I’ve wanted to confess this for some time, as it’s proven difficult in the PF-world where I feel I would have to justify/explain. But I felt I needed to be honest and come clean, and now’s a good a time as any. Because as of yesterday’s booking/payment for my hair stylist, I’ve spent the same amount thus far for my wedding as the remaining balance of my debt. What does this mean? It means that combining my portion, B’s portion (we’re splitting “our” contributions evenly), and my parents’ generous contributions (for which I’m eternally grateful for), our wedding is very much hitting the national average of how much wedding costs, roughly $25k, and actually over as this still doesn’t include bridal party gifts and our wedding rings. If we include the rehearsal dinner, which is B’s family’s contribution, it’s well over.
At first, I was pretty embarrassed about this total. Not knowing what I know now, I couldn’t fathom how people could spend that amount on one day. However, after going through this process over the last few months… well hot damn, things add up! And with a quickness!
Could we have cut corners? I think the biggest way we could have cut costs is to limit the guest list – “my side” of family, friends, and parents’ friends make up 2/3 of the list, and though we projected 150, it might go over that (invited approximately 215 w/o kids, and we’re thinking a 25% attrition rate). However, I can honestly say that when I look at my list, there isn’t one person on there that is being invited because we “have” to, but because we genuinely want to, and couldn’t imagine not inviting them. Family’s a no brainer – I’m blessed to be incredibly close to my family, my sister-in-law’s family, and my (step)dad’s family. With my friends, which take up a significant bulk, I am not afraid to say that I am pretty proud of the time I take in terms of cultivating and nurturing my friendships. I’ve known them for at least 1o years, with the majority half my life or over, and as much as I’d like to think I’ve been a good friend, all of them have been there for me during some extremely dark and painful moments of my life (so much so that it brings me to tears to write that). Some friends (who are no longer in my life) did me dirty or were just in certain periods of my life, but this bunch – they’ve genuinely been there for me regardless of my flaws, and I can’t imagine them not being there when something so good is happening in my life.
Add this same sentiment to my parents’ friends, who are not only amazing friends to them but took the time to write notes to me to say how happy they are for us, then there was no way to cut that corner. Besides, I actually like each and all of them, and no words can express how happy I am in looking forward to seeing all of them in one place.
B’s side is a bit more intimate, but I’m amazed at how I also genuinely enjoy his friends. Surprisingly, B’s family and family’s friends is a lot bigger than I expected, as well, and you know what? I am stoked. I feel it’s my chance to finally meet them as I only know his nuclear family, since they’re sprawled all over the country so who knows when this opportunity would arise again. It was also amazing to know that B’s family shares the same outlook on inviting long-time friends of theirs, as they’ve also known them for decades.
Beyond the guest list, I can confidently say I did my due diligence in finding reasonably priced vendors. Yes, we’re going for a more traditional wedding model with all the “typical” line items that go into weddings. But I know deep down I did my best to research, explore our friendships/networks for vendors, asked my friends for ideas/tips, and haggled and negotiated away. I know that with a little digging, we managed to cut the costs of some vendors in half, and that though we splurged in some areas, we’re still cheaping out on some items that aren’t super important to us. Most importantly, I know that despite the hefty price tag, that B and I both agree to this, and have the consensus agreement of both our families.
And honestly – that’s what helps me be okay with this, and leaves me unashamed and unapologetic about it. We could speculate on the missed opportunity costs of what this could have bought instead, but having all these amazing people in one area is honestly the most meaningful purpose for us on what we could spend that money on. Because as much as this wedding is a sacred ceremony between B and I, it’s also a convergence of all our respective “villages” into one big reunion, and I am incredibly excited to not only see everyone again, but have all these amazing people who have impacted our lives meet each other. I plan on thanking my lucky stars every minute of it.