A Minimalist Wedding: 10 Easy Ways to Profit

Weddings are expensive, but they don’t have to be.  By following just a few of these easy tips you can save hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars.  In fact, with a little foresight and planning, you can even profit from your wedding!

If you are or will be planning a wedding, pay close attention.  You may be cost savvy, but I guarantee that you haven’t considered all of the options.

Charge Admission

What, your guests thought they would be going to the wedding event of the century for free?  You wouldn’t expect to get into Cirque Du Soleil for free, or the Smithsonian.  Why is your wedding any different?  

Pro Tip: don’t tell people there is an admission fee so they will still get you a gift.

Axe the DJ 

Your Spotify playlist can do this job, no need to pay somebody.  The only reason to have a person at the music station is so you can charge $10 per song request.  

Pro Tip: Don’t start the music until somebody requests a song.  

Get a Discount Cake 

Cake is basically sugar, flour, and butter, so you shouldn’t need to pay more than 20 dollars.  If you can’t find a reasonable baker do what I call the “gas station sampler”: buy an armload of powdered donuts, Twinkies, and little cupcakes and a nearby gas station.  Mash them all together into a large cake pan and cover with whip cream just before the reception.  

Pro Tip: Hide the beverages before cutting the cake, then charge guests for milk.    

Do Your Own Flowers  

Most wedding venues have an array of colorful flowers and decorative plants on premise.  Send a member of the wedding party to surreptitiously harvest them until you have several bouquets worth.  

Pro Tip: A pair of garden clippers and admission to a nearby botanical gardens costs way less than hiring a florist.   

Tiered access levels 

Ideally, you would use the idea of charging admission and take it one step further.  Have several different levels of guest access.  Platinum guests, for example, would get to sit closer to the bride and groom and eat first.  See the chart below.

weddingtables

Geld Moet Rollen

An ancient Amish proverb, roughly translated to mean that “a good friend is a good helper.”  Put your wedding party to work.  They should man the bar, setup for the reception, take all the pictures, wait tables, and even do the cooking.  

Pro Tip: Choose servant’s garb for the wedding party attire so that guests will know who to ask for help.  

Grandmaster: Have them aggressively collect tips, then take the proceeds at the end of the night.

Charge for Parking

The key to generating maximum profit is utilizing all resources available, including the parking lot.  Really your only question is whether you should charge an hourly rate or a one time fee.  If you are planning on a long ceremony, charge hourly, otherwise a one time fee is easier.  

Pro tip: have the ceremony and reception in different places, and charge for parking at both.

Charge for Drinks

How do you think restaurants make money?  This will be one of your primary moneymakers.  Buy all of the alcohol up front, then sell it for a high margin to your guests.  You could potentially generate thousands of dollars in profit.  

Pro Tip: Have the bartender increase drink prices as the night goes on, as sloshed people won’t realize they’re getting gouged.

Double Duty Thank You Cards 

Instead of sending each guest a separate bill and thank you card, combine them into one letter to save on postage.  The thank you card should be carefully written with a well thought out sentiment.  Inside include an itemized bill for the dinner, dessert, drinks, and admission if you decided not to charge at the door.  

Pro Tip: charge an extra “convenience fee” to guests who didn’t get you something off of the registry.

Invite as Many People as You Can

This goes without saying.  If you are correctly monetizing all of the revenue streams, more guests will only mean more profit.  Invite all of your friends, relatives, coworkers, former coworkers, acquaintances, landlord, and even the people you know least of all: your “friends” on Facebook.  

Pro Tip: Describe the elaborate 5 course meal in the invite, but don’t mention that it will cost non-platinum level guests $299.

Minimalist Fables: The Tortoise and the Hare

This article is part of a new series where I use fables to teach children the values of minimalism and productivity.

Harry the Hare and Timmy the Tortoise signed up for a foot race in their neighborhood. Both wanted to win, because there was a big cash prize, and neither had a lot of money. Timmy was so poor that he spent his days wandering the desert in search of food and nutrients, also because he was a tortoise. Harry spent his time sleeping around with single rabbits. He had so many rabbit babies that he owed a fortune in child support.

At the starting line they two friends gave each other some good-natured ribbing. “I hope somebody turns you into soup.” said Harry, adding that “Turtles are what’s wrong with this country, why don’t you race back to the desert.” Timmy felt sad, and pulled his head back into the shell.

When the race started Harry was off in a flash. He used his big feet to race ahead of Timmy and all of the other competitors. After a few minutes he was so far ahead that he couldn’t see or hear any of the other racers. He stopped for a cigarette, which turned into two, then three, and pretty soon he had finished the pack. With still no competitors in sight he thought about turning into a nearby pub for a quick nip.

Timmy was way behind Harry. In fact, as Harry was enjoying the smooth taste of Marlboro 100’s, Timmy was still within sight of the starting line, in last place. Tortoises are not fast animals, but what Timmy lacked in speed he made up for in determination. Despite being in dead last, he pressed on, slowly, but steadily moving ahead. Spectators saw his grit and shouted words encouragement. “You’re going to lose stupid” and “I hate you” came the voices from the crowd.

After a few pints at the pub Harry wised up and decided he should finish the race. He resumed running at a leisurely pace and easily won, after all, hares are very fast runners. Mental fortitude can only go so far, and in the end pure genetics is the only thing that matters.

Harry collected a trophy and a huge sum of money for winning, enough to make him a very rich rabbit. In his victory speech, slurred from several post race beers, he attributed his win to genetics, and the fact that a rabbit has never lost a race to a tortoise in the history of the universe.

Long after the prizes had been awarded, and long after Harry had vomited all over the stage while accepting his trophy, Timmy was still trying to finish the race. It was getting dark out, and he was not even halfway done. Yet still he pressed on, determined to prove everyone wrong and finish the race.

Unfortunately for Timmy the race organizers had forgotten about him. The cones that marked the course were gone and nobody was directing traffic, meaning that Timmy was walking on a busy street at night with no lights or markers of any kind. A smarter turtle would have painted reflective markings on his shell so that drivers could see him at night. Timmy was not a smart tortoise. Determination is a noble quality for any man or beast, but without brains it can be easily misguided, often tragically so.

As Timmy plodded along in the darkened street he felt the rush of air as cars passed by only inches away. Eventually one came too close, and a tire grazed his leg. Timmy instinctively retracted into his shell, believing that it could protect him from all dangers. As has already been discussed, Timmy was not a smart tortoise. The shell was good protection from bears and coyotes, but not cars. Soon a second car clipped his shell, sending him bouncing off the sidewalk and back into the middle of the lane.

To his credit, Timmy had a very strong shell for a tortoise. The first car to hit him head on only cracked it slightly. With each additional impact the shell cracked more and more, until it was ready to shatter completely. In his last few moments of life, as the shards of shell were starting to dig into his soft skin, Timmy wondered what he had done wrong, a question that could not even be fully comprehended by his tiny reptilian brain.

In one final blow Timmy’s shell completely collapsed, and he was dead in an instant. When asked later, vultures who had been circling Timmy for most of the day would report that the final blow was dealt by a gargantuan pickup truck, seemingly fresh off the lot, being driven by a drunken hare.

TLDR for Kids: Genes, talent, and natural advantages trump hard work and determination every time. If you find yourself in last place in a race, give up. Don’t walk on the road at night without reflective gear. Don’t drink and drive, unless you have a high tolerance and are “pretty sure” you can make it. Finally, don’t be a tortoise or a hare.

The Axe: A Perfect Minimalist Tool

An axe is a minimalist’s best friend.  Chopping up unwanted furniture might be the first thing that springs to mind, but the uses are endless.  Self defense, Halloween costumes, bar fights, fishing, landscaping, manscaping, the list goes on.  I use mine for, among other things, shaving and pest control.  No, I don’t chase mice around the house with an axe above my head like a madman.  I wait until they are caught in the live trap before finishing the job “execution style”.

It might seem counter intuitive that minimalists, a people devoted to having less, would need a bronze age tool used for deforestation and executions, but that’s the beauty of it. The axe is a tool used for minimizing.  In the past it was used to minimize forests and (often) live bodies, but it can be just as effective at minimizing other things as well.  Couches, for example.

Before we go any further: what is an axe?  I’m not talking about a foot long, plastic handled, on sale for 12.99 at Walmart, bring-to-the-cub-scout-campout hatchet.  I mean an honest to god axe, made out of a polished hickory stock and carefully tapered iron.  A real axe looks dangerous.  If you couldn’t bring it into your office without getting raised eyebrows and a meeting with HR, it’s not the real thing.

How to Use Your Axe

In a lot of scenarios it’s just not feasible to burn unwanted junk.  You might not have room for a fire, or the object might be too big to move outside.  This is where an axe comes in handy.  If you can’t burn it, chop it up.

You can split that smelly old ottoman into manageable chunks and get a good workout, all in just a few minutes.  An old bookshelf that won’t fit through the door?  Axe to the rescue.  Dead family pet that you need to feed down the garbage disposal before the kids get home?  Use the axe to chop it into manageable pieces (tip: cover with a plastic tarp to reduce splatter).    

Last weekend my wife was out of town when I realized that the new sectional she purchased was ugly, and distracted people from the beauty of the bare floorboards.  It was too big to move by myself, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to burn it in the house.  Luckily there was another solution.

After a few minutes with my trusty Hults Bruk it was reduced to a giant pile of splintered particle board and gashed cushions.  Sure, It was a lot of work to chop it up, move all the pieces outside, burn the pieces, then vacuum up any remaining traces, but it was good, honest, work.  The kind that makes a man proud to wipe the sweat off of his brow.  

Other Uses

The axe is a versatile tool with uses far beyond pure destruction.  For example, it is perfect for killing bugs that crawl into hard to reach areas, like your girlfriend’s collection of Disney princess themed fine china that she refuses to move from the mantle.  Have a large cutting board that needs to be resized?  Only one tool can cut the cutting board.

The greatest use for an axe, however, is not on ugly couches, dead pets, or ex-girlfriends tires.  There is one soul sucking piece of furniture that demands destruction above all else.  The very existence of one of these in your house is reason alone to own an axe.  What could possibly be this horrible?  No, not a Panini Press, I’m talking about television, the opiate of the masses and scourge of minimalism.

The Scourge of Minimalism

My friends and followers, if you have gained nothing from the wisdom contained in my words, hear this: nothing is more satisfying than putting an axe through a television.  Sex, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, group sex, ecstasy, molly, khat, krocodile, snoopy doops – trust me, I’ve tried them all, and nothing compares to the satisfaction of driving that finely forged iron head through the smooth surface of a giant flat screen TV.  

For a minute, envision that you are in heaven, wrapping a present for God himself.  It’s a self help book about meditating twice a day, but that’s not important right now.  Imagine slowly gliding a pair of scissors through the wrapping paper, with Buddha looking on, holding the little pieces of scotch tape.  That smooth tingling sensation you feel as the paper seamlessly parts for the blade is but a taste of the joy that is smashing a TV.

Join the Revolution

Right about now you might feel ashamed for owning a television.  Fret not.  The axe represents redemption, a chance for all the sheep who have strayed from the flock to come home.  Go online and order an axe right now.  Then, share the news on social media.  Let everyone know that the prodigal son is coming home.  

When your axe arrives, behold the beauty of its deadly design.  Gently caress the finely tapered blade as you contemplate the victory of iron will over insidious materialism.  Finally, savor the moment as you slowly lift it to the sky, then bury its head into the screen, again and again.  And again.  And again, until all but scars in the wall remain.

Rejoice, as your life has finally turned toward the light.

Those who have walked the straight and narrow face and even larger task.  You the redeemers must use your axe to liberate the minds of your friends and family.  Leave no screen untouched as you wage a crusade of violence against their diabolical technology.  Eventually they will thank you, even if you have to liberate several televisions in the process.

The destruction of a television is the death of materialism and the triumph of the mind, represented with one graceful swing of the blade.  The revolution is here now, waiting for you to join.  All you need is an axe.

The Power of Later

Do you have trouble keeping your house clean?  Do trivial things like dishes and old magazines pile up until they become a mess?  Do you consider yourself a neat, organized person, but can’t find the time to actually clean?  Stop what you are doing and read carefully.

I used to be just like you, crazy about trying to keep my house clean, but never actually finding the time.  That is, until I discovered a powerful way to get things done: what I call the “do it later method”.

The philosophy centers around the idea that what you are doing now, whether it be reading or watching TV, is more important than anything else.  Being focused on one activity at a time is the key to being happy and productive.  Taking time out of your television program to wash dishes would be taking you out of the moment, just to accomplish a trivial task.  There are many more examples of this which we will go over later.

How it Works

The method itself is fairly straightforward.  When you see a task that needs to be done, especially a small inconsequential one, make a mental note to do it later.  That’s it.  No need to write it down or use an app, just remember it.  There is a very effective strategy for remembering these tasks, which I will describe in detail little later.   

At the end of the day, do all of the small tasks that you have noted in one single block of time.  When isn’t important, just make sure to do them all.  The end of the day is the perfect time to get work done because you have gotten all of your distractions out of the way.  All the meals have been eaten, TV been watched, and games been played.  

If you’re not normally eager to get things done before bed, don’t sweat it.  I’ll describe a good routine for late evening productivity in the next section.

The Research

Experts agree that so called “multitasking” is really equivalent to doing two tasks badly.  Sure you might be able to multitask productively in rare circumstances, like texting and driving, but mostly you are just wasting time.  That is why the “do it later” method is so powerful – it forces you to stay on task.

Many self proclaimed “gurus” and minimalism “experts” advocate doing small chores and cleaning tasks as soon as you recognize them.  Their logic is that it is better to do small tasks right away, as they can be easy to forget or put off.  This is preposterous.  Many peer reviewed studies, which I will cite later on, show that people are more productive if they save undesirable tasks for another time.

First Hand Accounts

Sure it sounds great, but does the “do it later” method actually work?  Absolutely it does.  If not, how does my house always look so clean and organized?  Actually, I hire a cleaning service, but if I didn’t have golden hands that could literally mint money with every word, I would be using this powerful system.  

I may not use it for cleaning, but I still use the “do it later” method in other areas of my life, like writing and buying gifts for my wife.  Because it is so versatile you can apply the method to all manner of activities, like taking care of your pet, or getting a job.  I will cover these uses, as well as give advice for closing out an essay, in the last section.

How to Start

In your zeal for organization you may be tempted to rush out there and start cataloging the things you want to clean later on.  I would advise you to wait.  It can be easy to get caught up in a new “system” you read about online, but it takes more than enthusiasm to form a real habit.  Take time to fantasize about how clean and organized your new life will be.  Then, when you are ready, start the “do it later” method at just the right time: tomorrow.