Hi all! Jason and I are getting so excited for our wedding - even though it is still more than a year away! Tomorrow, my mom and I are going to bridal salons in the Ann Arbor area, and I'm hopeful that I'll find something I like.
A lot of people seem a bit perplexed as to how Jason and I can afford a wedding completely on our own. Jason and I are far from rich, at least in the society definition of rich, but we are rich in smarts, I think!
Our budget is quite large, I think, for the size of the wedding we're planning - meaning we're inviting only 60 people and of those 60 people, we expect about 45 guests. Experts say you should estimate that 20% of those invited will not attend, and that falls in line with who we're inviting who is from out of town (like my aunt in North Carolina and Jason's in Germany) and who just might not be interested in attending since the wedding will happen in Ann Arbor - a good distance away from all those invited.
I think the key to making a wedding affordable is remembering not that it's just one day, but what you'll remember from that day. We're not serving alcohol. Jason and I do not drink ourselves (or at least, we rarely do). Are we going to miss not having alcohol? Absolutely not! 20 years from now, I'm not going to be saying, "Man, I wish I had a bar at my wedding." We're not having any sort of bridal party (though I wish Preston could be the maid of honor and best man all in one :)). A friend once gave me some great advice (although I never wanted a bridal party anyway!): don't have a bridal party unless it's comprised of relatives. I completely agree. I think the people brides and grooms typically choose for the wedding party, they are not close or friends with those non-relatives 20 years down the line. I know that 20 years from now, I'm not going to be saying, "I so wish I could have had a maid of honor." I think my friends are mature enough to realize that being in my wedding party is not the best or most appropriate way to honor their friendships in my life.
Flowers. They die, people! I mean, look, I didn't want any flowers, and now I'm seriously considering a bouquet, only so I have something in my hands when I walk down the aisle. But instead of buying flowers, why not just do candles for the middle of the table? You can keep the candles afterward and use them in your home with your new groom!
So what are we splurging on? Food. Photography. The attire. The decor. And my parents splurged on one of the best parts of the whole wedding - a wedding planner! This is key for any bride and groom. I hardly ever worry about the wedding (trust me all, I could be a lot worse than I am!!!). I know that the weekend of the wedding, I'll be sitting back in my salon chair, relaxed, while the entire wedding is orchestrated by the wedding planner. Complete ease of mind.
Really choose what you will remember about the day - I knew I would remember the photographs. That was one of the first decisions we made - who would be the photographer. I knew I would remember the venue - and that was the first decision we made. We're working on decor still, but we have chosen all of the linens, the chairs, and the lounge furniture for the day. We haven't chose the food, but I'm confident that next spring when we choose, the Gandy Dancer will have wonderful options.
And of course, I'm going to look at dresses tomorrow!
I know it's cliche, but just remember, the day is about the fact that you've found your other half, and you're pledging to spend the rest of your life with him or her. The rest of the day will just sort of fade away, but you'll always remember the one you married and the love you shared. And honestly, that is all that really matters.