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.
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.