Because we haven’t actually had our wedding yet, I don’t feel comfortable giving all the figures. Instead I’ll talk about our decision making process with some occasional figures dropped in.
Mike and I got engaged about a year ago. When we first started talking about what we wanted our wedding to look like it went something like this:
- Small wedding
- Elopement abroad
- Small wedding abroad
- Small wedding in California
- Small wedding on the East Coast
Bah!!! So many choices!!!!!!!
It basically came down to cost and how much work we were willing to take on.
Mike’s family lives in California and that’s where we met and got engaged. We love it there! The weather is perfect, everything is beautiful but go figure, that comes with a sizable price tag. On top of that, we would have had to plan it all from the East Coast – uh…no, not so likely.
Eloping was my idea and I fought for it until the bitter end. My belief was that all the money we were going to spend and our families were going to spend could just as easily and nicely go towards my massive student debt. Mike however is 10 years my senior and was pretty clear that he wanted a wedding of some sort.
Fine! Okay, so obviously we’re having one since I’m writing about it in this post.
We settled on a manageable wedding in a small boutique hotel in D.C – the deposit was pretty hefty but also comparable to everywhere else we looked in the DC/Baltimore area.
From the onset we knew our biggest cost would be feeding people. I had been to our venue several times for meals and loved their food! I adored the idea of not having to deal with a caterer and having a good idea of what to expect for the meal. We can have a maximum of 56 people in the venue — trust me, feeding and watering 56 people adds up, quickly!
Weddings also come with outfits which the Wedding Industrial Complex (WIC) likes to sell to you for an arm and a leg. Seeing as I wanted to elope, making the inexpensive choice was easy for me. I bought my dress on Etsy, got a great deal on the shoes, and splurged for a custom hair flower. I’ll be getting my hair done but for me, makeup, mani/pedi…not so important. And I promise, I am not going to feel like I’m missing out.
What else? Oh yeah – flowers (if you want them; i’m not doing bouquets), marriage license, rehearsal dinner (We’re doing one at a local brewery but that’s because we wanted to give out-of-town family another opportunity to hang out).
We are very lucky – Our families are able to help out with most of the cost but we have taken on quite a bit ourselves as well. We decided to pay for all of the deposits – venue, rehearsal dinner caterer, rehearsal dinner venue. We’ve paid for our outfits, flowers, anything misc. The money our folks have given us will probably cover the food and booze … probably.
By the end of it, I think we’re going to come in just under $10,000. One can hope anyway.
Let me tell you, when I first started planning, I wanted to spend $3,000, tops. And I know it’s possible. People talk about it at A Practical Wedding all the time. But you’ve got to be smart from the onset and it helps a lot if you know people who can help you along the way.