Some couples must choose their budget because it is what they have to spend. Some couples choose their budget because it is necessary to accommodate certain necessities, like inviting everyone in a large family, or adhering to parents’ standards for decorum. And some couples are fortunate enough to set their budget as what they feel like spending.
Collin and I are, more or less, in the last category. This makes us privileged, and I don’t mean to whine about our enviable position. But I do think having a flexible budget makes what Lyn says about the attached meanings we give to money resonate even more deeply:
Money, to each and every one of us, is not just straight numbers. Money is class. Money is opportunity. Money is worth. And so we involuntarily assign an ethical value to our budgets. Whether we like it or not, we assign an emotional value to what we’re spending for our weddings.
I feel even more mixed-up about the relatively unconstrained choice I am making about how much to spend on our wedding because I am not spending money I have earned. The money I have set aside for our wedding is from my parents’ estate. We also have support from Collin’s very generous and wonderful family.
If my parents were alive today, I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking them for this money. We would probably wait to have a wedding until after I’ve worked for a few years. It feels completely insane to be spending big bucks on a wedding when I don’t have a job lined up for after graduation. But I do have the money to spend. I am making the choice to spend it, and I need to own that choice.
I could spend every cent in my bank account on my wedding and it wouldn’t buy me something as valuable as dancing with my dad at the reception. I hope I don’t attempt to find a replacement for my dead parents’ love in the perfect centerpieces or a designer gown.
But having lost my parents is part of the reason I want a wedding. I want all the family and friends that are still with us to be there when Collin and I become a new family. I want to “celebrate life,” as they say at funerals, but this time before it is over. That experience is worth a huge amount of money to me, and I have the privilege to spend it.
So, yeah. The values we assign to the money we spend? Loaded, loaded, loaded.