For as much as I love shows like Four Weddings and Say Yes to the Dress, as well as marathons of romantic comedies, I don’t think I’ll ever want to have a big wedding. (Valentine’s Day is over, so I’m allowed to say things like this now, right!?) Today, I hope you’ll let me explain why, without thinking I’m a total jerk.
First of all, I should say that my general feeling about weddings is that the event is full of “supposed to”s. If you get engaged, you’re supposed to have a wedding. You’re supposed to supply a meal and entertainment for your guests (and it would be nice if that included free, unlimited drinks). Your guests are supposed to bring gifts to any parties or showers leading up to the big day and, of course, one to your actual wedding. And you’re supposed to come out of this $26,984* event with some really great pictures to remember it by.
But, unless you have rich parents who are willing to help out, you’re also supposed to pay for this day yourself. And that’s where I feel a disconnect between wanting to create memories and what those memories could actually cost. I suppose that sounds ridiculous, right? The girl who once put $2,000 of furniture on her credit card can’t imagine saving up and forking out for a beautiful day with loved ones? But the new and much more practical me just doesn’t get it.
I’ve watched couples spend $900 on cupcakes you’d rather take pictures of than eat. And thousands on flowers that, yes, are beautiful, but wilt within a week. I’ve seen a cheque for a venue and catering that was so close to $20,000 I wanted to steal it and use it as a down payment on a condo. That’s when I knew that money would always be one of the deciding factors in whether or not I would have a wedding. And with good reason.
I live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, where you can hardly find a 2-bedroom home for under $400,000. If I saved $20,000 (which is difficult enough, when rent is so expensive) I would make myself use it as a down payment. I guess some people think (and may know from experience) that if you were to spend $20,000 on a wedding, you could end up with that much back in cash and gifts. But can you guess where that leaves you? Yep, right back where you started.
I can already feel you all wanting to tell me that you can plan a wedding for less than $20,000… and I’m sure that’s true! But if you want a big wedding – and I’m talking 130+ guests – your venue and catering costs are not going to be cheap. You can cut costs and DIY until your fingers bleed but a big wedding at a cheap price is not going to come easy (especially in Victoria, BC). And I just can’t imagine it will ever be a priority for me.
Now, does this mean I hate weddings? Not at all. The weddings I’ve been to that were for close family and friends have been beautiful, memory-filled days. And I think I would love to get married one day. But, if I’m being totally honest here, elopement feels much more… me. A simple ceremony followed by dinner with immediate family and close friends; that sounds about as romantic as it can get. No planning stress. No “supposed to”s. And since I wouldn’t be paying for a big venue or food for 130+ people, I could feel better about spending a few hundred dollars on a gorgeous dress.
Or I could always join the 24% who plan destination weddings, so I could make a vacation out of it. (In February, of course, to save everyone a few bucks.)
Do you hear that, future husband? We’re going to save thousands! ;)