Our wedding was perfect. Perfect for us. Most people dream of elaborate weddings with loads of flowers, a dress full of lace, and a fine dining experience. They want to invite EVERYONE they know to celebrate them. There are centerpieces and photo booths. There are flower girls and wedding bands. Photographers. Videographers. Caterers. Clergymen. Wedding Planners. Let me tell you the story of our wedding that cost under $500. Maybe someday I will go back and tell you the story of how we got engaged and maybe a funny pre-engagement story. For now, let’s focus on the big day.
I suggested we get married on Leap Day. I thought it would be fun to have a unique anniversary, neither of us would forget the date, and we would only have an official anniversary every four years. Instead of tons of little wedding gifts we could go on a trip for each anniversary as they would be really special. It wasn’t a hard sell. Mr Loco loved the idea. That gave us a little over 5 months to plan our big event. The first thing on our list was to move Mr Loco to the midwest. (That may be another blog post altogether our cross-country adventures were entertaining to say the least) We thought about getting married in Hawaii but a few reasons made us decide to hold the ceremony in our hometown and honeymoon in Hawaii. We also decided we wanted our favorite people- friends and family. Mr Loco recently moved so having friends fly across the country for our super casual wedding didn’t seem practical. Our goal was a wedding that reflected us: who were as a couple and focused on our commitment to each other. I think we were very successful.
Mr Loco and I had a tradition carried over from his childhood: Sunday night dinner is pizza. Sometimes we ordered in and sometimes we went out.
When we lived in the midwest, we found the most delicious little Italian restaurant that was close to our house. We ate there often. When we started thinking wedding locale we called a variety of places for prices. When we were out to eat on our regular Sunday night we asked if they happened to have any rooms they rented out. THEY DID! Since we were getting married on a Wednesday night, they let us have access to all three spaces they rented out if we liked. SOLD! We booked the space that night. We thought we found a ridiculously good deal.
The Cost: $50
An Ordained Dude
Mr Loco was ordained- too bad he couldn’t marry us. That would have been an entertaining ceremony. It did however give us an idea. Mr Loco and I chatted about what kind of ceremony we wanted. We wanted it to be personal and from the heart. That meant writing the whole thing ourselves. That is exactly what we did. I am proud of the ceremony we cobbled together. It was simple. It was us. We asked a friend if he would get ordained. He was all over it. He married us using the words we wrote on our iPad. We were married by a great friend and someone who would be in our lives. That made it more special.
The Cost: $0
The Marriage License
We picked up our marriage license and I snapped this adorable picture of Mr Loco.
The Cost: $20
Yeah, so wedding clothes tend to be a big deal to people. They spend thousands of dollars on a dress. So….um….that is not me. That is not what we wanted our wedding to be about. We wanted the focus to be on us being so crazy in love that we invited some cool people to join us and celebrate our marriage. Who cares about the clothes or party decorations or favors or tons of flowers? Not us. This day was about our love not a color scheme. My mom received a 30% Kohl’s coupon in the mail. She LOVES a good Kohl’s coupon. Mr Loco and I went with her to Kohl’s. As I walked into the store I said ‘I WILL FIND SOMETHING WEDDING WORTHY IN THIS STORE” I tried on a handful of dresses and walked out in THE DRESS. It was blush or peach (I don’t know what the cool kids call it) and black. With the Kohl’s coupon, it cost $17.50. Yeah, that was totally my speed. into our shopping basket it was tossed. Mr Loco needed a tie. We looked for something that would match my dress and found a tie for $10. I nabbed a pair of black heels for $20 and we were done. Yes, my shoes cost more than my dress.
The Cost: $47.50
Mr Loco’s mom offered to buy the flowers. The funny thing was, flowers were not even on our radar. I selected a bouquet and bootineer. The wedding coordinator at the florist shop said I was the easiest bride ever with my request for a small bouquet of cream-ish flowers and a Gerbera daisy for Mr Loco.
The Cost: $50
The Music/A Reading
We walked in to our wedding together with The Luckiest by Ben Folds playing. It was playing on one of our phones. We didn’t want anyone to sing or any lame readings. I was a children’s librarian. I had a great friend get up and read Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton. It was the best reading ever. I read the same book to Baby Loco. It makes me cry.
The Cost: $0
Hair and Makeup
I was planning on doing fancy hair….you know where you wash it and dry it and maybe bust out the flat-iron. A friend gifted me my hair and makeup being done at the house. It was a wonderful gift.
The Cost: $0
We sent out evites. Very formal, I know. We saved some trees and some dollars.
The Cost: $0
You have to celebrate with food afterwards. We had a pizza buffet. You heard it here first- ALL. YOU. CAN. EAT. PIZZA. BUFFET. Call us formal. Call us classy. It was tasty and the meal we always had at our favorite restaurant.
The Cost: $300
Total Cost: $467.50
Now a few interesting stories for you from our wedding:
The night before our wedding we let Chuckles the dog out one more time before going to bed. It was around midnight. Chuckles was outside a little too long. Mr Loco went out to check on him and Chuckles came bounding into the house. My eyes instantly watered and I put him in the bathroom. He had been sprayed by a skunk. We spent the next several hours getting supplies and bathing the dog. We used a recipe we found on the internet. Once Chuckles was not so ripe we put him in a carrier and we all tried to sleep. In the morning it felt like the entire house smelled like skunk. Mr Loco took Chuckles to the vet for a professional de-skunking and for her to look at his eyes since he took a direct hit. I spent the morning cleaning the house. I seriously cleaned the house naked because I didn’t want skunk smell to get on anything. I said to Mr Loco “Isn’t this what you always dreamed your wedding day would be like? You know a naked woman on her hands and knees…..scrubbing the toilet with bleach and spraying enough febreeze for 50 houses!” We laughed because what else can you do when you smell like a skunk on your wedding day. We cracked all kinds of stinky jokes throughout the day. Finally it was time to go get hitched. We were showered and our clothes were so febreezed we smelled like a crisp spring day. Chuckles was fine. He was a little scared to go outside for a while. It took two more home baths and 2 more professional baths before he was less stinky. It took a good 6 months before he didn’t smell faintly of skunk if he got damp. Now if you add up all of the money spent on the dog…..Poor Chuckles.
I met one of Mr Loco’s aunts at the wedding for the first time. She pulled Mr Loco aside and asked how far along I was. Seriously, we had just said hello, nice to meet you and she knew I was pregnant. Backstory: We had decided to start trying and just found out 5 days earlier that we were successful. I was 4 weeks and 5 days pregnant and we were so very excited. No one knew so sharing it with someone felt good. Her spidey-sense was tingling and we laughed. She congratulated us in a whisper and we got married.
THE AFTER PARTY
After most people went home a few couples moved over to the bar and we hung out. We laughed. We told stories. It was a great time. We both sat there with giant grins on our faces. We were married. It took us 18 years to go from high school to marriage but dammit we made it. One of our great friends took this picture of us in the snow. It is perfect and one of my favorite photos of us as a couple.
So there you have it. That is the simple story of our wedding. Nothing fancy. Nothing dramatic. Just two people, crazy in love saying they loved each other in front of some great friends and family. We thought our wedding was perfect. It was intimate. It was focused on what we wanted it to be focused on- our love for each other and the actual “getting married” thing. We shared the night with a few friends and family. It was perfect.