Mr. Honey and I recently celebrated our 20th anniversary and as I think back on that day, I can’t help but laugh at our wedding plans. We planned our wedding for more than a year. He proposed on Valentine’s Day (a whole other blog post) and we married the following May and it was touch and go to the last-minute. My maid of honor’s dress didn’t arrive until the night before and luckily she didn’t need any alterations. It rained that morning but by the afternoon the weather was clear. The ceremony was supposed to start at 4 and right when I gather my bridesmaid to walk down the aisle, my brother walked in to announce he had told my other brother, who was officiating, to put the wedding on hold because my fiance’s sister hadn’t arrived.
“But I’m not marrying her.” I said, “Let’s go.”
“Your sister isn’t here, either.” He told me. “Invitation said four.” said I.
Luckily, they both arrived about a minute later with their families in tow and the wedding started about ten minutes late. And it was all over forty minutes later. More than a year of planning and it was over in under an hour.
The planning of our wedding was a lot of fun and the ceremony and
reception was everything we were hoping for and that happened because we were practical about what we were doing. We were also a little lucky.. If you’re planning a wedding, you might be surrounded by wedding magazines, internet articles and Pinterest pages that will give you ideas on how you can have a Kim Kardashian wedding (either one) on a shoe string budget. But, really, even her shoe strings cost a fortune. The average cost of a wedding in the US is $25K with a range of $20K-$30K. A good many couples manage to pull it off for less than that. When we were married, the average cost of a wedding was about $20K and ours came in at a nice $13K – including the honeymoon. And when we left on said honeymoon on Monday, everybody had been paid. We were not starting married life being in debt for the wedding.
So, how do you make your wedding planning fun and with less stress than your average Bridezilla? So glad you asked, I am going to tell you some practical stuff. And let me say, I wrote some of this advice for a freelance assignment and my inbox was flooded with angry letters from some florists who didn’t like what I said. Note, they did not say I lied about anything, they just didn’t like it. I could live with that.
Include your significant other. You can build up a lot of resentment if you’re doing all the planning and the person you’re marrying is doing nothing. And a lot of resentment can build up if you want to control every detail and then get mad if they don’t do what you want when you want. Planning your wedding gives a great clue as to how the marriage is going to work. If you want a partner, start with your wedding planning. You both plan the work and you both work the plan
This day is for both of you. While everyone looks at the bride, the two of you should be looking at each other and that’s a whole lot easier if you’re not mad.
Watch your language. So, what did I say that made florists want to string me up in ivy? I told people not to tell a florist the flowers were for a wedding. Walk into a florist shop and mention wedding and the price of everything goes up. We wanted very simple two flower arrangements on our reception tables. Called the florist and told them they were for a reception and got a price that made me wonder if they were going to plant the flowers in the table. Called back a little while later and asked for the exact same arrangement and said I needed it for a dinner and the price was about a third less. Same flowers, same arrangement, same delivery driver. A mark up, pure and simple. Flowers are arguably the least important part of the wedding and can be a big expense. One florist demanded I rewrite the article and I agreed to send him the revision. The revision said you didn’t need to have flowers at all. My sister had her bridesmaids carry a single rose and it looked elegant. This isn’t a tip to cheat people. This is a tip to look for the best price you can . Not just for the flowers but for everything. If there’s a deal to be made try to make it.
Say Yes When You Can and No When You Have To. Mr. Honey is the money person in our relationship and we set a budget of $8000.00. You will note above our wedding cost $13,000 and that’s because he broke the budget. If I selected something within our budget and he wanted something more expensive, I found a way to make it work (well, we saved a lot on flowers.) But when my Mom wanted me to invite the crazy cousins, I had to tell her it was a risk I wasn’t willing to take. One never knew which version of them would show up. She was mightily upset and I was sorry – but not sorry enough . My mind would not have been focused on my wedding – I would have been keeping an eye out for the police.
You will have to determine your boundaries. It may be no children. It may be not everyone can come to the reception because of money constraints. Whatever your boundaries are; make sure you stick with them if not sticking to them will cause more trouble.
We Didn’t Register Anywhere. It’s not that we didn’t want gifts; we were already living in a house. We were a little older when we got hitched and Mr. Honey is twelve years older than me and I moved into his house. We didn’t need appliances or bedding or things like that so when people asked where we were registered, I said ‘Citibank.” People got the hint soon enough that if they could get us whatever they wanted and the coin of the realm went with everything. We got some gifts and a lot of checks. A few of our friends told us that it was great not to go shopping or to see a registry list that had the expensive things left on it.
Some people think it’s tacky to get the money. I’m not one of them. Registries are not mandatory. If you want some freshly minted Tubmans; there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Know What’s important. You, he/she and the officiant. That’s all that’s needed to have a wedding. Everything else is what you want. Once you understand that, you can put things in perspective. We didn’t get our first choice for our reception and we ended up with someplace better because we didn’t sweat it – and because we treated people nicely. In fact, we booked a room for our reception and when the grand ballroom opened up, our vendor gave us the room for no additional charge because they liked us.
You want to look back on the day and think about what a great time it was when family and friends came together to celebrate the new chapter in your lives. That’s the important thing. People won’t really care about the flowers or the favors. It’s the people OK and the food; guests still talk about the great food at our reception. But even that is a practical thing. You want your day to be something everyone looks back on with a kind eye and a warm heart.
Not one person mentioned the flowers.