Have you set a date yet?
Where are you going to have your wedding?
What are you going to do for your wedding?
Let me tell you something – these are three questions I never thought would apply to me. Even now, three months later, it’s still completely surreal to see this rock of a diamond on my finger.
I’ve never really thought a whole lot about planning a wedding. I don’t have a scrapbook or a Pinterest board. I don’t think I’ve ever even looked at the inside of a bridal magazine. Even when I go to weddings, I barely notice the decorations or the flowers. To be honest, most weddings I’ve been to have felt very similar. Mostly they go by in a blur. The last time I was in a bridal shop was around ten years ago when I was buying a bridesmaid dress. So, this is all very new to me. I’ve also found that a lot of wedding “things” don’t apply to me. I’ll be 40 years old by the time I get married. My father has been dead since I was 19. My siblings are all either married or will be married by the time I get married. (My youngest sister, H, is getting married in August.)
I’ve gone through some phases since I got engaged:
1. Let’s just get married at the courthouse and go on an awesome honeymoon. I don’t want to waste the money on a large wedding.
2. Let’s just get married at the courthouse and then have a big party in Chicago with all of our friends.
3. Let’s get married somewhere else, like Hawaii, and do a destination wedding with only our immediate family and close friends.
4. Let’s just get married at the courthouse (or elope) and go on an awesome honeymoon. I don’t want to waste the money on a large wedding.
You can see I’ve come full circle. A large reason is cost. Holy cripes are weddings expensive. On some level I knew this…but until I actually started researching the pricing it never occurred to me how expensive it is to feed and booze up a couple hundred people for four to five hours. Add in your venue charge, photographer, music, chairs, tables, linens, centerpieces, flowers…and you could be talking $30,000-40,000 easy (if not a lot more) in downtown Chicago. All of that money for one evening? I can’t wrap my brain around that. It feels like a colossal waste of money for something that is not important to me. I would rather buy a new BMW.
A destination wedding is a nice idea because then we can put the money toward a few days’ worth of activities with the people we love, since the guest list will be much shorter. But will it really save us that much money? My first choice place would be Hawaii, but it is so expensive to get there that I feel it’s asking too much of our guests. Northern California would also be a nice option. But after reaching out to some venues and pricing things out, a destination wedding surprisingly isn’t that much cheaper than doing something in Chicago. Can we afford it? Yes. Do we want to spend our money that way? Not really sure. Because at the end of the day, the wedding itself isn’t all that important to me. The thought of even having to walk down the aisle in a white dress is kind of nauseating to me. I’ve never dreamed of that day, or even thought much about it. It’s just not important to me.
What is important to me is getting married. I’ve been thinking about what I am most looking forward to…and I really just want to be in Hawaii with CTF for two weeks touring the volcanoes, lounging on the beach, going hiking, and doing other touristy, fun stuff with him. That’s what I want. I don’t want to have to deal with planning a wedding or stressing out over the costs or who to invite. CTF doesn’t care either way.
So, at the end of the day, we have simply decided to elope. It will be less stressful and save us a lot of money that we can put toward our honeymoon, other trips, or our retirement fund. I already feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders…