Gemma Scott wanted a big wedding so much that when her fiance, Dan, a plumber and fireman, told her he couldn't afford the event she envisioned, she broke up with him. Eventually Dan won her back after the couple worked out a plan: bartering. It was decided that in their spare time, the two would work doing building work and housekeeping, respectively, at the venues and church in exchange for a discount. The couple managed to save almost $20,000 and apparently had the wedding of their dreams.Meanwhile, John and Ann Till financed their honeymoon by gathering and recycling more than 60,000 bottles and cans. 'It did raise a smile when we were in business class on the flight back to Gatwick to think that the litter louts of Petersfield had paid for the pleasure,' says the groom. As someone dealing with the hassle of planning a wedding under financial duress, I can understand not wanting to compromise. And you have to applaud this kind of crafty thrift. That said, were I that enterprising I would be a)probably better able to afford a wedding in the first place and b)probably put the spoils towards buying an apartment or something. I'm firmly on record in my belief that wedding-bashing is an easy past-time that should really fall under the banner of "personal choice." And who can begrudge anyone the big day they want, especially when they put this much blood, sweat and tears into achieving it? After all, these folks are not tossing around hundreds of thousands of dollars or browbeating a hapless wedding planner. What's odd about it, though, is it's exactly as though they had: they're essentially doing a DIY dream wedding such as those dreamed up, promoted and pressured by the Wedding Industry. Whereas normally one thinks of a homemade, labor-driven wedding as being a homey, idiosyncratic, pitch-in and somewhat unpolished affair, this one from the description sounds like a wedding-planner's dream. The need for all the trappings is still there - the illusion of status while apparently taking an understandable and vocal pride in the very hard work that achieved it. The irony of the situation - triumph or defeat for the Wedding Industry? - is nothing if not thought-provoking. Philosophical qualms aside, these couples' inventiveness is, in a sense, inspirational to those of us resigned to city hall. Whereas I'm guessing no one wants me writing epigrams or impersonating Lotte Lenya in return for free champagne, reading this actually in a weird way did make me feel way better about the makeshift affair we've envisioned. More to the point, with all the theoretical stupid recession advice we're being inundated with - Today had a whole segment on bartering, renting and borrowing today - it's encouraging to see the can-do in action. That said, Recycling can have my cans; I'd rather staycation, thanks. Couple Recycle Tonnes of Litter for Honeymoon[Metro] Dan and Gemma Scott Saved Thousands of Pounds on Their Wedding by Bartering[Telegraph]
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