I was going to title this post “The $5K Bride, and other dirty words” because I just found out that I have a dirty name in the wedding industry. It’s “the $5k bride”.
Five thousand dollar bride? Ew, gross! Apparently, along with lepers, smokers, and people who eat [insert evil food du jour] I probably don’t even deserve to live, much less plan a wedding!
But, ya see, I am bold. And tenacious. And passionate! I do what I want and the more attitude you give me, the more determined I am to pull this off in a way that rocks everyone’s socks.
I got engaged to FabledGeek in December 2011 and we set a tentative date of October 2012 for the wedding. I am absurdly happy!! And I’ve never had a wedding before so I am obnoxiously excited about having one finally!
I don’t think it’s a stretch to think most people want what we want. When it comes to a wedding, we want a celebration that reflects our personalities (quirky, fun, and geeky), celebrates our sacred union, and we want to share it with our closest friends and family.
Right after our engagement, we jumped right into planning. I’m old, yo. I don’t have time for long-ass engagements!
Weddings Cost What?
Almost immediately, we realized that we didn’t want to spend the industry-average $26K for a wedding. While it is a sacred and very important event, we should also keep in mind that this is a one-day deal. And $26K is a down-payment on a house. Or a month-long vacation in Europe. Undeterred, we played around with some numbers and finally settled on a modest budget of $5,000. That’s a lot of money for a party, don’t ya think? I think it’s a lot for normal, non-royal, non-celebrity-type people. It’s more than I have ever spent on a party before, but I am comfortable with that number.
Then I got INSPIRED! I will DIY everything! I will meticulously research the best ways to save money on a wedding! I will look for unconventional venues! The internet is awesome!!
The Wake Up Call
And then I woke up. Vendors don’t want to talk to you if your guest count is 40. They don’t want to respond if they get the slightest indication that your budget is anywhere south of $10K. For the uninformed, ten thousand dollars is considered a budget wedding. Various posts and wedding sites have confirmed this but here is a good post about it from last week.
OK, I get that the more money you spend, the more unforgettable the event will be. Probably. But that isn’t guaranteed. I could spend $500 and show you an unforgettable evening! Conversely, I could spend $50K and do the most bland, pedestrian wedding you’ve ever seen complete with flavorless chicken entree and overcooked vegetable medley! I do not believe that you need to spend a lot of money to celebrate your nuptials.
I also totally understand that money gives you access to higher quality stuff. A more expensive photographer is most likely a more experienced photographer (or I would hope so anyway). I understand that and I am prepared. You get what you pay for and all that jazz.
I could go on but I don’t think I need to belabor the point. After having a
full-blown meltdown really serious look at reality, I was ready to call the whole thing off and elope. That’s when I had the wedding planning epiphany(TM):
- The wedding industry is very well marketed.
People are sheep. People are easily persuaded to have a really big, expensive affair when that is, or seems like, the norm.
- Even self-described indie weddings, alternative weddings, and anti-weddings are incredibly expensive which makes them, in my opinion, not really the thing they are claiming to be.
- Going into debt is not an awesome way to begin a lifelong commitment to another person.
- It’s not worth it. A wise friend keeps telling me this.
- We seem to have lost focus on what’s important here.
I might use Mason Jars though
So, I’m going all Frank Sinatra on this shiz and doing it my way. I will DIY some stuff. I will exclude things that are completely unnecessary to my event. Like escort cards and menus and vintage suitcase displays. I will focus on the things that are absolutely essential to my big day. I will do it with style but I will keep my eye on the real purpose of the day which is to say my vows to the man I love in public. And celebrate our union with important people.
Stay tuned for my wedding manifesto coming soon!