If you haven’t yet seen the advice, it’s easy to find. “How to save $1,000 or more on the wedding of your dreams.” There are entire budget bride books out there and almost all magazines, each issue, have tips and tricks on how to save money.
In my opinion what most lack are the reason we even NEED to find ways to shore up our budget: everything is so tantilizing and feels so necessary that it feels impossible to actually reduce our wants, needs and desires on The Biggest Day Of Our Lives (or so we’re lead to believe.)
I am not putting down weddings as being the biggest day in some peoples lives. We all have different notions of “the perfect day” and by all means the wedding is certaintly worthy of being the number one day. But for some of us it’s a great day but not even in our top five great days. The reasons are plentiful – we have different personalities, different life experiences, we’re different ages when we marry, and our families are all different. Those of us blessed with wonderful families are more likely to have all positive notions of our wedding compared to those of us with pretty toxic families. Duh, right.
So back to the budget advice. If we’re being sold every day, online, in magazines, by vendors and the portfolios of their craft/services, plus we watch TV and see movies – the last thing we want is to do something nobody does – get married on a Wednesday, get married in the morning and avoid the whole food/funthing. It’s not even about comparing yourself to others – though there is a component of that in each of us. It’s about feeling like you deserve as great a day as anyone else and to take second fiddle just seems ridiculous for this, the one day of your life that is worthy of being as great as anyone elses big day.
What are we then to do? Elegant Bride interviewed us a while ago for an upcoming article on wedding stress and one story I shared was about our decision on where to have our reception. If MONEY were no object and we didn’t have to consider our GUESTS – my husband and I are definitely urban and into the ambiance of a place. We would have chosen a swank arts and craft style restaurant with dark wood, amazing lighting, and beatiful decorations. We would have loved every moment of being in that environment and our guests would have memories forever.
But. There is always a but!
Our guests were mostly from out of town, many rural, and even some in town guests (like my oldest friend from elementary school) were very stressed out about driving in the city- let alone downtown. It stressed ME out thinking of them stressed out for 15 months before our wedding date knowing they would be put to the test with panic attacks, fighting in the car with their spouse trying to figure out where to go, and ultimately not REMOTELY feeling comfortable in what they might perceive as as very uptight, snotty environment.
So we ultimately chose the church basement. And while we were OK with that we got bad news – everything had to be cleaned up and locked by 11pm.
Ah!!! Not only were we not getting our swank environment but our night owl couplehood wouldn’t even get to experience the full evening with our wedding guests.
But back to why we chose the church in the first place – guests would be extremely comfortable, it would save time in transportation between locations, save guests money not having to pay for parking, and we would have a more relaxed day allaround. (And we’d save a lot of money, too!)
Ultimately then we had a departure of 9:30pm and I’m not just saying this, it was a great time to leave. I had barely slept the night before, up early, lots of activity and people the days prior, wedding started at 5 and we had plenty of time to see everyone and still enjoy decompressing back at our hotel. While we had our friends there we also had a lot of older folks who were so relieved that we had “reception cards” outlining the entire evening. This gave them notice that at 7:30pm we would be cutting the cake. Everyone stayed for that and about half the people left. The rest of the people knew WHEN the end was and 9:30 was a very reasonable time to stay around (verus if we left at midnite we would have had few guests left.) This basically meant we had a wonderful send off with all our loved ones around us and they were able to get a good nites rest and some saw us the next day for the post-wedding brunch.
In my case we made a huge decision to save on the reception *location* which actually gave us room to bring in our own booze, have a live jazz band, great invitations, better photography, etc. We didn’t feel like we were having a lesser wedding. In fact we had more for less because of one big decision. And the artwork displayed was gorgeous – guests felt like they were in a museum!
It all comes down to values and WHY you want what you do. Even then what you want and what makes sense can be two very different things. Our perfect day in a downtown restaurant would have been a stressful time for many of our guests – both in getting there, leaving but also not feeling comfortable in that setting. So it worked out that we not only saved on our wedding budget but we were able to use that money for other elements that mattered a lot to us – music, photography and setting a tone that we cared about our guests comfort.