Monday, October 1, 2007

On High Expectations

I don’t think I ask for a lot.

Even when it comes to my wedding – something I’ve been secretly planning in my head for at least ten years – I don’t think I set really high expectations. At least not compared to a lot of the “Bridezilla” stories I’ve heard.

This is what I wanted:

We marry in a small, white country church near our house. All of our friends and family move on to the cocktail hour at the banquet hall while we take pictures out front by the steeple.

When we arrive to the beautifully (but simply!) decorated banquet hall, everyone greets us, then we move into the dining area where we feast on our moderately-priced dinners.

After dinner, The Man and I bust out our dance moves for the first dance, then everyone joins us on the large dance floor to groove to our DJ – my iPod (which I have, for no reason, named Sam).

After cake and dancing and night of fun, the adults are happily (but not overly) intoxicated and shuffle into the rented bus back to their hotel.

Simple, right? I don’t think that’s too much.

So how can one girl encounter so many problems with such a simple plan?

The only churches that resemble my vision met us with this response: “We expect couples to honor God's design and purpose for marriage by not living together before marriage.”

Hmm…would it be better if I went to live with my mom for a bit? Does the fact that we’ve already had a child play into this at all?

I thought I had found a loophole when one pastor wrote “we strongly request that couples refrain from living together…” and responded with “Strongly request? Does that mean you’ll accept us if we ARE?” To which I never received a reply.

We have found a church a little closer to the city. My old church, as a matter of fact. A Congregational church, where they only care that you love Jesus, not how you’re loving your mate. They don’t make me feel like a dirty whore. I like that in a church.

On to that banquet hall…the only places I’ve checked are golf courses. In my area, there is an abundance of golf courses. Some are very nice and some are a little run down. To avoid making visits to places I couldn’t afford, I got all their menus and policies from them via email or their websites and added up every amenity, gratuity, fee and tax I could think of. And realized that I can’t afford it. Any of them. Okay, maybe the one with the wood paneling, brown folding chairs and dance floor the size of a bathtub – but do I really want it there? No.

I have called off the wedding three times (only to people that know I will change my mind, of course) and have given up on the planning at least fifty times.

I would really like to get us some more time. After next year, we’ll have a little equity in our house that we could use. We’ll have another year of tax returns to put toward it. We’d have more TIME.

But then I’m met with “You can MAKE it special. It’s not about where you have it – it’s about you two getting married.” Which sounds nice and all, but it’s kind of a lot of bullshit. I don’t really want to spend $4,000 on the caterer to eat it in the basement of the VFW. I don’t really want my family to fly in from all over the country to eat KFC (which, judging from my disappearing money outlets, is going to be our caterer of choice). I’m secure in our relationship. Especially now that I have my ring. This wedding is supposed to be the “grandest party” we can throw to celebrate our choice to be together forever.

Is it really too much to ask that it be just a little bit like I’ve pictured it??


Canadian flake said...

Have you considered getting married a bit later in the day ?? This way you can have the ceremony and avoid a sit-down dinner with a can serve a late night buffet of finger foods, veggies, cheese etc...still nice but a LOT less expensive..

Something to think about anyway.

Worker Mommy said...

Oh girl I totally understand. Everything in the name of a wedding is sooo expensive. And what the hell, I didn't realize churches required that you not live together prior to marriage. Ha, can you tell I didn't get married in one.
We got a price break because we got married on a Friday evening (getting married on a Sunday evening would also probably give you the same break but I wanted the out of town folks to have some time to visit /not to have to turn right around and leave)
Food is the most expensive and liquor (we only offered beer and wine).
Do you have any friends that are caterers ? Hey what about WhiskeyMarie...maybe she'll cut you a deal ;)
We made our invitations and in my opinion they looked as good as any professional job. I bought the special paper set at The Paper Tree (they have great wedding sets) and used a special font and a professional (i.e -work) printer and they came out great. There are lots of ways to cut corners when need be.
I'm sure you'll want to choke me for saying this but the people who've said "you make the day special" are right.
It's being there with family and friends and celebrating your love for one another -that is what makes it wonderful.
But believe me, I totally get the wanting the perfect day.

Hey...if all else fails you could be like Star Jones and use your celebrity (in your case your blog) to get free stuff :)

Oops...sorry for the long comments but party planning gets the juices going. I swear I was a party planner in another life.

Virtualsprite said...

It's hard. We were talking about our wedding this weekend with my brother-in-law and I so did not realize what I was getting myself into. Our guest list includes people with names like "Ripper" and "The Chief" (and no, we don't know their real names.) Apparently, we will have a designated area for campers.

I have no words of advice because I'm in kind of the same boat. But I'll keep you posted if I think of anything!

Butrfly Garden said...

I've tried over and over, but the reception is really the one place I can't cut costs. I actually DID find a hall that I like over the weekend and the deposit isn't going to be ridiculous. They cater their own events. Most of our guests are family coming in from out of town, so I'd feel really bad not serving them dinner. HAHA. That is another reason why I can't change it to a Friday - because people like my God Parents wouldn't be able to make it then.

Overall, we only have about 90 guests. I call it 100 because there are some people I'm pretty sure I'm going to invite, but I just want to see how things play out over the next couple of months before I officially put them on the list. (Either because I'm not sure if we're REALLY friends or I just recently met them.)

So, really, the hall rental and catering costs are kind of set. I was going to do just wine and beer, too, but I might have to open the bar just to make their Saturday minimum! I haven't met with the coordinator yet, but when I do, I'll get all that stuff worked out.

My mom was just last night trying to convince me to do my own invitations. I'm kind of scared of that, because I have no idea how much work it entails and how much it costs. I found a place online where I could get the invites, reception cards, response cards (and they print your address on the response envelope for free!) for $140. Compared to the other places I've looked, that is pretty cheap, but I don't know how it compares to just printing them yourselves. Truth be told, all the invites I've "picked" were very simple black and white ones, so if printing it yourself is much cheaper AND turns out nice, I'm all for it!!!

Another place I think I could cut corners and be fine with it is flowers. I've thought about ordering them in bulk and doing them myself, but again, I'm skeeered!! Just not having the experience scares me. I think maybe I should talk to a florist and see their prices. Then that will probably scare me more than doing it myself! hahah!

I already killed the DJ idea - I'm doing that all myself. My mom has a sound system and I have "Sam" - it's like a party in a box. And gives me an excuse to spend $100 at iTunes and call it SAVING money!

And then I'm not even going to touch on the dress because I haven't started looking yet. I don't think I'll be overly picky about it and I'm pretty sure I'll be able to find one I'm content with that isn't insanely expensive (because, Hello! I just bought a belt on clearance and almost took it back TWICE because I felt guilty.).

About the Star Jones thing - I saw a couple who kept linking to with their new blog, "Please Help Us Pay For Our Wedding" and all they had on it was a paypal link to donate to their wedding fund. TACK. E. However, I'm just going to throw this out there once that if anyone is reading this and wants to help out, I won't complain! ;)

Worker Mommy - long gets longer. Thats how us Wedding Junkies roll.

Virtual sprite - That's HILARIOUS! Will you address the invite to "Ripper and Family" or just "Ripper?" hahah! I had to find out some last names to complete my list. Oh! And I've offered a "Wisconsin Wedding" as a suggestion but The Man isn't big on bar-hopping! :) HAHAH.

And, just as a disclaimer, I realize what a pouty little brat I sound like saying that "Us is all that matters" is BS - I was kind of just kidding (but only kind of). But The Man married Scari at the courthouse and he believes that set the tone for his whole marriage - so he's looking just as forward to a big wedding as me. So I'm not the only pouty little brat. :) Haha, but seriously, I know what's really important - I just want to make sure I get through this without any regrets - either "I wish we'd done more" ones OR "I wish we'd spent LESS" ones! :)

MommasWorld said...

My first wedding had to be put together in two weeks! My fiancé and I thought we had a full year to plan our wedding. Then he received orders for a hardship tour (3 yrs or more). We decided to rush through a wedding in order to avoid the hard ship tour. Any place else would have been fine, just not there. Plus, we were young and impaitient.

My friends said there was no way I would find a dress my size in 2 wks. Anyway, I found a size 2 dress off the rack which was gorgeous. I could not find the veil I wanted so I made my own…exactly how I wanted it. I won the lottery the week before the wedding…enough to pay for the shoes I wanted to wear.

Since my Dad is a member of nearly every organization imaginable (Elks, American Legion, Shriners, Masons, Scottish Rite, etc.) finding a ballroom was easy and inexpensive.

Between my Mother, Grandmother and a long time older friend they made a beautiful spread. Everything was home made but you would have thought it was catered.

My church had many sister churches in the area so I pretty much had my pick. The church I normally go to had two isles. I wanted a single isle which nearly broke the Reverend’s heart. Anyway, that is how I found out that you can get whatever priest, Reverend, Pagan whatever to perform the ceremony and rent the church. Back then churches charged $50 but everyone knows you pay them double what they ask for because it is always such a reasonable price.

Better yet, come get married out here! I know of several adorable little churches in the area. Oh my, one of the medium sized churches looks just like a castle with the rook corners and all!

We had our honey moon in a beautiful bed and breakfast out in the country. Our first night was in the main house and the rest was spent in the cottage….with 6 different beds! Yes, we used them all! And the hot tubs too.

Amy said...

You just gave me heart palpitations. Please please please do not use the equity in your home to pay for your wedding. Seriously. I work in real estate. It's a bad, bad idea.

Worker Mommy said...

Talk about a wedding junkie - I'm back because I have more to say

$140 on invites isn't bad but if i recall correctly 2 paper kits (I think there were 50 sets including response cards , envelopes everything) were 29.95 each. But that was 7 years ago so I could be wrong. I'll see if I can dig an invite out and scan and send it to you.
Yeah that couple was very tacky. But we all know Ms. Butrfly isn't and she worked in the "star jones wedding plug" subtlely.

Pageant Mom said...

Can I give you a HUGE hint? Don't tell them you are planning a wedding reception - just tell them it's a business dinner event for your company. Let them know you are hiring a dj for entertainment, and you'll need to put up some decorations. (I'll bet you'll find the cost is significantly cheaper esp if you aren't going to be a pain in the neck bride-type)

Whiskeymarie said...

After helping my BF do her own invites, I would have paid $140 myself to have gotten out of that mess. Ick.

If you are still looking for a reception place, Theo Wirth Park has an amazing "Lodge" style space that I know is really cheap to rent. A friend had her reception there about 6-7 years ago and I thought the space was very charming and different. They had beer and wine, but I don't know what sorts of guidelines the park had for events.
Might be worth a shot.
If you have catering questions, let me know. I'm happy to help you with whatever I can, my dear.

Brillig said...

I had six months, rather than a year, and I had a basic plan, but I found that I was fighting, FIGHTING with people I would never dream of fighting with--my parents, HIS PARENTS (those were the biggest wars, which seems so funny looking back, because they're the nicest, kindest people in the world) and most especially HUBBY! Oh, and my boss at work and everyone else who felt it was their job to meddle.

So, my point is, I think even the simplest, most obvious, basic approach to weddings STILL means tears, frustration, and fights. It's like a rite of passage--the refiners fire or something. Anyway, good luck with it! Keep us posted!

Miss Kate said...

I have the church for you if you're still set on the whole white-church steeple thing. (

It's the chapel of the ELCA Lutheran (read: LIBERAL) church I grew up going to... it is in Ham Lake, but not too far from where I suspect you live.

Check your email tonight. I have LOTS of advice.

Lainey-Paney said...

Hi, I'm new here.

...and um....the churches...well, I never encountered that when planning my wedding, and DH & I lived together before marriage.

So...being the tacky person that I am, I've come up with some responses to the churches & their preference about you guys not living together....

"So, you'd prefer that we not live together? Well I'd prefer that the chapel be free of charge on the date of our wedding. But, I guess we're both going to be a bit disappointed, aren't we?"

"Not live together? Well, that would be a little odd for the child we've already created. Is it too late for me to say that we've never had sex, either?"

"What I do in this church is your business. What I do with whips & chains, I mean---in the privacy of my own home, is MY business."

"Oh, here we are 'living in sin', looking to make the situation 'right' by your standards...and there you sit, judging me. Doesn't the Bible say that you are supposed to help your fellow man?"

....okay, that's my rant.
Oh, and nice to meet you!

Lainey-Paney said...

FYI: I did my own invitations. It kicked my A$$. I saved a ton of money (a few hundred dollars), but if I had it to do over again, I'd have ordered the damn things & called it a day.

exskindiver said...

1. I borrowed a wedding dress.
2. I made my own veil.

The best wedding that I have attended, was a pot luck affair,
held in a barn,
with dancing
a keg--
with people who loved the couple, that wanted to be there to celebrate the occasion.

ps. the couple had money left for a down payment on a house.

~relax and analyze what is truly important to you.

pss: about Niagara as a honeymoon is great place to visit, but would not really recommend it for a honeymoon. Why it is popular for it, I don't know, when its not like you can swim in it or bask lovingly in its mist (what with shrinkage and all)

instead of spending on a big wedding, i would spend on a trip to
a nice beach instead. i can definitely help you with beach trip ideas...(may i tag along?)

Carla said...

I got my wedding dress at a Dry Cleaners. They usually have them hanging there that a bride never picked up. Mine cost $70. I redid all the beadwork. Borrowed the veil. Did our own decorations. Printed the church bulletin ourselves. I made payments to the DJ and photographer. They were paid up by the time the wedding rolled around. Cheapo wedding but it did the trick for Mr. and Mrs. Stream! Hang in there!

CK1 said...

Go immediately to It kept me sane and (relatively) stress-free.

-- Kristin

Shauna Loves Chocolate said...

Oh that sucks. I wish everyone would have simple ideas for their wedding like you. Weddings are usually waaaay overdone.

Good luck.

Cherann said...

I think weddings are over rated and a waste of money. That being said, I still had a wedding because my husband insisted upon it and it was fun (although I still think it was a waste of money).

Churches are lame...with all their conditions, that's why their numbers drop off.

You can always create your own "Chapel" and have a minister go to a venue of your choice. Those ministers don't have all those "conditions".

Have fun with it Amy...don't let it get you down. It's your wedding day, it should be one of the happiest days of your life-- not a stressful one.