Ask Kate Anything: How to have an afforable wedding

Dear Broke,

First of all, congratulations!

Finding the person you want to spend your life with is exciting, and officially beginning your life together should be a memorable event. What it should not be is stressful, chaotic, and debt-inducing. And yet, it is so often all of those things.

People often focus on the wedding and forget about the marriage. They pour all their time, money and resources into that one day when it should be going toward their relationship and building a life together.

So maybe not having a lot of money to spend on the wedding is actually a blessing. Starting now, get into the mindset that this day is going to be simple and fun. If you are expecting to throw a country club wedding, you will be disappointed, so get rid of any expectations of that kind.

Start with the invitations. No need to spend a small fortune ordering from a company when you can easily design and print your own.

If you don’t belong to a church where you can have the wedding for free or for a small price, consider holding your event at a park, and then assign some friends to hold down the fort to reserve your spot that day.

Rent tables and chairs, and decorate simply with a white chair covering, tulle, white lights, paper lanterns, flowers, and streamers.

Being a college student gives you a wealth of resources that you probably never thought about. The students around you have a wide array of skills that they are developing and many of them would jump on an opportunity for some real-life experience.

Go to the Horticulture Department and find out about students who work with flowers and could make arrangements and bouquets. Offer them a little money to be your florist and buy your flowers from Costco or from Downtown L.A.

Check out the Music Department for a few violinists or cellists who could provide the music for your ceremony. For the reception, find a band that can handle a wedding crowd, or make an iTunes mix yourself and assign a friend to oversee it.

Photography is one thing you don’t want to skimp on, but there are many skilled photographers on campus that you have access to. Many have wedding experience, and others are dying for some. Ask for samples of their work, and pick a few. Many of them will work for little pay in order to get wedding experience into their portfolio. As this is the most important day of your life, you need to make sure that you take the time to thoroughly research the photographers that are out there so you can look back on your special day knowing that you made the best decision for you and your partner. People like Olga Topchii Photographer is just one of the many professional photographers that are available to take pictures of your wedding so that you can remember this day for the rest of your lives. It doesn’t matter if they are professional or not, as long as you trust them and have an admiration for the pictures they have previously taken, the decision of who you want as a photographer is entirely up to you.

Lastly, don’t feed everyone a full meal. Have a 2 p.m. wedding so that guests don’t assume they will be fed, and stick to snacks, drinks and cake.

Do you have a question for Kate? Don’t shy away, ask Kate anything by sending an email to If you have a question of a sensitive nature and wish to remain anonymous, your identity will be a kept a secret.