Here are my ideas, some of which we used, and others which I now realise would have been a good idea:

• Get married in summer. The weather will probably be nice enough to get married in the great free outdoors. You will also need less material in the brides dress as it won’t need sleeves, and the groom won’t need a jacket. Also free flowers will be abundant.

• Use clubs. Car clubs, floral arranging clubs and photography clubs or students. Our local Zephyr club lent us some cars and drivers, and the only payment they required was to be allowed to take photos to display at their next meeting! The same was true of the floral arrangers using free flowers from Mum’s and her friend’s gardens, and all they wanted was to be able to take photos. Speaking of photos, hire a student from a local polytech course or amateur photography club. If you’re worried about the results, hire two photography students!

• The dress. Don’t be afraid to wear second hand or borrowed dresses. After the big day it really does hang in the wardrobe for years. If you buy a second hand dress, you can always alter it to make it original. Or use the dress or some of the fabric that your mother or another special person wore. I have heard of a woman who sewed her wedding dress from an off-cut of curtain fabric at a furnishing warehouse. It cost her $20 to make the whole dress, and it looked exactly like expensive material that cost $20 a metre at a fabric shop!

• Cakes and invitations. If you are an oily ragger you can bake a cake! Hire cake tins from a bakery if you want different sized tiers. Use a computer to make your own invitations. There are so many flash fonts and clip art pictures these days that it is a huge waste of money to have invites done at the printers. Deliver local invites by hand to save postage.

• The gift list. Make a list of all the household and garden implements that would lead to a productive newly wed oil rag lifestyle! Organise them into price brackets, ie $10-$20, $20-$30 and so on. Then, when people ask what you want, you can give then suggestions in a price range to suit their budget. This is often less embarrassing if you let your mother or someone else to handle it.

• The reception/wedding dance. The wedding reception is usually the expensive bit because you are feeding a huge number of people. Instead of a wedding breakfast, why not invite the guests to a light afternoon tea straight after the service. You can enlist the help of friends and relies a few weeks before hand to do some baking. If you have a church wedding, there will probably be a hall with a water boiler you can use after the service. Then have a very small wedding breakfast for immediate family only, either at home or at a restaurant. There are lots of cheap and fun alternatives to hiring an expensive venue and band.

There is no reason why a wedding can’t be done cheaply without looking tacky. As long as the couple express their personality throughout, and there is continuity in colour and style, and everyone has a good time, then it really can be the greatest day of your life.