Friday, May 28, 2010

Knowing When It's Not Worth It

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.


  1. I bought the video of me bungee jumping. This was 6 years ago and I'm pretty sure I watched it maybe 2x after.

    It's hard not to get wrapped up in it - and think "OMG how cool to show people and relive that moment" but trust me, the "rush", the "feeling"...all of that will stay with you. I can still, 6 years later, close my eyes and remember perfectly how it felt to stand on the ledge in Costa Rica with an entire bridge load of people counting down. I can still feel that 'whoosh' in my stomach and how unnatural it felt to launch myself off the side of the bridge.

    You both will always have that - AND 200 saved dollars to put towards something else! Have fun!!

  2. Sky Diving Video with Rob Zombie? You rock!

  3. You know, we said the same thing about going to other weddings before and after our own. We figure we'll get our wedding fill with the 5+ weddings we have from May (already attended two) through May of next year. And yes, without the stress of money and trying to be in ten different places at once.

  4. Um, I impuslively bought burlap table runners. Burlap sacks, really, that I could unstitch and spread lengthwise over the tables.

    Actually, erm. I didn't have cash and I begged the fiance to buy them for me.

    Will we use them? Of COURSE not. They shed fibers like a cat in summer.


  5. 1) I went sky diving in 2004, and I wrote about the experience in my journal. When I read that over, I can totally remember the feeling and the excitement. I didn't have it filmed and I don't regret it one bit. (It's still one of the biggest highs I've ever experienced).

    2) I convinced myself (why, o why?!) that I had to have burlap runners. I did them super cheaply (w/50% coupons at Joanns, etc.) and now I look at them (after HOURS spent washing -- burlap stinks -- and ironing them) and wonder why the f*ck did I think I needed runners???? After looking at the picnic tables in our venue again, I'm beginning to think maybe tablecloths are a stretch. ARGH. Live and learn, I suppose.

  6. @nighlarke @Margaret - THANK YOU. In all seriousness, I still have moments of irrational desire for burlap runners, EVEN THOUGH I KNOW IT'S MORE COST AND HASSLE THAN IT'S REMOTELY WORTH. But they're so cute. And it would play so well with the rustic theme. And bah. Sanity check, indeed.

  7. Ah, hubby and I struggled with whether or not to get the skydiving video also. We chose not to and relive the experience by talking about it all the time. It would have been cool, but it was still awesome without.

  8. OK, I did not video my weddings and I was and am totally OK with it.

    I did not video tape my first sky dive. Or my second. Or my third. Then, when I decided that I was going to get my sky diving license, they started video taping me as part of the learning process and license thing. I LOVED watching those tapes. LOVED it. It wasn't to any rock music, it wasn't anything fancy AT ALL. No edits. In fact, in was kind of documentary-like. I loved the commentary recorded in the plane, at the door and after we'd deployed our chutes. "WOO! HOO! Great job, Louise! Head south and I'll see ya on the ground!" I absolutely loved that part of it and watched it over and over again for a few years.

    I won't ever forget my first jump though and based on that info alone, I'm not sure how important the video really is.

    How this might help you, I have no idea. Just my 2 cents!

  9. Though honestly? I totally whined about paying for wedding photography. Whine, whine, whine. Yeah. I'm SO GLAD I have those pictures. F*ck the downpayment. I can always earn a few extra thousand.

    (though if I *couldn't* have paid, the polaroids would have almost sufficed. But not friends shooting digital... no....)

  10. Though I NEVER EVER EVER IN A MILLION YEARS would have videoed our wedding.

  11. @Meg - Hmm. I was speaking more about wedding expenses/brain crazies in general as opposed to wedding photography comparisons. For me, I'm willing to throw a lot of money at wedding photos so they capture the intimate and real moments of the day and I don't want to trust it to just anyone (or to our tipsy friends.) Yes, I'm whining about the cost of wedding photos too because I HATE spending money (the last month is so atypical for me) and the thought of minimally spending $2500 on ANYTHING makes me ill. But oh well. The $200 saved on these skydiving photos will go right back into the eminently more worthwhile wedding photo budget. But not towards the burlap table runners. F*ck the burlap table runners.

  12. Whoa. I've never heard about the skydiving video. This is interesting, very interesting. For we are planning on skydiving in July.

    Outside of that, though, I completely agree. It's hard to take a stand against (or for, for that matter) something that everyone else holds the opposite opinion of. That takes guts. This is a perfect reminder that the "group mentality" extends outside of weddings, too... and that we need to be mindful of creating a space to make our own decisions.

  13. Pffft.

    Himself got a skydiving video, whereas I did not. I don't think he's watched the video once -- other than watching the case gather dust. Personally, I've never missed it; I'll always remember jumping out over Lake Wanaka while trying to keep my mouth closed and then just taking it all in while drifting to the ground (and making a spectacular landing, might I add).

    If you're not fussed, feel good about keeping that $200 in your pocket. And have a fan-fucking-tastic birthday party.

  14. My ex and I went sky diving and we got only one video. That could be a compromise for you if you still feel the need? It was technically my video and it was trained on me during the freefall, but all the video stuff beforehand with us getting on the gear and learning the positions and the after interviews had both of us. We felt like it was a good compromise. (Of course now that we are broken up, he doesn't have a video at all...)

    My song was Red Hot Chili Peppers 'Aeroplane', for the record. :-)

  15. We thought about getting a video done for our wedding and decided it was too expensive to add it. I'm glad it worked out that way because I realize now that I'm not into looking at videos more than once or twice, whether it be a favorite movie or a wedding video!

  16. If you've closed the burlap table runner book-by all means keep it closed. But if you haven't- I'll have 25 or so burlap table runners up for sale once I'm done with my wedding (August 7). Made par moi, right here in LA.

  17. i went skydiving last summer and had the same debate with myself. i ended up getting the video, but aside from having a viewing session with my friends and sister one night, i have never watched it. honestly, it's just a closeup of me screaming as my skin flaps in the wind. it's kind of scary to look at. :) the stills were kind of cool to have, but you can take it or leave it. the experience, though? AMAZING.

  18. Are burlap runners some kind of fad or something? Are they the new peacock feathers or the new steampunk or the new paper lanterns and birdcage cardboxes, and I just missed the memo?

    I like peacock feathers, but the fact that they are THE IT WEDDING ACCESSORY has sort of kept me from wanting them so hard. Maybe think of your burlap table runners similarly.


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