I am a Canadian and Dave is a Scot and we’re currently living in Scotland, so we decided to have our wedding in a stately home called The Balbirnie House, about 20 minutes from where we live.
Dave and I met in Japan while we were teaching English to schoolchildren. We lived three hours apart, but when we knew we wanted to be together, time and distance were immaterial. We talked about what we would do after Japan and we came to the very easy decision to move together to England so that Dave could pursue a Master’s degree. After a few months of living together, while I was making moussakka, Dave got down on one knee in our very cramped kitchen and asked me to marry him. After a few weeks of dazed bliss, I started planning our wedding. Coming from two countries and living in a third proved to be a bit stressful when we were looking at where to have our wedding and for a while, Mexico was the forerunner. But after some time, it just made sense to get married in Scotland, and that began our journey.
What made our wedding practical: The same things that made our wedding practical also made them creative, sane and thrifty. As much as we were excited about sharing such a monumental day with our families and friends, we knew we could not afford the earth, and unsurprisingly for us, this wasn’t a bummer, but a challenge. We knew that our future dream consists of a house and a family, so there would be no way for us to drop a money bomb on one day. Since we were living in England at the time, I had to do our venue search on line and liaise with Dave’s mum up north. In order to be practical and thrifty, we decided to get married on a weekday, and Thursday is close enough to the weekend, so we figured, why not? After a few weeks, we came up with our top four places and wrote pros and cons for each of them, as well as how much it would cost us to get married there. We eliminated 3 two due to logistics and lack of wow factor, and were left with our place. We asked Dave’s parents to check it out for us and they fell in love and took a gazillion pics for us. And that was good enough for us. We flew up to Scotland and saw the place and that was it. It was our wedding venue. We saw one place and never regretted it.
Shopping around would be the theme for our wedding planning and that enabled us to get my dress and accessories, favour boxes, invitations, paper products, and wedding cake for steals. I wasn’t afraid of ordering online and got lucky that everything I ordered worked out for us (I ordered samples when I could). I also bought my wedding dress online and was very pleased that it fit perfectly and didn’t require any alterations save for a bustle that cost £20. Plus it cost half the price of what the shops were peddling it for. Thank you corset back! It may have been a little insane to spend so much time searching on various web sites and reading dozens of reviews to find the best deal, but I do the same thing when I buy a book online, so I was used to this. Wedding companies are so quick to tack on a “wedding tax” and it made me sick thinking about paying more than I absolutely had to for goods.
Thriftiness was also the driving force that led us to hire a novice photographer for our wedding. We found her on the UK version of Craigslist and we lucked out. She got the job done and we have beautiful memories on print to look at for the rest of our lives. We also lucked out with our favours. We decided that if we couldn’t find anything to fit in our meagre budget, they would have to be sacrificed. Dave suggested fudge and due to a “friendor” our favours were literally a steal.
Other friends really came through for us: A friend of Dave’s did the video for us and another played the piano while I and the bridal party walked down the aisle. A good friend who flew in from Canada that morning finished putting together the favours while my sisters did my hair and make up. The son of a family friend played the bagpipes throughout the day. Dave’s aunt did our flowers (bouquets, bouts, centrepieces) and bought the seasonal flowers at a flower market, immensely cutting the costs, then in the end, decided to give us the flowers as our gift. The centrepieces were white and green flowers in silver containers borrowed from the family collection and bought from charity shops and ebay. They were gorgeous, unique and cheap/free!
What made our wedding creative: We got creative when it came to our table names (pictures of us from around our world) and menus (I didn’t like the ones the venue provided) and that was it. We are seriously DIY-impaired and didn’t have the patience to reinvent the wheel. We saved our creativity for writing our ceremony and our vows. For us, this was the most important part of the day and I made it through with just a few tears in my eyes and a huge grin on my face.
What made our wedding sane: Always looking at our budget and keeping our future goals in mind. Also, limiting how much time I spent looking at wedding web sites, though I always read “A Practical Wedding” to keep my feet planted on terra firma. Finally, not buying into “your wedding will be the best day of your life” thing. Dave and I have so much to look forward to and regarded our wedding as a momentous milestone rather than the defining moment of our lives.
I loved our wedding. I loved the fact that people came from Canada, America, Ghana, Australia and the UK and they were the people who knew us individually and had met us when we became a couple. I loved the fact the I laughed when my matron of honour stepped on my train and I heard a huge “riiiiiip” and shrugged my shoulders, and proceeded to gather my raggedy train in both my hands and dance the night away. I loved that my husband and I were alone at our sweetheart table and looked at each other in dazed wonderment. We had respected our budget, survived the meeting of the families and managed to laugh and love each other even more throughout it all.