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Molly: How Much?

Molly: How Much?

A wedding is a many splendored (ridiculously expensive) thing.

05 Molly Glen

Sure, we clean up nicely when the occasion calls for it (this was taken at a friend’s wedding), but Glen and I aren’t fancy people. We don’t need all the bells and whistles. Does a wedding have to cost that much?

By Molly O’Brien

It costs HOW much to get married?

Ummmm, what? Excuse me?

When I decided to get married, I figured it would cost some money. But I guess I never really knew how much. That is until I started shopping around.

Holy mother of dollar signs. I had no idea. Literally no idea.

To start, I’d like to say I don’t spend money on much. After all, I have bills, rent and student loans to pay. I watch what I spend. I never pay full price for clothes or groceries. When we go out to dinner, we find deals on restaurant.com, Groupon and Yelp. I don’t like ribbons and bows (literally or figuratively).

So the idea of spending ALL of this money on ME for ONE day makes me sick. Actually the idea of coming up with this money and spending it in general makes me sick.

Back to wedding stuff. One venue told me that if I wanted to get married there, then the minimum I would need to spend is $30,000. What? Minimum? (They even have those?!?)

I never had any intention of spending even close to that amount. I don’t know where that kind of money comes from. Not my bank account.

I’ve been thinking about what I could do with all of this wedding money rather than pay for a wedding. Do you ever play that game? Over the past several years I’ve spent the better part of my free time volunteering and raising money for various nonprofit organizations, so charity comes to mind. We’ll start there. Let’s just throw out $20,000. A friend told me she spent that much on hers.

That could:

  • Provide 200,000 meals for hungry people through Feeding America ($1=10 meals).
  • Spay/neuter 100 cats and vaccinate them for rabies AND spay/neuter and vaccinate fifty dogs through the Ocean State Animal Coalition’s low cost clinic.
  • Buy an all terrain wheelchair for a veteran wounded in combat. (Check out how amazing they are here.)

How about some selfish things I could do with that money…VACAY! I’ve always wanted to go to Greece. How about Fiji? Bora Bora, maybe? How about all of the above?

We could be practical, I suppose. Glen and I are both on the brink of needing new cars. His commute is taking a toll on his. My 2001 truck is still going, but wouldn’t it be nice to finally have automatic door locks and windows? (Yes, I have manual windows.)

Okay, getting back on track…

My parents are helping pay for the wedding (hooray!). I should be doing a happy dance, right? I just can’t get past this overwhelming feeling of guilt. There’s this huge rock/knot/pit/lump in my stomach. It’s formed around taking a giant heap of money from my parents. My mom and dad have helped me my entire life on all fronts, not just the financial one. Whenever I have needed them, they’ve been there. Even when I don’t need them. They love and support me no matter what. Pretty amazing to have parents that give and give and give. They’ve worked their entire lives to take care of me, and it destroys me to think of taking more from them. To spend money on a wedding seems frivolous. I feel selfish. It’s a hurdle I can’t get over.

On top of that, Glen’s parents have kindly offered to help. What!? Could I be so lucky to not only find the man of my dreams but to find a family like them? (There’s a future blog post to come on that.)

Here I have so much support and yet I can’t get past this sinking feeling. I’ve guarded money so fiercely my whole life that having to spend it makes me physically ill.

Realization and solution: Glen and I aren’t fancy people. We just want to have a fun wedding with people we care about. To do that, we need to spend some money (ugh), so we are saving up to do that. Our families love us very much and want us to be happy and the money they’re offering is their gift to us.

I’m going to try and think of the wedding as a special experience for family and friends — a celebration for everyone — not a day about me. I’m throwing a fun bash, and I like having parties! When I can accept it, I’ll be able to move forward and maybe, just maybe, start getting some stuff done.

1 comment

  1. Molly, I totally agree with you. My fiance and I set a budget of $10,000 but the more I think about it I don’t want to spend that amount on a wedding. Wedding planners are telling me with my budget and guest count (185 adults and 33 kids) it’s not possible. I have figured out why it’s not possible because the wedding industry makes it impossible. Not everybody wants high and low centerpieces with lavish flowers; why do you need up-lighting? What happen to the lights in the ceiling being used? Now you have to have chair covers with sashes. I’m a girly girl but at the end of the day who cares about chair covers or if you pinned spotted your wedding cake? Anyway, good article!!

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