Frugal ways to get married – Part 2

This is a 3-part series to demonstrate that you can get married 3 times for less than the Canadian national average of $31,685. In part 1 of the series I showed you that Mrs. T and I only spent $764 for our perfect wedding. This amount was only only 1.9% of the average wedding spending in 2014!

Since only my parents and my brother attended our first wedding, Mrs. T and I thought we needed a reception to celebrate our reunion together. We invited about 50 guests to our second wedding.

Frugal ways to get married – How to plan a frugal wedding

To keep the second wedding cost as low as possible, we kept things easy and simple and did a lot of DIY.

Home-made item #1 – Wedding dress
Mrs. T made her wedding dress and decided to alter a little bit for the second wedding. Since she had left over materials, the alterations didn’t cost any extra money.

Home-made item #2 – Wedding Cake
Just like the first wedding, Mrs. T made a wedding cake all by herself.

Home-made item #3 – Flower Bouquets
Like the first wedding, Mrs. T made our flower bouquets by going to a flower store to purchase the flowers and then make the bouquets herself. We saved tons of money by not buying already made wedding bouquets.

Home-made item #4 – DJ
We wanted to celebrate the wedding by having a dance party at end of the night. A dance usually requires a DJ but we didn’t want to hire someone just to play some music off an MP3 player. Luckily my brother volunteered. We carried my stereo set with massive speakers from the 90’s, hooked everything up to a laptop, and had an awesome music system. My brother had a lot of fun creating a playlist for the dance party.

Home-made item #5 – Decorations
The decorations consisted of free orchids from a family friend of ours, nicely folded pink napkins, and tea light candles floating in the water with flower petals. It’s simple and elegant.

Think back to any weddings that you attended, do you remember the decorations? Probably not.

Home-made item #6 – Alcohol
This wasn’t really “home-made” but I suppose it falls under the category. Mrs. T and I went to the liquor store and purchased all the alcoholic drinks ourselves. Because we bought in bulk, we received a little bit of a discount.

Home-made item $7 – Wedding Invitation
We made the wedding invitation as a PDF file and send it to all the guests via email. No paper invitations were sent out. The electronic wedding invitation was free and it was good for the environment because no paper was used.

For the second wedding venue we looked around in many places in Vancouver. Most of the venues that we found charged a minimum amount and required us using their own catering company. After a quick calculation, we determined that the food cost would always exceed the minimum charge. We didn’t feel like spending over $10k on catering plus wedding venue so we started exploring other options. Luckily we were able to rent a community centre hall for a small fraction of other venue costs. For catering we hired someone that I knew, whom made the tastiest beef short ribs ever. Even 3.5 years after our second wedding, many of the guests still talk about the beef short ribs. Yes they were that good!

Since I’m a wedding photographer myself, it took an extensive search to find a wedding photographer that I liked. Luckily we were able to find a wedding photographer that just graduated from a photography program and was just starting out in the wedding industry. Because the photographer was just starting out, we were able to get a reduced price.

To make the second wedding as real as the first one, we asked one of our friends to be the “fake” wedding commission so we can exchange our wedding vows again. Mrs. T’s parents and part of my family and close family friends were able to join the celebration from outside of Canada which made the second wedding extra special.

Frugal Wedding #2 – Cost Breakdown

Community Centre Rental – $636
Food & Catering – $3000
Photography – $672
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic Drinks – $320
Flowers, napkins and candle lights – $20
Mr. T’s makeup & hair – $150 (hired a makeup artist that I worked with several times)

Total cost of wedding #2 – $4,798

Total cost for wedding #1 & #2 – $5,562.

You can read about our 3rd and final wedding here.

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17 thoughts on “Frugal ways to get married – Part 2”

  1. Somehow I ended here in one of your old post directed from Financial Samurai blog. Haha.

    I am in a similar situation. Although my wife and I got married in Canada our parents are in Korea and therefore we will have to get married once again in Korea. I will keep some of your tips and will talk to my wife but I already see a lot of challenges. Hahaha….

  2. These are great ideas on how to save money. The price of weddings can be ridiculous especially now that the wedding industry is pushing TWO dresses. A wedding dress and a reception dress.

    I think too many people spend money then later complain they have no money. do it yourself mentality is a dying art.

  3. How much was the dress. I checked part one and I didn’t see it included. I understand she made it herself but there is still a cost associated. Cost of pattern and material.

    That is amazing I had a brief wish to be able to make my own dress. But I had very minimal sewing knowledge. Had to settle for just designing it.

  4. Did you really spend $150 on make up and hair for you? Or was that for Mrs. T? 😉

    Overall, this looks amazing. I would guess $10,000+ if you were paying retail prices.

    Our wedding was a lot more low key, and we probably spent a thousand or two mostly on food and beer. It was cheap enough that I didn’t even pay attention to what we spent. We had the wedding at my wife’s sister’s house and probably a few hundred people showed up. Mrs. RootofGood is from Thailand, so the wedding traditions and conventions were much different than North American ones. It was basically a huge party. We eventually left before the party was over, but I don’t think anyone noticed. 🙂

  5. I couldn’t imagine spending $30,000 on a wedding. We spent far, far less than that (less than a third, actually) and it still felt like way too much when it was all said and done. We had a great wedding but I would have loved to save that money!

  6. Looks like a beautiful second wedding! I love your wife’s hair, you didn’t mention who did that for her.

    When we were looking for venues, we were getting stuck with $8,000-$10,000 minimum charges for wedding venues or restaurants too. But instead of being creative like you, we just picked one. I think we ended up around $12,000 for the wedding (including clothing, rings, booze, paperwork, etc). Honeymoon extra…

    • Hi Emily,

      It’s an MUA that I worked with many times for photography gigs but I think she has stopped doing makeup. She did an awesome job!

      $12k for the wedding is still very reasonable considering a lot of people spend way more than that.

  7. Tawcan,

    Good stuff. A homemade wedding dress is especially impressive!

    Looks like you guys had a very beautiful wedding for very little money. Commendable.

    My significant other and I plan on getting married down at the courthouse for about $125. Not for everyone, but it’s about as frugal as it can possibly get. 🙂

    Looking forward to part three!

    Best regards.

    • Hi Dividend Mantra,

      Awesome to hear that you and your SO will be spending only $125. We did something similar for our real wedding too.

    • Hi DivHut,

      Buying used wedding dress is an excellent idea! Most of these used wedding dresses probably only got worn once so why not take advantage of the saving? Great tip!

  8. Good stuff, Tawcan. That is a very commendable achievement – and I love the pictures…everything looks so nice and elegant.

    Looking forward to reading wedding #3.

    Thanks for sharing

  9. I’m sure you know this, but your wife is extremely resourceful. A cake is one thing but a wedding dress is quite another. We didn’t make our own things, but it was a great wedding all the same. We spent about $4700 (US), and honestly we could have cut about $1500 of that if we hadn’t been trying to make the reception kid friendly. My wife has about 25 young cousins and nieces/nephews.

    • Hi Bryan,

      Yes I’m very thankful that my wife is so resourceful. She makes a lot of things herself which allowed us to save tons of money. 🙂


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