"We had four guests at our wedding -- and tiled our hall on our honeymoon!"
Published 14/03/2011 | 05:00
Hospital admin worker Joanne Kavanagh (39) and hubbie James Kelly (40), from Laois, jetted to Rome on no-frills airline Ryanair to tie the knot. And after two decades together, she reveals the rest of their big day was budget-tastic too.
"My husband James and I were together 20 years before taking the plunge last June. Initially, we wanted to have the traditional Irish wedding with 120 guests. But after shopping around, the cheapest quote I could get was €15,000.
"We simply couldn't justify spending that much on one day. With a budget of €4,000, we decided to get married in Rome with just four guests.
"I bought my dress for €300 in Oxfambridal and some work pals lent me a veil, tiara and bridesmaids dress for my sister. James wore his own suit and my brother, who was best man, got his suit in Penneys for €20!
"We flew to Rome with Ryanair on Wednesday, got married on Thursday, went to see the Colosseum and Vatican on Friday and came home on Saturday. We even got a glimpse of the Pope, which was the icing on the cake for my mother -- how many other couples can say they had the Pope at their wedding!
"After the ceremony, we went for dinner at a local restaurant. Dinner, our wedding cake and all the wine we could manage cost just over €400 -- as opposed to €6,000 like I'd been quoted at home.
"James' family couldn't make it to our wedding, so my brother's fiancée surprised us with a lovely DVD of video messages from people who couldn't join us .
"We agreed to take a week off later in the year to go on honeymoon, but when the time came, we stayed at home to tile our hallway instead.
"Now every time we come in the door, we joke: 'There's our honeymoon!' If James and I had gotten married in our twenties, we probably would've put ourselves under huge pressure to have a big white wedding.
"I definitely don't feel like I missed out on anything though. And after two decades together, I certainly didn't get cold feet! It was the best day of my life."