What an adventure.
We had a ridiculously low budget wedding. And a ridiculously short schedule. Neither Dana nor I wanted a long engagement -- we were ready to get married the moment I said 'yes'. So with $2,000 and 6 weeks to plan, we set off in a whirlwind to get everything on track.
So many things fell into place. I found my dress the first time out. Dress shopping was not something I had been looking forward to, simply because I knew I'd get overwhelmed and discouraged, but the last dress I tried on before leaving David's Bridal made me smile when I looked in the mirror. The next day we came back and bought it. The best part? It was on sale. My then future mother in law offered to pay for the alterations when it became evident they would be out of the wedding budget. I can't thank her enough because every time I look at the dress in the wedding pictures, I love it even more.
I had very little idea what I wanted in a wedding. The girls around me grew up with dreams of their wedding day, the perfect dress, location, cake, decorations... I saw a great many pinterest boards, and would non-committally say, "That would be cool." While this did cause me to stress out trying to decide what I wanted in my wedding earlier on, it did turn out to be an amazing blessing as the planning wore on. At the end of the day, I wanted two things: first, I wanted the wedding to be a celebration with all those dear to me of my and Dana's marriage. I wanted the union before God to be central to the entire day. Union and celebration; togetherness. The other thing was that I wanted my grandmother to come. At that point, my grandmother was in the late stages of Alzheimer's. She wasn't talking or walking, and recognized very few people besides my grandfather. But I wanted her there.
With so few preferences, the wedding planners -- meaning my Mother, one of Dana's cousins, and many other folks who pitched in for various parts of the wedding -- were able to explore many low budget options for decorating, music, and accessories. Despite me being a fairly bubbly, fashion accessory-ish person, the entire wedding theme itself was very simple. Over and above liking to dress fabulously, I love people most of all, and the people were definitely the primary theme. We used mason jars with ribbons, cricut paper cutouts, lots and LOTS of tulle and Christmas lights, a mix of both real flowers and silk flower petals, and a couple well placed archways. (In fact, having flowers as a theme emerged as the planning went along, and turned out perfectly.) All of that, combined with a most amazing cake graciously made by my cousin made for very simple but very cheerful decorations for both the sanctuary and the reception hall.
And there were so many people who blessed Dana and I with gifts that helped the wedding immensely. I mean immensely. One of my cousin made the most delicious cake I have ever tasted in my life -- as well as the most beautiful -- for only the cost of ingredients, while the other came up with the loveliest design for the wedding invitations. A woman who goes to our church had a photography business, and she offered to do the wedding pictures for free. Many of the decorations were loaned to us by some of my cousins' friends, who started a ministry with all the wedding decorations leftover for their several childrens' weddings. Dana's aunt arranged all the flowers. Dana's cousin, Lynnae, was absolutely invaluable in her planning prowess. Without her, I keep telling her, I would not have had a wedding. Neither my Mom nor I are good planners by any stretch. She charged about with her purposeful walk and her trusty clipboard and not only made things happen, but made sure they happened according to plan, and on time. On top of all that, our church had a hall large enough for the reception in the same building as the sanctuary, as well as a kitchen where my cousin could set up and finish the cake.
Everything fell together so Providentially. My wedding day is and will continue to be one of my most cherished memories. Everyone who contributed and everyone who simply offered the gift of their presence and a warm smile blessed my husband and I that day more than I can express.
God has made me a very happy woman.