Wedding Decisions: Thinking creatively

Wedding planning is progressing at full speed.  I’d love to share details, but am also working hard on keeping my daughter’s day hers, which means– sorry — keeping most of the planning under wraps until the big reveal.  It’s hard because I’m involved and I’m excited and I think they are coming up with some fun ideas that will be interesting to others.  You’ll have to wait a while for major details, and of course for pictures.  But from time to time in the next weeks, I’ll share just a tidbit here and there of the parts in which I am involved.

I’ve read that weddings can cost in the range of $20,000.  That number blows my mind.   Having priced wedding items lately, I can totally understand how easily one could spend that much by making standard choices.  But coming from the perspective of having spent less than $1000 on my own wedding, those numbers just stagger me.  Granted, that was 22 years ago, and even then, our wedding was incredible low-cost.  But thanks to some creative thinking, our wedding was every bit as nice as any we’d attended.  It was beautiful and meaningful, and a great party.

A big key in keeping a wedding affordable is to scrutinize every money outlay, and to consider whether there might be a less expensive option.  It’s not about being chintzy.  It’s about being smart.   There are lots of ‘standard’ ways to do things.   But — big hint — standard is usually expensive.

Here’s an example.  I’ve been thinking of ways to make the cake table interesting at the reception.  I’ve seen various pretty tiered trays that display food with height and interest.  The first way to get that look would be to just shell out the bucks for something lovely.   Here’s a gorgeous three tiered china tray that would be a beautiful way to serve candy or nuts for $79. Here’s a two-tiered version that is also nice that would only set you back $60.

Now, keep in mind that you don’t have to have a tiered tray.   We could choose to serve nuts out of a church-owned dish that looks just fine.  Cost = $0.   If we were really trying to pinch every penny, that would be what we’d do. And it would be fine.

But as I was envisioning the cake table, I didn’t want to give up on my idea.  I wondered what I could find that was interesting that would only cost a few dollars.  Yesterday I had a free half hour between dropping off kids at various play practices. Out of curiosity I swung by the thrift store.  This was actually the second thrift store I’d visited with this mission in mind.  I wasn’t even sure if I could find something suitable, but I decided it was worth a shot and I wandered the aisles with a deliberately open mind.

Half way through the store I found a black, wrought-iron 3-tiered rack.  It was just framework– it didn’t have any serving plates.  But it had a nice shape.  And for $3.50, it look promising.  I grabbed it and wandered a bit more.

Tiered rack

Tiered rack

In a section of mismatched china, I found a set of 4 white china luncheon bowls.  They were in perfect condition.  They settled into the spaces of my tiered rack as if they had been made for it. They even had a little silver edge for an elegant touch.   Cost of the bowls= $4, which made my lovely tiered rack cost a total of $7.50.

closeup of china

closeup of china

Those types of choices aren’t available for every wedding-related item.   But the more willing we are to think outside the box, the more personal the wedding will become, and the more money the bride and groom — and their families — will have for other things.