We started doubting ourselves this week, wondering if maybe the extra $200 was worth it. After all, this is a once in a lifetime experience, so we really want to capture the moment and get everything we can from it. And it seems like a pretty standard part of the experience: everyone else is buying it because that last $200 really adds value to the base price of $400.
We weren't talking about weddings. We were talking about skydiving and whether we should splurge to capture the experience on film, for an extra $100 apiece. But the same rules and angst seem to apply to skydiving videos and weddings. We want the skydiving video set to our favorite rock songs. We want to really capture the full experience. The lower-price photo option wasn't available, so maybe it's best to get a video instead of nothing. We're only planning on doing this once, so it would be nice to really do it in style. And heck, if we're already throwing about $200 apiece at the skydiving adventure, the extra $100 (each) would significantly enhance the value of that initial $200 by letting us experience it all over again, whenever we want. And, according to everyone we talked to who's been skydiving, they all got the videos. In fact, it's the first thing that several people have mentioned,
"You have to get the video."
"OMG I had my video set to Rob Zombie and I LOVE it."
"You're getting the video, right?"
It really sounds eerily similar to wedding planning and expectations, doesn't it? And similarly, even though we hadn't, in fact, ordered the video package, we began to doubt our choice once we heard a few too many outside voices.
"Maybe we actually want a video?"
"The video would be a keepsake forever."
"Are we going to miss out if we don't get the video?"
Arg. This is silly. We have muuuuuch better things to do with $200 than spend it on two skydiving videos. Like throw a 30th birthday party, for example, since that's what our final party budget actually looked like. And, when we put it like that, somehow the video didn't seem nearly so worthwhile. I'd rather have an amazing night with friends than capture our 60 seconds of free-fall on a video snippet we'll probably watch twice. And, as we started to think it through even more, we realized that photos of us in skydiving gear before and after the jump will also capture our memories of the day. Perhaps pre-boarding photos won't be as visceral as a video clip, but the important part will be having a tangible reminder of our youthful adventures and proving to our children that we weren't always old and responsible.
Yes, it would be awesome to have a video. Yes, we're spending a lot anyhow. And, in a perfect world where we had an extra $200 to blow as playmoney, sure we'd get a video. But that's not our world and we decided to say no. However, for a moment, it was easy to get swept up in everyone else's thinking and to question our frugal approach to skydiving. It was easy to see the video out of context, as a once-in-a-lifetime chance that we are simply expected to capture in a particular (and particularly expensive) way. But, in our context, the $200 is much better spent elsewhere and will not detract one whit from the experience or memories.
And heck, if I ever want to relive the skydiving moment, I can just visit You Yube and select any of the thousands of skydiving videos. The jumpers are all wearing gear anyhow. I can easily pretend it's me as I get myself back into the skydiving mindspace and remember the feeling of freefall. In an odd way, attending other people's weddings after you get married is similar to seeking out other people's skydiving videos on You Tube after you've jumped: you can relive the essence of your own wedding day without the pressure to spend money on the videography, favors, or spectacular dress that everyone said you needed to make the day worthwhile. You can stand back and see the $200 (or $2,000) in savings as an investment in a shared life instead of an investment in the more transient aspects of a passing experience.
Next time I start thinking I really need burlap table runners (yes, I've had moments of thinking I really need burlap table runners) I'm going to remind myself of the skydiving video in an effort to keep my wedding brain out of the clouds and feet firmly planted on the ground.