A big day, or not?

This post over on Modern Mrs Darcy got me thinking about how we did things for our wedding, and how much it all cost.

The way we did things is really a bit odd, when I think about it. Our whole wedding cost about $15,000, but it would have been a lot cheaper if we actually paid mates rates – which I refused to do.

The only things that weren’t done by someone we already knew personally were the reception/wedding venue and the flowers. The florist who did the flowers was just around the corner from my Mum’s place, and we chose it by chance – I was driving past one day and saw a sign advertising a special-cost bridal package, so I stopped and checked it out. The wedding/reception venue is local for us, and it’s run by the YMCA – but it’s not what you’d normally associate with something YMCA-run. There’s a youth camp/dormitory area on the far side of the property, but the part that is hired out for weddings is a Historical Village, complete with a main street full of little shops (that are actually used! There’s even a full lolly shop where they still make all their own stuff), a gorgeous little chapel, and a ‘country pub’. It fitted so well with the look of our wedding, as we were going for the 1900’s Australia sort of look – my dress would comfortably fit into an early episode of Downton Abbey, and the guys all wore black Akubra hats (the hats were Hubby’s idea, and they looked awesome!).

We knew a few of the people who did stuff for the wedding through scouts. The photographer and the sound guy are husband & wife, and Hubby has known them for over 15 years – the deal we ended up with for them was that we paid full price for the photography, but got the sound & lighting thrown in as a “bonus”. That was arrived at after several months of negotiation, because I was insisting on paying full price and the photographer wouldn’t hear of it! Another friend from scouts is a kindy teacher, and offered to supervise the “kids table” for us (we have a huge extended family, with lots of cousins who are under 12 years old and several nieces & nephews in the same age-range, as well as friends with kids). This worked out so well, because it meant that more people were able to attend – they didn’t need to worry about a babysitter or anything. I’d made up some “wedding activity books” for the table, with colouring in and other activities, and our friend loaded up her iPad with movies and set the kids up under the table (we had black tablecloths that went all the way down to the floor, and the table was HUGE = instant movie theatre!).

The hairdresser was my MOH’s cousin, who I’d met at various parties etc over the years. The cars belonged to two different people – my car (a 1900’s Ford) belonged to a family friend who hired it out for weddings just so that he could drive it regularly, and Hubby’s car was something from the 50’s, which belonged to his Brother-in-Law’s father. My aunt did the flowergirls’ hair, and the dresses the two girls wore were actually the same ones that my sister and I had worn at my aunt’s wedding when we were little. A few of my younger cousins were the ushers (so serious about their jobs!). The cake was made by my stepmother’s friend (can anyone say “death by chocolate”?). I wasn’t going to have the wedding videoed, but my grandparents did it anyway and sent me the DVD – I must say, they did a really good job!

I ordered a lot of the decorations online (yay for ebay) and I designed & made all the invitations and associated matching paper stuff (table numbers, place cards etc) myself. We had a lolly bar rather than doing individual favours, and rather than having a “guest book”, I had everyone write their message on the back of their place card and put it in a basket – I was planning on scrapbooking them all, but I’ve yet to get around to actually doing that…

I wouldn’t have done it any other way, it was a fantastic day and it went off without a hitch!

I wonder a little now whether I should have accepted mates-rates, and saved some money – but I’m a stickler for the fact that as much as you’re my friend, this is something you do to earn money and it’s only right that you should get full payment for what you do. I’m asking you to do the same quality of work that you’d do for anyone else who hired you, so why should I pay less?

~K

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