I don’t know what my guests were thinking as they pulled into a trailer park for our wedding reception. I hope they were thinking “Wow, this is such a nice mobile home community!”, but I doubt it. Now, I don’t have anything against trailer parks and I think as far as they go this one was a fairly nice one. It was after all a retirement community of mobile homes, so I don’t think there was much Jerry Springer-ing going on there. But never the less, it’s the not first location you think of when you are looking for a place to celebrate your new marriage.
It wasn’t my first choice either.
Let me back up a bit. My husband and I got engaged pretty quickly after we started dating. We also were in the process of buying a house, and we were also both working to have our credit card debt paid off by the time we got married. I didn’t want that old debt following us into our new life. (You can read about our whirlwind romance here.)
So because all of our money was either going towards a down payment on our new house OR being sent to credit card debt we really didn’t have a lot of money to spend on a fancy wedding. We cut costs where ever we could. The only thing I really wanted was a wedding dress. We also didn’t go extra frugal on the rings. I mean, we didn’t go crazy but we didn’t cut every last dollar either. But everything else was on the chopping block. The guest list was small, the venue was modest, and the honeymoon was local.
As I mentioned we were in the process of buying a house as well. It was new construction so it was being built while we were planning our wedding. It was scheduled to be done about 2 weeks before we got married. We decided that it would be a fabulous idea to have our wedding reception there! A kind of wedding reception/ house warming party. We could show off our new house and save a bundle on the reception. Yay!
Except not yay. As the time got closer it became clear they were not going to be finished with the house by the wedding. About two weeks before the wedding we decided we had better find someplace else to have our reception or we are going to be in big trouble. We had two big problems of course, we only had two weeks and it had to be free.
My mother in law really saved the day by arranging the use of the club house in her retirement community. It wasn’t fancy or impressive but it met my two requirements, free and available.
I could have easily justified spending a lot of money on a new hall for the reception. I mean, you do have to have someplace for people to hang out after the ceremony. We had already sent out invites that said there was going to be a reception. We had to do something! I could have blamed the builders for dragging their feet and not keeping us informed. I could have sighed and said it wasn’t reasonable to think I could find a free place to have the reception in just 14 days. No one would have argued with me or thought differently. But I didn’t accept those realities. I wanted to do my wedding for very little money and we did.
And that’s how I ended up having my wedding reception in a trailer park!
Melissa’s Comments: I recently mentioned on my Facebook wall that I saw an episode of Say Yes to the Dress where a bride’s mother paid $34,000 for her wedding dress so she wouldn’t be walking down the aisle in a “cookie cutter dress.” I love that Ashley’s story is the antithesis of that.
Did you cut corners at your wedding to save money? What were some of the things you were willing to give up so you wouldn’t spend to much on your big day?