I’ve been blogging about frugality for nearly 3 years now (Gasp! Has it been that long?) and while I started blogging as a broke graduate student and my life and finances have evolved over time- one thing hasn’t changed: the pressure to keep up with the Joneses. Over the years, the “Joneses” have been different- for a time it was sorority sisters who had flashy designer handbags and IKEA catalog apartments, then when I began blogging, I started to notice how shiny and pretty other bloggers always looked- especially the fashion bloggers who seemed to have endless wardrobes and wallets. Now, as I’m engaged and planning my wedding for 2015, I’ve discovered the ultimate “Jones”….the wedding industry.
I’ve committed myself to debt-free living all in my adult life. Growing up, I remember hearing the phone ring and was told not to answer because creditors were on the line. I remember lavish Christmases with gifts I didn’t even want, all bought on credit and the emotional fallout within my family when the bill came a month later. Consumer debt put on a gorgeous facade, but I remember the devastation it caused when the collectors called and it’s followed me all this time.
I still love my Tiffany and I own a pair of LouBoutins – but it’s all been paid in cash. Just because you’re frugal, doesn’t mean you have cheap tastes, it just means that you know how to shop a sale, you’re committed to getting out of or staying out of debt, and while you may be a slave to fashion, you don’t have to be a slave to debt.
Now, I’m planning my wedding and I had the blessing of hearing from Frugal Beautiful readers to better understand what “real” wedding budgets look like (see that Facebook conversation – the answers were all over the board and totally insightful!) and I’ve seen a variety of weddings at a variety of price points. I’m still figuring out what our budget will be- I started saving a few months before we got engaged (y’all thought I was crazy!) and have about $3500 saved so far, which is great and completely nothing all at the same time.
It amazes me when I talk to people- some people see your wedding day as the ultimate expense and others think it’s totally silly to spend money on a wedding. To me though, while I didn’t dream of my wedding day as a little girl or “dream of being a bride my entire life,” my wedding day is going to be one of the most important days of my life, and I’m willing to pay for it.
More than spending a boatload of cash for our wedding day and making it “perfect” (don’t brides just love that term?)- I want to do my wedding DEBT FREE. This is going to be my biggest challenge yet and I’m going to have to get really creative in order to find funding, get discounts and DIY my way towards our wedding day.
Over the next 18 months (we’re having an intentionally long engagement so I can snag a special June wedding date!) I hope you’ll be along for the ride. I want to pay for this in cash and I’m really nervous admitting that to everyone since I still have yet to pick a venue beyond “California” and set a definitive budget.
– The wedding date will be 6-6-2015. I haven’t booked the venue yet, but that date is already terribly unfrugal yet I’m in love with it.
– We’re getting married in southern California, a notoriously unfrugal place to wed, but the weather is nice & my family is there.
– I know can cut costs by cutting the guest list. I know we will probably have over 100 people and having a party big enough for the fabulous folks in our life is very, very important to us.
– There will NEED to be a photo booth of some kind. I can live without monogrammed napkins, but not a damn photobooth, our people need to don glittered party hats and fake mustaches for part of our party.
– I’ve already started saving cash for the big day…$3500 isn’t much, but it’s a good start.
– I’m going to try and get things sorted out early. What I can’t DIY I’m going to pitch vendors and barter.
– The engagement ring and wedding bands are done and paid for. (see that story here.)
– I’m hoping a family member or friend can chip in for photography.
– The “average” American wedding costs upward of $28,000. Our budget might not be that high, but I’m going to save like a madwoman as if it was in the meantime.
– Airline miles. Prepare to be cashed in! Favors of any kind, also prepare to be called in. Ha!
Honestly.. I’m already feeling the pressure already with the bridal magazine glossies and amazing Pinterest boards. The first thing I want to do is find a venue- that seems to be the biggest chunk of change and will thus, determine our budget. The venue is one thing, but knowing how many people they can accommodate is another.
I don’t even know where to begin- we want a Route 66 theme and I looked into the Smog Shoppe but want to examine other options at different price points since I hear it books up really early.
Photo courtesy: Green Wedding Shoes
Photo courtesy: Taylor D’ Events
From message board and forums it can be a pricey venue, and finding one that’s “frugal” might be hard to find in LA. My goal is to find something in soCal that’s got a Route 66 vibe to it (so no victorian mansions, no seaside bluffs or overpriced horse drawn carriages) and will be comfortable and memorable for our guests. If you’d like more of my “wedding mood board” I’d love your ideas!