Planning a Minimalist Wedding: Everything You Need to Know
It’s hard to deny the appeal of minimalism when planning a wedding. By going bare bones, you’re reducing a huge amount of waste, helping save the planet, avoiding amassing clutter and — the best part of all — saving money while you do it. On top of that, if you’re into a sleek, simple aesthetic, minimalism can provide you with a vibe that honors that. Check out some of the great tips below to help you save while putting together your understated nuptials.
Minimalism: A style wherein a small number of simple things are used to create a particular effect. Stripping to the essentials in order to minimize cost, clutter and unnecessary expenses.
Why Go Minimalist?
By definition, weddings are supposed to be grand events. The big dress, the fancy cake, the limo, the favors, the rings and the DJ all contribute to a feeling of abundance and opulence. The truth is, the grander your wedding does not mean the grander your love! In fact, these components can put a massive strain on the wallet and cost you a lot of time and worry. Plus, they’re often just not necessary. Here are a couple of key reasons why we think it’s best to ditch the extras.
- Minimalism is cheaper. With the average cost of weddings in America hovering around $34,000, modern brides and grooms need to get creative in order to trim costs. Minimalism, by its very definition, means doing away with excess and finding ways to get by with mostly just the basics, which can drastically reduce costs throughout the wedding planning process. It’s also just a great way to think about needs versus wants in life.
- Minimalism is eco-friendly. When you pare down, you’re eliminating a lot of unnecessary consumption and waste. Favors, elaborate meals, a well-stocked bar and even paper invitations can contribute to a lot of needless surplus. On top of that, minimalist weddings tend to cut back on food waste and transportation costs by keeping things simple.
- Minimalism is less stress. Going minimal isn’t just about reducing physical clutter, it’s also about reducing mental clutter. When you opt for fewer frills, that means a lot less to pick out and a lot less to coordinate. Brides and grooms are susceptible to decision fatigue, which can lead to stress and anxiety, so eliminating a few decisions can help keep you sane while you go through the already strained wedding planning process. It will also reduce stress on your friends and family members who are helping with planning and costs.
Does Minimalism Mean Boring?
Before we dive into our tips for planning a minimalist wedding, let’s address a glaring question: Does going minimal mean stripping your wedding of soul? Definitely not! In fact, it can actually help make it a whole lot more unique and exciting by freeing up funds for those special, minimal touches that make a big impact. Think: a gorgeous, natural backdrop (Earth’s décor!), simple baby’s breath bouquets or a small but stunning wedding cake. Also, the simple wedding aesthetic is in and of itself quite appealing and charming in a very understated, tasteful way.
Simplify and Streamline
Where possible, do your best to eliminate unnecessary hassles and headaches from your event planning checklist. Minimalist couples-to-be should constantly be thinking in flowchart format. Start by asking yourself the question: Is this necessary? If the answer is yes, go for it. If the answer is no, ask yourself the question: Does it make me happy or make me feel better about the big day? If the answer is yes, go for it. If the answer is no, forgo. Here are some more trips for simplification.
- Choose a Single Venue — One of the foundational rules of minimalist wedding planning is to choose a single venue for all of the day-of wedding events. Keeping the ceremony and reception at one place reduces the need for additional décor, transportation and fees. It also eliminates the stress of having to work with two different event planners and staff who may have their own rules, fees and deadlines for nailing things down.
- Go for an All-Inclusive Package — We all love the idea of a rustic barn or backyard wedding, and though these venues seem simple, they often involve a lot more planning and decision-making than purpose-built events venues. Though desirable, these locales typically require you to source your own caterers, linens, dishes and even sometimes tables and chairs. Consider choosing a place that already includes all of these things in the price or has relationships with vendors who can help keep things easy.
- Forgo the Standard Rings — Who says you need to spend thousands (literally) on expensive wedding bands? More and more couples are opting for silicone wedding rings because they’re more affordable and a whole lot more versatile. The thing about silicone is that it doesn’t need to be babied like standard precious metals do. You can wear it to swim, shower, work and dig in the mud if you want to. These rings can be customized with an engraving to honor your love, so they’re no less special or cherished!
- Skip Some Wedding Traditions and Customs — Speaking of forgoing unnecessary traditions…let us be the first to free you of any and all wedding tradition obligations. Skipping these activities and customs can save you dough and eliminate a ton of stress surrounding decision-making. When planning your wedding, you’ll quickly realize that a whole lot of wedding norms are quite superfluous! Here is your express permission to skip:
- An expensive wedding dress.
- The bridal party.
- The DJ or live band.
- The rehearsal dinner.
- The day-after brunch.
- Flower girls.
- Ring bearers.
- Elaborate bouquets or centerpieces.
- Corsages and boutonnieres.
- Wedding programs.
- Wedding tosses.
- Live musicians.
- Paper invitations and save-the-dates.
- The photo booth.
- The head table.
- The bouquet and garter toss.
- An open bar.
- Matching bridesmaid robes.
- Custom hangers.
- The makeup artist.
- The getaway car.
- The bridal shower.
- Bachelor and bachelorette parties.
- Go Digital — A good rule of thumb for minimalist wedding planners: If you can make it digital, make it digital. This is especially true for your wedding correspondence, including save-the-dates and invitations. Many wedding websites now allow for digital invites with email RSVPs, helping eliminate stress and reduce the cost and waste associated with paper and stamps.
- Pick the Buffet Option — Another great way to simplify the reception is to go for the buffet option rather than the plated option for dinner. Of course, the buffet is generally cheaper, but surprisingly, it also leads to the least food waste. This is because your guests are able to take only what they want rather than have their meal pre-plated by the staff.
Beg, Rent or Borrow
The secret to saving money and not having to deal with all the excess junk after any big event is to borrow or rent rather than buy supplies. There are so many amazing wedding rental services now that loan out all sorts of essentials, from obvious things like tables and chairs to more overlooked accoutrements, like table numbers and signage. So what we’re saying is, take that whole something borrowed thing very seriously!
- Rent Your Dress — We are so happy wedding wear rentals are finally a thing for the ladies, too. If you’re not the overly sentimental type, skip the expensive custom gown in favor of a beautiful rental. You can also use services like Rent the Runway to rent dresses for your bridal shower, bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner (if you’re planning on having them).
- Borrow Decorations — Tap into your social network to source décor loans to help you jazz up your venue without a ton of money. We also recommend keeping your décor simple or choosing a pre-decorated or naturally gorgeous background, such as a park, beach or woodsy venue. Look for places that already have striking, photo-worthy backdrops that need no adorning. String lights and beautiful gardens are always great!
- Rent Plates and Silverware — We’re somewhat on the fence when it comes to real versus plastic tableware. The real stuff is a lot less wasteful, but it’s quite inconvenient and can be a lot more expensive. Still, real china really adds a special touch to your table settings. A good middle ground is to rent your dishware for a gorgeous display without having to deal with the high cost of buying or the guilt of wasting.
- Consider Bartering — Got a skill? Your software design know-how could be of great need to the professional makeup artist you’ve been eyeing! If saving money is your main goal as a minimalist wedding planner, then don’t be shy about bartering your services.
Ask for Help
Have you ever heard the phrase, “It takes a village to plan a wedding”? Us either, but it should really be a thing because it takes the coordination and assistance of so many people to pull off an affair this big. This is the one time in your life that your friends and family are expecting to be tagged into the game, so don’t be afraid to lean on them on your special day.
- Hire a Spotify DJ (AKA Your Dad) — Sorry, DJs, your services are no longer needed. Build a premium streaming service into your wedding budget if you don’t already have one because the $100 a year it costs rings up for way less than a professional DJ or live band. Make playlists for the ceremony, dinner and dancing and have someone handle the DJing.
- Do Your Own Hair and Makeup — If you feel confident with the prepping and priming, skip the pros and instead do your hair and makeup yourself. This is also a great time to enlist the help of your beauty-savvy friends and family who can help glam you up for free.
- Make Your Own Bouquets and Centerpieces — If you decide to keep the floral tradition in your wedding plans, know that you can save a ton of money simply by putting the bouquets and centerpieces together yourself. Ask friends and family to help you put them together the day before your big day. We do recommend sticking with fresh flowers — you can get them online or order through a local florist — so as to avoid the clutter and waste associated with the faux stuff after your wedding is over.
- Hire a Friend as an Officiant — If you aren’t particularly religious or want to add a highly personal touch to the ceremony, skip the formal officiant and have a friend perform the ceremony. This will save you money and reduce the effort of having to find someone that feels right. Note that ordination requirements vary from state to state, so make sure to check your local laws to figure out who can officiate and which credentials are required.
Practical But Special
At the end of the day, taking a more simplistic route can help you come away from your special day in a better financial position with much less stress on your shoulders. And, so long as you add some impactful details and add your personal touch, your day will reflect your style and the love you share with your partner. QALO is here to help you minimize stress surrounding your wedding rings, so be sure to consider our silicone wedding rings when you tie the knot.