The thought of getting married to the woman of my dreams is awesome. Seriously, I feel ridiculously lucky that I met her, somehow got her to go out with me and then eventually fall in love with me. It’s absurd when I think about the whole story but hey, I’ll take it! However, this has led me to a problem. This is a somewhat large, not even remotely insignificant problem.
Weddings are expensive and suck to plan.
Now, this is in no way an indictment on the wedding planning industry (that will likely come later) but seriously, this is rough. See, the fiancé and I are having troubles with this. Since we don’t know where we want to live, we don’t know where to have the wedding. Since we don’t know where we want to have the wedding, we can’t entirely budget the event right. Since we’re trying to pay for it entirely ourselves, we’re in a bit of a bind. We initially wanted to have it next fall but at this point, we’re already too close to it. That’s right, TOO close. It’s a year away and it’s too close.
Then there is cost. Even though I can’t quite budget things out yet, I’ve got a pretty good idea about the true cost of these events. Last year, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. was $28,400. That’s more than my car cost. That’s a downpayment on a house! What’s even worse is that that is the national average, including places that are cheap. In NY, the average was over $76K. In Chicago, it’s nearly $50k. Right now, I live in Los Angeles, a fairly expensive city in its own right.
The Fiancé and I are trying to beat that amount. Right now, the goal to get under is $20k. I think we can do it but we’re going to need to find the right place, a good caterer, and some significant compromises. For example, a lot of places charge you obscene amounts of money just to have your ceremony and reception there. I’ve seen everything ranging from $4000 to $35K. What’s worse is that is before you take food or the bar into account. For us, we’re considering a cash bar (sorry everyone) and maxing out our cost per person for catering at $45. With 100 guests, that will be $4500. If we included a full bar, we’d likely be looking at another $3000.
None of these costs include silverware and plates, tables, chairs, and other items. Some places may include them but many seem to charge extra. After location costs you start having to take into account the wedding dress, rings, tuxes, invitations, etc. Before you know it, the wedding is costing WAY more than you anticipated.
I’m hopeful that in the next few months, we’ll figure out where it is we’re going to live. Then we’ll be able to get on from this limbo place we’re currently in. Once we do, you’ll finally see my ridiculous wedding budget spreadsheet and my wedding cost tracking page. Of course, if anyone wants to donate time or cash to helping us plan our wedding, we’re more than happy to take it! Until next time
Photo credit to Meagan Jennett at www.meaganjennettphotography.zenfolio.com. Get a shorter website name!