CHEAP WEDDING WEDNESDAY: Make that Wedded Life Wednesday!

I’m not chief wedding planner any more, and I don’t plan to be in the near future, so I am changing Cheap Wedding Wednesday to Wedded Life Wednesday.  Hubby and I just celebrated our 33rd—yes, 33!–wedding anniversary, so I thought I might make some observations about wedded life, a.k.a. wedded bliss.
I don’t like that phrase actually, because it implies that a “happily ever after” life is guaranteed after the wedding ceremony.  So much effort and planning is put into the wedding itself, and very little is said about the marriage/day-to-day life that follows.
I think many newlyweds expect the euphoria of the wedding day and the first few weeks to last a lifetime.  Soon the drudgery of daily work and chores and family obligations sets in and married life can begin to lose its luster.
How do people keep the glow from fading?  How have hubby and I managed to stick it out for 33 years?  From our experience, and it hasn’t been all romance and roses for either of us, and also from watching my own children in their new marriages, I have learned a few things.
I’ll start with this:  keep some mystery in your marriage.  How?  How about NOT telling each other every little detail about every little thing in your daily life?  Yes, you should communicate, but can you not keep the door closed when you are using the toilet?  Maintaining respect for each other is at the heart of the matter.  Keep your dignity and your personal body processes private.
Stay tuned. . .


One of the neat things about being a bride is having a bridal shower.  Usually friends or colleagues or the church you belong to will throw one for you if you are the bride, but my daughter had no one in those areas available to do it for her.  As her mother I definitely wanted her to have that experience and–is this tacky–the gifts, too!  

I scoured all the wedding magazines, books, and websites I could find looking for advice on family members throwing wedding showers.  They confirmed my belief that it was inappropriate for the mother of the bride to throw a wedding shower for her daughter–it would look like I was asking for gifts–but all agreed that another family member such as a sister or aunt could properly do so.
There is no sister, and there is only one aunt living near us, so my sister Sharon had the wonderful privilege of being solicited to throw the shower!  As wonderful as my sister is, she agreed, with very little trepidation.

Sharon is creative, so I knew she would do a memorable job, and I also promised her I would do the same for her daughter someday.  Nothing like a little bribe, huh?  Just kidding.  She said she was happy to do it.  I choose to believe her.

I have actually already shown the shower decor in a previous post.  This time I wanted to show you the invitation she came up with, designed by herself with materials she had at home:  computer, printer, ink, stickers, bits of ribbon, and scrapbook paper.  She printed the information on plain paper, tore the edges, and then glued them onto pretty scrapbook paper.  She also used different scrapbook paper so there were different designs, all put together by hand.  She did such a great job that I wished I had gotten her to do the wedding invitations!

Cute, don’t you think?  She didn’t stop there.  She also created a handmade gift record by cutting several sheets of scrapbook paper and stationery and tying them with jute twine to a brown piece of paper.  Very clever and fitting for the vintage theme!  And very CHEAP!

Wonder how much less creative we would be if we had all the money in the world to buy every little thing?  What is that old saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention?”  It is the same with creativity.  It takes need to bring it out!  See what you can create. . .




I promised that I would reveal just how much we had to pay for my daughter’s cheap fairy tale wedding.  Check out the photos below and see if you can guess how inexpensively we were able to pull it off. . .

The dress is from David’s Bridal and was the fifth dress that Natalie tried on.  I knew my budget of $400 was blown when her face lit up as she saw herself in the mirror.  This was her dream dress, and at $749 it was actually a great deal.  Of course, after we added the long-line push-up bra, petticoat, alterations, and preservation kit, it came to well over $1000!  Get ready, future mother-of-the-brides!  

I purchased the roses and baby’s breath from a local florist for only $99.  With some floral tape and ribbon I fashioned two bouquets and four boutonnieres!  I added my grandmother’s blue brooch to the bridal bouquet for something old, borrowed, and blue.  There was enough baby’s breath to fill galvanized buckets for the aisle and part of a five-gallon bucket used in photos.

I purchased Natalie’s hat on Ebay and added some birdcage netting and gears to it to make it more steampunk wedding appropriate.  She chose not to wear the birdcage veil over her face.  The goblets were borrowed from my mother’s crystal collection and tied with the same ribbon I used on the bouquets.

The steampunk-themed cake was purchased from The Luscious Crumb, a local bakery, for a little over $400, which was over my budget of about $200.  I couldn’t say no after the taste test, and we thought the baker did a wonderful job.  The bottom layer was made to look like a giant gear.  Natalie made the robot cake topper herself out of clay!

A photo of the bride’s happy family shows that we chose to clothe the father of the bride and best man (the bride’s brother) in plain black shirts and slacks of their own.  They had to rent only the vests and bow ties.  My daughter-in-law as the matron of honor was asked to wear a black dress of her choice, and I picked out a casual outfit I can wear anywhere after the wedding.  No one in the wedding party had to spend very much.

This is an example of the outdoor wedding decor.  Thrift store purchases and home crafts such as the vintage suitcase, silver-plated chalkboard tray, Goodwill guest book, homemade flower pens, and homemade rag garland sit on top a simple desk from a thrift store. Much of the decor came from my own home. 

So. . .have you guessed?  Yes, we did rent a tent, an arch, and 50 white folding chairs, which set us back about $600.  Yes, we had a dee jay, but we got him for free as a bridal show door prize Natalie won!  Otherwise, I would have corralled one of my nephews to run a boom box or laptop with speakers.

Give up?  Our grand total, including gifts and food supplies, came to under $4700!  I had hoped to pull off the wedding for around $3000, and I could have if I had stuck to my original dress and cake budget, and had done without a tent.  As it was, everything turned out perfect, and the bride left happy, with memories of a wedding day she won’t soon forget.  I have only one daughter, and I told her I will do this for her only one time.  Lord willing, she and her husband Bryan will be happy for many years to come. . .




It has been a crazy week trying to get last minute details done, including calls to the dee jay (free win from a bridal show!), tent rental place, florist, bakery, photographer, and tux rental place.  Today we started making the chocolates for the guest favors, and I finished spray painting some chairs.  I also finished painting some signs and made some envelopes for tips.  

There are so many little details to finish, but I think it will be completely worth it!  Here is the bride-to-be hard at work on the chocolates. . .

Preparation time will soon be over, and then I will be able to post photos of all of our little projects as well as photos of the wedding and happy couple.  This blog is supposed to be about cheap weddings, and I can’t wait to reveal how we accomplished our goal.  Stay tuned. . .



CHEAP WEDDING WEDNESDAY: Suspense builds. . .

Yes, the suspense is building.  Will Natalie and Bryan REALLY tie the knot in less than two weeks?  Will all the friends and relatives who returned their RSVP cards REALLY show up?  Will the weather be beautiful as we are hoping?  Will there be enough food, music, favors, flowers, etc.?  Will Mama Wedding Planner be able to pull this off?

Ready or not, here it comes.  I thought I would tantalize you with some pre-wedding DIY photos.  See if you can guess what these objects are and how they will be used or have been used.  Confused now?  Check them out. . .

A couple of old doors and a bedstead?  Hm. . .

What is this?  Shadows on a chair seat?  Hm. . .

Steampunk butterflies?  Hm. . .

Something wooden with a label or sign. . .

Did you guess?  The answers will be revealed after the wedding, of course.  In the meantime, enjoy your Halloween evening.  My daughter and I are watching horror flicks and eating Almond Joys.  Don’t judge me.  I have to have candy just in case a trick or treater or two comes by.  (We NEVER have trick or treaters–I guess we are just too far out in the country. . .)

Happy Halloween!
Lucy posing for Halloween pictures