My colleague Chris heard me use the term “badassity” recently, one morning before the work day had begun. When he asked me what the term meant, I explained that it defined a subculture of hyper-frugality, spear-headed by Mr. Money Mustache, and that there was a “stick-it-to-the-man” defiance in it. “I’m like that,” Chris said with a bit of a badass smirk. He then told me about the frugal wedding he and his wife Melissa had enjoyed last summer. When I asked if I could feature him on Fruclassity, Chris graciously accepted. With the launch of wedding season, the timing is perfect. Here is the story of Chris, Melissa, and their big day.
Have you always been frugal?
Chris – Pretty much. I remember being embarrassed when I was about 12 years old when my old man came to pick me up once and he had duct tape on his glasses, duct tape on his shoes, and duct tape on his side-view mirror on his truck. He always wore things out and never replaced them until he had to.
Melissa– Yes. My parents always commented how tight I was with my money and how I never wanted to part from it. Apparently they said that I would ask to borrow money to buy things and then never remember to pay them back and conveniently ‘forget’ that they lent me money.
What motivates your frugality?
Chris – I don’t want to be in debt. I’ve always paid off debts to my friends/parents/banks as soon as possible. I never liked that hanging over my head. I can’t stand the idea of paying interest to my financial institution. It seems like a giant waste of money. I’ve also been fortunate enough to travel most of Southeast Asia, Asia, and Kenya, and that offers a lot of perspective when it comes to what purchases I really do need to make.
Melissa – I don’t like owing people money, therefore I always try and pay things back as soon as possible. Since I am so frugal, I also dislike paying banking or credit card fees.
As a couple, did you find that you had to adjust to each other’s money management style?
Chris – I guess Mel is more willing to spend money on quality items, experiences, and healthy/ethical foods. Other than that she is quite good at saving and avoiding impulsive or unnecessary purchases. She has influenced me a bit to spend a little more if it’s for something that will last a long time or is motivated by a sense of social responsibility. We try to spend our money more locally which tends to be a little more expensive. We both still save well, cook meals at home, rarely buy new clothes, etc.
Melissa – Maybe a little bit. Chris is such a minimalist that it makes me look like I spend money quite frivolously. I think he has taught me to be even more frugal with some items, like clothing and shoes, though I do like spending money on travel, experiences (like concerts, shows) and dining.
Why did you decide to have a frugal wedding?
Chris – The idea of spending so much money on one day just seemed so foreign to me. It’s my personal opinion that all the money spent on a wedding could easily be a car paid off, a down payment for a house or student loans covered. I’m a minimalist and had no desire for a DJ, tuxedos, flowers, dining halls, etc. I’m also very lucky that my parents have a home in the countryside that is far removed from all neighbours and so lends itself perfectly to a backyard wedding. I guess I prefer the simple basics.
Melissa – I feel like many people get caught up in the romanticism of a wedding and how it is supposed to be and how perfect its supposed to turn out. Nowadays, everyone is trying to keep up with the Joneses. I realized that the wedding business is booming and as soon as you mention the word ‘wedding’ prices get jacked up for everything – tents, hair, makeup, linens, etc. This idea really bothered me, so I tried to avoid all of it as much much as possible. I’m not going to lie, it was very hard to do, and I sometimes got caught up in the fanfare, but thankfully Chris was there to keep me grounded and on track.
Please describe the wedding and the approximate costs for each part of it.
Chris – The wedding was on my parents’ property. We had a tent and some tables and chairs sent up for the 90 or so guests outside. The parents and siblings of the groom and bride provided a variety of dinner rolls and pulled pork while each guest brought salads, appetizers, vegetarian alternatives, desserts, more mains, and alcohol and mix. We supplied a keg of local Ottawa beer from Kichesippi where we now live, cases of beers from Wellington Brewery and Sleemans in Guelph where we both went to University, and cases of homemade wine bottled and labelled by the father of the groom. The music was a playlist played off the bride’s phone through a pair of speakers we rented. Since we asked our guests to provide a dish or alcohol for the potluck we requested that no one give us gifts. The bride’s close friend used to be a wedding photographer so she did the pictures for free.
- Bride dress – $150
- Groom Shirt/Pant/Flip-Flop combo – $100
- Flowers – Free (Family friends’ garden)
Venue – Free (Parents allowed it on their property)
Food – Dessert cupcakes ($200)
Music – Speakers ($40)
Photographer – Free (Bride’s friend)
Officiant – $300 (Discounted-family friend)
Rentals – $1,500 (tent, dance floor, tables, chairs, cutlery, dishes, table clothes)
The cost of the entire wedding was $4,500. That includes every single little detail, including our Tim Hortons and Subway lunches and gas to drive from Ottawa to Hamilton for the wedding and back again.
If you are married, did frugality have any part of your big day? If you are not yet married, do you hope some day to have a lavish wedding? A badass wedding? A wedding with fruclassity? Your comments are welcome.