"I have to admit that when we first started planning our wedding my attitude was "why the hell did "fill in the blank with couple's name" have to spend so much d*mn money on a wedding? How ridiculous! My first email back from Marvimon pretty much answered that question."Um, yes. And our budget shock is compounded by the contrast between reality and those stunning photos of the charming DIY cost-saving options at Marvimon and Smog Shoppe, mixed in with our sincere goal to hit that elusive $10,000 budget mark (she nearly made it, right? I can nearly make it too, right?) We throw out these arbitrary threshold numbers like $5,000 or $10,000 or $15,000, thinking it should be simple to stay within budget if we aim for a simple wedding, and feeling like spendthrift failures if we don't.
Eff that. We should chose budgets because they're reasonable for our aims, our city, our guest list, and our pocketbooks. And we should decide on our budgets based on real research and real prioritizing. And we should stop judging each other for the money we do or don't spend on these events. You know what would also be nice? Cold hard numbers. Real numbers, not BS outright lie pie-in-the-sky numbers that make us feel like failures and give us unrealistic expectations.
Now, I know budgets and money are a tricky subject. It's culturally uncouth to talk about money, and I feel almost naked trying to attempt it. It was hard for me to put myself out there last week and talk about our $15,000 goal and the looming $25,000 possibility. But you know what, I want to know more about real budgets, real struggles and real choices and so I put myself out there too. I want it to be okay to talk about real weddings and to expose the $10,000 wedding photographer fantasies up front so I can smile at the pretty and put them aside. I want to find weddings with my budget level so I have a sense of a reasonable starting point and reasonable compromises you have to make in those situations. I want to find descriptions of sites online that don't say it costs $, $$. $$$. or $$$ but say upfront that it will cost you $7,000 for an empty room so I can research and move on.
So, let's stop tiptoeing around the numbers and talk about real Los Angeles budgets. And let's be nice about the woman who put herself out there with an honest assessment of her wedding expenses. Maybe you remember her beautiful wedding from Hazelnut Photography's photos and thought "I could do that." Yes, you can, if you have about $36,000. Because that's how much this sort of wedding costs in Los Angeles. But you know what, the most important part is how she notes in her Weddingbee post that it was all worth it and she wouldn't change a thing.
That's the feeling we should be chasing as we grapple with budgets: that our choices are worth it to us. Of course pocketbook limitations help define our spending and constrain our wouldn't-it-be-nice visions, but couples of every budget can aim for the "yes, it was worth it" feeling. Personally, I don't have $36,000 to spend on my wedding so it wouldn't be worth it to me, but it really helps to see that the weddings I've been lusting after are simply out of my price range. Period, end of story. But you know what's great about the $36,000? I can finally move on and figure out what does work for my price range without holding onto unrealistic hopes and expectations. And that's an incredibly freeing idea. We need more of this freeing budget info here in weddingland, for low, medium and high budget weddings, and I'm hoping to discover more honest assessments along the way.