If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far about planning a wedding, it’s the fact that this is one mega, money-making industry. Oh, but many you knew that already, didn’t you? Quite a few of you suggested earlier that I should split town or keep it very small when I get married. (Now I know why.)
So, when I heard that Heather at Desperately Seeking Sanity — whom I got to meet in person at BlogHer 2008 in San Francisco! — had her dream wedding for less than $300, I wanted to know how this single mama did it. (And yes, this included “a wedding and reception for over 100 people, her dress, rings, cake, and everything else…”)
But before we get to the wedding, let’s back up:
Back in 2008, Heather had decided to cancel her online dating account. This single mom was done with “uneducated men who still lived at home with mom.” Yet, when she logged in to cancel her membership, there was an email in her box. She says she read it just for fun, “to see what whack job currently was interested in me.”
This guy called himself “Not a Bad Saint.” He said that he was the divorced dad of two kids, a son and a daughter (so was she!) who were “the center of my world. I am a service mechanic and and a do it yourselfer so dirty hands are normal. Would like to hear from you sometime.”
“I don’t even know why I responded,” Heather says now. “He wasn’t original, funny, or anything else that I was looking for in an initial contact. His profile was bare bones and not appealing.” (Heather later found out that he’d emailed her via his cell phone.)
They began to email, and four days later, “we talked on the phone for the first time. I hung up on him twice while trying to get my cat off the roof.”
And get this: they realized that they lived around the corner from each other and “our kids went to the same school. And that night, I had to take my oldest to football practice and he said he was going for a run. No more was said about location, but as I was walking the track, I realized that the man running toward me was him. So the first time that we met in person? I was totally in big, baggy sweats, my hair pulled up, no make up and sweaty. But I guess I made a great first impression.”
Apparently, on their first date — off the track — she told him that she was waiting for a knight in shining armor “to take me away on a white horse.” So, when they got married on May 16th, here’s how he showed up to the wedding (a surprise she didn’t know about!):
Yes, that’s her man, on his sister’s horse, on which he leaned down and “told me that he may be rusty but he’d always be my knight.”
They were married at her church with their four kids, whom she describes as “perfect stair steps because they are all two and a half years apart.” (When I asked how they all get along, Heather said: “Well, to be honest, they act like brothers and sisters. One minute they are ready to kill one another, and the next they are plotting against us. “)
Heather found her dress on eBay for $30. Their rings came from Wal-Mart. “It’s just a ring,” says Heather. “I’m fine with the plain jane silver band… because I’m a little on the plane jane side.”
The bouquets and center pieces were made from flowers from the Dollar Store. Their reception was a potluck. Every guest brought a covered dish and its recipe. Then, her church “took all of the recipes and make us a cookbook.” And they made their own cake!
And here’s the best part: It was THEIR day, and everyone had a ball! All six of them — husband, wife, and their four kids — boogied their way out of church to their recession song, “We Are Family.”
Now you see what I mean about Heather?
I’d love to know: Are any of you dating online? (And ready to give up? C’mon now!)
And if any of you have more wedding budget planning tips, I’m listening!
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