Weddings are easy:
- Pick a date
- Invite people
- Get food and beverage to be there
- Get hitched
*Now with Bonus - Open Presents!
If money is no object, then a wedding is quite simple -- you hire a very nice lady called a "Wedding Planner," throw cash at her, and decide upon a colour you would like your bridesmaids, groomsmen, children, napkins, matchbooks, bouquets, centerpieces, shoes, birdseed and cake icing to all wear and/or be.
If your father isn't King Midas, however, you're in trouble. Very quickly you realize that the moment the words "We're Engaged!" fall out of your unknowning, innocent mouth people see dollar signs pop up around your head like the puffy white veil of Bridal Dreams Barbie.
If you're extraordinarily unlucky (or just plain stupid), you'll fall prey to one or several of the many unscrupulous (money-grubbing) people (bastards) who manage, direct, supply or in some way provide one or more services to a wedding or its partcipants (suckers.)
However, if you're even the slightest bit shrewd and not altogether wealthy, your wedding will usually fall into the "average" range of ten to twenty-six thousand dollars.
You heard me. 10. to. 26. k.
When I first started planning my wedding, I had picked up nary a bridal magazine nor ... you know, anything else bridal-y. I did, however, have the naive (stupid!) idea that I wanted the wedding to be under one thousand dollars.
Say it with me: Deluded. Mental. Completely Insanical.
Reality check set in, and I realized, quite quickly even, that it wasn't going to happen. Still, I declared myself the Anti-Bride and my warpath was mowing down my checklist of Things To Accomplish To Keep Costs Low.
On said list were: Make My Own Dress. Bake My Own Cake. Print My Own Wedding Invitations. Cater My Own Reception. (Seriously, I could go on, but the capitalization is quite obnoxious.)
I started out armed with a sharp pencil, clean sheets of paper and a phone book. I had decided that having "The cutest little backyard wedding since I-don't-know-when" was just the ticket to keeping my wedding within a small budget. Several hours later, after speaking to people listed under such headings as Tent Rental, Event Catering, Party Supplies and oddly, Doggy Daycare (and I'm still not sure why.) I realized that if we did all the legwork ourselves (my family and I), we would have to cobble together people to deliver the tent and return to take it down; deliver and set up rented tables, chairs, linens, plates, glasses, napkins and lights; deliver and set up -- and serve! -- food and beverages. We would also have to (depending on whose backyard) have to apply and receive an event license to allow us to serve alcohol -- to ourselves!
Weighed down a bit by that knowledge, I resigned myself to having the wedding and reception done elsewhere. No need to drag out-of-towners all over a town they're temporarily in. I visited a dozen of places I thought would be a lovely setting as well as reasonable in price, only to be disappointed many times over.
I made one last, half-hearted attempt to secure a location. I visited a well-known local landmark, a small inn I though would be well out of my price range. I only knew of it because I had seen someone else's pictures when they got married there and fell in love with its old school genteel charm and grandeur. Slumping in, shoulders defensive I spoke with the Manager almost with tears in my eyes, waiting to hear her list a price range that wasn't at all what I could manage.
As it turned out, August is an off-season (huh?) time to get married: the estate fee was half of what it is normally, and our only obligation was to spend at least $875 on food and beverages! I signed up practically on the spot, and two days later I was back in Canada, planning my wedding from afar.
Now, the end of this story isn't complete. The wedding is a month (33 days) off, and I'm having a few communication issues with the inn (which is why I'm mentioning no names, YET), but there will be a second half to this column. I know without a doubt that a wedding under Three Grand can be done -- and I'm willing to share the secrets.
Maigen is simple. is smart. is wholesome. is skeevy. is spicy. is delicate. is better. is purer. is 100% more awesome than yesterday. She';s traveling the world and writing about her experiences with life, love, yoga, food, travel and people. Mostly people. Because they';re funny. hear more of her random thoughts @maigen on twitter.
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IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
7.14.06 @ 5:14a
Good luck to you! In recent years, my friends have all spent extraordinary amounts of money for their weddings. One friend I know even spent $60,000 and moaned about how they lost money on the wedding. Hopefully you have a celebration that reflects you and isn't about the matching napkins and centerpieces.
7.14.06 @ 11:21a
Congratulations!! I'm very happy for you.
That having been said I hate the idea of marriage, I hate weddings, I feel sorry for both brides and grooms, and is there any way I can talk you into just "living in sin?"
michelle von euw
7.14.06 @ 3:15p
Awesome column! Best of luck with your budget plans, and fabulous that you found a place. A wedding under 3K sounds amazing. I hear you should say "family reunion" or "celebration" and not "wedding" and vendors offer much cheaper prices. Bastards.
I'm the Bizarro Sandra: I love the idea of weddings! I was getting sad the other day because I only get one. And I will say this: while I'm a huge fan of do-it-yourself, I realized on my wedding day that when you have all the people you love gathered together for YOU, you want to just be able to enjoy them, and not worry about anything.
7.17.06 @ 10:40a
It sounds like it's all going to be terrific - I'm sure you'll make it so. Can't wait to see the pictures!
We had a fairly small budget wedding, and the trade-off is always what your friends/family do to help pull the day off.
So to everyone, again, thank you. Just in case I haven't thanked you enough in the past 12 years.
I wanted to elope, then come back and have a big party. I'm glad we got married in a small church and had a small reception, though. Then, we had a picnic on our 10-year anniversary, and that was more my style.