In addition to helping us save money, planning a budget shindig allowed us to reconnect with what really matters. We didn't obsess about aisle runners; we couldn't even begin to afford those. Instead, we focused on making the event memorable with sincerity rather than money.
And because it was only $2,000, we were able to cover the entire cost ourselves. Since our families weren't financial stake holders, we got to make all the decisions ourselves. We adore our families, but we wanted our wedding to represent us and not necessarily anyone else.
I am not a fan, however, of trying to save money by faking elements of a more expensive wedding. In this CNN article about budget weddings, for example, the author recommends faking the cake:
"Rent-a-Cake in Atlanta will rent you a tiered Styrofoam cake with icing on the outside, so it looks like the real thing. It'll cost you about $145 to rent the cake including set-up. There's a secret compartment in the back of the cake where you can hide a slice of angel food cake so guests think you're cutting into the real thing. Then you serve your guests a less expensive sheet cake that's hidden in the kitchen."
A wedding should be about authentic connection and love and support. Does deceiving your guests really create that? On the other hand, does paying $700 for a beautiful cake accomplish that either?
In both cases, the answer is no. When we start obsessing about cake aesthetics, we're missing the point of a wedding.
Matt and I decided to purchase several small cakes from Whole Foods because we couldn't afford a fancier cake. But we also wanted the cake to taste good. In my experience, fondant isn't as tasty as it is beautiful (Matt actually likes the stuff, but I contend he's unaverage).
I have to confess. There were moments in the planning process when I would come across someone's photos and covet their perfectly beautiful and coordinated cake. But now that it's all said and done, I can honestly say that it's not about the cake. And trying to live up to the Wedding Industrial Complex's cake standards takes energy away from creating a meaningful and sincere wedding.