Thursday, March 6, 2014

Simplifying a Wedding

While we have been planning for our future, we have also been planning for a wedding, which is less than 3 months away. While I would like to tell you that the entire event will only cost $500, it will end up being more like $9,000. While that number looks a bit obscene to me as I type it out, there are a lot of things to consider.

The average (yes, AVERAGE) wedding in the United States costs $25,000. Likely that does not cover engagement rings and a honeymoon either. The main cost of our wedding will be from the catering company, which will cost $7,000. I have struggled a bit with this amount. I would have been happy to bring along a few salads and veggie burgers, or make it a potluck, but my mother seemed very set on no one lifting a finger on that day. So my parents will be paying for the caterer, John's parents are contributing to the flowers (which in our case are actually succulents), and John and I are paying for the rest... mainly.

There have been a few splurges here and there. Namely, seating. The venue, which is a historic Tea Room at Gambrill State Park, was very inexpensive and came with tables and chairs for our use. But the chairs are metal folding chairs and I couldn't bear to look at them. So we are renting chairs, which isn't cheap. And then I feel guilt again, and then I justify things, and well... I don't want my wedding day to be about guilt, or about money. I am more interested in my marriage than I am my wedding. But I do care about my family and friends, and women, especially women over 50, get VERY excited about weddings. And to a certain degree I do, too.

So instead of tearing myself up about this, I am focusing on ways I can feel good about the decisions I am making, Here are examples:

-Supporting a State Park financially
-Supporting creative small businesses (vintage chair rental, Etsy vendors)
-Avoiding disposable objects when possible (caterers use real plates instead of plastic waste, wedding favors and centerpieces are plants that can be taken home instead of cut flowers which die quickly)
-Hiring friends for certain jobs, putting friends' Etsy shops on my registry
-Reusing leftover wedding items in our home as part of our daily life, repurposing
-Using a caterer which will accommodate to a vegan diet
-Three letters... DIY
-Buying a vintage wedding dress (reuse!)
-Rough diamonds- natural, beautiful, conflict-free and low cost
-Honeymoon also a family vacation, supporting a naturalist couple by renting an eco-conscious vacation rental on 75 acres of natural beauty!

Also, as the wedding planning process has taken a whole year, instead of thinking of it as a one time expense I can think of these costs as an annual fee. I can also consider money I have been saving recently by quitting smoking and not drinking alcohol. I can also consider the costs to be like giving gifts to all of my loved ones in attendance. I am thankful for the love and generosity they have showed me, and I hope I will be able to offer that love back to them.

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