The wedding and funeral industries have much in common. Both prey on emotion, sentiment and guilt to separate people from obscene sums of money for one giant, flowery party. One is filled with angst and sobbing, while the other features the atrocity that is the Chicken Dance. One mourns the burial of a loved one, while the other celebrates the union of two souls by burying them in debt.
Despite what the reality shows and glossy magazines would have you believe, it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s entirely possible to get hitched without dropping tens of thousands of dollars that statistically, the bride and groom will one day need to pay their divorce lawyers.
Here are my suggestions to get rid of costly extraneous things at weddings.
Stick with regular cakes, not wedding cakes.
Elaborate, multi-tiered monstrosities can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars. You’re paying for beauty and craftsmanship, not necessarily flavor. I’ve been to hundreds of millions of weddings, and have yet to taste a wedding cake that was any better than something made from a Betty Crocker mix. And none of the wedding cakes I’ve stuffed into my gourd can approach the majesty of even the cheapest frozen cheesecake at a grocery store, let alone the higher-priced but infinitely better Costco cheesecakes, which I’m proud to say my wife and I served at our wedding.
Phase out the DJ with technology.
Terrible wedding music doesn’t require a tuxedo-wearing doofus to play it. Any MP3 player, or even a couple of That’s What I Call Crappy Wedding Music CDs can do the trick. Reassign emcee duties to the best man or father of the bride, who can tell which table’s turn it is to get in line for the rubber chicken and rice chunks a la slop provided by the caterer. And speaking of caterer…
Serve snacks, not meals.
Schedule your wedding at 2 p.m. so no guests expect a sit-down dinner from the affair. You’ll save so much on your food budget you’ll be able to spring for the finest products Frito Lay has to offer rather than the generic stuff. Also, forget about an open bar. If anyone gripes, say it’s because you don’t want to tempt the family drunk.
Invite people by email.
Paper-and-envelope invitations are a relic of yesteryear, when Scott Baio still had a promising acting career and Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan starred in an assortment of delightful romantic comedies. These days, the post office is failing because people communicate by electronic means. Use a service such as e-vite to track who’s in and who’s out, and restrict the licking and stuffing to your bedroom activities.
Don’t have a wedding.
You knew this was coming, right? The biggest way you can save on a wedding is to elope or do the deed at a justice of the peace. You can still call attention to yourselves with informal receptions after the fact and still scam tons of free waffle irons, towels and Keurigs by throwing yourself a party. Some unknowingly scammy friends of mine have eloped and thrown several wedding parties, one in the place they live now, along with others in the places they grew up. Those evil geniuses pulled in three times the swag, and they didn’t even have to suffer through a single wedding. I get bitter when I’m invited to multiple post-wedding parties by the same couple, but mainly because I’m just jealous of the clever ingenuity.
How did you cut costs on your wedding day? If you’re planning a wedding now, do you have any good money-saving tips?