plenty of artisans with similar skills who sell affordable alternatives to typical gold and silver wedding bands. Titanium and gold-plated metals look like the real thing at just a fraction of the price.
Flowers — In the United States, $1,997 was the average amount spent on flowers and decor per wedding in 2012. Ward suggested working with larger flowers. “Hydrangeas are a good-value flower because they’re always in season and you don’t need as much to fill out an arrangement. You need more roses to fill out the same amount of space,” she said.
Venue — Being able to throw a wedding at your own place or at the home of a friend or family member is the cheapest route, but for those outsourcing to other locations, there are tricks for trimming expenses. Most venues’ rates vary by season, so if you can get a place during the off-season, its prices will be either lower than at peak times or negotiable because it’s not going to have as much business during that period. Avoid holidays because prices tend to inflate. Additionally, tying the knot on a Friday or a Sunday is slightly less expensive than on a Saturday.
Food — Pass on the raw bar and filet mignon and skip food stations, added Ward: instead opt for passed hors d’oeuvres and a sit-down dinner.
The wedding cake — Wedding cakes cost, on average, $560, but you certainly don’t have to spend that much. “Cakes are typically priced per slice, so try to find a bakery in your budget,” suggested Ward. An alternative cost-cutting measure is to ask the bakery for a smaller display cake and have extra sheet cakes in the kitchen for when it runs out.