While deciding whether or not I was actually engaged, I jumped full force into wedding planning (better safe than sorry, right?). So about a month after our trip Vieques, I planned a fun day with the girls—we would eat some free cake samples and take silly pictures at a big bridal show in San Juan. But things did not go as planned; I was overwhelmed by all the detail that goes into weddings and got a real bad case of “sticker shock.” Wedding stuff is effin’ expensive! Five to eight dollars per slice of cake, $800 for a four-hour photo booth, $3,000 for decorations: there was no way I could afford any of that on a zero-dollar budget.
Yes, you read right: zero dollars. Some might think we are doing the impossible (or something just plain unhealthy to the psychotic bridal brain), but planning a no-budget wedding happens to work for me. You see, I was basically the anti-Bridezilla; I never dreamed about my wedding as a little girl. (Who in their right mind would be crazy enough to marry me?) I had no preconceived notions of what I wanted, something that has turned out to be a blessing in my wedding-planning journey.
My plan A (AKA eloping) meant minimal money spent and a great vacation for just the two of us, which to me sounded perfect, but it was shot down as soon as I proposed it to my parents. They wanted my large Puerto Rican family to be present at this once-in-a-lifetime event, so they offered to pay for the wedding. The problem with that is they have no savings and I really don’t want to spend a lot of my parents’ hard-earned cash. So against all bee advice, I will be planning our wedding without a budget but using the philosophy of finding the cheapest thing that I like and, in the words of the wise Tim Gunn, “mak[ing] it work.” In a way, bargain hunting for the wedding has turned out to be a somewhat fun and really eye-opening experience. We have come up with lots of different ways to cut costs, which have ended up being details that will make our wedding unique. One of these cost-cutting ideas was having an early morning ceremony followed by a breakfast reception. This alone has significantly lowered costs, as breakfast food is much cheaper than dinner and early morning for us means no alcohol or dancing.
Deciding on having an early morning wedding, a breakfast reception, and a set-in-stone guest list of 100 really early has helped shape the “feel” of what our big day will be like and has helped us figure out how to pull it off on a shoestring budget.
What big decisions did you make really early in wedding planning?