How Wedding Planning Takes All Your Money (And Slowly Destroys Your Soul)

On Chiavari Chairs And Facials

I won a two-hour meeting with a top wedding planner in Chicago, where I confidently led with, “I am on a budget. Luckily I am a low-maintenance bride because my two main priorities are just lots of flowers and lots of people.” I knew I was in trouble when this wedding planner started blinking a lot. I was about to offer to help remove whatever was bothering her eye when she broke to me that people equals food, and food equals the main cost of the wedding. Also flowers will cost you your first-born child. It was now my turn to blink back at her. There was a lot of collective blinking in the following one hour and forty-seven minutes. You could say it went well.

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The truth is, though, when you begin wedding planning you become indoctrinated in all sorts of wedding things you had no idea you cared about. I was in the middle of a facial I bought on Groupon when suddenly my aesthetician began telling me about their “Ten Facial Wedding Package” to make sure my skin was “supple and plump” for the big day. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but I knew I would start selling plasma to have it. Luckily an emergency phone call with my mom in the bathroom talked me off that ledge, but I wasn’t so lucky when it came to chairs.

“What do you mean? What’s the big deal about chairs?” you might be asking. Oh, innocent one. Let me tell you. I was meeting with that wedding planner, when she took a look at my Pinterest board and pointed something out that my ignorant eye had missed.


Brown and tan banquet chairs at a wedding reception around round set dinner tables, lit with candles, in an event room.

She said, “Look at these pictures. Where does your eye go? I will tell you where: the bulky chairs. But now… look at these pictures…”

In this moment, she may as well have waved Cinderella’s Godmother’s magic fairy wand, that is how dramatic I remember the moment in my mind.

Gold Chiavari chairs at a white and blush tent wedding reception with raised flower arrangements on the tables.


“See how these Chiavari chairs allow you to effortlessly focus on the rest of the room? Do you see it? Just think, you are investing so much money into the rest of the decor, it would be a shame to have it ruined by the chairs,” she said. “OH, A SHAME. WE SURELY CANNOT HAVE THAT,” I exclaimed, my eyes now opened. Or ruined. Regardless, after that any time I looked at a venue, all I could think about were chairs. And as would happen many times over the course of wedding planning, I was devastated to realize my new “priority” was approximately eleventy thousand million dollars.

You will hear you have to have a sparkly bracelet for the first dance picture. Hair extensions. Napkins that bear a picture of the venue. Personalized perfume baskets in all bathrooms. Better back muscles. Yes, someone really told me this. And as you field all these lovely “must haves” that are constantly barraging your ears and email inbox and voicemail, about once a month someone will patronizingly look at you and say the most obnoxious thing of all:

“Just remember, at the end of the day all that matters is you marry Jay.”

YES I FREAKING KNOW THAT, YOU PRETEND INSIGHTFUL PHILOSOPHER YOU. I am aware that matters. I did not ask for the rest of this. In fact, all I said “yes” to was marrying Jay after he got down on one knee with a sparkly ring while my brain temporarily went offline. So I am now putting you, the love philosopher, in charge of the forty-five emails I’m receiving a day and fielding the various requests from family members. Thank you so much for your wonderful advice.

Listen up, engaged people everywhere, you got this. You will marry the love of your life, and it really will be magical. But you don’t need me to tell you that. You already know. Why else would you be working so hard to plan this wedding with your love?

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