Change of tack

So after some time spent not writing on my blog, I’ve decided that the path I was going down wasn’t right…. My next post was meant to be filled with ideas and inspiration for a budget wedding but the truth is, the options are endless if you are open minded and imaginative. So, rather, i’ll leave it to you to post comments about ideas and we can brainstorm together, a collaborative process!

In the same breath I have also reviewed my ideas for my own wedding and those have changed as well… and i’m sure they will continue to do so until the day before!

Update on my own wedding planning – I found a dress… it cost $120 and i’m excited for you to finally see it, but you’ll have to wait I need to keep some surprises!

We’ve also decided that in order to simplify proceedings, we will be combining the Chinese tea ceremony and the civil ceremony into one. It took a bit of convincing the in-laws but thankfully, and totally by chance, the date that we chose (or that happened to be available) was a good day for marriage according to the Chinese calendar.

I have lately also been obsessed with consumption and the wasteful nature of modern society and thus have decided I will be attempting to grow seedlings from the discarded seeds of our fruit and veg scraps, in recycled cans and jars as decor for the tables which will double as favors for the guests…. we’ll see how that goes…. I currently have almonds ‘activating’ in the fridge!

Below are some images that I have inspired me… most of these were from the new IKEA catalogue #IKEAobsession:

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I love the way that fruit and veg can be perpetual – I wonder how many people regrow their fruit and veg…?

My bridesmaids have been wondering what to wear lately too (I cant believe there’s only 4 months to go) so I’ve given them some pretty loose guidelines and am letting them choose themselves. Below are images of what i’m imagining we’ll end up like:

bridal party outfits

Long or short doesn’t matter!

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DIY… or Just Don’t

While researching my next installment I came across a couple of budget wedding inspiration sites which included this DIY centerpiece of french beans and/or asparagus gathered around a pillar candle.

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This is stretching the imagination a little far isn’t it? I get it, french beans are cheap and….. green…. but there are other, less vegetative ways of achieving the same look…. green paper? green ribbon?… or just thinking ahead and buying green candles…

Unless beans mean a lot to you and your partner, this is definitely a case of DIY… or Just Don’t.

In case you are really digging these and want some more ideas, here are some of the best examples of vegetarian decor I could find:

I name this centrepiece 'sweepings from the fruit and veg section'

I name this centrepiece ‘sweepings from the fruit and veg section’

Is it because artichokes have hearts?

Is it because artichokes have hearts?

Can't afford an ice carving, watermelon is the next best thing

Can’t afford an ice carving, watermelon is the next best thing

Just incase you get hungry on the way down the isle

No need to stop for lunch with these tasty bouquets

another fan of beans and asparagus

another fan of beans and asparagus

This gem I found at offbeat bride belongs to Riona of Godawful Wedding Crap

This gem I found at Offbeat Bride belongs to Riona of Godawful Wedding Crap

Potatoes

Potato glam

Love cabbage?

Love cabbage?

Enjoy!

First Steps

You and you’re partner have agreed to get married – Congratulations!…. what now?

You may assume that setting a date is the first thing you should do but unless you are set on getting married on a particular date (like Valentines day…. errr… a little cliche don’t you think?), you will find you can save a lot of money being flexible with dates and allowing venue availability to dictate your wedding date rather than the other way around.

The actual first step is to discuss with your partner how much you are willing to spend on your wedding and then decide how best to spend it.

Factors you will need to consider to make these decisions:

  • Maximum number of guests – you’ll probably need to draw up a list of guests. Divide it into 3 sections, have to invite, like to invite and will invite if budget allows. Then decide where you draw the line, do you only invite people that you absolutely have to have there or do you stretch it to include all the fun people as well? Burn this list once you’re done – you’d hate for Aunt Mavis to notice it laying on the coffee table and find out she didn’t make the first cut!!
  • Parental monetary assistance – great if you have it! (put it in the bank and save for your first/next home and tell your parents you spent it on the dress… they’ll never know!).
  • How much money do you have saved or how much you are able to save over the coming months? (I know anyone that is smart enough to read my blog will be smart enough to know NOT to take out a loan to pay for a wedding so I needn’t mention it…)

Once you have settled on a final dollar figure, halve it. One half is for you and your wedding, the other half is to feed and pickle your guests. Take one third of the amount allocated to feeding and pickling, that’s for alcohol. The other two thirds you should divide by your number of guests to get a catering budget per head.

Example: Maximum amount willing to spend = $10,000. Number guests (including you and your partner)= 80

$5000 to cover things like, marriage license, rings, celebrant, your dress/suit, booking fees, decor, entertainment etc etc

$5000 X 1/3 = $1600 (rounded…$20 per head, two bags of goon a bottle of wine each… not bad) for alcohol and $3400 divided by 80 = $42.50 per head for food (most caterers quote on a per head basis so this makes it easier to understand)

Ask yourself:

Is this realistic?

For shits & giggles let’s do the same exercise with my $5000 for 150 people.

For the wedding and us = $2500 (note, this was the deposit on our venue alone).

For alcohol:  $800 = $5 each.

For food: $1700 divided by 150 =  $11 per head.

This probably is achievable for someone who owns a large property and loves cooking and DIY. I take my hat off to anyone who achieves this!

TIP: Aldi has a selection of wines for $4! They’re not bad! seriously, give the Shiraz Cabernet a go! – DIY personalised wine bottle labels and nobody has to know!

(it’s this one…. shhhhh…. don’t let too many people know! http://www.aldiliquor.com.au/elmfield-shiraz-cabernet or they’ll put the price up)

Now for the fun stuff, working out your wedding style.

Discuss what is important to you both and what you can happily leave out. For example, are you happy to have a civil ceremony at the courthouse and only have guests at your reception? Do you want to have a sit-down dinner or will cocktails & canapes suffice? Do you want to spend on rings? photography? cars? make-up? hair? etc.

Once you have decided the style of wedding that you would like as yourself again of the budget:

Is this realistic?

Next post…. Wedding style inspiration

The back story

Before we start our little adventure, let me bring you up to speed…

I’m a typical Caucasian Aussie, born and bred. Like a lot of us, I don’t have a large family and most of them live in the UK. My partner was born in Macau and his family arrived in Australia as refugees from China in the early 90’s (that’s right, we have a really cute baby). His family tree seems to include a large portion of the Western Sydney population and there are also a few branches that extend across various other continents.

Our wedding is a small, intimate affair of just our closest family and friends…. all 150 of them.

I was adamant that we weren’t going to spend over $5000 on our wedding day. We initially thought we’d have a get together at home, a glammed up bbq, of sorts. I sat down to nut out the logistics and searched for some budget DIY inspiration – being an interior designer/stylist, I thought i’d have no trouble doing it myself. I quickly realised that 150 people won’t fit in our backyard and DIY for 150?… I CBF…

Who really has time to DIY anyway?

At the same time, and much to my surprise, a lot of our overseas and interstate invitees (who I thought would not be keen on making the massive effort and investment to attend our wedding day) responded to our save the date to say they would love to come.

If you’ve got a number of guests making an effort and a large investment to spend the day with you, you at least have to put in some effort yourself, right?

So our plans had to change. We considered a destination wedding because some of the packages seem too good to resist, but with a number of guests at either extremity of the age spectrum it made things very expensive and difficult for a lot of the most important people.

Our main considerations were as follows:

  • Accommodation for guests travelling from interstate and overseas
  • Far enough away that people who are only turning up for the free food and alcohol won’t bother to make the trip, but close enough that people can make their way home afterwards (we thought around an hour away would be about right)
  • Somewhere that allowed us to arrange our own catering to keep costs down
  • Somewhere that was flexible with it’s noise curfews – we didn’t want to be told to pack up and go to bed at 10pm
  • Must have a nice view – because this means that you don’t need a lot of decor
  • Must have an indoor space to hold a sit down reception for 120 people, or an outdoor space large enough for a marquee (My thoughts on outdoor receptions will come in a later post)

I trawled through a lot of options and made a lot of phone calls to discover that there really isn’t a lot that will satisfy all our needs (I will include my venue research in a later post). We finally stumbled upon a gem, a manor house retreat set on a large bushland property with 20 guest rooms that is run by a lively bunch of hippies exuberant creatives from Nimbin.

We will probably spend about $130 per head for our wedding (around $15,000 in total). Far removed from the original $5000, albeit much more realistic and still well under half the national average.

I realise this is still a lot of money and don’t worry, I will be showing you ways you can have an awesome wedding for a lot less. We are happy though with our compromise and are looking forward to an awesome weekend!

Next up… The first steps to planning your wedding rebellion

That is not a wedding…

I’m currently in the process of planning my wedding.

I never wanted a wedding. I’m not the girl who whiled away her time dreaming of her ‘big day’. In fact until very recently I hadn’t invested a moments thought on it…. It just didn’t interest me, there were always more important things to waste my time on. Marriage to me was unnatural, archaic and in modern society, predestined for failure.

So why get married?

Now this is a question I have pondered on quite a lot….

A few things occurred in my life recently that made me second guess my aversion to marriage. Firstly, my Dad passed away at just 60 after a long struggle with Crohn’s disease and subsequent bowel cancer and early onset dementia. I watched him slowly fade while my mother cared for and supported him. I witnessed their lifelong commitment in it’s most raw and honest form and I awakened to appreciate what it all meant.

Secondly, last year my partner and I had a son and while I was pregnant I found it difficult thinking about the two of them sharing a surname and not me. I thought I would feel like an outsider looking in and I wanted to be part of their family. (I now put these thoughts down to pregnancy hormones and understand that family isn’t just defined by your surname…. I have since decided not to change my surname).

Thirdly, our grannies are getting old and seeing us married would make them so happy. We love our grannies and want to make them happy!

And finally, we get to have all of our favourite people in one place for an awesome party!

What is a wedding anyway?

For a few years in my 20s I managed an event venue that was primarily booked for weddings. Every weekend during the Summer, we’d set up the room in the wedding colours of the moment, lavender and gold. We’d introduce the bridal party and in would bop the bridesmaids in their a-symmetrical chiffon dresses to some Black Eyed Peas song, and then came the groom and the bride in her off-white/ivory/cream gown and everyone would laugh and cheer…. “Yaaaay!”…. now hurry up with the speeches we have another off-white/ivory/cream + lavender and gold spectacular to set up for tomorrow.

All weddings are the same… no matter how original you think you are, a million people before you have done the same thing….

The average Australian wedding costs $36,200 (according to the Australian securities and investments commission). You say wedding, I say deposit on a house!

HOLD UP….! so to put it in coffee connoisseur’s terms, you’re saying we’re paying for Kopi Luwak (cat poop coffee….http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak) and what we’re getting is Nescafe in a fancy glass?.

Yes, that’s what i’m saying, we’re all getting ripped off. Love is a commercial enterprise.

Don’t worry though because that is not a wedding.

A wedding, by it’s simplest definition, is a celebration of a marriage. However you chose to celebrate your marriage is completely up to you. That’s right, there’s no need to wear an off-white/ivory/cream gown, you don’t have to drown in flowers, spending money on a cake that no-one eats is not necessary… you don’t have to do any of it. You can do or not do, whatever you like!

If you are anything like me, and the fact that you’ve read this far tells me that you probably are, you won’t be keen on the bouffant princess dress, Rolls Royce or cheesy wedding pics anyway. As I plan my own rebel wedding, I’ll be sharing my ideas and thoughts with you as inspiration for your own decommercialised celebration of marriage in what will be a sometimes serious, sometimes tongue-in-cheek manner.

I hope you enjoy the wedding rebellion!