Posted by: mick | May 22, 2008

Almost free

I’ve been thinking about money lately. Actually, let me rephrase that. I inherited a tendency to worry about money, and I’ve always been very aware of it. But with the rising cost of gas prices and my return to graduate school, Jason and I have been cutting corners wherever we can. I’ve been riding my bike to class as often as possible, which not only saves money and helps the environment, but is also just plain fun. We cancelled our cable, as we never really use it, and we’re happily enjoying our Netflix instead. We’re going to change to a family plan on our cell phones to save money as well.

It’s become a little game, actually. We see where we can save, and it’s exciting for both of us to come up with new ways. We’re trying to apply this same frugality, or at least cost awareness, to the wedding planning. The average American wedding costs around $30k, from what we’ve been able to discern and, while we can’t afford that anyway, neither of us would really be comfortable spending that much money on one day. When we first got engaged, I got a copy of Offbeat Bride and read it cover to cover in 48 hours. The book really made me think not only about the consumerization of weddings, but also gave me tons of ideas and tips on how to have a wedding and keep my sanity. Even if your idea of a wedding is a bit more traditional, I highly recommend the book. It’s full of practical advice, and is also just plain hilarious. Many of the weddings in the book were very DIY, and it really gave me hope that this can be done on a budget.

My mother has very generously offered to pay for the wedding, but Jason and I would like to come in as much under budget as possible. Since I’ve never really been a traditionalist, and I’ve never really been a “girly girl” (whatever that means), the DIY ideas are working really well for us. I love that we’ll be making our wedding a personal reflection of us AND saving money while at it. Plus, I get to play with ribbon and glue and paper. Fun!

I’ve been trolling the interwebs for ideas, and let’s just say that Martha Stewart is my new best friend. The woman really is amazing ,and her website has given me tons of ideas. I never thought I’d say this, but yeah, I’m kind of obsessed with her now.

Anyway, one of the things we’re going to try is thrifting more. I’ve gotten some ideas for DIY centerpieces, and so we’ll be trolling our local thrift shops once a week to look for supplies. We already got a bunch last weekend, and we’ve got so much time to go!

While thrifting, I also picked up a little something for myself: this fantastic turquoise Betty Crocker bowl, which is sitting on my Babcie’s table until we hit up the farmer’s market this weekend and fill it with local fruit. Today, we went to the Kalamazoo Public Library for the first time and picked up a wedding book that our most likely officiant recommended. It will be a lot of fun to plan our ceremony, me thinks. I also snagged a book on Polish wedding traditions, and the next Jasper Fforde for fun.

I’ve also bought yarn to make a shawl for myself, one for the maid of honor, and one for my other bridesmaid. I’m almost finished with my Icarus and, I’d show you a WIP pic, but it’s just a brown blob. The yarn is lovely, though, and the issues have been fixed (the issues being my inability to count, mainly) and I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the weekend. Enjoy your long weekend, everyone! We have big plans for a BBQ party, margaritas, and maybe even pie.



  1. now I’m curious about the centerpieces! and Martha is my hero. After you of course.

  2. I love Jasper Fforde! Good choice! 🙂

    DIY wedding stuff seems like so much more fun than a traditional wedding.. And much more personalized.

  3. Local secret (sort of) that you might be interested in: Gordon Food Service. There are a couple locations in Kzoo. You can get mass quantities of plastic silverware etc., and all kinds of handy things, plus fresh and frozen food items. The prices are good too. One thing I loved for our wedding was wax envelopes, like what you get a cookie in at the bakery. I still have about 900 of those left because it was a box of 1,000, but they’re still useful at Christmastime.

    We had a wedding in Saugatuck, and it only cost us about $3,500. It’s so much better done on your own terms. We got a million compliments because it was a little different. Yours is going to be great too! 🙂

  4. I think a DIY wedding is a fantastic idea. Check out this blog, junkdrawer. She did her wedding DIY and has such a fantastic idea for invitations. I think it is totally up your alley. Let me know what you think.

  5. Love that bowl! What a great idea for the wedding… have fun with that craftiness.

  6. We’ve been playing the “how much can we save?” game here, too. We’re not seriously hurting yet, moneywise, but with the cost of food, gas, and everything going up while we are on fairly fixed incomes, it’s a little scary.

    Good luck with the wedding planning! I probably don’t have a ton of advice, though. Our wedding was seriously cheap, but we had a much, much lower-key, plainer wedding than I think most people would want (it was in my parents’ parlor, my grandpa performed the ceremony (for free, as a gift to us), just close family was at the ceremony part, our rings were titanium (for medical reasons) and only cost $100/each, my not-white dress cost $25, our reception was just friends and family eating a really basic vegetarian meal catered by some friends of ours in our house, etc etc).

  7. The bowl is fabulous! Love your approach on the joys of cutting back. I posted something similiar yesterday (though not about weddings, thankyouverymuch!!!!) 🙂

  8. Frugality is great . . . and for your fiction fix, consider borrowing audiobooks from the library! You can listen and knit — and the prose sometimes takes on a whole different quality which can be wonderful . . .

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