Planning a wedding is hard work as anyone who has gone through the process will tell you. It can be fun, stressful, fight-inducing, but the good news is that more often than not it culminates in a celebration. The planning itself was not so bad for me. I had a year to work with Mike and our families to plan food, venue, flowers, wardrobe, etc. It wasn’t until people arrived that it felt stressful and overwhelming.
Whew…it’s been a long & super fun journey and now I am married and honeymooned and excited to talk all about it.
Unfortunately there’s a lot to clean up. We had non-stop partying in our apartment for roughly 4 days and 2 weeks of dirty honeymoon clothes to wash up. SO! Today is repair and recover day (18 hours of traveling from Sevilla to Baltimore).
But this week I look forward to writing and posting pictures from the wedding and trip to Espana! I’m pretty psyched about my new job which I start on Monday and there’s a bit of commentary to make on Halloween and Occupy Wall Street.
As our wedding approaches (17 days away!!!!!!), I have been thinking about what marriage means and the different forms it takes across the world. This has forced me to face some hard facts:
Mike and I are not particularly traditional people, especially when it comes to our wedding. Luckily, being non-traditional has really helped us stretch the wedding money.
When I first started thinking about the wedding and registries I cam across a wonderful article which unfortuantely I cannot find. Anway, the premise of the article was –
People really want what they put on their registry, otherwise, they wouldn’t have put it on there.
Mike and I were loathe to make a registry. I think the process is a little outdated. People are getting married at older ages (yours truly is an exception); they’ve acquired a lot of those household things that are commonly included on the registry. This means that most of what we want is on the expensive side of things; most of our family friends probably can’t afford that stuff anyway.
So here is our alternative:
We are planning to travel to Spain after the honeymoon — we have a travel budget but we know we could have a lot more fun with a bit more financial cushioning. We set up a paypal account so people could “donate” to our travel fund. Family can give us checks if they’d prefer. This way, people can control how much they spend on gifts and know that we really really want what they have to give.
I know that there are some people out there who aren’t comfortable giving money as a gift but I think people should rethink their hangup on this. I’ve heard too many stories of people getting absolutely AWFUL gifts (not on their registry)!! My goal with the paypal registry is to stop this practice and help couples (like Mike and I) get what we really want. In our case, that’s a fabulous vacation. Maybe you want new furniture? A giant television. Whatever!
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.