After reading this wonderful post on Another Damn Wedding, and re-reading the posts linked to within, I started to think about where wedding budgets come from.
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.
April 7, 2010 at 10:08 pm
there will NEVER EVER EVER EVER NEVER be replacements for your parents love…you know that. what you DO have are reflections in your life right now of the love they gave you, of the beautiful values that they taught you and the many many gifts that filled your soul every moment that they were here on earth with you. These things NEVER EVER leave you. They are there in every step you take, every choice you make, every smile every tear every cell of your body. It is my belief that they are right here with you helping to guide you when you need them. So yes Robin…celebrate your love and new family and old family…you are SO blessed and oh my GOD Robin this is what every parent wants for their child. YOUR parents wishes are coming true and they would want you to rejoice and celebrate as if everyday is the fourth of July!!!! and your wedding should be a celebration like NO OTHER…because your and Collins love is SO VERY SPECIAL and unique…pick what you love, what has meaning for you,screw the trends, pay what you need to, get the help you need and ENJOY every moment!!!!…
April 7, 2010 at 11:38 pm
Thank you Viki for your all your love and support. Your appreciation of life is a tremendous gift!
April 7, 2010 at 11:38 pm
PS did you really dye your hair teal?
April 8, 2010 at 2:18 am
This is so poignant.
You can never, ever underestimate the power of community in a wedding. This is part of the reason my guy and I consciously made the decision to have the kind of wedding we’re having — because we wanted all our people around us.
What better opportunity to honor the memory of your parents than your wedding? Own that, lady. Celebrate life.
April 8, 2010 at 6:59 pm
Thank you. Weddings are such incredible opportunities to really connect with all the people who pass through our lives!
April 8, 2010 at 9:58 am
one little piece on the side ….its a dark teal, awesome color… I am always amazed at how creative God was in making his creatures SO colorful. This is in honor of that!!!!!
April 8, 2010 at 4:15 pm
I think a heartfelt wedding is a perfect homage to your parents. We have a lot of illness in our families and we’ve gathered a lot of dear friends over the years. Cutting down our guest list felt like the absolute wrong approach to our wedding, because we’re having a wedding (instead of eloping) to share that joy and celebrate life. And it’s expensive. And it’s a choice. And it’s a very core value of ours to celebrate love with people we love. These expenses aren’t necessarily “excessive,” even if they are large. They are large because it’s hard to pay for food and drink and setting for a large number of people. But the expense itself, so long as its about our values, is everything it needed to be.
April 8, 2010 at 7:03 pm
Absolutely, the people are priority one. And they’re expensive but not excessive. What a great distinction!
April 9, 2010 at 11:49 am
I hopped over here from Another Damn Wedding, and was moved by your words.
As you know, it is a rare thing to gather together a community of loved ones all at once, and something so deeply special. I think your desire to enjoy your community is a beautiful thing.
April 9, 2010 at 10:46 pm
Thank you and welcome!
April 9, 2010 at 11:53 am
My pops died a couple of years ago and we’re using the money I got from his estate to pay for our wedding. I think it’s great! He would’ve wanted to pay for our wedding and now he is!
April 9, 2010 at 10:49 pm
I love your attitude. I hope you really feel the presence of your dad on your wedding day.
April 16, 2010 at 7:19 pm
I am just loving this blog in general, Robin.
People can get *really* judgmental when it comes to money, especially on the topic of weddings. I have friends who spent loads of money on a wedding just for the sake of saying they had this or that at their wedding. They are now divorced.
Spending lots of money because a) it’s available and b) it allows you to celebrate your wedding the way you want with the people you want is perfectly justafiable. This is YOUR DAY to celebrate with your loved ones.
If Joe and I were getting married and I had a ton of money to spend on it, I would do the same! Complimentary flights to Maui for everyone!
April 18, 2010 at 8:19 pm
Thank you, Addi! I’m glad you’re enjoying. Also… I think you and Joe would have the most funnest ever wedding, regardless of budget.