Something Borrowed, Something New—Within Budget
When we started planning, we knew that we wanted an intimate affair because most of Sally’s family wouldn’t be able to travel to the U.S. from South Korea. We also wanted to keep it as inexpensive as possible.
I remember sitting at our dining room table, looking up wedding venues in San Francisco, when we had our first discussion about what we were willing to spend.
I told Sally that I didn’t want our wedding to turn into a big, stressful event—or for it to drain our savings, which we’d earmarked for a down payment on a house. From the get-go, Sally was in complete agreement.
Once we’d defined our terms, planning the wedding became relatively easy. We began by asking friends and colleagues about inexpensive places to get married in the Bay Area, and after some online research, landed on San Francisco City Hall, which was modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. It was perfect for photos and very inexpensive—we paid less than $200 for the marriage license and booking the space. We also decided to skip an expensive engagement ring and chose simple wedding bands.
I was hesitant about buying a secondhand dress, but after seeing Sally in it, there was no way we could leave the store without it.
As a bonus, some expenses ended up being free, thanks to family and friends who offered to chip in. My aunt baked a two-tiered, chocolate-and-cheesecake wedding dessert; my uncle bought beautiful flowers; my cousin made the bouquet and corsages; and my fraternity brother generously offered to handle our photography.
But of all our frugal decisions, I am most proud of the deals we found for our wedding attire. For Sally’s dress, we researched gowns online and went to stores, but on a weekend trip to Sacramento, we came across a beautiful gown in a thrift store that was just $50.
I was hesitant about buying a secondhand dress, as I didn’t want to be perceived as cheap, but after seeing Sally in it, there was no way we could leave the store without it. To truly make it the dress of her dreams, my mother created a sweetheart neckline and made a beautiful veil. And my grandmother gave Sally her “something old”—a vintage necklace and earrings.
As for my own duds, I found an awesome Brooks Brothers tuxedo on eBay for about $250. I also purchased a slim-fit Boss tuxedo shirt on eBay for $50, a handmade bow tie for $12 on Etsy, and onyx cufflinks from a garage sale for $1. My father gave me his old cummerbund for the finishing touch.