Sunday, December 7, 2008

Back and forth one million times.

So we've been through another "should we even be having this wedding" freakout. It began when we got the initial quote from the caterer, that put our teeny tiny low key event at $260 a head. Uh... and the food will be made of what now? Ohhh, platinum plated tofu? And will be served by an all-star waitstaff of Ton Cruise, Toby Maguire, and Brad Pitt!? Well then! Oh, wait, no. It'll be a self-serve buffet, with food not plated with any precious or even semi-precious metals. Apparently this is just what it costs to have an event catered in this stupid town.

OK. So then we took a good look at everything there was left to spend, based on the smaller number that we'd like to get by with on catering. And all together it looked completely undoable, but when broken down between both sets of parents and us (essentially dividing by three), we thought we could swing it. This is of course making the bold assumption that my parents will ever come up with money that doesn't completely jeopardize the only retirement fund they have - a fund which is ever so brilliantly all invested in that bastion of stability known as the stock market.

But then we realized that we're not gonna get this thing catered with anything other than lukewarm soy nuggets on iceberg lettuce unless we shell out significantly more dough. And we dove right back into "what in god's name is possessing us to spend this much money one one day's worth of celebration anyway?" And that, certainly, is a valid question. Unfortunately it leads to a circular answer, which goes something like this:

We are getting married. And we want to celebrate the event of us getting married with other people, many of whom live out of state, because it's a very important event. And if we're bringing in people from out of state, we need to tell them to go somewhere and it needs to be somewhere relatively large so that they can all go there at once. We don't have any friends with houses or yards of property of any kind, and Central Park is too risky as far as weather and permits, so we'll have to rent or otherwise pay for a place for them to go. And if we're making them fly here and gather (and pay for New York hotel rooms), we have to feed them and give them alcohol. Doing this at a restaurant would feel cheesy, prevent us from having a ceremony with the majority of the people, and would still cost a significant amount of money. Doing it the way we've been planning to do it will let us share the ceremony and be appropriately nice, but will cost enormous amounts of money which frankly, plainly, we don't have. So maybe we shouldn't be trying to have that kind of wedding. But... but... we are getting married. And we want to celebrate...

Have we considered doing it elsewhere? Yes. But we would have to travel which would add to our costs and to our stress. And then, where? New Orleans isn't exactly cheap for events, and just try to find us a vegan or even a vegetarian caterer. Not to mention that, uh, that's where my parents live. So, you know, they'd be all up in my junk? And I'd, um, kill them? Yeah. Pulaski, Virginia - well, as soon as you find it on a map you just let me know. His parents don't even live in the bustling metropolis of Pulaski anymore either; they now live in White Gate. Among the Amish. You think I'm kidding, and I'm so not. Sure the mountains are beautiful, but it becomes quite a logistical problem. As in, no hotels, certainly no way to have it catered, and so on. And as far as doing it where neither one of us have lived nor have kin, well I think that would just be way too effing difficult to arrange.

In the end, I feel like an ass for wanting something I can't figure out how to pay for, and for even considering spending so much on what really is just one day, even if a very important thing happens on that day. I find it frustrating that even while we're cutting so many corners the price tag is still coming out at over $25k. I'm not getting a real dress. Not having any flowers. Not putting centerpieces on the tables. Our wedding bands cost under $200 (and are, incidentally, lost in the mail - but that's another story). There are no professional decorators, I designed all of the stationery and bought the pieces separately and on sale and will be assembling and addressing everything myself. We did splurge on a photographer, but she's not at the top of the pay spectrum by any stretch of the imagination, and we're not paying for videography. We have a guest list of 50, for chrissake. The venue we've rented was the cheapest we found in the whole city, except for a few which seemed cheap until we realized that they had required caterers, who in turn had required minimums of 150 heads... and so on. For the love of all things good in the world, I've even given up on having a cake.

So, ok, sure. It's a big party we're trying to throw. But compared to what's pushed as the "norm", it's barely even a wedding. So how, how, HOW the hell does it cost this freakin much? I've broken it down. I've got my little chart with all the numbers in plain black and white. But it's still just insane. No matter what I do, I can't make it make sense. And yet, we're getting married...

So now we're back to the part in the cycle where we try to make it happen - with every possible bit of extraneous fluff cut out. Not that there's a whole lot of fluff to cut. I'm now cutting things that I'm not even sure are cuttable. Over the extensive Christmas travels we'll be doing, we're going to talk to the parents and see where things stand. Maybe, come January, we'll know whether or not we'll actually be having a wedding that doesn't involve an American Legion hall.

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