Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Here's how to have a simple wedding

There’s nothing wrong with having a big church wedding with 300 guests, a gorgeous designer gown, and a wedding reception that costs the same as the deposit on a family home if that’s what you want. I have been to many outrageous, elegant, outlandish, or crazy weddings that obviously cost a pretty penny (lotsa them!) and they are all as meaningful as a civil wedding at city hall (yes, been to a city hall wedding, too!).

Our wedding looked fancy but it really was a simple affair.

Now if you're one of those who prefer a simpler, more minimalistic wedding that is just as beautiful, but which won’t cost nearly as much, then here are some ideas to help you create the simple wedding of your dreams:

Trim the Guest List
The first step to having a simpler wedding is trimming down the guest list. You do not have to invite everyone you know to your wedding. Only inviting the people you truly care about is what matters in a truly important event such as your wedding.

But in our dear country where everyone knows everybody, how does one get away with that??? You don't. You'll have angry neighbors, resentful relatives that you don't even know, and enemies even who can't comprehend why they weren't there to scowl at your happiness. How do you trim the guest list then? Here's what I accidentally did: Vince and I scheduled our wedding on a weekday because April 18 was the anniversary of our first kiss. Vince didn't want to remember another date, so April 18 it was even if it was a Thursday. I invited 250 people but only 140 RSVP'd they'll come. Why? "Because we have work." Guys, you work every day; I get married once in a lifetime. If you can't take the day off, half the day off even to attend my wedding then #alamnathis. 

Another tip my friends shared is to do a destination wedding. Invite everyone in the world! But pay only for the trip of a select few. Inviting everyone means you care for them but only the ones who care for you will spare the time and expense to be there. 

Semi-joking aside, I really wish Filipinos didn't get so sensitive about invitations. Weddings are so personal. So only the people who you really want to be part of your happiness should be there as this is the best way to ensure that you have a truly meaningful wedding day.

Buy the Rings Online
It’s not a wedding without the rings, but if shopping for jewelry isn’t your thing and you don’t want to be pressured by an insistent salesperson into going over your budget when she shows you lots of shiny things and flattering you, you can shop in peace at a great wedding ring website (check out As my Loyal Readers know, I am a huge fan of online shopping. It helps me consider lots of choices within my budget without having to talk to a stranger. If there had been local jewelry brands that had online shops back in my day, I'd definitely have shopped online!

Vince's cute nephews (they're teenagers now)! We got our rings from a bridal fair—also a great place to find good deals. 

Buy Everything Online!
Since we're shopping for rings already, check out the rest of your wedding needs online. No need to spend for parking and gas and eating out. You have the entire world at your fingertips! You can buy your flowers, shoes, suits, gowns (check out styleaisle for fab gowns!), cake, and souvenirs from the comfort of your own home. The best part is you can save because you can compare prices and avail of discounts. Try it!

Limit the Dinner Choices
Okay, as a Pinoy, I firmly believe that you can make tipid on everything but never the food! Long after the day is done, you'll only have photos to remember the day, right? But your guests will remember the food. They won't remember your designer gown, your crystal goblets, your diamond-encrusted tiara, or the song of your first dance (although I do remember this one wedding where the newlyweds danced to "Maybe It's You." Maybe??? Everyone was giggling.). What they'll all remember for years to come is what you served them and if it was bad or good. 

I read somewhere that half your wedding budget should go to food. That sounds crazy but it's true. The longer your guest list, the bigger the food bill. It’s easy to spend a lot on food if you decide to offer a wide range of dishes and desserts, so what you do is limit the food choices. You don't need hundreds of different appetizers or a dozen cakes, right? Just a salad and few pika-pika, a meat course (with a choice of fish, meat or chicken maybe), some carbs like rice and pasta, and a couple of desserts, that's okay! As long as you ensure that there is at least one option for people with special dietary requirements such as vegans or allergy sufferers, then having a couple of simple options that are nice, but not too fancy is all you need.

We had a lovely sit-down dinner that our guests still talk about a decade after. Our cake was homemade by a friend.

While we’re on the subject of food, it’s much simpler to pay a little more and have the whole deal catered by a prefessional (try Some things you can do yourself but when it comes to feeding a big group of people, get help. Many people think catering their own wedding, with the help of friends and family is the simpler option, but it is actually very stressful, so be mindful of that.

It’s pretty natural to want to have control over what is one of the biggest days of your life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t delegate, and you should if you want it to be as simple as possible. Hence the booming business that is called wedding organizers. They pretty much call the shots at the wedding so that the bride and groom can enjoy their day. However, their services are pretty expensive.

If your wedding is small and simple enough and you happen to have an amazing bunch of helpful friends, then you probably won't need a wedding organizer. The key is to work out what you want and then delegate specific tasks to friends and family. That way, you do have control over what your wedding will be like, without having total responsibility for making things happen.

In my case, I couldn't afford a wedding organizer. My photographer wanted me to hire one because he didn't want to bother me daw, but walang budget! So I just asked my sister to take care of the day itself. I wished I had asked more people to help out, though. I think my sister got stressed (love you, Jacqui!).

My dear friend Kate Torralba was the designer, stylist and wedding singer! 

Do It Yourself
Now, if you really want a simple affair, with as little interference from strangers as much as possible,  then you can make your wedding a charming, homemade affair. Taking the DIY approach to everything from invitations to flowers is actually pretty simple. Maybe you can create your own invitations and print them out at home versus navigating the millions of choices available at shops. If you have beautiful handwriting, you can address the envelopes yourself (I did!). If your mom has a lush garden, maybe she can create shabby chic bouquets for you and your entourage. Ask your friends what service they can give to you as a gift (just don't be an unreasonable, entitled and demanding bridezilla!). Your wedding can be even more memorable and meaningful if everyone who made it possible is someone who loves you.

Was your wedding a simple affair? What tips can you give couples looking to have a simple wedding of their own?

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  1. Thanks for sharing this, talagang nagbabalak na din kami ng husband ko ng simple wedding lang. Super helpful!

  2. I have been attending nuptials left and right every since I turned 25 years old (LOL) from civil to church weddings, from different walks of life and religion you name it! I always enjoy and feel the love, but I wonder how much they shell out for their special day just to make their guests feel comfortable and eat well.

    I had a 10 year relationship that ended in 2016 (I am glad we did not get engaged) and now that I found someone that I want to settle down with (despite being with him for just 8 months), we are considering a civil wedding ceremony instead due to lack of budget. We will only invite our parents and "some" close friends, but we fear that other people we know might feel offended that we did not invite them. Pero helloooo, no budget to feed everyone! We just want to feed our parents good food instead.

    Thank you for all the tips! Now I am convinced that I should just go for the Civil Wedding, DIY and invite people who cares talaga and who will guide us through our marriage.

    IG @sugartrooper

  3. It sure looks like a cozy wedding. Everything was just nicely decorated and works well together. With all these beauty, did you have help from a wedding planner in the Philippines or this are all on you? Congrats and best wishes!


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