Why you shouldn’t judge another bride’s budget…

“People shouldn’t spend so much money on their wedding day. 
An intimate backyard gathering is all you need.” 

I’m so ridiculously tired of reading wedding blogs and listening to brides (engaged and married) that judge other people for the amount of money they plan to spend on their weddings. In this day and time, I understand the need for people to be frugal and financially responsible. With that taken into consideration, there is nothing wrong with having a medium or large sized wedding if you can afford it–especially if “affording it” means that you can pay cash for everything. I set a budget, and I have no choice but to stick to it. Whatever I cannot afford, I cannot have. But that doesn’t mean I have to have a small wedding if I don’t want one. It also doesn’t mean I have to have a wedding in someone’s backyard or in a park. Those are all great ideas, but you don’t HAVE to do that just because you are on a small budget! There are some really nice venues out there that aren’t totally outrageous! You don’t HAVE to do anything you don’t want to do.

Here’s the truth of the matter: I’m a pretty simple girl, with a pretty simple life. I don’t own a car and I don’t have children. I don’t buy expensive designer things and I don’t spend my money partying all the time. We do, however, value our money. Our income is modest. We’re not balling out of control; however, when people say, “You could buy a car with that money”–I want to say, “With that car you bought, you could have bought a wedding!!…I could buy a car NOW!! And I don’t want one!”. The average cost to own and operate a car is about $892 per month. I don’t have those kind of expenses. People think it’s outrageous that I would save $800 a month for a year, but that doesn’t seem that bad to me, personally. I think it would be outrageous to spend $900 a month just on transportation. People will say, “That could be a down payment for a house”…well, at this point, I don’t know if I even want to stay in California to own a home here. And if I could save up $10,000 in a year for my wedding, I could easily save up the same amount next year for a house. The point is, you don’t know what someone’s financial position is. For some people, 30k is not that much. Others will struggle to pull together $1000 for their wedding days. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you TRULY can afford the amount of money you are telling people you’ll pay them!

I totally respect people’s desire to have a small wedding with only 20 people; however, just my immediate family plus my fiance’s immediate family, plus the two of us is already 15 people. I have a lot of friends and family that I want to share my special day with. I don’t have anything against small weddings–AT ALL. Very small, quaint, beautiful. I get it. I also get, that’s not for everyone. I personally feel like my wedding is one of the biggest celebrations I will ever throw in my life. This does not mean we need personalized toilet paper in the bathrooms (guests love nothing more than to wipe their asses with your monogram the day of your wedding). But it does mean that I’m going to step my game up for one day. This is the celebration of the love we share!! And that is a reason to celebrate!!

My girlfriend recently got married in a very beautiful old chapel in Arizona. 

She had a simple ceremony with a few friends. And the pictures looked absolutely gorgeous! She had the cutest floral print dress on, and her husband had a gorgeous purple tie on. It was so cute. Just as I shouldn’t knock her small intimate wedding, people shouldn’t judge someone’s desire to have a wedding that is bigger. This venue worked for her. It was exactly what she wanted…and with her being the bride, she should get what she wanted. 

Instead of telling people what size wedding they should have, and how much is “reasonable to spend” I would encourage people to be creative and find ways to get as close to their dream as they can without busting the budget. I can see where it’s unrealistic to have a wedding for 300 people on a $3,000 budget; however, you can totally have a beautiful wedding for less than a 1/3 of what the average wedding costs. A $10-12k wedding is totally do-able.

1. Be realistic. How much money can you spend without having to take out a loan, or owe money at the end. 

That’s going to determine what kind of money you can spend. Then start saving, aggressively. That means if you have that wedding with 100 people on a $10k budget, you may have to say no to things like “bouquet preservation”. (I don’t really see the point of freeze drying flowers for $400, but whatever…)

2. Lengthen your engagement, if possible.

 We agreed on a long engagement, and mainly because we wanted to make sure we could afford the wedding. We figured we could save X amount of dollars each month, and then we counted the months we would need to reach our goals, and then added two more months, so we have cash free and available for miscellaneous expenses that we might encounter closer to the wedding. We could go get married at the Justice of the Peace tomorrow; however, we know if we want to have an actual wedding, we needed to save money in advance. Some couples must marry quickly for one reason or another. Some couples just can’t wait, and will have a shorter engagement; however, lengthening your engagement could really aid your wedding plan, because you can do things really far in advance, which makes you less stressed out because you can give each task your all. I noticed my bridesmaids are more than willing to do DIY things while we’re having fun without pressure, rather than running a sweat shop a week before the wedding. 

3. Instead of having hot appetizers with servers for the cocktail hour, opt for cold, self-serve snacks. I work at a place that sells amazing cheeses. So I decided to have fruit, cheese, and other appetizers that are classy, filling, but not going to cost $4 per person per appetizer. It still looks beautiful, and it gives a healthy option for snacking before dinner is served. 

4. Buy things as you go. I made my own centerpieces and cake stands. I am spending a large percent of my decoration budget on LED lighting. I give myself a “wedding allowance, and I buy things as I go. Instead of buying every single thing I need to make my 15 centerpieces, I buy what I can afford at the time; once one project is over, I start the next. I think this is easier, because it’s easier for me to take $50 a week and spend it on wedding supplies than to take $400 at one time and buy everything I need. This doesn’t really in itself save you money, but it does allow for you to not stress out about doing the same project 15 times until you burn out. I’m extremely crafty, so the level of DIY I’m taking on may not work for everyone…but if you are creative, you can really get a lot more for your money.

5. Choose a venue that includes things like lighting, a sound system, chairs or tables. 

Factor how much money you save on finding a venue that offers more than just a blank room. We are having our wedding at the Enchanted Manor in Valley Village. 


6. It’s not all about the bling. Some people would NEVER do this, but I’m not splurging on expensive wedding rings. The only jewelry I wear is body jewelry. I have enough bling stuck in my face already. 

My dermal

We love these titanium rings we found on Etsy. They are inexpensive, and simple. For me, having a simple ring was all I wanted. No diamonds, no frills. I understand, some people really value jewelry and they will want to spend more of their money on jewelry; however, if you could live without a super expensive ring, you could save a lot of money! This set costs less than $50!

 7. Don’t skip the flowers totally, but try to use them strategically throughout your wedding decor. 


I absolutely love flowers, but let’s face it. Flowers are expensive. I wouldn’t suggest you go 100% flowerless, but you can cut down on the amount of flowers you buy. You can use flowers like Hydrangeas that take up a lot of space, but don’t cost so much. You could  have jars of baby’s breath here and there. Baby’s breath is not only very beautiful, it’s super cheap. Another thing you can consider is having your bridesmaids carry something in place of floral bouquets, like fans, or baskets filled with silk rose petals that they can drop as they go down the aisle. You can find baskets on clearance after Easter time. If you’ve extended your engagement, you can totally save on after-holiday sales. That basket you wanted once cost $20 around Mother’s Day…now it’s on clearance for $2. Save the expensive flowers for your bouquet. My centerpieces are actually made with mason jars and firefly lights. I spent about $17 creating each one. I don’t even know how much 15 floral centerpieces would be, but the best thing is, I can create my centerpieces as I go, and they will not wilt or die while I’m waiting for the wedding. I showed one of the groomsmen my centerpieces, and he couldn’t believe how well they turned out. He said, “You’ve outdone yourself”. That was a good feeling. 


Well, this whole rant has to do with people telling other people what to do. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the whole “go-to-the-courthouse-it’ll-save-you-money” mentality being pushed onto people and making people feel guilty for wanting to have a wedding for more that 10 people. It’s your day! If you want it small, great. If you want a big party, great! But don’t judge a bride’s budget. Not everyone feels the way you do, and some people…well, they’re just better at stretching a buck than other people. 

I’ve got to get back to making my cake stand…peas and butter, little Peacocks… 

DISCLAIMER:

I have a very warped sense of humor. If you are offended easily, don’t follow this blog. It’s meant for people who are looking for an escape from the SERIOUSNESS of wedding planning. I’m no relationship or wedding expert. I’m just a girl who is in love and wants to celebrate. Please don’t bother telling me how inappropriate it is say that David Bowie is God…because I kinda believe…David Bowie may in fact be God.  

Your Dream Wedding Doesn’t Exist


Me: Got sucked into the wedding vortex.


Friend
: The wedding vortex? Sounds painful. 

Me:
Oh it is…try taking glitter, a hot glue gun, a peacock tie, tulle, napkins, bows, butterflies, mason jars, price comparisons, free shipping, a venue, 4 bridesmaids dresses, a shit load of peacock feathers, a rice krispie treat tree, a butcher, a baker, and a centerpiece maker–and then you shove all those things right up your ass…and then you puke out a wedding. And the best part is: You get to pay for it all. Ahhh…the memories

_____

I wasn’t one of those girls that planned my wedding from the day I was born. I’ve only been to three weddings. One of them was an over-the-top Southern Baptist wedding, where my aunt was marrying the pastor. The second was of a friend who became a bitch bridezilla, and her wedding day also marked the end of our friendship (thank goodness). And the third was of a childhood friend, who had an amazing, and budget-savvy chic wedding. But even though I’ve never been in any weddings, and have only been to a few, I really, really, really love weddings! I think they’re awesome…but I’ve never directly participated in a wedding as a bridesmaid, or a bride, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect.

I was engaged once before, when I was in my early twenties. I barely even started my wedding planning. My wedding wasn’t really supported by my friends and family, for many reasons. It was very disappointing, because as much as I wanted to plan my wedding, I couldn’t bear planning it alone. I would look through magazines. I tried to get ideas. But every single time I would start planning, I would get overwhelmed, because I was alone and had no clue of what to do. At the time I was either going to have a destination wedding, or elope. I didn’t even have an idea of what my perfect wedding would be…but I had always envisioned my girlfriends springing into action to help me…I thought my mother would cry, and my father would smile proudly. Well…that didn’t happen. Not even in the least. I’m glad I didn’t get married to my first fiance. We were good as friends, but ultimately, we wanted different things in life.

When I first met Anthony, I never thought in a million years that I would be thinking of marrying him. And within a month of our relationship, we already started talking about the future using “us” instead of “I”. A few months later, we moved in together–and it actually worked. After about 5 month of dating, we decided that we’d get married in the 2-3 year of our relationship, but we pretty much kept it to ourselves. I told my sister, but that was about it. I’m sure a lot of people thought our relationship was whirlwind, but I feel like it has been anything but. Since we’ve been together, we’ve had to support each other through some very hard times. Within our first year together, we walked hand-in-hand through a shit storm. I transferred to a new store, and the transfer was awful. I started having debilitating joint pain, where I would struggle to walk even a block without having to stop. My doctor now thinks may be symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Anthony lost a close friend to suicide. We dealt with our emotions about family illness. We battled our bad habits, together.  We dealt with Anthony losing his job after the place he was working closed, and he was unemployed for months. We severed relationships with unhealthy people. We became a couple.The connection and love was definitely there. But after a year together, we felt it was time to tell the world about our plans. 

My first experience wedding planning that made me feel that my relationships weren’t as “legitimate” as the people around me. One of the greatest pains I’ve ever felt was trying to plan a wedding alone, and having a huge shadow of disapproval from everyone I cared about blocking every feeling of joy a woman should feel about her wedding day. So here I was, wedding planning for the second time in my life. I figured, this time, people will be different about it, and I will finally get to plan my wedding with my family being overwhelmed with joy. So I finally got the nerve up to tell my parents that I had met the man I wanted to share the rest of my life with, and that we planned on getting married. My parent’s reaction was more of a matter-of-fact “Okay” than a joyous congratulations. There were no tears. There was no noticeable excitement. It just was. Anthony said his family was pretty excited when he told them, but nothing over the top. “The wedding” is something I mention here and there to our families, but it’s probably nothing more than a fleeting thought to everyone else but me.

My bridal party started off with a few of my close female friends and my sister as my Maid of Honor. Mind you, most of my maids live out of town, so I already assumed that I’d be doing a lot of stuff by myself…but I figured I’d at least have them in spirit. In my newly formed dream wedding, of course my sister would be my MOH! No question! 5 months into the wedding planning, my best friend dropped out due to financial reasons and my sister chose not to participate for personal reasons. I respect both of their decisions…it’s just that, well…all of a sudden your dream wedding goes out the window, and you had to start over with a new dream. And that’s not always easy to do. 

The point of me writing this is not the throw my family or friends under the bus…it’s about being honest with you other Peacocks out there that YOUR DREAM WEDDING DOES NOT EXIST. Your parents might be happy for you, but maybe they’re just not into weddings–yours included. Maybe your best friend really can’t afford it. Maybe your sister feels like you could find someone else to be MOH. It really doesn’t matter the scenario…the point is: A lot of people are not going to find your wedding to be as exciting as you do. And a lot of people are not going to want to go shopping with you. A lot of people don’t care about the doo-who of weddings, and they don’t feel like they should have to shell out money for a tacky dress they’ll never wear again. Some people just don’t care about weddings, and that’s nothing that you should be mad or resentful about. It’s just the way it is. 

After I did my fair share of feeling hurt that there was no excitement over my wedding, I adopted a fuck it attitude, and said: This is my wedding, so I’m going to have a good time planning, no matter who is involved. If I have to do it all myself, I am going to enjoy planning, enjoy being a bride, and enjoy this process. And then things changed…

First things first, I had to find a new Maid of Honor, but I don’t really have that many close friends…especially ones that live in California. One of the girls I asked to by my bridesmaid was a friend from work that I’ve known for about 3 years. She has supported me throughout every major life meltdown I’ve had in those three years. I was reluctant to be close friends with her, because I have trust issues. But I asked her if I she could step in for my sister, not knowing what to expect. She literally jumped for joy and said, “Yes! Yes! Yes! I’d be honored!!” Wow. She jokingly would brag when I’d go past her at work, pointing at herself saying, “Maid of Honor! That’s right!!” LOL And that sealed the deal for me. Since my new MOH has been on the job, I have felt soooo supported! Her boyfriend even confided that being involved in the wedding has really made her happy. She’s been there for everything, and she’s a great help. She’s really done more than I could ask of her. I’m a pretty laid back bride, so I’m not barking orders at my maids, but they often say, “Hey! When are we going to do wedding stuff!?”…unheard of! Maids that are excited and more than willing to help me plan. One of my girlfriends, also a co-worker, always comes up with creative ideas and she’s always giving me feedback on ideas for details and DIY projects. And their kids offered their services when they heard about the wedding, so I have several sets of little hands to help me do all the boring and mundane things most people would roll their eyes if you asked them to do. So I have a bunch of baby maids that will fulfill my need to be sucked into the wedding vortex and talk incessantly about color palates and making wings for candy fairies (instead of flower girls). I didn’t think it was possible! This certainly is the way it should feel. 

Another thing that happened is, Anthony and I grew up, and Anthony stepped up. We realized that we would have to take full responsibility for this wedding, from the financing to the details, and we went into the planning TOGETHER. He started doing more to help me. He’s willing to do just about anything, and is always supportive of what I am doing. He praises me for my creativity. It gave him a peek into my creative side, which doesn’t come out much these days. And I saw that he most certainly loves me, and wants me to have the best wedding possible. He’s my rock…and I feel lost without him. I’m up right now at 4am, writing a blog, because he’s at his parent’s house and I can’t sleep without him. 


Did it suck that I never went dress shopping with my mom? A little…but since I wasn’t wearing a white dress and no bridal salons would have the type of dress I was looking for, I don’t think I would have done that anyways. Does it suck that my first wedding barely took up a page in a notebook? A little…but I learned from it. Does it suck that my bridal party includes a hodgepodge of crazy crafty girls who enjoy spending time with me, even if it means they have to make 100 lanterns out of used jars? Absolutely not. 

I have had so much fun planning my wedding this time around. It feels good to know that I’m doing this the right way, and I am so touched by the people who are working toward making my day special. And I’m touched that my parents actually have given me their blessing this time around. Help sprang out of the most unexpected places, and all the minor drama of dropout maids is handled…and a better situation came of it.

My advice to all you Peacocks out there is: Enjoy your wedding. It’s just one day. And make it as special as you can…you’ll be surprised when your actual wedding, and the process of creating it is much better than your dream wedding. Because that wedding never existed to begin with!

DISCLAIMER:

I have a very warped sense of humor. If you are offended easily, don’t follow this blog. It’s meant for people who are looking for an escape from the SERIOUSNESS of wedding planning. I’m no relationship or wedding expert. I’m just a girl who is in love and wants to celebrate. Please don’t bother telling me how inappropriate it is say that David Bowie is God…because I kinda believe…David Bowie may in fact be God.