It is not a secret that it’s expensive to get married, I already knew that.
Jesper proposed to me in late October 2015 on our 6 years anniversary, and immediately after that, we started planning our 50s themed wedding on a budget.
The wedding industry is quite selfish and exploitative, when Jesper looked for an engagement ring he was asked by the store clerk “How much do you love her?” – trying to get him to spend more money on the ring. Anyone who knows me, also knows that the way to my heart is not the size of the diamond. To have Jesper think that what he got me and could afford, wasn’t good enough made me mad.
When it comes to finding a location, your wedding dress or anything like that, it will be hard to get a price by mail or phone. Why? It’s much easier for them to sell you your dream venue or dream dress, after you see it and already got your heart set on it. My advice – be smarter than them, and do not tell them what kind of party you are hosting, and look for a wedding dress on your budget online.
How we got our fifties themed wedding on a budget..
Remember one thing, your wedding is your big day. You do not have to please everybody, or follow traditions unless you want to follow those traditions. The most important thing is that you and your soon to be wife/husband are happy with your choices.
Cut down on the guest list
This is probably one of the hardest – but most important things when you are on a budget. Often you find yourself forced to invite all your family members and kids too? But why? We only invited the closest family and a few friends, none of my aunts and uncles was invited, and we had a child-free wedding.
We still ended up with 43 guests and we had a blast, i do not regret anything.
Find the location, before you set the date
One of the best ways to save money for your wedding, is to find your location before setting the date. If you pick your date before the location, you will be limited by the locations left on that date. Thousands of other couples are also getting married, and you are racing against them for the right location.
Find your location as early as possible, this is probably the most important thing and can become really expensive.
We went for a rustic location in the meatpacking district of Copenhagen, it was cheap and perfect once we decorated the place.
A piece of advice: Save money on cleaning by doing it yourself.
Find your wedding dress as soon as possible
The wedding dress is probably one of the most important things for the bride. And finding just that one dress can become the most expensive part of the wedding. I always wondered how some women can become bridezilla trying to find their wedding dress, when the world have so many beautiful wedding dresses to offer.
My best advice is to not get hung up on one wedding dress, i had 10 different wedding dresses that i would have been happy to wear when i got married. Go online and search for different wedding dresses, look for dresses on sale and sample sizes and save money.
I was lucky enough to have a good friend with a mother who was able to make mine from scratch. I bought fabric at local stores and the lace on Etsy, and the dress only costed me 2500 dkr.
Find your bridal look
Pinterest is your friend when it comes to planning your bridal look, there are tons of inspiration to be found here. Use Pinterest for inspiration and go to Etsy to find handmade jewelries and hair accessories for your wedding.
My hair comb costed me 300 DKK and my jewelries costed 100 DKK.
Also spend time on finding your wedding hair, instead of spending hours on trying out different updos before the wedding. Trust your hairdresser instead, and find your inspiration beforehand.
Use your engagement rings as wedding rings
Do you have to have a engagement ring AND a wedding ring? I didn’t! I loved my engagement ring so much that i would have hated not wearing it after we got married. Instead of buying a new ring for me, we decided to use it as my wedding ring as well. We got it polished a week before and got the date engraved – and i don’t regret our choice.
Food and beverages on a budget
You can’t have a wedding without food and beverages. We were lucky enough to have a restaurant as a neighbor to our wedding location, who gave us an offer on food. But before we decided going with them, we did some preparation to get the best price. First of all – know how many guests that will attend the wedding. Second decide on a budget for each guest. Our food budget was 200-300 DKK. for each guest.
As for the beverages, my parents bought wine from Germany to save money (Beverages are much more expensive in Denmark than in Germany, and it’s easy to cross the border to buy wine and beer). One piece of advice is to not overdo it – we were 43 guests and had around 60 bottles of wine, 10 bottles of alcohol and draft beer and we had more than 50% of the beverages left.
Be casual instead of formal
My worst wedding nightmare? A formal wedding! So we didn’t do formal at all, we had a beautiful wedding ceremony at the Rosenborg castle gardens in Copenhagen and the party at the rustic meatpacking district. We asked our guests to dress up in fifties outfits, and they had a blast. The fifties outfits just made the wedding so much more fun for everybody. We didn’t care if the tables were scratched and rustic, and everything did not have to be perfect.
Not everything went perfect: When we were suppose to get our pictures taken it started to rain, when we had our first bite of cake my new husband dropped cake on my wedding dress and our first dance as husband and wife that we had spent ours rehearsing totally went wrong. But if you ask me everything was perfect, i have never had more fun! Things does not have to be perfect, just smile and let it go.
Your guests doesn’t care if everything isn’t perfect, so just have a blast and surround yourself with friends and families you love.
Personalize your wedding
My bestie and i created a shared pinterest board for wedding decor inspiration. We spent hours trying to find different items that would work together, and a few weeks before the wedding we went to local stores to find the decoration.
Find your decorations for the wedding early, then you don’t have to stress about it, and you save money.
I recommend using etsy to find unique items for the wedding, that you didn’t know you needed.
Make your memories last
Do not underestimate a good photographer, you may not need a expensive one – but you do need a good one. Maybe you know someone or you have a family member who can help, just remember that the photographer is important.
If you can’t afford a photographer then remember to inform your guests, if you do so, they probably won’t mind bringing their own camera and share the images with you.
A piece of advice: Do not underestimate the fun your guests will have with a selfie stick! I know it’s corny, i bid on last minute auctions on eBay and got 8 different selfie sticks for 1£ each. I promise you, you will not regret having them at your party.
Another piece of advice: a great way to get your guests on camera is to set up a photo booth. You can do it yourself if you have the equipment for it, or rent it – it’s not that expensive.
If you want people to dance, you need music. We always wanted live music for our wedding, but had to cut down due to the budget. Instead i asked around for a DJ on a rockabilly page, and was really lucky to get an amazing and fun DJ. He totally got the party going and we had a blast with fifties music. I’m actually happy we got the DJ instead of live music.
One of my favourite things to do with my husband is to travel, and we really wanted to go on a honeymoon. But honeymoons are expensive, and there was no room for it in the budget.
Instead, we didn’t really wish for any wedding gifts, we only wished for one thing – money for the honeymoon. Our guests respected that, and gave us the honeymoon of our lifetime instead.
Last but not least: kiss each other, dance, be happy and have a blast. Remember you get help from your family and friends – they would love to help you make your day unique and special.
This post is also available in: Dansk