Yes, I do have two beautiful daughters in their 20's. I know that eventually we will most likely have wedding discussions. I'm excited about it in general. The idea of son-in-laws and eventually grand babies to spoil does not scare me. However, paying for it all scares the socks off me.
According to this great info graphic, the average wedding budget in America tops $27K. Yikes! This is not something we have been saving towards since they were toddlers. College seemed slightly more important. Now I'm wondering if that was a bad approach. Can the wedding budget be part of my new normal?
Keep in mind that I never had a big fancy wedding. The first go round was not really worth mentioning. Then when Jerry and I got married it was a nice family wedding, but nothing over the top. Super simple and low cost. Less than $5k for sure. So, I want my girls to have a really nice wedding. Really, I do. Just not equivalent to a college education.
So, there we were...
Tonight at dinner, Carrie and I discussed her friend's upcoming wedding. They are doing a budget wedding and I totally respect that. So Carrie just starts talking hypothetical. Disclaimer: there is NO RING in sight. This was all just general theory about weddings.
Bam! Straight to the budget. She throws out $5k and when I don't panic she goes higher. $10k. And that's where I stopped her. I didn't stop her because we reached the right number per se, but because I wanted to stop and focus on what is most important about a wedding--the sacrament and exchange of holy vows with the love of your life.
That's free, folks. Everything else is gravy. Even the dress is not the focus. The focus is on the commitment and having your family and close friends share that beautiful moment.
So, back to the budget. We had a great conversation about what things can be done for less money. It was fun to roll around ideas and hear priorities vs needs/wants. I realize this was a priceless conversation and so I want to memorialize some of the content for perpetuity. Basically, I'm getting forgetful. This reduces the risk that either of us will forget this.
Flowers. I'm great with flowers, arrangements and decorations. Definitely I can do some of that stuff for both girls. My mother did the flowers for my sister's wedding (not jealous at all) and it was gorgeous. Mom's can do some beautiful floral work if they try. Super military spouse experience is also helpful from all those times you did military ball centerpieces on a budget. Lots of great experience.
Printing. I'm also pretty handy with design elements so I think designing announcements and invitations can be done in-house as well. We can farm out the printing. I have one framed wedding invite and I only look at it every few years. Not a big deal. The girls will certainly want some of whatever the hot new trend is for printing, but it's an area with some latitude.
The cake. I know some amazing cake ladies who I would totally trust with a wedding cake. It might not be from Ace of Cakes, but not everyone can have that. Really? You mush it into each other's faces, serve some slices and it's gone. Don't spend big bucks on consumables. Need I also remind everyone of an important fact? If the groom insists on an armadillo shaped red velvet cake that A. his aunt better make it for free or B. well, bless his heart but it might get dropped on the way to the reception. Ooops!
Photography. Totally worth the money. I hope we live close enough to Ali Mocabee of Souriant Designs to afford her wedding package. It's not cheap, but is worth the investment. She captures the moments forever. Her senior portraits for Ciara were stunning and represented the best of her high school life in KS. Even if we can't get Ali, I know it is an area we agree requires a serious chunk of the budget.
Food. Yes, it is a consumable, but you can't skimp on the reception. Better to make it smaller and nice than so large you can't afford to provide ample food and drink. You want it to be enough so that people are encouraged to stay and celebrate with you, but not so much that they don't get the hint and call it a night. Hint. Hint.
Dress. The point of the dress is to look your best to help capture the memory of the day. You really aren't going to wear it again and few of us keep them long enough for anyone in the family to ever wear it again. I kept mine around for a few moves and finally it got old. But you do want to look smashing and that does not always mean expensive. Forget "Say Yes to the Dress" and say yes to what is flattering, reasonable and above all--modest. I know. I just lost some readers, but I won't be paying for any dress that is too revealing on a wedding day in a church. Sorry. But I will do my best to help find and pay for the perfect dress that will make my baby girls look dream worthy before their future husbands and in pictures to last them a lifetime.
DJs, limos, bands and venues. Enough already. My head hurts and I have to save some things to discuss (someday) with Ciara. Man, two girls are gonna be expensive. I can't wait!
No, wait. I can wait. Not my babies!!!!