Walking The Tightrope

We got back from a meeting with a delightful cooking wedding elf this weekend, and I climbed straight into bed and pulled the covers up over my head. After a while a squeaky shaky little voice piped up from under the covers:

“Why is everything so expensive?*” I said plaintively.
David, of course, did his bit to calm me down, “Well, we live in a expensive area, and we’re doing our very best.”
“Oh.” Said the squeaky little voice. Then I thought for a while, “Maybe we could just have a little wedding and just invite 40 people or so?” I offered.
“Well, that would really hurt the feelings of a lot of our close family members and friends that we couldn’t invite.”
“Oh.” I said from under the covers. “That’s true. But some people say you should just do exactly what you like for your wedding, and to heck with everyone else?”
David sighed, “We could, but that wouldn’t be very nice, and we probably wouldn’t be very happy with it in the end.”
“Oh.” I said “That’s true. But maybe we could just have the wedding be like a dinner party, and we could cook for all 125 family members and friends?”
David, who is the person who does cook for our family and friends at dinner parties, suddenly sounded a little stressed. “No,” he said “absolutely not. You clearly need a nap, and I might need a drink.”

So, I took my nap (I was under the covers already anyway) and when I woke up nothing seemed much clearer, but I went back and read this post, and it helped a little. Sometimes, planning a wedding feels like walking a tightrope with about 10 ropes tied to you, each pulling in different directions. Your job is to figure out which ropes are the safety ropes, and you should keep connected to you (even if you loosen them a little bit), and which ropes are the trick ropes, that are trying to pull you off balance. All of that, while you are trying to hold hands with your partner, and keep your balance.

*Nope, no budget busting here. It’s just that sometimes, the budget we actually have seems like a CRAZY amount of money, even if it is way under the average.

Photo via Happy-Dee-Dooo’s flickr stream

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  • I totally feel you! It is like walking a tightrope. What a great example…it comes down to this. Food/drink is what the biggest premium is put on… so you either cut your guest list (which would totally suck) OR… use your own caterer. that’s the route I’m taking. The only issue with that is finding a decent place that allows outside catering… but i’ve been researching… and it just seems the most feasible way to do a wedding with a regular size guest list (150+) these days. *Sigh* Just wanted to say i totally feel you…
    *amy* http://imaynotbefamous.blogspot.com

  • Take heart!
    You do not stand alone on the rope. There are many of us out there who love our friends and family and are really putting together this whole crazy shindig for them. I firmly believe (with fingers cross and prayer aloft!) that on the day of, it will all be worth it. Not just because of the Mission Accomplished – you are married – factor. But also the great memories and being able to share it in a beautiful way that really represents you as a couple.

  • Good analogy!
    You know, catering quotes are definitely an eye-opening experience! They can be utterly ridiculous down to plain ol’ expensive. It’s crazy. And don’t even get me started if you don’t want to use platicware!! You’d think I was all of a sudden a princess who couldn’t touch that cheap stuff! Ugh, no, it’s just my wedding, and it’d be nice to not use plastic forks.

    Anyways – keep looking. Keep calling around, keep emailing, keep meeting with the little wedding elves. We are going with the Black Eyed Pea. A chain restaurant that has “homestyle” food. Not super fancy. BUT!!!! They were the least expensive by over $1,000 , are providing me with real utensils, serve the guests at the buffet, will go around to refill the guests’ drinks at the tables, are providing us a bartender (who will serve the alcohol we buy)…. they’re going to be wonderful.
    So keep looking – you’ll find someone!

  • Darling fiance and I had almost the same conversation a few weeks ago. We found a great location, and quite frankly it’s affordable in the scheme of wedding planning … but it’s so much more than we wanted to pay. The room rental, food, tax and gratuity is at MINIMUM $7750 of our $10,000 budget. And even though I really, really want to create this special memory for us AND for our guests, I still have this nagging sense of guilt about spending this kind of money.

  • sierra

    I remember the tightrope. Remember to do the wedding the way you and your fiance want. If you have a budget that works for you, there’s no need to get into a cheapest wedding contest. And I agree, catering estimates can be painful. Up until we signed ours I always had this secret hope that it would be less than I’d roughly calculated and I would be soo underbudget. :) Oh well, we were actually pretty close to our budget and I’m sure you’ll do even better.

  • It nice to see a post like this. I feel like a lot of the wedding budgeting advice I see is cut your guest list so you can have some fancy-dance photographer -which is great if you’re planning on inviting your kindergarten teacher and everyone else you’ve ever met – but not so great when your guest list hits 125 and that’s just your families and a couple of close friends who are all dying to be there to celebrate with you. I considered having a smaller wedding but in the end, I know I would miss having those people there on my special day.

    I love photography but having my friends there is more important to me.

  • Catering is the hardest to budget! My fiancĂŠ and I ended up going with Whole Foods, which worked out to the amazing price of $18 per person for an incredible menu. But that depends on the chef at your whole foods (ours is in Charlottesville, VA). But it might be worth checking out. Let me know if you want to see our menu and I could email it to you.

  • Eek! Food doesn’t have to be expensive, but I have no idea about the rates in your area. We were quoted $27NZ a head which works out to about $24US. I thought that was quite reasonable.

  • Great analogy.

    I hide under the covers too when it all gets too much.