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Wedding stress

Joined: 1/25/2011
Posts: 210
Since my engagement in October, I began to plan and hope for the best possible wedding I can afford. Afford, of course, being the operative word.

I had anticipated, perhaps naively, that my fiance and I would be receiving some sort of financial help from our parents to pay for the wedding. My parents were ecstatic when they heard about my engagement. And although it took some time, it appears like his parent's are slowly warming up to the fact that their son is getting married.

I always thought weddings were supposed to be a time of love and celebration. But now I'm not so sure, since we aren't receiving any financial help whatsoever.

Assuming we also have to pay for our own honeymoon, my fiance and I are looking at a maximum of $10,000 for a wedding. Ten. Thousand. Dollars. Since I am a budgeter by nature, here is a rough breakdown of those costs:

Ceremony: $500
Reception venue/food for about 70 people at $60/head: $4200
...Plus 18% gratuity and 7% sales tax: $5250
Wedding dress plus accessories: $600
Tuxedo: $100
Photography: $500
Photobooth (as favors): $100
Flowers/decor: $300?
Honeymoon: $2000

It may be more, it may be less. I won't be paying for a cake, since I have incredibly talented best friends who have offered their baking services. I also won't be paying for hair, since my cousin (a professional hairstylist) has already volunteered to do the bridal party's hair. I have no idea what an officiant costs, so I left off that number. My fiance has been put in charge of designing our save the date cards, invitations, and guest book. I have no idea what it will cost to print those.

So let's stick with about $10,000 as the final number. Where the hell are we going to get that money from? Assuming my fiance and I both get decent paying jobs right out of college (which is, in this economy, a laughable goal in itself), I suppose we could put aside like $200 a month for our wedding until our wedding. But what if we don't get jobs out of college? What if only one of us gets a job?

And frankly, $10,000 is a lot of money. Things that money could be better spent on:

Justin's $40k+ in student loans
New cars (or at least, new used cars--Justin will definitely need a new used one in like three years... and that's being optimistic)
A house
Children (if we decide we want children)
Emergency saving fund

All that considered, saving for (and spending money on) a wedding seems like a frivolous and unnecessary decision. So where does that leave us? No wedding, because our families are trying to teach us some stupid "life is expensive" lesson? Both of our parents had lovely and large weddings. I know this is life, but it isn't fair. Don't they want to be a part of wedding, our special day? Don't they want to look back on our wedding day and have fond memories of how happy they were?

Because they way it's looking, we have one of two decisions: (1) Elope somewhere and hardly spend a dime, or (2) Go an additional $10,000 in debt. Clearly number one is the better life decision. But I also don't want to look back on my wedding day and resent it. I don't want to go to friends' weddings and resent that they got to have a wedding, that their families cared enough to provide some sort of money for them to have a beautiful day. I don't want to resent my parents, or his parents, for the decision they made.

All I wanted was a nice (albeit cheap) wedding where friends and family could gather and celebrate with us. Because they love us, and want to see us happy.

I really have no idea what we are going to do. And it f-ing sucks.
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