Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wedding Profits

Today's flavor - butter creme frosting: an overly sweetened confection and short-lived pleasure

I'm helping a friend with her wedding plans, and this served as a convenient reason to spend hours browsing all the yummy wedding/bridal sites and brilliant ideas to be found online. *Sigh* I've been married 11 years, and my wedding happened before you could do more than send a few dial-up emails on that interweb thingy. Well, it's a different world, but one thing has not changed: weddings and all wedding-related paraphernalia are ex-pen-$ive. (If you really want to class the thing up, anyway.) Hey, put your hand down -I know there are plenty of inexpensive, really lovely options if you're just creative enough. Still, even if our friends are not quite American Express Black posh - plastic cutlery, mid-shelf booze, a home-made cake, and your neighbor's teenage son serving as DJ is not going to work. Flowers, decent food, non-crap favors, and wedding-worthy photography should not be done on the cheap. My big gripe - and don't I always have many? - is that providers of wedding products and services are so willing to take advantage of the fact that this is the dream day and has to be "perfect" - and perfect is gonna cost you.

Of course, all the money in the world won't buy you class. Such a proud day for Mariah's mom.

Well, it turns out, you can comfortably go into temporary (hopefully temporary) debt to pay for your wedding and come out ahead. Pray tell, how? you ask. The key is matching your budget to your guest list. Let's face it, you're doing this anyway - you know you want the childhood friends and not-so-beloved relatives to be properly impressed and without any fodder for derision.

[This post is being interrupted to roll my eyes at readers who swear they are so "down-to-earth" they would have paper plates and canned beer at their own weddings; and of course, when they attend a wedding, they are strictly there to share in a special day. Well, go buckle up your Birkenstocks and braid your armpit hair, while the rest of us enjoy a yummy cup of real life.]

Expensive and tasteful don't always go hand-in-hand.

Where was I? Right. Brides and mothers-of-brides, take a good, hard look at your guest list. Do you have enough "A" list guests? These are not necessarily the people that you most adore. These are the people that write big checks either out of obligation, guilt, pity, pride, ostentatiousness or even generosity. Also, create a second guest list. This one is of acquaintances, people who probably don't like you, business associates that run in much wealthier social circles than you, and people who live much too far away to travel to your wedding. And ladies, don't forget your exes - nothing says "I'm over you, see how well I'm doing" like a check dripping with zeroes. Odds are, most of these people will send their regrets with a $weet gift.

For my friends' wedding, we have a challenging dynamic: this couple is getting married well into their thirties - not old, or "late" as far as I'm concerned, but at the age where they are both in a better financial position than their parents. So, while potential invitees would expect such a well-heeled couple to have an elegant affair, the bride and groom, are in fact, the "can't we just have a picnic?" types. Although they can certainly afford posh, they are sadly, quite practical. They insist that the nice chunk of change required for even an average wedding celebration would be put to better use as the 10% down for their new home. Oh, well, if you're going to talk sense, you're really limiting your options, aren't you? So, in addition to helping to design center pieces and talking the bride out of wearing a sun dress, I'm tasked with extolling the, ahem, virtues of the Wedding for Profit concept.

While I'm writing this it occurs to me that I'm going to have start programming my husband (and start a wedding fund) today, as my oldest is 10 and plans to get married in 17 years. I mean what if she wants a designer frock, like this Reem Acra couture, for her big day? Hmmmm, maybe a sun dress is not such a bad idea.


  1. I have three boys, so not much wedding planning in my future unless one or all of them mairry a woman whose mother has passed away!

  2. Oh boy, that dress is HORRENDOUS!!!!!!!!! And hey, it is the bride's day. If she wants a picnic wearing a sun dress, let her go for it! I think you could have a lot of fun with something like that!

    Justine :o )

  3. Don't count those "likely to not make an appearance" folks out! A friend planned her wedding on the cheap with a "small" reception in her in-laws back yard and then proceeded to invite a large number of well-to-do out-of-town (great distances) relatives who "wouldn't come but would surely send nice gifts." Joke was on her! Everyone of them came. Gifts were run-of-the-mill and her m-i-l practically had a heart attack getting the reception together for so many!!!

  4. you are right no amounts of money can buy "class"...*eye roll*

    have fun planning, I think that in my next life, I might like to be a wedding planner...maybe. ;)

  5. Love this! Poor Mariah...that look of bliss, she had no idea. Anyhow, yes, weddings can be profitable, or at least pay for themselves (that really is TERRIBLE!!! but true, LOL!)

    I don't know if I'll be wedding kid is 6, but yesterday a little sweetheart declared her love for him...he ran like heck!...

    Your thrifty well off friends prove the old point though that they have it because they're smart with it. So this post was a sort of twofer :)

  6. The publicist also got married in the dark ages (1982) Her wedding cost $2500 - and that included her dress. Yes, you read that correctly. She had 250 guests and the party is still talked about. Alcohol was served which probably why the party is still talked about....
    It CAN be done. The affair was fun, classy and the meal was excellent. A chef friend catered, another friend made the cake (gorgeous AND delicious), friends of her fathers were the band(only Philadelphia people will understand but they were part of a Mummer's string band).

    Good luck to your friends and have fun. That is most important part.

  7. I actually ran into the opposite dynamic--women who wanted designer quality gowns, but had no intention of paying for them.

    I used to do custom (couture quality) bridal gowns.

    HAH! It didn't take me long to realize that these gals were nuts, and their mothers nuttier. And they wanted it free!

    Now I only design for friends. SO much less hassle.

  8. Planning a wedding, how fun! Well at least the thought of it is fun, as you never know if you'd plan for a bridezilla. I used to love to watch that show with the it's my party and I'll cry if I want to brides. My mom and I planned most of our wedding layout and design. It was truly fun and I have since been wanting to help with the planning of someone else, a friend or such. Well have a great time getting that taken care of!!


  9. This is hilarious. As I am not a blogspot blogger, I can't follow, but I am definitely adding you to my blog roll.

  10. planning a wedding is not easy but definitely fun!

  11. I love weddings!!! Hope you'll have fun planning it with your friend!

  12. oh poor Mariah....she is always seems to be a fashion disaster.

  13. weddings are so expensive arnt they for something that lasts for 24 hours!

    hope your friend gets what she wants

  14. get Married looks like get more debt ouwww lucky me im not the one, because we suffer much before married, always counting money everyday so we have enough money to prepare our wedding party. But I know every wedding will spend much money much effort and so tireddd hope enough to get married once LOL

  15. Just one more reason for me to hope baby is a boy. We'll find out Friday.

    We did a pretty good job of keeping our costs down for our wedding. The most expensive thing was our photos, which I think were worth it.

    I don't understand making such a big deal out of one's just ONE day out of an entire future of days together. It's not even going to be the "best" day. At least mine wasn't (not that it was bad).

    Great blog by the way. :)

  16. Glad to come across to your blog and find something useful for wedding!Thx for sharing!


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