Aug 15, 2006

Budget Weddings Are Expensive

If you really want to do an almost-free wedding, go down to the county courthouse, bring a witness and a bouquet of flowers from Vons, and get yourself married in their windowless “chapel.” The courthouse lectern and US flag on a pole are free. Then you can go home and feel really depressed about the eventlessness of your event.

Actually some friends got married at the courthouse. But they held a reception a few months later. Another couple invited friends out to a restaurant afterward. Because important events need to be experienced, given weight to, and remembered. Your wedding is probably the most important ritual life. Aside from your funeral. which you aren't alive to enjoy. So you might as well make the wedding worth celebrating . And it requires money to celebrate.

You CAN do a nice wedding on a budget. But be prepared to pay in emotional dollars. Because it takes a lot of time and energy to make your few dollars look like a lot.

Larry and I have refused to buy into the $26 billion a year wedding industry. We'll probably end up spending only about $6,000 for everything. Especially "$10 Exit Fee” goes according to plan. Ba DUMP! Hey that's a bargain. I know lots of people who've paid thousands of dollars to get out of church alive. It's called psychotherapy.

Okay, okay, I'll stop.

Larry and I found an adorable church close by. Grace Lutheran Church, with a wonderful wedding coordinator who helped talk me out of my panic when we were four weeks from a wedding and no location. Debbie Berger. I love the Lutherans.

The sanctuary is gorgeous. Red brick, stained glass, high ceilings. Just as I’d imagined on the rare occasions I imagined my own wedding. The Parish hall ... well it looks like a parish hall. Go figure. Raised stage and gray curtains. You can almost see the Sunday School doing the Christmas pageant up there.

“Amazing what a little tulle and streamers can do,” Debbie Berger said, cheerfully.
We were going to need more than streamers. Tulle? Lights? Sparklers? A fog machine? Maybe if we fogged it up, no one would notice the parish hallness of it all

So I started shopping. Trips downtown looking for decorator fabric. Mini silk flowers for wedding favors. What about wedding favors? Bags of Jordan almonds? I hate Jordan almonds. What about table centerpieces? Table cloths? I bought ten table cloths. Found out they were the wrong size. Returned them. Bought more, but they were the wrong shade of blue. Returned those. Trips to Big Lots and Smart and Final and Target and downtown. My friends Ruth and Catheryn came over and helped me assemble centerpieces and wedding favors. We watched movies and listened to music, glued, tied, cut, punched, and ate butter mints. Four days in a row I got home from errands after 9pm. My whole body hurt all over.

I thought about the people who eloped to Vegas. And I thought of the people who’d miss the event if we eloped. No, we were on the right track. It was taking effort, but a good celebration takes effort. It’s going to be a blast.

Anyone want to come hang brown lace fabric at 7 am?
Good with a heavy duty stapler?
Email me, darlin'!

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