Monday, July 13, 2015

The $1,000 Wedding. Seriously.

As you may  know, I cannot stand to waste money. It kills me. My soul shrivels into my knees if I imagine I could have saved ten more dollars if I had gone to the next store.

My husband and I were having a conversation about his friend's son's forty thousand dollar wedding. Yes. You heard me right. That's two cars or a house down payment of a wedding. That's two years worth of college. However, that price tag is not too far off from many people's expenditures.

When we had a our wedding, without too much thought, really, we spent around twelve thousand dollars. We fed over two hundred and fifty people at a community banquet hall, my family is filled with excellent musicians, and we spent our honeymoon camping on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Why do people spend so much more?

Because the media lies to us.
It lies to young girls about Cinderella weddings and pop-star lavish parties and equates love with the size of a ring. It lies to men that they are simply pawns in the process of wedding planning, and will have very little say. There's some study that says weddings which spend a huge amount are going to end in divorce - likely because of the debt which was incurred.

Therefore, out of the interest of saving many a marriage, I, a former hotel wedding planner, am going to make some suggestions for weddings that may run about a $1000.

Version 1

Marriage License $115
Wedding Dress from a Thrift Shop $80
Tuxedo (borrowed)
Wedding Cake (Grocery Store) $100
Dinner for Six at Outback Steakhouse $600
                Bride, Groom, Parents, Best Man, Maid of Honor
Ring (Grandmother's)
Invitations: Word of Mouth

Version 2

Marriage License $130
Catholic Church Officiant
Catholic Church Donation $200 Donation (in an envelope - clearly marked Church donation)
  (note: you can always donate more)
Wedding Sheet Cake, Champagne Punch at the house for about twenty friends and family ($100)
BBQ Lunch to follow at the house ($200)
Wedding Dress - any color - $200
Suit and Tie $200
Ring ($100 - any stone)
Invitations: Evite

Version 3

Marriage License $120
Minister $300
Lunch immediately afterwards with parents $300
Sheet Cake Dessert and Apple Cider at home in the evening with friends ($50)
Thank You notes sent with "first day as a couple" photos $25 (Costco)
Invitations: Telephone Calls

Yes, you saw that right: wedding dress from a thrift shop. There are so many beautiful gowns that are in thrift stores. I know. I shop them regularly.
A wedding dress didn't used to be white. It used to be the lady's best dress ever... any color. I think it was changed to 'traditional white' in the 1800s There are gorgeous dresses in other colors. You can pick up amazing dresses on sale in the off-season or post-Prom marketing.

Why does a ring have to be a diamond? Why can't it be the semi-precious stone of the month in which you had your first date? Why can't it be a color that you share as your mutually favorite? Why can't it be just a band without a stone? Do you actually need one?

Think of the future. If you get an expensive dress, hand your wedding gown down to your oldest daughter. Your second daughter can get your ring. Your third gets $50. Your fourth gets a note: Do not have more than three daughters. Wisdom is priceless.

Photographs ARE important. If you can afford a professional, there IS a difference. However, if you must cut corners, do not waste money on that disposable cameras on the table idea. Drinks, drunks, and damn, I missed it shots are inevitable. Ask a reliable friend with a steady hand and head to take photos. Simple. There are other more internet-friendly ways to upload and share photos, but you can research that on your own.

Friends and family want to celebrate with you- it's natural. They want to enjoy your moment. Yet if you invite them, you must host them. Consider a delayed reception, when you have earned money to spend cash on the expenses, and have a Sunday get-together or potluck. Do not do that tacky thing where you invite them to the wedding but NOT the reception (dumb and rude).

Don't invest for a day. Invest in your future: a home, a car to get to work, your own college expenses.

On the flip side, you got money? Enjoy it. Spend it. Have a wonderful time doing it. It's a blessing.

The hard part is knowing which kind of person you are and... accepting it.

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