As a future bride, you already have a picture of your dream wedding in mind. You have it all imagined— from the gown down to the decked out venue. Everything is a sight to behold.
But then, reality sets in. While your wedding date is fast approaching, your savings is still nowhere near your target budget for making your dream wedding come true.
Getting married, especially in the Philippines, is always a grand occasion. Here, wedding is not just a ceremony, but a celebration (a full-scale party!). And any celebration means a lot of huge spending.
If you are a couple whose individual salary is just within the usual range of P20k to P30k per month, the road to your wedding can be quite daunting. Yet, making your wedding to be one of the best days of your married lives is really possible, even with a limited budget. But first, let’s define special and memorable.
A Memorable Wedding
People usually equate “special and memorable” with “grand and expensive,” but this is actually an erroneous view. We know that things and events become truly special and memorable ones only when given or done in love. So a wedding, as long as it is planned and done in love, is already special and memorable regardless of the accompanying cost.
If you want and can afford an expensive wedding, then go ahead. But if you want to make your wedding extra special and truly unforgettable minus the incredibly high wedding expenses, then read on. All it takes is some creativity, time for legwork, and a little help from family and friends. And before long, you will find yourself having that memorable and personalized wedding that could be even better than the wedding celebration you had been dreaming of.
The wedding concept
What do you want your wedding to look and feel like? Formal? Solemn? Cool? Intimate? The concept should reflect the couple’s personality, beliefs, and preferences. If you have limited budget, it is recommended that you make it an intimate affair (less than a hundred guests) that could either be formal or laidback.
Other than hotels or resorts, you can opt for some quaint houses for rent that have a large courtyard or garden where you can hold an intimate backyard wedding reception or even both the ceremony and reception if your church allows it. These places can also serve as an overnight accommodation after the wedding for the couple or for some of the guests.
The Event Styling
You can save on the venue styling cost if you DIY. All you need is a clear and creative concept and some handyman help from your friends. There’s a lot you can find on Pinterest for inspiration and themes like rustic or bohemian. You can use scrap wood, ribbons, flowers, or even recyclable materials for your project. You can learn to DIY from many video tutorials available online.
The food and drinks
Catering is the best option if you can find a good one at an inexpensive price. You can choose the menu with the least course (to get the least rate) and just have some additional viands (paluto) cooked by someone you know whose service is as good, but does not charge big. To make the menu even more special, you can incorporate in the menu your favorite date dishes. For example, if you both love chicken adobo, you can have some canapes using chicken adobo flakes on Fita biscuits. This makes for a meaningful starter that is very budget-friendly. For drinks, try serving lemongrass-infused water instead of juice or soda. It’s a cheaper and healthier alternative.
Asking family and friends to help in the preparation for free can save you a lot.
The entourage, the dresses
Keep your entourage small. Besides the Godparents, a Best Man, a Maid of Honor, Veil, Candle, Cord Sponsors, a Ring Bearer, and a Flower Girl should be enough. Hiring a professional make-up artist is good advice, but there are a lot of make-up tutorials you can find on YouTube that should do the trick.
Request for the Maid of Honor (sister or best friend of the bride best fits this role for a reason) to learn and practice so she can help with the make-up work instead of having to hire a professional. Then that’s another expense erased from your list!
For gowns and suits, there’s Divisoria. Another alternative is to just buy an inexpensive and simple wedding dress off the rack. You can then embellish it with accessories or flowers to make it look more elegant and unique. Also, you can ask your secondary sponsors to just wear their own dresses that are shades of your color motif. This little favor can greatly reduce your wedding expenses.
Photo and video
Again, hiring a pro to do this is highly recommended, but try checking if you have a friend or relative who dabbles in photography and videos and who actually has the talent! Check his portfolio (Facebook or Instagram) for sample of works. Tell your friend about your request for his/her service in advance so he/she can keep practicing some more prior to your wedding and gain more experience. The advantage here aside from negotiating a cheaper fee is that he/she already personally knows you as a couple. Your friend can easily hang out with you and capture your candid sweet moments in photo and video for your pre-nuptial and ceremony photos. This way, the documentation looks more natural and real, not too staged.
Invites and souvenirs
For the invite, a good calligraphy skill and some recycled craft paper can do wonders for very little cost. You can have the original copy scanned and then printed in multiples. For the souvenirs, try some small inexpensive boxes and put in some sweets or scented dried flowers (your own preserved flower petals will give it a more meaningful touch). Or if you have the skill, draw a caricature (it doesn’t have to be perfect) of you as a couple, have it scanned and printed on stickers and stick ‘em on small tin cans and you already have some unique, cheap, but very personalized giveaways.
With these, you can have a wedding that’s small on budget but big on meaning, sweetness, and joy!