In light of all the recent posts asking how to save money on a wedding, I thought I'd take this opportunity to rant a little about a particular pet peeve of mine. I call it "Weddings Inside the Box." I'm sure I'm going to get flamed for this by lots of horrified relatives and brides-to-be, but my butt-hide is tough, I can take it. I think.Anyway, last weekend, DH and I were visiting with an old HS friend who has been married for seven years. He and his wife had been in a big hurry seven years ago to amass all the trappings of a "grown-up lifestyle:" the big wedding, the big house in the suburbs, the minivan, the three kids, etc. This man made open (and none-too-gentle) fun of DH and I for years because we dated for so long before marrying, and because we still haven't bought a home. "When are you guys gonna GROW UP?" he'd demand. What the hell does growing up have to do with buying a house, by the way? At any rate, I know that things are pretty financially tight for this couple right now, and last weekend, while discussing my recent elopement with DH, this guy shocked us by not making fun of us, but instead saying, "Well,that's good - we're still paying off our wedding." Huh? Seven years later? Ouch.So here's my main point: you can try all you want to save a few pennies here and there on your wedding - for example, buying cheaper invitations, or mixing silk flowers with genuine blooms, or purchasing a less expensive wine or fewer appetizers, or hiring a band for three hours instead of four - but when all is said and done, you're not going to save very much on your wedding at all. That's because you're still purchasing the wedding that the wedding industry is telling you to purchase - essentially, you're buying into a game that's rigged against you. You're planning a wedding that differs from every other wedding only in the most insignificant details. Once the wedding industry convinces you that you need a sit-down dinner for 200 in order to be genuinely married, they've won. Because at that point, you're reduced to quibbling about peripheral details - is the sit-down chicken dinner 0.75 cents cheaper per plate than the sit-down beef dinner? If we get plain white linens on the tables instead of white-and-gold, can we save $120? What if we get a table centerpiece with lillies instead of roses - how much does that save? The industry professionals are no doubt delighted to let you go on believing that you are cleverly cutting down on your costs, since they have *already* sold you the biggest bill of goods: the very notion of the necessity of the big wedding.The wedding industry is designed to separate you from your money. That's all it is designed to do. It is not designed to teach you about love, sexual pasion, or companionship; it is not designed to make your marriage last; it is not even designd to make sure that your wedding turns out to be a fun party. It is designed with one purpose in mind, and that it to get you to sign the check. Period. End of story. (Of course, if you ask me, it is also a cartoonish expression of the very worst human impulses that tend to be fostered by a consumption-oriented society, but let's not get into that here). As long as you buy into the vision of The Wedding that the industry sells, you will be forced to spend a great deal of money on your wedding. You may not have to go into debt, like DH's friend, but let's not pretend that you're going to walk away with your 401K padded by your choice of laser-printed, as opposed to heat-engraved, invitations.If you really want to save money on your invitations, then you'll need to have a different kind of wedding entirely - a "Wedding Outside the Box." This means drastically re-thinking your notions of what your wedding "needs" to be. And please don't give me that tired crap about how it's not you but rather your mother/father/minister/grandmother/ailing Aunt Lucy who wants a big wedding, because it is not - it is YOU and nobody but YOU. I have no doubt that your mother/father/minister/grandmother/ailing Aunt Lucy didn't want you getting naked with your intended on the third date either, but you didn't much care about what they had to say then, did you? There have been a zillion moments in your relationships with your relatives when you chose a path different from the one they would have liked. If you wanted to take a certain trajectory in life, you did - and if you didn't, you have no business getting married until you become your own person first, so give that damn ring back. Don't use the excuse of some fictional heartbroken relative to cover up your own big-wedding-lust. Your parents will be thrilled that they don't have to fork over ten grand to watch you pop a vein screaming at the caterer about the stuffed mushrooms, and your relatives will be overjoyed that they don't have to shlep hundreds of miles to dance the crazy chicken, or whatever the hell that dance is. Your family - most of whom have been married for eons now - knows that it is not about the size of the wedding. They know that it is about the relationship itself. They're smarter than you.So what is a "Wedding Outside the Box"? It is any wedding at all that discards the stereotypic notions of what a wedding "should be" or "must contain," and that instead celebrates the couple in all their unique wackiness. Maybe you want to invite 100 friends to an ice cream sundae reception at midnight. Maybe you want to get married in your parents' home, with your best pals from high school looking on. Maybe you want to get married on a city bus or in the cheese aisle of a gourmet grocery store, as two people we know did. For my husband and I, this meant running away to Italy and eloping. Many of my friends talk about their wedding days as though it had been surgery - something intended to help them that they luckily survived. As for me, I have memories of DH and I getting lost in Venice, and the crowd in the piazza that cheered when they saw DH and I emerge from the Palazzo. One of my pals had her wedding outside the box at a local park. A baseball enthusiast, she threw the first-ever "baseball wedding." We bridesmaids made her a "Bride" baseball cap (white, with a tiny veil attached and the word "BRIDE" in sequins), and everyone played softball and ate hot dogs. I can't tell you how many of us enthused, "This is the best wedding I've ever been to!" Another friend took ten family members and friends to Hawaii, and got hitched on the beach. Yet another couple took their parents with them to City Hall, then spent six weeks traveling in Africa. What all of these folks had in common was a rich understanding of who they were as individuals and as a couple, and a clear sense of their priorities. For example, the friend who went to Africa is a gifted photographer, and his wife is an anthropologist. Their wedding trip was the fulfillment of a shared dream, not the means by which a number of industry professionals got rich.Every "in the box" wedding I have ever attended has been eminently forgettable. Maybe that's crass to say, but it's true. They all blur together, appearing identical upon reflection. I have yet to hear a couple tell me that they "loved" their big wedding. After all, big weddings are no different than any other big purchase you will make in your lifetime. Would you buy a house that is substantially beyond your means simply because the real estate agent told you that "everyone" lived in houses of that size, and it's a very special house you'll remember for the rest of your life? Would you buy a car from a salesman who told you that you don't want to skimp on the leather upholstery or top-of-the-line extras, because your car represents your one chance in life to "feel like a princess"? No, of course you wouldn't. You'd laugh in their credulous little faces, and then you'd run right to the LBYM Board to post the hilarious story. So why do you believe it when some excessively manicured "wedding consultant" tells you that your wedding day is your only chance to feel like a princess?When DH and I first became engaged, my mother gave my home telephone number to one of those wedding consultants. "It's your day!" she enthused at me, "It's your one day to feel like a princess!" Sorry, but that's wrong. As I explained to her over the suddenly-silent telephone, what makes me feel like a princess is being married to the right man - and that lasts a hell of a lot longer than one measly day.bookgrrrl
Book,You are great! I'm about to get married in September and thank God I'm a grown-up and don't have to do some of the things I "had" to do the first time I got married. I just want to have a fun party where my friends and family can show off their various talents. The reception is beginning to look like a variety show/open stage and that just delights me and my darling boyfriend.We think about the honeymoon way more than we think about the ceremony. I know what matters here and it ain't how the napkins are folded.Well said, Book.JW
Well said, Bookgrrrl.To me, the sad thing about a "traditional" wedding is that the main participants (bride & groom) are usually miserable! So many resources (financial and emotional) are riding on the big show, they can't enjoy it because of the stress level. We attended just such a wedding last Saturday. The only emotion our good friends could feel at that point was "relief". Pity. We definitely wed outside the box. I know it's not for everyone but we got married on a Friday afternoon at the County Courthouse. I think total cost may have been a $5 - $10 tip for the judge. No one was disappointed in the ceremony - we all had a great time. (Of course we spent some $ on a European honeymoon but at least we enjoyed getting married).
When my cousin got married a few years ago, they did it at City Hall in downtown Chicago in April. In July, they rented a picnic area and had their reception....catered food, 2 large sheet cakes, and games for the children attending. Everyone had a great time. No going into debt for years, either!
Wow! Awesome post. And yes I have heard of people building/buying more house than they actually need because "it's what people want, and the resale will be higher". When I hear about people spending $25,000 for a wedding, I always think, "Gee, that's a good-sized downpayment on a house." Or a new car. Or one hell of a trip through Europe, Africa, Australia -- pick your continent. Or one hell of a deposit into a retirement account.LoveLoving
Right on bookgrrrl!! Every wedding I go to seems to convince me just a little more than I am the eloping kind!! :) -D
A friend of mine got engaged, her father made her the following deal: 1) I pay for your wedding or 2) I give you the money I would spend on the wedding as a wedding gift.She got married at the Justice of the Peace's office. All her friends attended. It was wonderful and cheap and her and her new husband had a nice nest egg to get them started in life.
Two words:"Vegas, baby!"
Two words:"Vegas, baby!" You mean Lost Wages, Nevada? Isn't that a field branch of the wedding industry? ;-)- KK
Thanks for the interesting post.Parts of our wedding were in the box, parts weren't. We had a traditional reception with most of the fixing's, but for only 40 people.But we also were serenaded by a Mariachi band while we walked through Boston Garden on the way from the church to the reception. We thought that one up on our own without any help from the wedding industry. (And there's a good chance we're the only couple in the world that did that!) A park ranger came over to see if we were allowed to be there, recognized the wedding coordinator, and just said "okay, I'm sure you have the right permits"... we were pretty glad we had a wedding coordinator! :-)-Michael
I have yet to hear a couple tell me that they "loved" their big wedding.Well, let me be the first! My wife and I LOVED our big wedding. It actually wasn't all that big, but it was very much the traditional, "in the box" wedding. If we had it to do over again, the only things we would change would be to spend more on the flowers and the food.For us, though, that's what "celebrates the couple in all their unique wackiness." We're just not particularly unique or wacky.
Think I can get away with this type of logic on the ring?efm (My time is soon)
$25,000?Thay would be a huge bargain. It's worse than you think!efm
Re: VegasAt least you can enjoy the money while you lose it, instead of spending it on forgotten relatives
BookgrrlMy soon to be fiance (ha ha ha) and I loved your message. Still, its difficult to break the hearts of parents, family and friends who were expecting to attend. (We have many and they are spread on 2 continents! Talk about tricky!) We're going to look into getting married in 1 place and having a reception there and then honeymooning in the other and having a second reception there.But man, oh man, are we dying to apply some of your advice.thanks
eaglejd99 wrote: Think I can get away with this type of logic on the ring? Depends on the woman :) One of my co-workers convinced his fiance that they should spend the money on a boat instead of a ring. "But honey, we can sleep on the boat! We can't sleep on a ring!" It worked. :)-D
Mom and dad paid for my sisters full "traditional" wedding with two receptions in two different states. When I casually mentioned (several years later) that I was considering getting married, I was told "let us know when and we will be sure to be there"At that point, it became my decision totally. It was still a couple of years before we got married. When we did, we both went to work the morning of, left at noon and left for the JP's office at 2:00. My daughter was the only witness. We then called my parents and his to let them know we had gotten married. His parents were thrilled. Mine were very upset that I didn't have a big wedding, I simply told them I was an adult and decided I was not wasting that much money. They got over it in about 6 months.The only thing I will get occasional twinges about is there are no pictures. We have considered having a renewal of vows on one of our anniversaries and I suspect that would settle my twinges. (It will also be in our home and catered by my husband, the amateur chef).All in all, I wouldn't change a thing.Trill
In light of all the recent posts asking how to save money on a wedding, I thought I'd take this opportunity to rant a little about a particular pet peeve of mine. I call it "Weddings Inside the Box." I'm sure I'm going to get flamed for this by lots of horrified relatives and brides-to-be, but my butt-hide is tough, I can take it. I think.Great stuff snipped....I agree completely.On a side tangent: What would I have registered for? We were living in a one bedroom apartment on the DC beltway and had no idea where in the US (or even outside) we would live or what kind of house. Any thing we acquired would have had to been stored and possibly would have been inappropriate later.
Your parents will be thrilled that they don't have to fork over ten grand to watch youI admire your posts but don't make assumptions about my parents. I wasn't gung ho to have a big wedding but I was the youngest, last to marry and my parents wanted the big wedding. It didn't matter to me because I just wanted the final result to be that my husband and I were married. My father became ill and died only a few years later and my mother has often mentioned how much my wedding meant to him.Our wedding wasn't particularly stressful - my mother had experience and I did enjoy seeing old friends. I'm glad you had the wedding you wanted to have. I also don't regret having the one that made my parents happy.rad
That was a great post! If that's what you're into.My husband and I had the "inside the box" wedding and loved it. We originally were looking into a JP thing at the courthouse with a nice dinner afterwards for our family and our closest friends, but we realized we would regret not having the bigger wedding with the more party-like feel later. We had a great time, all our friends and family were there, we paid for it ourselves and didn't go into any more debt to pay for it. Before anyone says it, I know the money would have been better spent on the debt we already had, but to us it was worth it.The wedding was all about us. We had a great time and didn't worry about a thing. We made sure we splurged on the things most important to us - the honeymoon and a great DJ and then did the bare minimums for those things we wanted but weren't high priorities like photos and the food. And for those things we could have cared less about, we just didn't do it!I still pull out our pictures sometimes or the beautiful invitation my husband chose and get all teary eyed because it was such a beautiful and perfect day. We have never regretted the expense.
Absolutely!How about NO ring - or a plain band - or an alternative jewel - or a man-made diamond? I'd be THRILLED if my SO suggested an alternative like that.
I had some friends who got married LBYM-style, and not only was in inexpensive, it was the best wedding I've ever been too! Basically, all they did was have very simple and quick, yet very nice, ceremony followed by a reception out of doors. That in itself was very refreshing, most wedding cremonies are BORING, long, and pretentious. What a relief to get in and out. At the reception, instead of a big slow-moving line, the bride and groom just mingled with the guests like a real party. All ready it was lot more enjoyable than most weddings. But the real kicker was that instead of asking for gifts, they asked everyone to bring a dish to share. Well, everyone went completely overboard on food. Shrimp, salmon, barbequed oysters, fresh bread, great vegetarian fare. The food was by far and away the best food I've ever had at a wedding. I couldn't even imagine a caterer being able to put on spread like that. It gets even better though. Instead of champagne, they had a keg of beer. Let's face it, the problem with champagne at weddings is that it's impossible to keep your glass full. Instead of micro-sips in fake plastic stemware you were able to wet your whistle with a frothy cup of beer. Shoot, I prefer beer anyway, especially if I'm going to have more than one drink.All told, the wedding only cost a few hundred bucks, and great, memorable time was had by all.
My husband and I married, 18 years ago, in my parent's backyard. Our pastor was so wonderful and we only had close friends there. All in all about 30 people.A friend made our fancy wedding cakelet - that was for John and me and was her gift. I had her make two more sheet cakes with some modest decorations for the guests.My mom and I made some picnic-type food and bought our paper plates, napkins and plastic silverware at a discount place. I wanted more than just mints and cake but didn't want the "all out" meal.I bought my dress for $65 and John bought a suit (that he could use at work) for $110. My bouquet cost about $25 and my sister's bouquet (maid of honor) was about $12. I told her to wear whatever she felt pretty in.A photograper friend, from church, took the pictures and gave us a 12x15 framed portrait as our gift. We purchased some other pictures for about $50-60.My parent's gift to us was hiring a stringed quartet that added so much to the occasion. They played the processional - through the family room and onto the patio - the recessional and during the reception.Our honeymoon was taking three days off to drive to Sacramento to see John's parents. We stayed at a Motel 6 when not spending time with his family.We returned to work on day four and, finally, took a real honeymoon this past February. John's work paid for a one week cruise to the Bahamas and gave us a $500 shipboard credit to use however we wished.Let's see:pastor = $252 sheet cakes = $20picnic food = $25paper goods = $10my bouquet = $25sister's bouquet = $12my dress = $65John's suit = $110wedding pix = $60Sacramento "honeymoon" - (hotel, gas and eating out) = about $150Total = just a tad over $500Still happily married with great memories after 18 years.My darling sister's wedding = almost $35,000Do you want to gag or what?Robyn*still living frugally*Dear sister never has - boy you should see her bills!!!
I had a great wedding in the box. Sitdown dinner at the country club, open bar, DJ, and about 110 people. Over 10 grand. Great picture of me drinking at the bar. Typical Catholic wedding for our area.IF
Oh yes, I forgot about the rings.Our next-door neighbor made jewelry and we chose nugget looking rings with CZ instead of diamonds. That saved us a bundle. We paid about $300 for both rings and she did that at cost for us.Guess that puts our total wedding expense at $800 but at least we didn't go into this marriage with big bills.Robyn
I have yet to hear a couple tell me that they "loved" their big wedding.Well, let me be the first! My wife and I LOVED our big wedding. It actually wasn't all that big, but it was very much the traditional, "in the box" wedding. If we had it to do over again, the only things we would change would be to spend more on the flowers and the food.For us, though, that's what "celebrates the couple in all their unique wackiness." We're just not particularly unique or wacky. I concur. We enjoyed our wedding. ~150 people. Sit down dinner... blah blah blah. Kids / small children allowed. We spent < $7500. In the Chicago suburbs. I don't understand how people spend more. (Well, I understand how they do it... just not why, I suppose)
bookgrrrl added to your Favorite Fools list. I am sure there are many people on this board that would like to kiss you on the face for this post. As a person who will be attending AT LEAST four weddings this summer (2 down, 2 to go, maid of honor in one) I know I could.The best wedding I ever attended was for 2 of my college friends. It wasn't quite as outside the box as some of the ones bookgrrl suggested, but it wasn't church--reception with dj--buffet dinner either. It was get married in the park, have people feed the fish at the hatchery in the park while pictures were taken, picnic reception with (no kidding) brown bagged PBJ lunches. Cupcakes for wedding cake. Tons of fun. There were $120 people there and the whole thing cost around $2K.I don't know if I'll ever get married, but when I do I know that I'll do as much of what I want as I can, rather than what mom/aunt/brother/dad/etc want. I hope to be as lucky as bookgrrrl in knowing that I've found the right person so I can feel like a princess every day.D
As long as there is alcohol at the reception, I'm happy. Worst wedding I attended was a 5 hour drive followed by 1/2 hour reception of punch and cake and then another 5 hour drive back home.IF
The best wedding I ever attended was for 2 of my college friends. It wasn't quite as outside the box as some of the ones bookgrrl suggested, but it wasn't church--reception with dj--buffet dinner either. It was get married in the park, have people feed the fish at the hatchery in the park while pictures were taken, picnic reception with (no kidding) brown bagged PBJ lunches. Cupcakes for wedding cake. Tons of fun. There were $120 people there and the whole thing cost around $2K.I already described my wedding on another board:http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14808980&sort=username--Mike
How about NO ring - or a plain band - or an alternative jewel - or a man-made diamond? I'd be THRILLED if my SO suggested an alternative like that. You know, I change my mind all the time about what sort of engagement ring I would like. (There's no guy on the horizon so I can be as fickle about this as I want). I think I figured out a nice option for myself that will cost a ton less than the traditional solitaire, and I won't have to worry about knocking a rock out. I think I'd like a white gold band-style ring with channel set diamonds. Cheaper, looks good on my hand (I have a fake version) and still you get the "diamonds are forever" appeal if you are into that.I like Rings outside the box.d
How about NO ring - or a plain band - or an alternative jewel - or a man-made diamond? I'd be THRILLED if my SO suggested an alternative like that.My wife and I got matching 3 band (platinum, red gold, and yellow gold) rolling rings -- supposedly they are traditionally used as wedding rings in Russia. We just thought they looked cool and unique.--Mike
It ain't whether it's inside, outside, or plain turning the box upside down. It's who you invite and how much fun they like to have that's important.That said, I've been to a lot of memorable big weddings, moreso than the marriage in the park, pot luck, BBQ, kegs of beer kind, which are actually a little box next to the big wedding industry box. I've been to 3 or 4 myself, and you can tell from the board that they are about as alternative as alternative music is today (although out of the box in cost). They get hard to distinguish too; instead of cutting the cake and doing the bouquet and garter belt; there's frisbee, softball, and horseshoes. Bookgrrrl: I do have to disagree with you on saving on some of the traditional aspects of a wedding. You can easily save 50-60% through careful planning: the key component is to do some local market research and put in the time. dianakalt: your wished for channel-set "anniversary" band sounds like the ring that my wife picked out (alternating princess-cuts and baguettes). Luckily she made a very subtle comment before I had bought a ring. I think it went something like, "I hate solitaires; they're tacky and they catch on things." Even I understood that one. When it comes time, find a real jeweler (makes jewelry on the premises) and have it made for you. Much better craftsmanship and more bang for the buck.
My wedding was between in and out of the boxThe ceremony was held in the courtyard of a mansion that was owned by a friend of my parents and the reception was on the other side of the house overlooking the city. It was beautiful and entirely outdoors.I really loved my wedding. The focus was on getting married to the man I love and having a great party with friends and family that I love and haven't seen in a while. Weddings in my family are more like family reunions and everyone has a great time!My comment to everyone planning on getting married is to think about what's important to you and do that (whether in or out of the box). Save on (or cut out) the things that don't matter to you and splurge on the things you will remember!! Another tip, think about all the weddings you've been to, what did you like, what didn't you like, what did you actually remember??? Chances are you don't remember what the cake or brides dress even looked like!! So no one will remember what yours looked like either (maybe not even you!) So don't spend so much on those things!!!The things people remember about my wedding are the gorgeous sunset at the beginning of the reception and my husband and I jumping into the pool in our wedding attire (eventually everyone was in the pool in their clothes!):) Jen
[Your parents will be thrilled that they don't have to fork over ten grand to watch you.--bookgrrrl vs.[I'm glad you had the wedding you wanted to have. I also don't regret having the one that made my parents happy.]--reallyalldone---------------- There it is: the crux of the two differing points of view about marriage ceremonies, cost, ostentation, et al. Far be it from me to say who's "right," so I'll straddle the fence: in a sense, they both are.What "grrrl" didn't say was that--aside from "means-depletion"--a lot of parents today, I think, hesitate to subsidize a gala affair for the simple reason they may fear they're paying for something that won't last. They know that the divorce rate is near or at 50%. They know that for a lot of reasons, marriage today is a lot more of a crap-shoot than when they got married. They know exactly what "for better, for worse" really means, and that there's a lot less tolerance these days than in their days, it seems, for the "for worse" part of those supposedly solemn words. They may not fervently hope that tie-dyed shirts and holey jeans in the cool shade of their grape arbor will please "Julie," but they pause when considering the exact opposite, too. They struggle with practicality in the face of what harsh statistics say the odds will be for the ultimate success of the marriage. Can they be faulted for that? However, "reallyalldone" has a good point, also, IMO. There has to be a tremendous gratification in seeing the parents' happiness; after all, the parents brought the young woman into the world--presumably joyfully--and the act of escorting her out of their *world* (& into her own) should likewise be a joyful event. It should please the bride that the parents are pleased. In a way, it's a high form of approval as well as a vote of confidence.It's too bad that that "vote" is maybe cast a lot more shakily than it used to be, though. "Let no man put asunder?" Maybe it should be re-written..."we hope nothing puts 'us under.'
as we computer geeks like to say...bookgrrrl++ ;
I had a coworker who invited everyone over for beer and barbeque on a Sunday. There we are in our jeans and t-shirts and the hosts ask us to gather round. So there they are in the middle of their rec-room and out comes a justice. It was a surprise wedding! Fabulous! They got hitched in a few minutes and then we all went back to our beer and barbeque. Definitely memorable!!!
One word. BRAVO!I think I'll have a duck-duck-goose wedding. All my friends in a circle, patting each other's heads and running around in circles. I have always said that when I get married it's going to be me, my intended and anyone who wants to watch wearing t-shirts, jeans and a smile. I realize that most women don't feel this way, and I don't begrudge any woman who wants her storybook wedding - it is just DEFINITIVELY not my style.Thanks, Bookgrrrl
The best wedding I've ever attended was my sister's just this past April, and it was pretty much entirely in the box. That said, the most expensive part of it was probably renting the events area at the local park (well, and transportation-- she got married in a small town in Western Kentucky, so everybody had to fly in, pretty much). So many nice people came (some from Sweden, even!) that even I was amazed. She had a very nice buffet from a local restaurant catered in, a fun DJ, and plenty of drinks and snacks for everyone. The ceremony was traditional, and that small church was *packed*. I got to play the ceremonial music, and my uncle and his friend played the liturgical bits. My favourite part was afterwards, all the cousins on my mom's side (including my sister!) ditched the reception to go get our pictures taken beside the giant anchor in the park.-=Eric
Dr. Laura, you're going to be in deep doodoo when bookgrrrl finds out you used her screen name!
We spent < $7500. In the Chicago suburbs. I don't understand how people spend more. (Well, I understand how they do it... just not why, I suppose)Well, my brother spent $20 grand on his daughter's wedding. That was one-fifth the price of a house at the time. I think he was just celebrating having that much money more than anything else.My other brother spent $5000 on a wedding without a groom (see message 10153), half the price of a new house in his neighborhood, also just because he had the money.
bookgrrrl --I can't thank you enough for that post! It truly summed up everything that I've felt in the past 4 months that I've been engaged. I went to a "bridal show" one weekend with a friend of mine. The funny thing about the bridal show is how much junk they are trying to sell you and how they have so many vendors there to take down your name, address, phone number, etc. so that they can send you junk mail for the next 3 years! Oh, I was so disgusted!Anyway, I got engaged in January and we too are planning on having an "out of the box" wedding. I was faced with the decision mainly because I was the one who was going to have to pay for all of the wedding stuff (my father is deceased and I wouldn't want my mom to pay for it), so I started looking at costs really closely. (It's funny how you really start to care what things will cost when you're the one who's writing the check!) While looking at places here around Atlanta, I was startled to see that one particular hotel had a $9000 food & beverage MINIMUM! Hello?!?! That was the MOST that I was willing to spend on the ENTIRE WEDDING! Not to long after that experience, we started looking into a destination wedding or something that would be less expensive. I think we've settled on a Disney cruise wedding (not too inexpensive, but for only around $3000, it's a bargain compared to most "in the box" weddings), but we still haven't announced that to the family. I don't know how many will spring for the cruise (only a 3 day cruise), but at least we'll know our parents will be attending.Oh well, that's my 2 cents....bookgrrrl, you really summed it up in your post -- I'm elated that there is so many reasonable people here in Fooldom -- I really feel at home here now!Thanks!Desi
As I explained to her over the suddenly-silent telephone, what makes me feel like a princess is being married to the right man - and that lasts a hell of a lot longer than one measly day.Might I add:Instead of a big wedding, how about purchasing some bigger breasts for your bride-to-be. You'll be able to enjoy those augmented puppies long after the wedding is but a distant memory.
We originally were looking into a JP thing at the courthouse with a nice dinner afterwards for our family and our closest friends, but we realized we would regret not having the bigger wedding with the more party-like feel later. ****We thought about this too but skipped the big wedding and the regret hasn't started yet (12 years) time will tell
Well,that's good - we're still paying off our wedding." Huh? Seven years later? Ouch. Yeah, the only thing that might have been more painful is if they were now divorced and still paying off that wedding. Ouch ^2.
My husband and I had a small wedding. We considered eloping, but David is an only child so we did give in to some of the elements of a traditional wedding, but we only spent about $600. I bought my dress at Ward's on sale. We bought simple 10K rings. We used the fake flowers from my mother-in-laws 25th anniversary renewal of vows. A friend bought our centerpiece as a wedding gift. David's aunt made our cake as a gift.My mother made my veil. Another aunt made my bouquet as her gift.We invited just family and friends and friends. Some of my friends didn't approve of how little we spent. My mother-in-law would have had us in a 300 seat church if she'd had her way. We chose a same chapel that seated 50 and gave them two weeks notice of our decision to marry. We managed to get the wedding we wanted without hurting too many feelings. Tammy
Dear Bookgrrrl: After my dear Papa begn receiving the bills from kid sister's wedding, I ws given guided tour of the garage...tour concluded at hanging spot of extension step-ladder. "See this? Remember it and use it!" Needless to add, outside the box won't kill anyone in my family. Sadie KillmouskiSpinster
What "grrrl" didn't say was that--aside from "means-depletion"--a lot of parents today, I think, hesitate to subsidize a gala affair for the simple reason they may fear they're paying for something that won't last. My parents got their money's worth - it'll be 25 years on Weds. :)rad
Wow, what a great post! I've always said that the #1 reason dh and I had such a simple wedding was because I'd been through four weddings of friends and relatives (as bridesmaids and guests), where they were absolutely miserable micromanaging their guests' evenings...they had no fun at all at their own wedding! I was bound and determined that this didn't happen to us. Short ceremony...reception in the park...everyone wore shorts except me (I made my dress and was going to wear it more than a half hour)...not many decorations...many of our gifts were to help with wedding expenses (photos, cake, invitations). It rocked! We'd only change two things: the weather (it was 110 degrees and humid outside...we were in a park), and if more of dh's family could have made it. Neither would have been solved with a more elaborate wedding. Cheers, bookgrrrl! :)Kris
we got married on my husband's kibbutz. i was going to go to work that morning, but since my job was milking the cows, dh was afraid that a mere shower or two wouldn't get me smelling very bride-like in time. the communal kitchen provided the food (my sisters helped out by cleaning the chickens), my cousin took the pictures. we spent $150: $75 for a hand-made dress, $75 for the rings. one of my friends couldn't get married in israel for religious reasons. (we don't have civil marriages - if you don't have a religion, you can't get married.) she got married by mail in paraguay. what box?c.
I doubt it gets much simpler or LBYM than my wedding. :)I met DH online and we fell deeply in love over the course of a couple of months though we had never met. When he finally was able to arrange a weekend to visit, it was even better than I ever could have hoped and we were engaged before he flew "home". We were both in our mid-30's and after several failed relationships apiece, absolutely knew this was the real thing. As he was waiting for his divorce to be finalized, we couldn't be married for a few months, but in the meantime, we needed a ring. [Okay, we didn't NEED one, but I wanted one] I'm an artist and and get messy a lot and didn't want a ring that I'd have to worry about so I went to qvc.com and picked out a $25 sterling and cubic zirconia ring. Simple, tasteful and the silly people who are into the whole diamond thing think they are diamonds until I set them straight. DH was a little surprised as he had been married to a woman who judged how much she was loved by how many gold and diamond items she was bought, but he loved my LBYM self and wasn't unhappy at all about the extra money in our pockets. About three days after his divorce was final, we went to the county clerk to get married. That was one of the quickest ceremonies I've ever heard. We chatted with the guy for a couple of minutes, during which time we mentioned that we had both been married once before. When it came time for the "ceremony" he said, "You guys know all that vow stuff already, right?" and when we nodded he said, "You are now man and wife" LOL! That simple. Since then, we have had 3 blissful years of marriage and not a day has gone by when I don't feel like a princess. Every day, I make sure he knows how much I treasure him. And one more thing I have to say, at least to all of us who are also Retire Early people (I'm still on track to retire at 46)...the $10,000+ we saved by not having a traditional "in the box" wedding will allow us to retire 5 months earlier, thus giving us 150 precious days to play chess, make art and enjoy each other....give me that any day over one day of expensive glory. :)
My wedding cost me something like $50: the cost of the marriage license in MA. Ripoff! Total. Grand total, actually. No wedding dress. Yes! I did not have to wear this hideous contraption! And personally, I would rather trek to our City Hall in my bra and panties only (not a pretty sight, for I am about 20 pounds overweight), then to wear anything in white/off-white/pastel/ satin/lace/ruches. I know, I know, there are zillions of wedding dresses out there. Well, I don't have zillions of years ahead of me required to uncover the dress that is 'right' for me. No rings. Who cares..? Not me. I don't wear rings. Ever. Ditto for my husband. It took, like, 15 minutes with the judge. When the judge was reading wows, my fiancee scratched his cheek. I kicked him (he was supposed to behave himself). The judge (it was a she) giggled and let my husband kiss his bride (me). We confessed about our being married to our parents about two weeks later. They sulked a bit, but, in time, forgave us. I mean, it was not like we murdered anyone or something. They wanted to give us presents. We said, sure. Presents, sure. Reception, nope. They decided that the one without the other would not be right. OK, said we, we already have all the toasters/towels/dishes we need. Well, not dishes, which my husbands enjoys in destroying. He pervertly calls this process 'doing dishes' and pretend that he, indeed, washes them. Right. As my ma told me: it is the rest of the story (the married life, that is) that really counts. Not the taste of the wedding cake. Which I would not have remembered anyways. You see, my memory is not strong. Yep. I don't remember my wedding date. Which took place only about 10 months ago. And I am not joking here...2195501y
Yeah, you can spend a fortune making yourself feel like a princess for a day and still end up with a frog.
DH and I did the JP thing. I have never liked rings, plus at the time I was working as a chemist and had to wear gloves all the time, so we decided to get a pair of diamond stud earrings and each wear one. (DH has a pierced ear.) Well, after constantly dropping it down the sink/behind the dresser/under the bed, I finally figured out that I am just not cut out for jewelry of any kind. DH dropped his down the sink also, then he borrowed mine (freshly rescued from behind the dresser) and lost it, so now neither of us wears any jewelry to commemorate our marriage.
I just have to share my most precious memory of my own wedding. Dh and I got married at sunset in a pavilion at the lighthouse on St. Simons Island, Georgia. We rented a house just up the beach from there (BIL's wedding gift was the rental difference between that house and one inland). As the whole wedding party (MIL, FIL, BIL, DH, DS, and myself) were preparing to leave for the wedding, a school of dolphins appeared in the water off the coast, playing for perhaps 10 minutes in the same stretch of water. We felt exceptionally blessed by their visitation, as they never returned the rest of the week, only that one evening.Second favorite memory: DH proposing in the middle of the Ring Fountain in Centennial Park in February. Several cars of tourists snapped our photos as they drove by, watching us shivering with the cold as he place the hematite promise ring on my finger.Definitely a wedding "out of the box"Pam
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Outstanding comments! As someone who complied with not one, but two princesses who dreamed of big weddings, only to see them forget some other key ingredients to a marriage afterwards, I commend you for your rationality and insight. Virtually all great ideas (investment or otherwise) go against the grain of conformity.Great post!
Bookgrrl,I had an Out of The Box wedding and a semi-Out of the box reception. My reception was a blur which everyone says so why spend $25,000-$40000 for something you won't really remember? I bought my dress at a designer outlet store, $300. Used shoes from my closet. We got married at the all-inclusive Grand Lido Negril in Jamaica. If you are a guest, the wedding is free. There are frills to buy like the videographer-photographer but for the most part it's just this side of free/included. So you are paying for your wedding and honeymoon in one and believe me it's a bargain! They charge $100 a head for guests, or at least that's what they charged in 1998 when I got married. That seems stiff but it really isn't. The key to any kind of reasonably priced wedding is a short guest list. Of course, if you don't have guests at all the wedding really will be free. We had about 20 family and friends down. The $100 includes use of the resort for the entire day so some of the guests waterskiied and sailed in the morning before the wedding. For the bride, hair, facial and nails were included in the package with nails for the groom. Here was our agenda and it was all included:1. Morning resort time for everyone - beach, sailing, waterskiing etc. I went swimming in the ocean, had breakfast and went to the salon for my hair.2. Breakfast for the entire party3. The wedding in a gazebo on the water with a wonderful local minister. (two day pre-marital counseling is part of the deal and he was great)4. A mini-reception including champagne, sparking cider, a Jamaican wedding cake5. Pictures (we paid for that but it wasn't worth it since my cousin took all of the same shots with my little camera behind the photographer and they were identical)6. Lunch for the whole party7. Beach time for the girls and cocktails for the guys8. A sunset cruise with champagne and music9. A fabulous 5 course French wedding dinner including wine, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and FIVE waiters for 22 peopleTotal cost-$6000 including First class airfare for us, 10 day stay for 2 at the all-inclusive resort and 20 wedding guests who ALL said that they had more fun at our wedding than any other. Without the guests it would have been closer to $3500-3800. We went in July which is low season in Jamaica and that helped the price a lot.Back home, we had a reception for the other friends and relatives in the backyard of a friend's home. We served Jamaican food from a local restaurant and DID NOT tell them it was for a wedding ($6.50/person), had a steel band (a gift from a friend) a deejay (paid for that) and an open bar (my mother insisted but we bought all of the liquor at a wholesaler closeout 2 months earlier) We did have flowers but a friend bought them from the Flower Mart at 5am that morning and had an assembly line of his relatives arranging them and of course, table and chair rentals. I splurged on a three tiered cake from an upscale bakery (no excuse I had to have it!) We had about 100 guests which in our families was a small wedding. My friend and I had the same cleaning service and they cleaned up for free as their gift. We used a lot of volunteers. All together we spent around $2000 on the reception which is almost rock bottom. If my mother had not pushed for the bar and a lot of the seating rentals we would have brought it in for $1200 I think. Only regret was using a friend as our videographer. He did a terrible job and I wished we had sprung for a professional.People are still talking about my wedding in Jamaica and one of my cousins took my idea and we all went down last year to hers! Big fun and it doubled as our annual vacation.Good luck and don't tell any of your vendors that what you are buying is for a wedding. That triples the price.
"Vegas, baby!" You mean Lost Wages, Nevada? Isn't that a field branch of the wedding industry? ;-)-----------Hey! We do drive-through weddings here in LV!And at least you have a chance of leaving with more than you came with, which you don't have with a traditional wedding.Jim
Dear Bookgrrrl:I love you. Due to massive server problems and life itself, I'm 3 months late responding to this, so I hope you see it somehow.At work, I sit across from a 26-year old moron who is getting married in a month, and I have not, unfortunately, been spared one second of her "bridezilla" wedding planning and all-around greediness. I have wanted to scream everything you posted at one point or other, so I appreciate the backup. This girl is such a greedhead, she expects, yes, expects, to have the downpayment for the house from the gifts of wedding cash, even though she has cheaped her way through the wedding expenditures.Thanks again; I thought it was just me.Bigmamachacha
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