The most memorable wedding I ever attended was by far the cheapest. The bride and groom were moving from a small apartment to a three acre homestead they could barely afford. They wanted to start their life on the land without another cent of debt. So they invited everyone they knew to celebrate with them at a Wedding Potluck & MusicFest.
They reserved space for free at a park pavilion in an out-of-the-way nature preserve. Everything they purchased could be reused on their homestead. Tables were made from sawhorses and planks using wood scavenged from her father’s workshop, covered with thrift shop fabric they intended to make into curtains. The centerpieces were daisies in thrift store mason jars while jelly jars were used as eco-friendly drinking glasses (they planned to use all the jars for years to come in home canning). More daisies were strung together into daisy chain garlands worn in the bride’s hair.
The couple requested no gifts. They simply asked that friends make the celebration possible by bringing food, drink, and music to share. The bounty was overwhelming. Tables were heaped with a wonderful array of dishes. Drinks were kept cold in galvanized stock tanks (planned for the couple’s eventual livestock) filled with ice.
After the ceremony itself, performed under fragrant flowering locust trees, guests enjoyed a banquet with a greater variety than any pricey caterer could have provided. The wedding cake (made by the bride’s aunt) made an entrance in a new bright red wheelbarrow.
Then the evening’s entertainment began. Guests who chose to participate offered all sorts of music. There were saxophone and guitar jazz pieces, clever skits, lively bluegrass numbers, humorous duets, and impromptu sing-alongs. By the end of the evening everyone was playing an instrument, singing, or dancing.
I’ve never been to a wedding filled with so much laughter and love. Such happiness is a wonderful way to inaugurate a new life together.
And it was cheap.
The average wedding today costs $28,000. For creatively inexpensive wedding ideas check out:
Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides and companion site OffBeat Bride
Do It For Less! Weddings: How to Create Your Dream Wedding Without Breaking the Bank (mostly ideas for self-catering)