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Lauren’s Wedding Planning: Cash Money

Before the holidays are upon us, Intern Lauren is back with another installment of her wedding planning saga… and this is a hard one. If you go back and dig through my wedding planning posts, you’ll find that wedding planning was hard for me too. There was the time I hit rock bottom (thanks to family illness and some truly awful friend behavior), the time good friends suddenly announced their divorce and after a lot of tears I realized what weddings are really about (hint, hope), and then the time that the economy melted down the money part of wedding planning hit me hard. So when Lauren sent me this post about how hard planning was right now, and how stressed she was about money, I nodded, I sighed, and I knew we needed to discuss it. Because wedding zen is real, but so are the hard parts. In fact, sometimes I think we earn the zen with the hard work and the tears. So here is Lauren, with some gritty truth:

Oh yes, the Holidays are in full swing. The trees are up (I don’t have one, but I see them on TV), the Christmas music is on the radio, the menorahs are being lit, it’s cold, I’m getting a thousand emails about sales here and there every day, and I am totally freaked out about money. We’re trying to save for the wedding, and of course I want to give every single person I know a thoughtful, lovely gift that they will adore me forever for. You’d think I was exaggerating for the laugh, but I’m really not. And what does all of this have to do with wedding planning? Cost. Money. Moola. Our savings and how because we’re focusing on saving I feel trapped by my lack of spending money.

I’ve made choices for our wedding that are meaningful and inclusive and important, and also hopefully fun and engaging for our guests. And I’m not spending money just to spend the money, I’m not trying to out-decorate anyone or have the longest train. None of that. But my wedding is happening in Seattle and I live in San Francisco, and that right there is totally impractical as far as logistics are concerned. It’s difficult and creates more cost because I can’t be prepping tons of stuff beforehand and storing it in my mother’s closet, I can’t spend a week before the wedding buying supplies and building amazing home made godknowswhats and tying ribbons on everything, even though I want to. So that means sometimes I have to pay for the convenience of having someone else make and organize it.

The truth about money is I wish we had more. I feel like it would give us more options, would allow us to afford my exact vision without compromise, and I hate it. I hate it because I feel guilty for wanting more money and I hate it because it’s paining me that I have to actually say no to things I thought would always be a part of my wedding/reception – like a photobooth, for example. And maybe it’s almost cliche at this point to want one, but I don’t care. It’s so incredibly who Kamel and I are: goofy, fun, playful. I wanted to have a book of photo booth reels of my guests, my grandma, and me acting the fool, and making me happy. But I had to say no. And I feel guilty for wishing I could spend more on frivolous things like that. Because it’s not the point, right? We’re getting married, that’s what’s important. Our families will be there, our closest friends, in a space that is important to me. But, damnit, I can’t help wanting the other things, the things that are expensive, the things other people tell me not to worry about, that they say won’t matter.

And I’ve gotten lots of suggestions and tips on how to make the things I want or suggestions to find alternative things that I love just as much, but I find that those other options cause me 10 times more stress than saying no to things we can’t afford. And I feel like the frustration of being fairly incapable of crafting it up + the broke as*ness of it all is making planning the wedding suck for me. Because not only do I have to pair down and compromise, we are also stretched incredibly thin in our every day lives trying to afford the rest of what I haven’t said no to (plus groceries and rent and car insurance). And I don’t want my engagement to be all about what we can’t afford. And I don’t want to get to a point where stuff is causing me so much stress that I just don’t give a sh*t anymore, because that’s not wedding zen, that’s something sadder.

So that’s where I am right now. Right in the middle of it all. The Holidays – where I want to please everyone (I WANT to, and stop saying I don’t have to give you a gift because gift giving is my favorite part, so just shut it), the wedding saving, an uncertain fiscal future, and normal life. I’m hoping I know that I’ll pop out of the other end of this satisfied with my choices, and still as excited as I am for that day as I am now (oh so excited!!). Right? Because right now, right this moment, I’m afraid I might be headed toward a f*ck it all attitude (which is different from The F*ck It Moment. It’s more like a F*ck All Of You Moment). And nobody wants that, including me.

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