Ten Ways to by Rev. Donna Schaper
irst of all, don’t go overboard. We imagine this will be your only wedding – so why not make it special? ‘Specialing’ an event takes money. Don’t be stingy. Save in other places, if you can, thereby creating energy and resources for the big day. People “back in the day” often used the piggy bank approach to distinguish very special occasions from less special occasions. A coffee a week in the bank, instead of the mouth, won’t make that much difference but it will ritualize your intention to have a very special time on your special day. Think “Lay away:” again an old-fashioned concept, but simultaneously a material and spiritual preparation for your wedding. Lay away one purchase a week, like clothes or honeymoon, and you will find it more fun to buy and enjoy, in a slow and steady way. Secondly, take two years from the engagement till the actual marriage. That could double your time to save and prepare.
Fourth, have a reception at the largest apartment or house a friend has, country or city, or both. Saving your guests travel money by having two receptions could help.
Fifth, you could also ask an under-employed friend to cater for you. You’d be surprised at how many good cooks there are out there. You might even cater the food yourself. I catered my own wedding and would recommend it highly. I even have recipes for 125 in a small bound book! Maybe you have not one friend who could manage the entire event – so ask five. One does the appetizers, the other the main dish, etc. Just about any good cook knows how to make appetizers for 125 and enjoy it.
“Don’t do anything that puts frugality as the primary goal in the wedding. Let feast be the goal – and let frugality serve that goal.”
Third, consider a double-up. Do you know anybody else who is getting married? Many banquet halls have multiple rooms. You could share the rent with someone; you could even have a double wedding if your friends and their friends enjoy each other. Likewise many officiants would be glad to “group” the pre-marital counseling with convivial people. They would also be glad to officiate one service at 4:00 and the other at 5:00, reducing the preparation of the space and the hiring of musicians and custodians and the like.
Saving gas and travel is a gift to guests and the planet. We often give our apartment in NYC away to people who need a large space. Don’t call or write: I am over-booked with friends and congregants. But you probably know someone who is house or yard-rich. Ask them for a wedding present. Or ask if they could use a little extra cash in exchange for use. Caterers are very good at catering in and are often much less expensive than a hotel or restaurant.
Sixth, consider having the sacred ceremony outside or in a church or synagogue or mosque where you attend. Most congregations will give a break to members. And if you don’t belong anywhere, find a friend who does. You might let that friend know that you are willing to barter your gift for their space. Do you design web sites? Own a country cottage some staff member of the congregation could use? Bartering is an under-estimated form of economic exchange. Clergy, for instance, are often quite interested in unusual economic arrangements. Don’t be afraid to ask.