Why you’re probably not invited to my wedding
It’s not that I don’t like you. I promise.
So, this requires a bit of background. I have never been attached to tradition. I rarely request cake on my birthday and instead want to eat delicious desserts such as orange Julius, cinnamon rolls or brownies. I have yet to participate in a traditional commencement ceremony, and I don’t plan on doing so for my Master’s degree. One year, I didn’t want Christmas presents and asked my parents to donate the money to charity instead. When B and I started discussing the idea of getting engaged and he asked me about rings, I told him that he didn’t even have to bother with an engagement ring if he didn’t want to. (He wanted to, and I’m happy he did. He picked the perfect ring better than I could have picked for myself, and it’s an easy way to discourage creepers.) And I’ve never dreamed of a wedding.
My parents have a fantastic marriage, and I have always admired it. At the same time, I recognized that marriage took a lot of work, and I was in no hurry to sign up for it. Before I started dating B, I spent most of my adult life happily single, except for a brief period where I was unhappily dating an individual that was definitely not meant to be. It wasn’t until B and I were dating that I became excited about the idea of marriage. Even then, I was not remotely interested in a wedding.
Weddings have never interested me because I have noticed that so often they turn into a source of stress and debt, distracting the couple from the reason for the day – two people vowing before God and man that they will serve and love each other for the rest of their lives (at least in my case because we believe in God). Instead, weddings become about where to seat Aunt Gertrude, what shade of blush to use for the bridesmaids’ shoes, and whether or not to spend the extra money on an open bar. I stress easily, and I saw nothing meaningful about the process of planning a wedding. I have always said that I would never have a wedding unless my fiance wanted one because my wedding was not going to be all about me. It was going to about us, and if he really wanted one, we would have it.
Well, if you can’t figure it out from the title, B wants a wedding. B is more social than I am and doesn’t stress as easily, so he sees a wedding as an opportunity to celebrate our marriage with our dearest friends and family. In initially talking about our wedding, post-engagement, we settled on a guest list of about 150 people. My parents gave us a budget of $6,000, and B and I agreed that we wouldn’t want to spend more than that because we won’t have a lot of money to spare as we are starting out. We decided we wanted to get married as soon after I graduate as possible. We also chose Florida as the wedding location (which is what both of our families preferred and we wanted).
I made our initial wedding budget and started looking at venues and photographers. Within one week of being engaged, I knew I couldn’t do it. I was trying to plan a wedding (ceremony and reception) in another state at the same time that I was working to graduate, get a job and move to another state (I will be moving to NC, where B lives). Plus, I was trying to do this for $6,000. Your average couple spends over $26,000 on their wedding. Venues, food, photographer, postage, invitations, marriage license…the costs add up very quickly, and these are just the basics. DIY and shortcuts may not cost a lot of money, but they cost you and your loved ones time and stress. I knew that I was not going to have time to handmake 300 sandwich rolls beforehand in order to not pay a caterer.
I also knew I didn’t want to invite a whole bunch of people to a ceremony and not invite them to a reception afterwards because many of them would be traveling from far away. I cried a couple of time due to the stress of it all, and then I decided to talk to B. He immediately asked what we could do to help me be less stressed, and we decided to cut our guest list. Drastically.
At this point, we will only be inviting the people we would have invited to be our bridal party (three friends each) and our respective families. The close friends who would have been our bridal party will be our only non-family wedding guests, and our siblings will stand with us (my little brothers will be our “ringmen” as Micah calls them). This cut allows me to reserve a venue that includes food without going overbudget. It also ensures that the DIY aspects won’t be too overwhelming because we won’t need nearly as many invitations or decorations. I hate leaving people out, but it is what we have to do in order to maintain my sanity and ensure that we aren’t starting out our marriage with avoidable debt or fights caused by wedding stress.
Since cutting the guest list, I have felt a lot better about the whole thing. I have reserved a venue for the reception (which means we have a date!), delegated a lot of the work to my parents, sister and B, reserved a photographer, created a “to do” timeline which is manageable, made a realistic budget in Excel, and bought what might be “the dress” online (for less than $150). I have also already spent hours on the phone with both my mother and B discussing options, possibilities and ideas.
So, I hope you weren’t too excited about the prospect of watching me get married. Just know that it is nothing personal against you, and you not coming is what enables me to not spend this next year having weekly meltdowns about wedding planning.