Tag Archives: wedding industry

This Wedding is Costing Too Much… and I’m trying not to care.

With the state of the world these days, it feels extra strange to be hyper-focused on planning a rather lavish wedding where my budget is the only thing that is shot. Nonetheless, I have a wedding six months away and I’m furiously meeting with vendors who charge market rates for their services that add up to holy shit this is a lot of money.

I wish I came from a family that didn’t care about things like weddings, but I really had two choices here – go big or go home, literally. I opted for the big east coast wedding for a few reasons – 1, I worry I’d regret not having one; 2, my dad is ill and won’t be around much longer and he really wants a big wedding; 3, I’m out of my mind to think this was a good idea.

The reality is that weddings are expensive, no matter what type of wedding you have, unless you elope. Even $10,000 weddings are expensive for the people who have them. I’ve completely gone off the rocker and completely fell for the wedding industry. I said I wasn’t going to, and here I am, looking at killing my net worth goal over one day. Don’t ask me how much I spent on my dress. That was a fiasco that ended up in me making some very bad decisions. I like my dress, but if I could do it all over again, I’d not allow myself to purchase an outfit that cost almost as much as my first (used) car.

Then again, I tell myself that I should let myself splurge a little and enjoy this day. I’m not frugal by any means, but with most of the country having barely any savings, even my current – $328k in net worth (yes after wedding purchases and unemployment for a brief while and stock market performing poorly it’s down significantly) is something I can be proud of and dip into a little bit to treat myself. My parents are paying for a huge chunk of the wedding (and if they weren’t I WOULD be having a $10k wedding!) so I figure if I spend $10k above and beyond what my parents are paying on it, that’s, well, reasonable isn’t the right word – but it’s not completely crazy.

Still, if I could do this all over again I’d take a long hard look at a realistic budget and 1, book a cheaper venue and 2, buy a cheaper dress. Other than that there aren’t really a lot of places to save money at this point. Even DIY adds up. Flowers are $3k, video is $4k, photography is $6k, music is $1k – $6k depending if you want a DJ or a band (my dad said it’s my choice then continues to whisper behind my back how disappointed he’ll be if I get a DJ.)

I know I’m extremely fortunate to have parents who want to throw money at me for this wedding. But I also think it gets more stressful the more money you have to work with. I’ve discovered that the true “get whatever you want” wedding really costs $100k. That sounds crazy, but it isn’t. Anything less than $100k and you have to make compromises. I’m not advocating $100k weddings, just putting things into perspective for people who look at the wedding industry and roll their eyes.

Hopefully a wedding (day/weekend) is an experience I’ll remember and cherish for the rest of my life. It’s a one-time production bringing family and friends together. There are hundreds of photos taken from every angle and, selfishly, I want to look good. Everyone wants photos with the bride. I could have looked good in a cheaper dress, but that story which I’ll tell one day equaled me making a very very dumb decision on that front. Beyond the extravagent dress (which, btw, doesn’t look extravagant, it’s just a designer gown with amazing embroidery so it’s classy and understated by also double my initial dress budget, oy), though, it’s really a fairly standard east coast wedding. It’s even on a Sunday to save costs.

When spending this much money on something, I become super OCD. I don’t want things to just be ok, I want them to be as close to perfect as possible. Which isn’t possible, but I’ll try. And trying to please everyone is also impossible. Ie right now hiring a DJ would make way more sense financially than hiring a band. But dad is paying for huge chunk of wedding and dad wants a band – I should get a band. Logic brain says get a damn DJ. My fiancĂ© doesn’t even like to dance.

Anyway, the wedding is happening… and I’m starting a new job… and I’m just mildly stressed, but trying to get amped up about both. It’s so important that I go into all of this with a positive attitude. I am excited about the new job. I’m mildly enthusiastic about the wedding. I’m more so excited about finally getting married so I can move on with my life and start a family. That’s all that really matters.


Saying I Do to the Wedding Industry…

This week I’m set to sign the contract for our wedding venue. It’s a lovely-but-not-perfect venue in a location that is somewhat convenient for guests traveling from all around the country and that will cost, at a minimum, if all we do is show up, about $23,000.

And as I frantically try to figure out how to cut down all the additional spend (which now is about $25k more), I ask myself over and over – WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY?

Well, yes, yes I am crazy. I have to be to spend so much money on a half of a day.

As soon as that contract is signed, I have to go through with it. Really, though, I already have to go through with something. We have a date, we’ve informed others to unofficially save the date, and we’ve asked our officiant and a few members of the bridal party to prepare for the big day. So something will happen. I just wish I could make that something cost $10,000 vs $50,000.

I wish I could have a rational conversation with my parents about money, but I can’t. They want to spend the money on this wedding, even though they have a $200k in home equity debt, and even though they just bought a $60k condo (second home) with plans to do $50k+ renovations to it, and even though every day the stock market does poorly the worse the decision to take $45,000 out of their savings is…. I can’t have one moment of rational conversation with them. The second I bring up being cost efficient in anyway, my dad throws a fit. He wouldn’t want the wedding to seem cheap or anything.

If my fiance wanted a big wedding then maybe this would make sense. But he’d much prefer something quiet and mellow with good friends. Meanwhile the thought of planning a wedding right now in nine months gives me heaping amounts of heart attacks. All in all, this seems like a horrible no good idea.

Yet I still think I’ll regret NOT having this big wedding. Maybe I wouldn’t. I don’t know. I do feel like I either go all in, or we just seriously elope and that’s that. Maybe we have a little party with local friends and call it a day. We move on with our lives. If we need to, I ask my parents for $45k for a few cycles of IVF so I can have children… or perhaps for a kick start on their college tuition savings. Not a stupid party.

But that isn’t the options. I either get the money for a stupid party, or nothing. And the guilt of accepting this money is eating me up inside. Yes I can pay for some of it, but what I wanted to do is work with my parents to negotiate with vendors, especially the venue, so all the costs could come down a bit. My dad is too stubborn to do that. Too proud. All efforts of negotiating were thwarted by his refusal to play bad cop, to state that he didn’t want to pay so much for X or Y. Ok, so with the venue at $23,000 – we’re just starting so high, it’s hard to keep the entire event under $30k, which is my goal, because I think any more than that is completely batshit.

Of course, I can’t help but want a $6,000 photographer, a $4,000 videographer, $2k-$3k for flowers, and $4k-$5k for my dress, alterations, shoes, under garments, accessories, hair and makeup. And then there’s transportation and invites and this doesn’t even count the honeymoon or the rehearsal dinner et al.

If I could do the wedding in the off season it could be cheaper, but then so many people couldn’t come. I can’t figure out how to save money… how to get to that $30k budget that I’ve set as a goal…

Here is a tight budget based on what I’ve observed in the market, with the exception of my venue which isn’t the cheapest but also isn’t the most expensive.

$23k – venue
$5k – photography
$2k – video
$3k – dress
$2k – flowers
$1k – transport
$1k – invites
$3k – music (DJ)

Well that’s $40k right there. And I don’t feel like that’s a lavish wedding at all. How do I get this down to $35k at most?