Anyone I’m working with on planning our wedding says the same thing, “You seem really calm about this.” They’re right. I am. But in the earliest stages of planning my wedding to my longtime boyfriend and now fiance, I was stressed. And it was all because I had a budget that was less than a third of the average American wedding and, unfortunately, I’d interacted with wedding industry.
I walked out in tears, an hour into a wedding show. My eyes welled up after talking with dozens of vendors, only to find their prices as steep as their condescension. $4,000 photographers, venues that bait-and-switched on pricing, several thousand dollar cakes, wedding boutiques that body-shamed and price-gouged, and a whole industry that seemed to enjoy making me feel like crap for being a middle-class, size 14 bride who, after years of wanting to get married but not being able to (thanks, USCIS database errors), was finally getting married. I almost convinced my fiance to elope, just to avoid plunging us into debt on a wedding. But that didn’t feel right. It wasn’t what we wanted. I wasn’t about to be bullied into financial burden or a wedding that didn’t honor our love or our families.
So, I dumped the wedding industrial complex. My wedding wasn’t the problem, the vendors and wedding venues were. Fortunately, I founded and ran conferences as a nonprofit executive director, creating big-scale, fun events on small scale budgets. So, I went back to who I was, not what people thought I should be as a bride. As a result, I’m saving us tons of money while taking joy in planning our wedding — all without going bridezilla.
Here’s how I’m building our wedding with apps, creativity, style, and a fierce adherence to budget. You can, too.
Everything is À la Carte
- Decouple venue from everything else. Venue+catering=rip off. The venue will probably a compromise on food quality and quantity, since they’re probably upcharging on food to increase profitability and pay for staffing. We selected a nonprofit’s venue in Seattle, Center for Wooden Boats, because of it’s lovely venue on Lake Union but…