Rant rave, rave rant....

All right, ya'll. If you don't want to hear about wedding insanity, avert your eyes. I'm letting it rip.

I am shocked and appalled by what it costs to get married in this country. According to several sources, the average wedding in America costs $27,000. TWENTY SEVEN THOUSDAND DOLLARS! That is ABSURD. ESPECIALLY when you consider that the median household income in this country is $43,318. REDICULOUS!

I have been hoping to have the reception at a certain nameless historic property in the north valley. We were told two months ago by the owner that the facility plus tables, chairs, linens, and flowers, would be $3,500. This was confirmed one month ago when I took Mr. C there to see it.

Tonight, I was told that it would be at LEAST $5,000, that I would have to hire a professional wedding planner ($1,000 just for that day) AND that they won't even know if they can have weddings (zoning issue) until the end of the year, IF everything goes as planned (which it never does.)

Um, excuse me? I may be a bride, but I'm not an IDIOT.

The problem is, I'm now 9 months away from my preferred wedding date (the weekend between graduation and bar review) and most of the other venues I considered are booked.

Time to get creative.

This reception venue bullsh*t is just part of the problem. I am not poor, but neither am I rich. My parents are being incredibly generous in what they're contributing to pay for this debacle, and I'm putting every BigLaw penny I've earned this summer into the pot, too.

And despite this princely sum, WE CAN'T AFFORD TO GET MARRIED. When you add in the ceremony (over $1000 at the church I grew up at), dinner, cake, wine, fees, photographers, florists, a DJ, a dress, and a reception venue, all priced in the LOWER THIRD of what's available in NEW FREAKING MEXICO, one of the cheapest states in the union, we're pushing the edges of the budget. Even cutting out the photographer, DJ, wedding planner, and alcohol, it's well over $10,000.

Come on.

My goal is to do this entire thing for under $10,000 without falling prey to all this wedding industry baloney. A wedding lasts for approximately five hours; it's NOT WORTH sacrificing our financial future over.

If you have suggestions- local vendors (Santa Fe/Albuquerque), cost cutting tips, sanity hints, or anything else, please share- I'd love to have them and I'm sure I'm not alone.


Scoutj said...

I say you take the money and buy a house. I know....not much help/

Good luck with it all. I don't know how people do it! We just went on top of a mountain with our dog and a minister. That was 13 years ago!

Beth said...

Let's see... I got my dress reasonably priced at David's
Bridal. I did take out for the rehearsal dinner. I did my own flowers. We were lucky in that we didn't have to pay for the church. We had the rehearsal dinner and the reception there. Other ways to save... Skip the alcohol. Shop around for the cake. I got mine at the university bakery, but I went to school in Mississippi, so that's not too helpful. Skimp on the flowers. I made the bouquets out of silk flowers, and the alter flowers were just a dozen gladiolas. Simple can be very pretty, and you want them looking at you, right? What else... I would do pictures, but try to find a reasonably talented friend or relative. Then convince them that taking the pics is a wedding gift. Same for the dj. Actually, a laptop computer can do that job pretty well.

Beth said...

Oh. Wedding planner - I didn't find that important, but a coordinator is good. Just someone to be in charge, so no one can call you bridezilla. I did that in a pinch at my friends wedding, because things were getting out of control. I suggest planning more than 12 hours ahead for that, though. :)

beverly said...

Thinking about stuff non-traditionally helps...do you really really want a traditional wedding gown? Maybe something fabu not from a bridal boutique. Do you have to serve a meal or can you have a cocktail hour instead? Can you elope? (not entirely kidding about that one). I agree with Scout, invest the $$ in your future rather than one day...

A simple bouquet of one flower that you love, with a beautiful ribbon around it could be a less expensive flower option (if I'm ever asked to get married, I want to carry tons of peonies from our garden...)

Leah said...

I know a couple who asked everyone to make a song request as part of their RSVP to the reception. Then the couple spent about $75 on iTunes to gather up all of the song requests, borrowed speakers from friends in a band, rigged up the trusty iPod, and played a mix of songs they liked and songs friends/family requested all night at the party. No DJ necessary! You don't really need some 20 year old dork telling you it's time to do the hokey pokey anyway.

Catering menus for a cocktail reception are generally a lot cheaper than the dinner selections. You can still get a nice carving station, seafood hors d'oeuvres, enough yummy stuff to feel like a dinner without the waiter fees and jacked up dinner prices.

I got hitched in Wisconsin, no good local tips for you. Good luck with everything!

Marie-france said...

Why don't you get married abroad? Quite a few people here in the Uk choose to get married on holiday, in the Carribean, the Maldives, India etc. It does not cost much more than a honeymoon would and you could throw a party for your friends and family when you come back if you wish.

Nanette said...

I had a friend who got married in a park (in Durango, not here) who used a wedding planner. The wedding planner got her all sorts of discounted stuff so perhaps if you contacted a few and explained the situation you might actually save money with one.

Good luck!

meg said...

Ok Darling, breath deeply and slowly. You know that my wedding was under 10K!

1. Can you get married and have the reception in the same place? You save money there. What about the MFA/Folk Museum? Are they now booked?

2.Cake from Flying Star. SOOOOO cheap compared to "Wedding Cake"

3.Non-traditional dress. Do you REALLY want the big poofy wedding dress? If yes, then cut back on the other items. Go by Off Broadway, talk to Susan, and see if she has something. You never know! Are there vintage places in TX that you could go to? CHECK THEM OUT! How about the Mexican shops - how about a white dress with colorful embroidery?

4. Food? Taco truck. You know we talked about it, but honestly, maybe a casual NM fiesta wedding is the way to go. For a spring wedding you won't need heavy hot food!

5.Guest list. This is really hard. I know your mom knows everyone everywhere - but write down the people that HAVE to be there. This will save money on cake, food, tables, etc.

6. itunes.

7. I would recommend getting a photographer - I didn't have one and I wished that I had. Know anyone who is doing a photography MFA at UNM? Just look at their portfolios.

8. I used Jim Manning (Manning Florist) across from the Model Pharmacy for flowers. His prices were a bit steep, but I loved what he did - but maybe HE can make suggestions about photographers, etc.

Kisses, girlie. It will be ok!

Rebecca said...

Hang in there... I love the idea of a cocktail party, it's actually what we're planning on doing when we return to Oz for the people that we couldn't invite to the wedding before we left (we only had 17). Maybe that's an option, something intimate for the immediate family and then a more casual party for everyone else?

Ramona said...

Yeah it's tough. I won't tell you how much I paid to get married out at Prairie Star restaurant 11 yrs ago. The ironic part is that my favorite part of my wedding was the small (50 people) rehearsal dinner we had the night before at a local hotel. The one thing I did save money on was my dress. The day after Thanksgiving all the bridal shops here had huge clearance sales (I don't know if they still do this). I purchased a $1000 dress for $400. Good Luck!

marty said...

I'm getting married (in about nine months too!) and am trying to figure out the same stuff. It looks like we're going to do a destination wedding in Jamaica but it won't end up saving a lot of money. Good luck!