Author Topic: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!  (Read 5473 times)

Cranberries

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 126
Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« on: November 30, 2016, 06:58:40 PM »
Its not that bad actually, but I could definitely use some help from the wise mustachians.

My partner and I are quite early in our mustached journeys and have the noble goal of spending close to nothing on the wedding while still creating something meaningful for the two of us that does not horridly hurt our parents. I am currently unemployed and my career is mostly federal. It seems very unlikely that I will have a job before any hiring freezes go into effect. I may be returning to school soon to retrain for a different career, or just to buy time and a graduate degree I needed to do at some point anyways, so we really don't have much financial leeway right now.

We are planning on getting hitched in the next couple months. Both sets of parents have offered help with the funding but for a variety of reasons we are reluctant to accept it. My parents are in bad shape financially and will not realize just how bad until they find themselves completely broke and old (now likely without proper SSI or medicare! Wheeee!). His parents are in better/good shape, but it's the principle of the thing, plus they are more likely to try to use money to influence the affair.

So our ideal would be to do something like this:http://offbeatbride.com/summit-elopement/ or go to the courthouse unaccompanied, but all of our parents would be heartbroken. Alternately, a park wedding barbecue could be lovely, but it's winter (he has good insurance, we don't want to wait till summer because we'd like to get me on it). Our house is very small and would not work to host both sets of parents and siblings.

Ideas I have so far:

There is a local hall we could rent for $150 plus $200 of liability insurance. With no decorations beyond our festival camp decorations and some friends I could hire for music for $1000 (we're from a very musical community: canned music is not really an option if it is at all the focus of the event, but this quote includes a huge gift/discount from the band), plus $200 for rings, nothing for clothes (sad) nothing for photography (I really really want a nice picture or two of us dressed up nice..) and I guess a huge pot of vegetarian chili we could pull off a party for all our friends/family for less than $2000. We might need to rent some tables in addition to this. We'd try to put out the word to donate to charity rather than give us anything, or try to get people to think of their potluck dish as the gift.

We could get married and not tell anyone, and have a park barbecue potluck in June with a ceremony and pretend it was a new thing :) Cost: rings and license, so about $300 plus some potluck food this summer. This probably isn't a good idea, as much as I wish it was.

We could go to the courthouse with our families. My parents will insist on bringing everyone out to dinner, and probably try to make it somewhere moderately fancy. Cost (for us: ~300. For  parents: ~400 or up).

Put out a Facebook call to our greater community to see if anyone would let us host a potluck party at their house. Cost: 300 for rings and license, possibly hire the band, provide some food, so ~1500 for all friends and family.

Any other ideas?

ender

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6546
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 07:05:46 PM »
How big is your immediate family?

You could do a small, immediate family only wedding.

dreamer8887

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2016, 07:07:10 PM »
Congratulations! So great you found a life partner who is on the same page as you in terms of spendiness.

Since you asked, this friendly internet stranger votes against the first option (hall). It doesn't sound like you want a big party, as your preference is elopement. I think you will quickly find yourselves resenting all the work you are putting into this hall party - even a low-key event requires lots of logistics (when/where to cook enough food, how to serve it, dishes, cutlery, seating, decorating etc etc).

I tend to feel the same about potlucks - they sound easy but will involve a lot of organizing. So I would vote against #2, unless you have generous friends who are willing to do 100% of the hosting as a wedding gift. Other than the hassle of organizing, this doesn't seem like a bad option actually - but sounds like you are opposed to the idea of being deceitful.

I think a courthouse wedding gives you the low-key-ness of elopement but without breaking your parents' hearts at missing out. If you book the restaurant in advance and find a set price menu so you have an idea what it will cost, could you pay in advance so that your parents can't try to pick up the tab when you're there? I would just try to be really firm with them that their presence is all you want, you want to host them and the new in-laws to say thanks for all their love and support and that they shouldn't be concerned with old-fashioned norms about parents paying for the wedding. Maybe you could let them cover a wedding cake or something so they feel like they are contributing.

Cranberries

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 126
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2016, 07:18:02 PM »
Ender, the family would be 9-11 people plus us depending on whether his parents respective significant others came. His mom will lobby hard for his aunts, uncles, and cousins which could bring it up closer to 20. It would be nice to have my aunt and her husband there as I am both quite fond of her and she is in very poor health, but this is possibly getting to an unwieldy size while still having none of our friends present.

Cranberries

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 126
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2016, 07:26:10 PM »
Dreamer8887, thank you for your vote! I actually would really love the huge get together (where we happen to get hitched), but do not have the budget or excess stress tolerances to pull it off right now. If I could budget 6000 or more for it and throw it in six months I would love to reserve a campground, hire one or more bands, and invite everyone in our extended community to come camp out for a weekend with us. With that not on the table, elopement sounds lovely :). You may be right that the hall rental option is not the right place to land, but it could probably be pretty great too.

And yup, he's awesome.

ysette9

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7635
  • Location: Bay Area at heart living in the PNW
    • The Best Is Yet To Come
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2016, 08:17:41 PM »
We got married at the county offices (not really a court house but the same idea) on a Friday morning. We invited our parents, siblings, and I had my aunt and uncle who are very close to us. I paid around $200 for a bridesmaid dress with alternations that my sister helped me choose. My husband got a matching tie to wear with a suit he already had. I didn't care about my hair, but my mother did, so she booked me an appointment that she paid for. I didn't care about flowers, but she did, so she bought me a small bouquet. She and my sister arranged for a lunch at a nearby restaurant afterwards and my sister provided the sparkling wine from the winery she worked at. I didn't want a cake, but my mother wanted one, so she got a nice small one.

We paid plenty for our rings because it was what we wanted, and a month later we hosted a full on 10-course Chinese banquet with all of our friends and family that we paid for, because it was what we wanted. My point here is not that we saved a bunch of money on our wedding, though we did, but that because we didn't care about a lot of things and therefore chose not to have them, it kept costs down. On the flip side, because I didn't really care, if someone else did care and wanted to step up, I let them. The result was something that didn't have us paying for things we didn't care about but also made our close family happy. Can you achieve a similar compromise? The way for this to work is for you to truly not care and not meddle if someone wants to step in. No saying you aren't interested in a fancy lunch but then dictating the menu choices if someone decides to treat the group afterwards.

Good for you for being on the same page as your fiance and for wanting to save money. The wedding day can be fun and you'll remember it, but it is the marriage that really matters, not the party. :)

MrsTuxedocat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 312
  • Location: Canada
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2016, 12:04:37 AM »
Congratulations! I would consider invite close friends and family to a simple outdoor ceremony in the park during the day. Then chat with a modest to mid-range restaurant about renting the space for lunch. If you get married in the winter or early spring, there are many savings. Also don't tell your the restaurant it is for a "wedding" go with the family celebration route.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3404
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2016, 01:19:24 AM »
Could you do a simple courthouse thing for only your parents, siblings and close friends and then have a big outdoor wedding party in the summer?

Do you have musical people in the extended network that would come and play for free.

I hear your point about photos. I wasn't fussed about a lot of the wedding nonsense but really wanted nice photos. We paid for a professional photograph who was highly recommended; invited a photography student for free (she got experience, food and a nice 'thank you' for her website) and in the evening we passed around a laptop with a multiple card reader on it to download everyone's photos on.

If I was doing it again I wouldn't have the professional photographer. I preferred the student's style and we had plenty of great photos from friends and family. I would also get a bossy friend to make sure that everyone is looking at the (same) camera for the group photo. My professional photographer was far too nice and wouldn't tell people to move.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3404
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2016, 01:19:54 AM »
Also don't tell your the restaurant it is for a "wedding" go with the family celebration route.

Seconded

Trifele

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3545
  • Age: 54
  • Location: Outside, NC, US
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2016, 03:51:12 AM »
Congratulations!  So great that you are both on the same page with regard to doing a mustachian wedding.

We had a dilemma for our wedding -- all our friends were on the east coast where we lived, and all our family was halfway across the country in the upper midwest.   Where to get married, and how to keep the cost down?  We didn't want to ask either group to travel a long distance.  We ended up going camping with all our friends on the east coast (had a fantastic time) and then a month later got married with a justice of the peace in the back yard at my in laws' farm.  18 family members total. Total cost of our wedding was $800, which included our rings, my dress, a tent rental, and picnic food for the family. Our cake was baked and donated by a great family friend, and we picked wildflowers from the farm. Great memories.

Would it be an option for you to split your celebrations friends/family?  Get married now and eat out with the family, then get together with friends outdoors when the weather warms up?   

plog

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 244
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2016, 07:32:52 AM »
If you think people will be hurt/disappointed no matter what option you take, then don't even try to mitigate others pain/disappointment.   Take that part out of the decision making.

For example, suppose you want to spend $100 total and someone's parents want a $10k wedding. So, you compromise on a $2500 wedding.  But turns out the ones who wanted the $10k wedding will still be disappointed--then you might as well have only had that $100 wedding because now you are out an additional $2400 and they are just as disappointed as they would have been.   

So, in conclusion, like all things financial--make sure you are actually getting something for your money. 


Lucky Recardito

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 497
  • Location: Major US City
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2016, 08:42:52 AM »
nothing for clothes (sad)

While spending nothing on clothes is laudable, your "(sad)" makes me sad. Take a look at Rent the Runway -- there are plenty of fun, fancy options that can be yours for the weekend for <$100. I did this for my own wedding earlier this year and it was a great success.

ReadySetMillionaire

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1688
  • Location: The Buckeye State
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2016, 09:17:59 AM »
My older brother just got married in a courthouse. We then went around the village green (it's a New-England-esque town in Ohio) and took some pictures. Then we rented out a room at a local Italian restaurant and had a nice dinner with toasts, cake, and even a surprise dance with the bride and her dad. My mom took photographs of the occasion and she did a good job.

As someone who is currently planning my own wedding with 180ish guests, I envied the simplicity of their day. Almost nothing could go wrong because there were very minimal moving parts. They weren't bombarded with decisions. They just did a nice, simple wedding and it turned out great.

I should also admit that I was skeptical of the whole thing beforehand, but when the day arrived, I was very happy for them. I imagine your friends and family will get over themselves the same way I did.

Candace

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 582
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2016, 09:48:51 AM »
nothing for clothes (sad)

While spending nothing on clothes is laudable, your "(sad)" makes me sad. Take a look at Rent the Runway -- there are plenty of fun, fancy options that can be yours for the weekend for <$100. I did this for my own wedding earlier this year and it was a great success.

Thank you for this. I'm also looking at planning a wedding with no desire to make a big fuss out of it, but with others around me wanting some kind of event. Renting a nice dress for the ceremony seems like a fantastic option.

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3647
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2016, 10:36:52 AM »
I just read the blog by the couple that got married on top of a mountain and absolutely loved it!

I have a friend who married his wife on the top of Mt Kilimanjaro and then came back to MN to have a formal ceremony where they walked down the aisle and had a reception (parents insisted).

Cranberries

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 126
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2016, 04:23:02 PM »
nothing for clothes (sad)

While spending nothing on clothes is laudable, your "(sad)" makes me sad. Take a look at Rent the Runway -- there are plenty of fun, fancy options that can be yours for the weekend for <$100. I did this for my own wedding earlier this year and it was a great success.

Thanks for the suggestion! your post prompted me to take a closer look at this site, and it looks like it might be a viable solution. I tend to find clothes shopping utterly exhausting, as I am not shaped like standard fit models at all, but their membership service might make it so I can try on enough options to find one that works.

Cranberries

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 126
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2016, 04:35:46 PM »
If you think people will be hurt/disappointed no matter what option you take, then don't even try to mitigate others pain/disappointment.   Take that part out of the decision making.

For example, suppose you want to spend $100 total and someone's parents want a $10k wedding. So, you compromise on a $2500 wedding.  But turns out the ones who wanted the $10k wedding will still be disappointed--then you might as well have only had that $100 wedding because now you are out an additional $2400 and they are just as disappointed as they would have been.   

So, in conclusion, like all things financial--make sure you are actually getting something for your money.

plorg, thank you for your advice! We are pretty lucky in the parent department. My parents faced down their parents and had a low budget outdoor potluck wedding in Yosemite with a friend on the keyboard and a thrift store dress. His parents are also pretty low key. Both sides would be hurt if they were not present for the actual ceremony, but short of that I think we can make everyone happy enough no matter what we do.


Cranberries

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 126
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2016, 05:03:50 PM »
Could you do a simple courthouse thing for only your parents, siblings and close friends and then have a big outdoor wedding party in the summer?

Do you have musical people in the extended network that would come and play for free.

I hear your point about photos. I wasn't fussed about a lot of the wedding nonsense but really wanted nice photos. We paid for a professional photograph who was highly recommended; invited a photography student for free (she got experience, food and a nice 'thank you' for her website) and in the evening we passed around a laptop with a multiple card reader on it to download everyone's photos on.

If I was doing it again I wouldn't have the professional photographer. I preferred the student's style and we had plenty of great photos from friends and family. I would also get a bossy friend to make sure that everyone is looking at the (same) camera for the group photo. My professional photographer was far too nice and wouldn't tell people to move.

Thank you for your ideas! I'm glad to hear the student and family/friends photos came out so well! It's good to know that option worked for others.

Although I am sure a number of folks would bring instruments, none of the folks that are good enough to anchor a party are close enough to us to offer to work for free spontaneously. Musicians get approached all the time with requests to work for free, and it'd be a pretty big faux pas for me to ask.

The winter courthouse/summer reception idea has definitely been floated. I'm a little skittish that people's expectations for the summer reception would be more elaborate then we would want. I don't know if that would be the case or not. What do you think?

Cranberries

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 126
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2016, 05:05:49 PM »
Thank you everyone for your ideas and experiences! It's been quite helpful reading through all of your responses.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5747
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2016, 05:30:55 PM »
I've been married twice, so I assume that makes me the expert.  :)

1.  Courthouse.  We wore sweats.  We were moving and all of our stuff was outside in a truck.  Cost: about $50 I think.  (Extra fee because it was a weekend.)
2.  Vegas.  I think this was about $300 (included photos, etc).  If you include the stay at hotels, airfare, etc, I think we spent $1500 or so.  And it's lasted 22 years (so far) so the cost per year is almost nothing.

Not so flippant side note: Do what YOU want.  This wedding is for the 2 of you, not for the rest of the family.  Don't spend $30k on an expensive party.  But do what you want to do with a Mustacian brain fully engaged.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3404
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2016, 10:15:02 AM »
Although I am sure a number of folks would bring instruments, none of the folks that are good enough to anchor a party are close enough to us to offer to work for free spontaneously. Musicians get approached all the time with requests to work for free, and it'd be a pretty big faux pas for me to ask.

The winter courthouse/summer reception idea has definitely been floated. I'm a little skittish that people's expectations for the summer reception would be more elaborate then we would want. I don't know if that would be the case or not. What do you think?

Cool, I was thinking more 'bring an instrument' rather than run the entire evening but sounds like a non-starter. It depends on the style of the evening and music.

Yes, so some peoples expectations for a summer reception will be elaborate; but so what? This isn't Burger King and they can't get it their way. You could send invites that indicated the tone that you were planning to set; if people will be horrified that there won't be a five course sit-down meal they can RSVP no. If all the snooty people in your life stay away then your day will be better for it. If they want to see you at some point they can invite you both to their mansion for quail's eggs, caviar and gold leaf.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4716
Re: Help! The wedding is trying to eat my brain!
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2016, 04:56:33 AM »
I would definitely just get married in the morning at the courthouse, then invite the group out for lunch.  Even if it is 20 people, if you are talking lunch, it's not going to be outrageous. You can decide in a few months if you want to do a summer celebration. If you make the summer a weekend camping trip, I doubt anyone will get ideas about how fancy it will be.