I recently just started reading The Millionaire Next Door. I am only about a third of the way through it, but if you care anything about personal finance, I suggest you pick up that book and read it. So far, it is so good.
Lately, I’ve been struggling a lot with wedding planning. Not because I’m having second thoughts about getting married, but because I’m frugal and therefore I cannot make my peace with spending beaucoup money on one day. I want to have a nice wedding that our guests enjoy and something to show that we appreciate their attendance while respecting our own financial situation at the same time.
Is this too much to ask???
The other day, I was whining to my mom about how I was feeling so much pressure to spend a lot of money on the wedding. I told her how I am fine being the frugal girl I am, but I am re-thinking my decision to hold back cost-wise because I don’t want anyone to say anything negative about me or my fiancé. (I realize this is pretty silly, but it is also valid.)
I was reading a post the other day written by a bride who couldn’t afford an expensive wedding. She commented: “I have never felt so pressured to live up to some unattainable middle class ideal” and “I don’t want to be judged because my wedding isn’t lavish.” After reading her post, I was thinking “Wow I agree with her so much!” Then I started thinking, “Maybe we should spend a lot on the wedding.”
Besides, I reason, it’s not like we’re saving up for a down-payment on a house.
We’ll never have a party this big again so we may as well party it up no matter what the cost.
If my dad were alive, he would want me to have a big expensive wedding.
Plenty of people have the wedding of their dreams and pay themselves back later.
This is one day that I will never get back again! I should do it up!
Then I come back to reality.
A lavish wedding (funded by our bank account) is not me at all.
Don’t get me wrong I love watching Platinum Weddings or David Tutera’s “My Fair Wedding” just as much as the next girl, but in actuality it isn’t Kim Kardashian’s Fairytale Wedding with her fleet of Rolls Royce Phantoms that makes me green with envy. Nope! It’s this 2000 dollar wedding that makes me want to re-evaluate my whole life and what I’m doing with it.
Sure mommies and daddies are still bankrolling their daughters’ mega-extravaganza of a happily ever after event, but there are also betrothed couples out here who are pledging “til’ death do us part” for a fraction of what the average wedding cost — and they’re not even sneaking off to Vegas to do it! Nope, they’ve got the venue, the dress, the photographer, the cake, the guests (and everything else theKnot.com demands we brides have) without the hefty price tag. And all I can say is HOW?!
I mean, sheesh! I have to believe there are more brides than not doing this the inexpensive way. Where did we get this notion that we need to spend a year’s worth of Harvard tuition on a wedding reception?
This is what separates the haves from the have-nots from the will-never-haves. Some people can certainly afford a crazy expensive wedding, but I’m not convinced those who can truly afford it, actually do it. And even if they do, money decisions are personal. How can I ever expect to be financially independent, if my heart doesn’t stop at the thought of paying $600 for a cake? Or if my jaw doesn’t drop when I’m quoted $5 for a single wedding invitation (not including the stamp!).
I am not about this life at all. I told my mom I feel like I am in the Olympics holding onto my money like a track star holds on to her baton while everyone is chasing me and trying to steal my money from me in the form of overpriced wedding crap! Where will these people who sold me monogrammed paper napkins be when I need new brakes on my car next year? Ghost.
I used to crinkle my nose at the Carrie Bradshaw a’ la Sex in the City the Movie types who don’t mind getting married in the courthouse if it meant marrying the love of their life. Now, I’m thinking these chicks are on to something. I realize you don’t need a wedding to get married and a “fairytale wedding” hasn’t kept anyone out of divorce court anyway. We’re having a sizable wedding in a very nice venue, but man a $25 courthouse wedding would’ve been a heckuva lot cheaper! While we were registering for gifts, I kept thinking “If we got married at the courthouse instead of spending money on a wedding, we could buy all of this stuff ourselves.” Haha.
I’m happy with our plans, I just wish our plans required less moolah. Hindsight is maddeningly 20/20 and it is very tough to “know better” until “knowing better” is useless. I’ve been asking God for wisdom in our planning though and I do know, though, that we’re not having a 30-thousand dollar wedding and no one is going to make me feel badly about that. You know what I can do with 30-thousand dollars that doesn’t include flowers tossed in the trash can at the end of the night or a dress I will never wear again? Lots. Heck, even an extra twenty-thousand dollars in the bank rather than on the wedding could fund me to stay home the first six months after we have a baby one day.
My perspective is: there is LIFE after “The Wedding”. Yes it is a big day – a HUGE day – for both of us and unfortunately we’re still spending thousands (way more than I ever would spend on a “party”). We’re just not spending tens and tens of thousands of dollars.
If that means my friends will have to stop at Wendy’s before they come, or no one gets a packet of seeds with my wedding date on it or I won’t get my picture in Columbus Bride or be considered for the “Real Weddings” section of The Knot then I just have to be okay with that. It’s not tacky to have an inexpensive wedding, it’s tacky to have a ginormous, televised wedding and then get divorced 72 days later. I mean, we’re definitely not serving potluck macaroni & cheese in someone’s backyard. We’re still spending money on this shindig – just not enough money to buy a house in the Hamptons.
Besides, I need to save some money for honeymoon lingerie. That stuff is expensive!