Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Envy

Over the last few weeks, my wedding emotions went spiraling into a dark vortex of hate. And, if I'm entirely honest, it wasn't simply because of guest list battles, venue frustration, or feeling entirely up in the air about all our plans. No, if I'm being honest, it's because I was getting sadder and sadder about my wedding budget and all the things I can't buy and won't have for the wedding.

Boo hoo, I know. My budget is actually pretty substantial in the grand scheme of the world but, with LA pricing and 150 people, it turns out we're having a pretty bare bones affair. And, because I've been researching venue alternatives like crazy over the last few weeks, I've been feeling exactly how bare those bones really are, especially in comparison with other people's weddings.
  • Other people can afford/are willing to pay for an $8000 room rental at Smog Shoppe and all the additional required staffing and rental needs.
  • Other people can afford/are willing to pay for a gorgeous dress in a breathable material.
  • Other people can afford/are willing to pay for those charming hanging strands of lights that cost $50 per strand plus labor to safely string up.
  • Other people can afford/are willing to pay for succulent design centerpieces instead of fruitless searching on the internet for centerpiece tips.
  • Other people can afford/are willing to pay for caterers and event staff who magically take care of set up and clean up.
  • Other people can afford/are willing to pay for professional hair and makeup.
  • Other people can afford/are willing to pay for handmade rings with ethical sparkle that matches their engagement ring.
  • Other people can afford/are willing to pay for exceedingly pretty and incredibly convenient and hassle-free weddings.
We are not other people. We (okay, I) was crying into our budget excel every time I found a new possible venue and realized how much more bare bones our budget would have to  become to accommodate the alternative (I don't need a wedding dress, do I? We can email invitations and not just save the dates, right?) And we (okay, I) was becoming increasingly resentful about everything we can't or won't have at our wedding.

My envy was truly ugly. When I entered the final quote from our venue into our spreadsheet this morning, I began making some it-would-be-nice updates in non-venue categories. Just to see. And, in "just seeing" the impossible result, I let waves of self pity wash over me. And then, I sensibly cut myself off from budget idiocy and went to explore non-wedding corners of the internet.

I stopped by Get Rich Slowly, my favorite personal finance site, where I felt like J.D's post today was talking directly to me. He wrote about house-envy while walking along a pretty river road in Portland in a way that managed to talk me down from the wedding-envy edge more effectively than any recent recaps of small budget, full-of-love weddings, since those weddings only managed to incite more envy. (bold emphasis mine.) 
"I’ve looked at these homes before, but usually in just a cursory fashion. Today, I really looked at them. And as I looked, I began to covet.

“I want a house like that,” I thought as I passed the new house built from river rock and brick. “Or maybe one like that,” I mused while considering the next lot, which includes a tennis court.
I imagined what it would be like to live in homes like these, homes with arched double-door entries, vaulted ceilings, and wrap-around porches. How much would it cost? (And where would I get the money?) What would this new, wealthier J.D. be like? What would I do? How great would my life be?
But my imagination really took flight when I saw that one of the homes was for sale. I stopped at the top of the driveway to admire all of the gables, the fountain, and the three-car garage. I pictured the other side, which must sit right at the river’s edge...
“Wow,” I thought. “If only I could afford a place like that!”
Yes, J.D. If only. And then what? Would that make you satisfied?
...Suddenly it occurred to me that I didn’t need some fancy dream house. I already have one. I recalled the excitement that Kris and I felt when we first found our current place back in 2004. We thought it was perfect.
...When you feel that aching urge to keep up with the Joneses, when you wake up and realize you’ve begun to succumb to lifestyle inflation, it’s time to pause and take stock of what you have. When you slow down and really appreciate what you already own, you can often slake the thirst for something bigger and better.
Replace "house" with "wedding" and you see where I'm going. We already have a wedding plan I've fallen in love with a thousand times over. And I certainly know that spending more for the pretties that frame our day won't make me any more satisfied in the long-term. And I know that a more expensive wedding won't make my life great in any real way. But sometimes, it's hard to remember my core values and awesome-for-me choices when envy sneaks into your previously innocuous appreciation of expensive houses/weddings. So today I'm taking J.D. advice and slowing down to appreciate what we already have.
  • We have a stunning venue in a place that's emotionally important to us.
  • We have so many loved ones who will be joining us from out of town.
  • We have amazing friends who have offered to bake cakes and make appetizers.
  • I have an amazing ex-makeup-artist friend who has offered to do my makeup as a gift.
  • We have vendors we love, including so many blogger friends with whom I shared this process of wedding planning and marriage.
  • We have plans to make our chuppa in a way that plays homage to meaningful family traditions and beauty.
  • We have a wedding in which we've edited away the fluff, out of sheer necessity, and focused on a day and rituals that matter to us.
  • We have each other.
How about you? What do you have? And what do you hold onto when envy tries to creep in and grab ahold of your heart?

37 comments:

  1. Great post and I'm digging the term "lifestyle inflation" - totally it!

    I've been seeing a ton of weddings pictures on facebook lately as the early summer wave begins. And they all look really typical. I don't say that to be mean or be like "haha, poor typical WIC brides!" or anything. But it was a good reminder to me that I've set my sights on such a high standards (I'm looking at all you pretty, indie, crafy, friendorfull brides!) that I lost touch of where we actually are. But when you step back and see the full range of weddings, it kinds helps go, oh yeah, and ours looks like us. Somewhere in the middle. And thats perfect.

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  2. i would think it's unavoidable.

    i kept all of my wedding treasures in one box under my bed. and whenever i was weddingsad, i'd pull it out and look at all of the pretty scraps of ribbon and paper that were going to eventually be a happy wedding.

    in the end, you don't look at the photos and sigh about how beautiful your professionally-styled hair looks. you don't frame photos of your indie hanging lanterns. and you very rarely fret that maybe the centerpieces could have been a smidge prettier.

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  3. What a wonderful post, thank you for putting your envy out there for us to see because seriously, everyone experiences it.

    We are having a winter wedding, which is exactly what I wanted mind you, but I still sometimes get "season envy" (so ridiculous!). I see pretty wedding after pretty wedding with the blue sky and the green grass and the tans and the freckles and get angry at those brides for not being hot and sweaty and miserable like I would be in the summer heat.

    So I will take your lead to remind myself that we have a chic urban venue with a breathtaking skyline, snowflakes on which to make wishes, a ceremony in the dark with candles, and a colorful bridal cardigan.

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  4. I have gone from being very disappointed, frustrated and sad to totally pissed off to the point of rage when I think about what I didn't 'HAVE'...referring to our photographer. But this week, as I've started to really dive into our recaps, I realize how many 'good' photos we really have afterall and that I need to just get over what didn't work out the way I wanted it to.

    This post totally confirmed that for me. I felt so bad as I read through this...I want to let you have everything that I used for my wedding that is left over. :)

    But your conclusion is accurate. I went to a wedding this past weekend that was everything I would never want at my own wedding. But it was beautiful, simple, rustic and so perfect for the two people in love who got married. I told my girlfriends "This is so not my style of a wedding, but I love it...because it is totally their style. And really weddings are supposed to be different and vary and reflective of the couple's personality and lifestyle."

    So don't fret girl...it will be so perfect for you...and you never know where little surprises might pop up for you, too :)

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  5. THIS is why I read wedding blogs and not The Knot, wedding mags, etc. I'm usually a lurker, and I love a great DIY or budget wedding post for inspiration, but this post really speaks to me about those wedding planning times that no one likes to talk about. Thanks for sharing, keep 'em coming.

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  6. So well said my friend, what a great post. Every time I look at my guest list I want to cry. But I focus on the things about my wedding that I love. Living abundantly is so much better than living with resentment.

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  7. There are times when I think that we weddng bloggers might possibly be cycling together. I was feeling quite down about my less-than wedding plans that were unintentionally mocked by my sweet mother. Every last bit of our plan was mocked, so I am thankful for your post, which made me think.

    At first, my thoughts went this way: what DO you have? "Nothinnnngggg! It's all uggglllyyy!" [sob] But then I started to really think. Okay, so our wedding is not Mom's style. What do we have? And I was able to tick off a nice, long list of things that I love about our wedding.

    So thank you for the reminder.

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  8. Love JDs blog and I loved that post. Not in the throes of wedding planning, obviously, but I like to remind myself of this for everyday life. We all make different choices, we all have different priorities, and I'm happy with mine. That's key.

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  9. thank you for this really honest and open post - because I needed it. I've got the envy. Not every day, not every moment, but man does it lurk - ready to pop out and consume me at the drop of a hat (or a click of the link to a gorgeous garden wedding with string lights and chalk boards and big open fields).

    I try really hard to take time to sit and remember, that we're excited about what we do have planned, and not only that but what it then also leaves available for us to plan for our future that we're building together - how not going into debt now will allow us to make a cross country move, own a home, take grand vacations later. I know that what we even have now is so much more than so many people around this globe, but it gets really, really hard sometimes when I see the pretty lace of a beautiful Amsale dress and know that I'm not even going to enter a store that carries the brand because no dress there will be in my budget.

    so thank you for sharing!!

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  10. What a fantastic call back down to groundedness.

    And this:
    "Yes, J.D. If only. And then what? Would that make you satisfied?"

    This reminded me of a yellowed scrap of paper my mother kept posted on the refrigerator for years and years and years. It was a newspaper reprint of Robert Hastings' essay "The Station." It's likely you've already read it, but I'll paste the link here just in case:
    http://www.thestationessay.com/

    While it's a slightly different message than JD's warning against lifestyle inflation, it works. For us, replace "the station" with "the wedding," and it works. That beautiful, ultimate wedding with its beautiful, ultimate ornaments is an illusion that constantly outdistances us. Better to slow down and remove ourselves from that race.

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  11. Posts like this are perfect examples of why I consider myself the luckiest guy in the universe. Love you, B!

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  12. ^^awwww.

    When things get really "I want"-y, I try to take the whole affair down to the bare bones. We're able to invite almost everyone that we want there, and we're lucky enough to be able to feed and water (okay, booze) them all. That in itself is a big chunk of the celebration, and I'm proud(?) to be able to provide it. It's kind of like a bulls-eye: What's most important is in the center and the other stuff kind of fades the further out it is. If something I want is on my sixth circle, or something, I don't feel so bad if I don't have it. As long as my inner circles are taken care of, I feel at least some sense of goodness.

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  13. When I look back now at my wedding photos, the *only* ones I look at are the ones of the two of us together. I think to myself, look how happy and beautiful and in love we are.

    There are a ton of things I wish I had, a bigger house, a smaller appetite, a shorter commute, etc... but I always just remind myself that the people who do have those things might not have what we clearly have in those just-us-two pictures.

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  14. Great post. I've been struggling a lot recently with wedding planning in that I don't feel like I'm either "in" with the WIC nor am I a complete "alternabride." Like you, my budget isn't completely shoestring... I paid for most of the wedding myself and technically I could pay more but refuse because of the practical aspect (why throw more $$$ into a one day affair). Then when I see someone's post about how they were just dying for X (and they're always "dying" for it) but it was out of budget and then magically the money tree (i.e. mom + dad) made it happen I get a little irked. I do my best to stay sane in this process but every so often I feel out of place on both sides of the spectrum and need to recenter.

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  15. If your venue falls through, I too am in love with the Smog Shoppe but alas, cannot afford it - you think they would let us do two weddings in a day to split the costs?

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  16. These last few posts of yours, it's like you are speaking my thoughts. I am going through your angst and stress and all of that stuff about the exact same things as you're posting them. And you know what? None of those problems are solved yet (huge guest lists, wedding envy, irritating budgets), but reading my stress on your website makes me feel better. I'm not alone. There are other non-crazy brides out there who are like ME. So, in this long-winded comment, thank you. We all know our weddings will be lovely and everything will get done, but it doesn't feel like it right now. So again, thank you. Have an internet hug from someone who is feeling just like you. (was that internet hug thing creepy?)

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  17. I fell in love with the Haiku Mill early on until I realized that for $30k we would maybe get a wedding for 50, not including flights, hotels, rings, dress, suit.... Um, no.

    My biggest envy has been watching other people who are able to hire out the big tasks that we are doing mostly ourselves (food, flowers, setup, decor). The Saturday before our wedding we're moving all the furniture that we're not using out of the venue into storage, stringing up those twinkle lights that everyone loves then shopping for our caterer so he can start prepping the next day. Oh yeah, and having our rehearsal. :)

    The thing that's keeping me sane is knowing that by doing these things ourselves, we're able to have the wedding we want. There is no way we could have afforded it otherwise.

    If you want, I can ask my friend who is helping with the florals how she is putting together our succulent jars. It's been one of our cheapest projects: thrifted vessels totaled around $26 and succulents through a wholesaler for about $0.70 a plant.

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  18. Just looking at your list of what you do have- you have a lot. And the things you have are lasting and deep and important. I'm glad they make you happy!

    We held onto a lot of things but we also had to let go of a lot. Both are actually very freeing. We hold onto each other, our values, our reasons for getting married. We held onto our choice to hold each accountable with our why do we need its and do we have the money for thats and the famous this is not in our wedding pillars at alls.We held onto our budget for sure! We let go of it a little bit, because we had to, but we got it back and we're holding on tighter than ever! We also let go of everything that didn't feel natural. That was our biggest challenge, sifting through what felt like us and what felt like things we need/wanted due to envy. In many ways, letting go was much harder than holding on.

    And when envy creeps in- I give myself a good old reality check. For example, my blog reader tells me that A CUP OF JO has a guest post about wedding inspiration. I took one click, didn't even read the post, and X'd the damn window. Love A CUP OF JO, but I don't need an inspiration board right now. It triggers old emotions of I want and I need, and I can't have any of that right now. So what did I do? Your sweet little post was sitting at the top of the blog roll and I let out a big "WHEW!" and I clicked, and I read, and here I am. :)

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  19. Love this post.

    I think it all comes down to priorities. When you're happy with yours, I think you just have to accept and appreciate the consequences.

    There are so many things going on in our lives outside of the wedding, and we have to remember to put weight there also.

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  20. Thanks this amazing post. It really inspired me to think differently about my own wedding!

    http://barristerbride.blogspot.com/2010/06/keeping-things-simple.html

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  21. The vortex is an awful place to be. Both my sister in laws and a cousin are getting amrried all around us so it is hard to avoid the comparisions. The huge weddings, the 2 week trips to Hawaii and Bali. But you know, I DON"T EVEN WANT THOSE THINGS. The other day I wrote about how seeing a little farm of baby goats made my day. When I told my future husband that, he smiled and said 'All I want is to be your babyy goat. The thing that always makes your day better'. Thats all I need

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  22. i was super jealous about smogshoppe weddings, fancy paper, tablescapes, string lights, real photobooths - all the elements to a 'blogworthy' wedding that the WIC had drilled into my head.
    instead we had a small DIY wedding at a restaurant, where my friends helped out with homemade photobooths and hair, my mom did my makeup, my sisters made all the paper. it was small, but so very us.
    i wouldn't have done it any other way, and in hindsight, the time i spent being jealous was a waste. it's great that you're not letting it get to you anymore!
    keep trudging, you're almost there! c:

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  23. @Everyone - thank you. It really helps to feel not alone in the crazy moments, especially when the mainstream wedding planning and inspiration resources don't really touch on this and when my IRL local friends aren't going through the same process.

    @Kerry - Your winter wedding sounds amazing. Which I know you know, but I also know that it's not what gets held up and celebrated on most sites so it's easy to get covetous. Then again, I want your snowflakes now.

    @Lyn - thank you for that link. I actually hadn't read that essay, but it's the sort of thing I try to hold onto. I'm such an end-result person, and I've been trying to slow down and appreciate the journey/process more in recent years. I can see why your mom kept the essay.

    @eclipse - yes, we're trying to focus on that core (which is different for everyone, I'm finding) and then, if possible, give something to those outer circles. Yes, letting go of envy is about focusing in on the inner circle and ignoring the outer circle noise and marketing.

    @wifey wiferson - I'm planning to talk more about the role photos play after the wedding at some point soon, because I think it's kept me more grounded during this before. Thanks.

    @Tamar - Meg wrote ages ago about the "betwixt and between" brides who are planning neither rich nor small-budget. It's a weird situation where we have to rely on guts and values to hold us back instead of circumstance. I think it makes the envy and confusion a bit harder sometimes (though I'm certainly not complaining.) It's just a strange situation, with a push-and-pull of judgment from both ends of the spectrum. But you're not alone.

    @Erin - two weddings in one day is a logistical nightmare (I used to plan events, and the thought is terrifying to me). But email me. I have some other options you might consider.

    @Lisa - I KNOW. I don't even want half these things either. Not really. Grr. That's what makes it all so confusingly soul wrenching at moments. Eff WIC marketing and friend/family comparisons. Yay for baby goats.

    @ila - oh my, is the wedding done already? Wow. Congratulations! I would LOVE to hear all about your little restaurant wedding of joy. (I may have been poking around your food blog a bit, as of late, and you are a woman after my own tummy...)

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  24. This is so great. I just wrote about something similar on my blog. I simply cannot believe how much money people pay for a wedding, it's unbelievable, and very few ppl think it's that big of a deal! We just started planning and I'm already overwhelmed by how much it costs, but then life keeps happening, and if you really look around it brings the focus back onto what's important, family and friends and the love that you have. If this economic situation in this country has done anything for us it's maybe brought some of us back to the real world.

    Great post!

    http://thebusiestbee.blogspot.com/

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  25. Oh, this post is amazing. It just hit all the right notes, right when I'm fretting over all of this. Right now, the most stressful part is that our venue hasn't given us a properly updated estimate, and the number the coordinator vaguely quoted us seems way, way too high. So I stress. And I poke at numbers. And I wish about things like photobooths and a real florist.

    But instead, with help from this post, I'll focus on what I have, here and now. Thanks. :)

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  26. WE HAVE THE BLOGLAND SMARTIES, TOO! You should email A Desert Fete about succulent ideas. I bet she can help you, or point you at someone who can help you. xoxo

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  27. A family I know who has adopted more than 40 handicapped kids over the years sends out a family portrait christmas card every year with the words, "want what you have" it is my new mantra. I stick these cards to my fridge and try to stay positive when I want someone else's job, wedding, wardrobe, etc.

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  28. From your list of what you do have, it sounds like you will have a loveliest of lovely weddings!

    For me, the wedding envy eventually turned into wedding despise where basically any wedding that was expensively 'themed' or was wedding detailed within an inch of its life, I came to despise for their (apparent) lack of authenticity. Quite unhealthily, I became a fully fledged wedding snob. But now on the other side, while I still stand by our decisions to eliminate almost all wedding fluff, I am developing a little more understanding for other couples choices that are different to ours. I guess holding onto the 'Meg mantra' or authenticity - what is authentic to you - will get you past the envy.

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  29. Hi!
    I love the feeling and intent of your post. I know you are embracing what you already have and aren't soliciting ideas or things buuuut....
    I have a lot of sting lights (the cheaper globe kind) that I could loan you if you're interested. I am a Production Designer and will be using them for my October wedding, but I feel your tight budget pain.
    Also, I am also doing succulents as centerpieces. I have begun collecting clippings now that I will then cultivate, hopefully successfully, into free centerpieces. Ask friends with succulent gardens or visit public spaces with a pair of shears-it doesn't hurt the mother plant if you dont go overboard.

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  30. Much in the same way that I stopped watching BET and MTV when I was younger, because their videos made me feel inferior. I also had to stop going to Style Me Pretty or Once Wed with their "budget" weddings because they made me feel badly about our actual budget wedding.

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  31. Oh hon...

    I don't know you, and our budget is somewhat bigger due to parental help (not that much bigger, though!), but I feel your penvy (pain + envy). We love our venue, but I still get the occasional pang of regret over venues we couldn't have managed for logistical purposes or financial ones - the Hudson Valley is not quite as expensive as Los Angeles but the picturesque setting draws a lot of people and as such, the gorgeous venues available all charge through the nose. I know people who got professionally done hair and makeup, had a coordinator, had actual florists and custom art (I *covet* custom art) and Wai Ching dresses that I can't afford and, y'know, the time to do a pre-wedding weight loss regime that I ascribe to...in my dreams.

    It especially hurts when other people assume things about your wedding that you aren't doing because you can't afford them: "who's your stationer" and "what kind of cars are you renting?" and "you're having a reception in Taipei, right?" and "I'm sure you're splurging on the honeymoon hotel!" - all being questions we've gotten. (We live in Taipei and none of our local friends can afford to come. It's not even a money issue: it's their bosses who won't give adequate time off). Umm - people actually have "stationers"? We can't afford to rent cars. We'd love to do a Taipei reception but can't afford it. No, we're getting a pretty basic mid range hotel to start off and then staying in different places as we travel around, none of them likely to be fancy.

    But the things that I am thankful for that stave off the envy monster:

    - Dude, I have a custom gown, and not a knockoff but a real, I designed it and someone made it for me custom gown with a freaking VINTAGE OBI from Japan (I suppose all obis are from Japan, but that was just for emphasis of how cool it is) as a sash in a deep, gorgeous purple-red dupioni that cost less than $500.

    Not even the most expensive designer Vera or Vivienne or Dior gown can lay claim to a vintage obi or to being a truly custom, I-designed-this gown. None have the uniqueness, the blood sweat and tears poured into it as mine, even though I did not actually sew it myself.

    - I have the most amazing fiance in the world. Hands down. He wins (Sorry, Jason). He even looks hot in glasses.

    - OK, so we can't afford custom art, but I myself am not a bad artist. As a result, my hand-drawn flowers adorn our hand-designed stationery, and our invitation is a professional design job by a good friend who did it as a gift. It's not custom graphic art but it's pretty darned close and I'd rather have a good friend design our invitation than an artist I barely know creating art for us.

    - We can't afford a reception in Taipei, but the fact that we have enough friends here to even consider it means we're blessed. And we can afford to have them over for appetizers and drinks before we leave.

    - We've been fighting with my family over the guest list but I'm grateful that I have such a large and close family at all. I'd rather have that than no fights.

    - Thanks to my parents and my fiance's, we do in fact have a lovely venue and caterers who actually will do setup, take down and some basic coordination, as well as a stellar rehearsal dinner.

    - I'm doing my own makeup, but someone I went to high school with (pro hairstylist) is doing my hair for $60, which is piddles in the wedding world.

    So yeah...we can't string strands of $50 lights or hire labor to set it all up for us, nor can I go on any spa days or spend our honeymoon in four star resorts, but we ARE blessed, and it can never hurt to remind ourselves of that every day!

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  32. I think that you've done exactly the right thing here- acknowledged the envy and then come right back at it with a list of the positives. Being grateful/excited about what you DO have definitely has a way of chipping away at the envy. I sometimes remind myself that the ONLY wedding I really, truly, deep down want is the one I'm planning to C. Sure all those other weddings look lovely, but they're not ours. End story.
    And if the lights you're talking about are cafe lights, you're more than welcome to borrow ours after the wedding! We bought 'em at Big Lots post holidays for a few bucks a box! :)

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  33. i struggled with this throughout my entire engagement. not only was i dealing with money envy, but also family envy. my family isn't close and neither is my fiance's. our siblings aren't even coming.

    anyway, we're 5 days out now, and at this point my wedding envy is gone. i'm excited about the wedding and proud as hell that we've done all of this ourselves. i look around my apartment and see the piles of stuff i've created, thrifted, borrowed, etc, and feel accomplished. i think about all the friends who are contributing time/money/effort and feel loved.

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  34. Atta girl! The Candyman and I are are actually in the house hunting phase and struggle with the envy. We DON'T need a big, glamorous house. Nor do we want one. The same went for the wedding, but sometimes you just get caught up in the Luhuiller vs. Casablanca, y'know? You just can't help yourself.

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  35. Personally, I think that right now is a great time to be going through budget woes regarding weddings. I can't remember a time where there was so much help and information on the internet. Not only in the form of wedding inspiration, but also in the form of blogs and blogging friends. I remember seeing a report years ago where people ACTUALLY met an online pen pal from the internet. Now, it seems like total commonplace to meet a fellow blogger on the internet, and a few weeks later go to his/her birthday party, then meet up for drinks. It's so easy to find someone that's gone through, or is going through the same exact scenario as you, and it's SO comforting.

    It seems like you've got a firm grasp on what's important and, in my book, that makes you WAY ahead of schedule. There will be times you want those pretty things, and who knows, as you get closer to the wedding you may figure out how to fit one or two of them into the budget. There are more people than ever selling their 2nd hand (used only ONE DAY) pretty and expensive things. And right now, at this point in wedding history, they have so many avenues to show them to you. Maybe 10 years ago I wouldn't have known what to do with chuppa poles. They would have sat in the garage for years after the wedding before we just cut em down and recycled them.

    My point is, that it's a GREAT time in history to be getting married and it's a GREAT time in history to be getting married on a budget. Great things are coming your way. When you put so much energy into something - only good can come from it.

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  36. oh man. have i had these days. our wedding will be the last in a summer full of weddings, 2 of them in my fiance's family. and 2 of them that i was really close too had no budgetary restraints at all. $5,000 gowns before alterations with original drawings from the designers. why can't i have that? live bands that rock all night long, there is something so great about the energy of live music - i want that! martini bar - i want that! $10,000 amazing photographer - i want that! it's so so hard not to compare and feel sorry for yourself, the dress thing in particular really got to me...

    but i have to say, after being a guest at both of these weddings, there is no way they can compare to ours in weight. the readings were generic, which doesn't mean they arent lovely for them, but ours is so personal and just so US that i wouldnt trade it for the most beautiful gown in the world. they were wonderful joy filled days but as a guest a happy bride is just as beautiful in a $5000 gown as a $100 gown, it's her smile and the connection that you can see between the happy couple.

    i guess what i'm trying to say is - your wedding, no matter where or how is destined to be the greatest wedding you will ever have the pleasure to attend...and when i get down i just keep telling myself some advice i stole from east side bride a while back..."remember you wedding is not a photoshoot"

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