Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The length of a marriage is inversely proportional to the cost of the wedding. Bullsh*t.

This empty motivational saying is being bandied all over the internet like it means something. And it's really starting to piss me off.

I've had it with the holier-than-thou budget-wedding people. If you want to set a budget and hold yourself to it, great. Set a tiny budget! But just FYI, it will not make you a better person. It will not guarantee the success of your marriage.

What will get your marriage off on the right foot* is putting careful thought into your wedding, whether you spend $2,000, $50,000 or $10,000+ . It may sound crazy, but I'm pretty sure the hours of deliberation/negotiation you put into grey plastic chairs vs. white "wooden" (read: polypropylene) chairs will teach you something later when you are, say, buying a house.**

(Photo by Dina Goldstein via Cupcakes and Cashmere via A CUP OF JO)

*NOTE: I am not a marriage counselor (nor do I want to be a marriage counselor). I do not claim to have a perfect marriage. In fact, a perfect marriage sounds kinda icky.

**The correct answer is b) "wooden" chairs.

60 comments:

  1. Damn right! I agree : 200% ! This whole budget thing is getting on my nerves anyway.
    Its fine if you dont have money to plan a smaller wedding,of course.
    And some creative DIY stuff is awesome.
    But I also love HUGE weddings.
    Its ridiculous that the cost of an event should be able to tell about a happy ending in love. NO WAY!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am totally with you. To me, it's just another way that weddings have become a competitive sport. "My wedding is hipper/cheaper/greener/more culturally authentic/feminist/offbeat than yours!" So over it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes and I love that Disney princess stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Amen from me as well. Your wedding budget isn't my wedding budget, just like my wedding isn't the same as your wedding.

    A work colleague is currently planning her wedding in another state, and one of our other colleagues (who chose to elope) walked in just as we were talking about the merits of hiring a local planner to help find vendors. Without having been a part of the discussion, she immediately said how much of a waste of money it is to hire a planner.

    Now, I didn't hire a full planner myself, but I can totally understand why someone would, particularly for long-distance planning. The idea that someone would proceed to tell someone else what is or isn't a good use of money (or how much to spend) when it comes to someone else's wedding is just plain rude.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm loving this topic. And yes with the damn chairs- again. Did we have to sacrifice a bit to get them? Sure. Was it worth it? Hell f*cking yes.

    Budget or not, you can't put a price tag on sanity.

    ReplyDelete
  6. oh man. the GUILT of spending money on one day. It's there. SO MUCH. I'm so glad you wrote this post.

    THANK YOU

    ReplyDelete
  7. OMG... THANK YOU for writing this post! Your blog is awesome :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is true, our wedding is going to be cheap because that's what we can manage. But in no way do I think that it will be sanctified by its budget. Wedding competitiveness in all its forms is driving me crazy.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have to chime in with a Hallelujah!

    I couldn't agree with you more. The idea that the less you spend the better you marriage will be is absolutely absurd. I am all about trying to have some perspective in planning your wedding (or living life in general) in terms of gratuitous spending, but the same goes for the other extreme.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My gosh lady thankyou for having the balls to say this so articulately

    It distresses me greatly the judgment of "non smaller budget" brides I often see- the judgment, holier than thou attitude is upsetting, especially when the same attitude the other way around would just not be tolerated.

    Screw the budget- it just doesn't matter!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Loving this post and loving you for having the balls to say it.

    ~muah~

    ReplyDelete
  12. What's great about blogs that talk about low-budget weddings is that they make people like me (who can't afford what magazines and other fancy-shmancy blogs lead us to believe is the ideal) believe that there are other alternatives, that you can have a wedding that is perfect and not out of reach. They make you feel good about not spending too much, as opposed to feeling crappy and depressed that you can't afford all that fairy-tale stuff like letterpress invitation and four course gourmet meals for your 300 guests. I want to be able to feel like my wedding is cool, even though we're only able to spend 5000 bucks.

    ReplyDelete
  13. i hear what anonymous is saying (being a "budget" bride myself), but i think eastside's perfectly articulated point is that there should be no parameters on budget planning. saying "the only good weddings are cheap weddings" is just a wrong as "the only good weddings cost a quarter mil."



    the only good weddings are weddings where people are in love.



    very often, people in love can be in different economic brackets.

    ReplyDelete
  14. you can just make it a blanket statement
    my___ is not your____.

    works for EVERYTHING.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you, East Side. I've been quietly reading wedding blogs since I got engaged, and most of them have been budget bride blogs. I don't have a huge budget, but it's definitely more than what would be considered "budget". I do feel like there's often this unspoken thing that if you're not doing things on a budget then you're not a) creative, b) quirky, c) valuing the true meaning of the day, d) sane or e) going to have a unique and meaningful day. And I'm pretty sure that I'm all of those things. I get really annoyed with the tendency to go holier than thou over this - so it's so refreshing to see this. Thank you again.

    ReplyDelete
  16. thank you and i love you. a lot.
    we are spending shitloads of money on our wedding and you know what? that does not make us bad people.
    here's another thing that seems to piss everyone off. we are not buying a house, condo, townhome, what have you. i'm not going to say "never" because that would make me an idiot, but as of now, it really is looking like never. it's not our thing... doesn't peak our interest in the slightest.
    so, that's the deal. skip the house and have a big, expensive destination wedding. we've been so blessed to be able to do this. it doesn't make our wedding nicer or cooler than anyone else's and vise versa. it's just what we are able to and chose to do. and anyone who has the audacity to say that we don't love each other as much or that we are destined to have a failed or weak marriage, can come hang out at our house for a week, spend some time with us, sleep in our bed, and see that they are dead wrong. oh, and they can also suck it.
    god, that felt good!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love this post. I have a budget and I am going to go over it.

    It makes me a little sad to think going over on our wedding budget will mean we'll have less to spend on our honeymoon or have to wait longer to buy a house... but will we regret hire transport to make sure all our older guest and drinkers get home safely from our wedding - never not for one second. Am I going to regret having that once in a life time perfect photo, I can't see how thats possible

    For me having a budget (if its big or small doesn't matter) doesn't make your wedding better than someone else's or your marriage better, but the lessons and practices it reinforces in the relationship - negotiation, patience, compromise, planning and sacrificing for what you want are really important.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Amen, sister. You have said it all and I'm with you 110%. When I start getting the hairy eyeball from people about what we're spending or what we're spending it on (like I'm some evil person because I would like to have a florist and not DIY my flowers, too, God help me) I want to get on the nearest tall thing and scream obscenities. Next time, I'll direct them to this post :) Rule!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am echoing those comments, loud and clear!

    (And if I may add, I *hate* how when I mention to someone about buying something for the wedding, they always condescend with "is *that* in your budget?")

    ReplyDelete
  20. In most ways I totally agree. Nobody should be judged for their choices, no matter what.
    And the 'motto' you selected is absolutely, 100% WRONG.

    However, I can see why there is a focus on low budget weddings around the place. Because high budget weddings are accepted. They are the done thing. They are "proper".

    If you spend $5000, there is judgement that you are not doing it right. Therefore, people who feel this is the amount they would like to spend often need the suport from others in similar situations, to feel like their wedding is okay.

    But coming back to your post - linking this in any way to the happiness of a marriage is COMPLETELY ridiculous! As liz said above:

    the only good weddings are weddings where people are in love.

    ReplyDelete
  21. ::rasises hands:: A.MEN. and thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great post. I refuse to set a specific budget b/c I don't need that kind of added pressure and I know more than likely I'll end up going over it anyway. However I am researching vendors/ideas to death in order to find ways to save money and have a goal of an overall amount I would like to stay under.

    I think the only people that have any right to know what you are spending/spent are the people paying those bills.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great post. Different people, different budgets. What matters is how you treat yourself, your significant other, and others in the process.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I echo many of the above statements. I did have a budget in mind when planning my wedding, and it's not small by any means but smaller than 'average.' I don't at all think that the amount of money spent on a wedding has anything to do with the marriage. If I had had access to double my budget, I most likely would have spent it. You gotta make it work with what you have- whether it's alot or a little. However, going into debt over a wedding is a completely different story...

    ReplyDelete
  25. I've never read a secular blog post that elicited such religious responses. "OMG" (that doesn't really count), Hallelujah, Amen, etc.

    Even the language of "judging" and "what's right."

    It's like wedding blogs have become little churches, with people that gather because of common beliefs, and learn together and support each other ... with the blogger as the preacher :P ;)

    we really do see marriage and a wedding as touching something eternal, or divine, eh? or if those words just don't work for you, it's at least something powerful, and life-changing.

    this is the first blog post (actually, it was the comments that did it), that made me realize just how religiously zealous people are about their weddings.

    ReplyDelete
  26. YES! YES! YES!!! ohhhh i heart you.

    ReplyDelete
  27. really? cuz I see a lot of planning for weddings and hardly any planning for marriage when it comes to people having big budget weddings
    then when it comes time to buy a house, said BRIDE wants more and bigger just like the wedding was

    doesn't make sense to me (ever, not just today) to spend $30K on a PARTY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I realize this post is from 2009 but I just had to reply in case anyone sees this now:

      You're a sanctimonious asshole.

      Do you know every couple who is planning a larger wedding, ever? Because your anecdotes =/= data. My fiance and I are spending a lot on our wedding, but we spend even more time on planning for our marriage. We are just in a different socioeconomoic bracket, as mentioned above. Are we incredibly privileged and lucky? Of course. Does that mean we can't possibly truly love each other or care about marriage beyond one day? Honestly, fuck you for even suggesting that.

      Also, you're emphasis on "said BRIDE" is super sexist.

      PEACE.

      Delete
  28. Thank you! This community is about being true to ourselves, whether we're planning a wedding or just walking down the street.

    We are all prone to measuring ourselves by someone else's criteria, and it's nice to be reminded that no one else lives our lives for us. Ultimately, we can only be responsible for what WE say and do.

    ReplyDelete
  29. god I'm so over being made to feel bad about my wedding planning because I'm not making a cake stand out of random tree stumps or have letter pressed invites made on a machine from 1904! yes I'm using the venus centerpieces, and the place cards and the menus and nothing will be gocco(ed)! not all of us are super indie graphic designers, some of us aren't very diy-inclined. and that's ok!! it's like you get pulled from both directions, from the industry and the diy crowd. just leave me alone to get married in peace! I'll spend what I want and get as involved as I want because it's MY WEDDING! and none of those judgey people are invited

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This is exactly what I needed to read today!

    ReplyDelete
  31. "the only good weddings are weddings where people are in love."

    quoted for truth!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am definitely on a budget and when I first got engaged, I picked up every magazine I could find and poured through the pages. I think with most bridal publications they have one or two snippets on budget friendly alternatives that, unfortunately, still don't fit the scope of my budget. For a while I was stressed that we would go way over budget or I would have to settle for something tacky because we couldn't get the good stuff. Maybe that sounds stupid and superficial, but that's how I felt! It was nervewracking!


    I have to say I really appreciate all the budget friendly sites out there to gain inspiration and encouragement on planning something beautiful that is still in my price range, but I don't feel like being on a budget makes you a better bride (or person for that matter). Heck, if I could afford beautiful invites/linens/flowers/etc I would totally go for it!

    Here's wishing a beautiful wedding to everyone out there...no matter what your budget!

    ReplyDelete
  33. sigh.
    People are pissed about the "inversely proportional" saying because it's true.

    An overly expensive wedding is an indication of out-of-whack priorities, lack of creativity, and preoccupation with what other people think.

    All also predictors of a marriage's early end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, so all Las Vegas chapel weddings end in 50+ year marriages?

      Delete
  34. And what qualifies as "overly expensive" Anonymous? Anything higher than what you spent? What I consider expensive may be a bargain to someone of greater means.

    While I do think it is foolish to go into substantial debt for a wedding (to me "substantial" = can't be paid off in a year), it is also foolish to consider different priorities than mine "out of whack." And how is lack of creativity in a wedding a predictor of marriage failure? In fact, how is expense equated with lack of creativity?

    ReplyDelete
  35. meh.
    this is boring.

    even at 10,000 or 15,000 dollars, these wedding budgets exceed the per capita GDP of between two thirds and three quarters of all countries in the world.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

    keep it in perspective, ladies.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Dear Anonymous Sigher,

    "Overly expensive" is a judgment in itself that denotes your preoccupation with what other people think. Love between two people can be reflected in a number of ways. And, all weddings of love are beautiful because they reflect the priorities of that couple and no one else - including a stone thrower, such as yourself. You are welcome to spend your money on what you feel is valuable.

    ReplyDelete
  37. "cuz I see a lot of planning for weddings and hardly any planning for marriage when it comes to people having big budget weddings"

    I hate to be the one to say this, but I've seen plenty of that in $1K weddings too. I've had plenty of friends who spent $1K or $8K get divorced in two years flat. And plenty of friends who spend $100K (who's families could totally afford that)that are still going strong. And vice versa. There are a lot of things about the wedding that indicate what the relationship might be like, but I've NEVER seen the size of the budget be one of those things. Unless the size of the budget is unrealistic for the couple. That might be a red flag. But again? Not your business.

    ReplyDelete
  38. i still think it is smart to have a budget or a rough estimate of what you as a couple feel comfortable spending. i would think having that ability to budget together is the same kind of skill set you'd get from negotiating about your chairs. knowing how to budget wisely would come in pretty handy when/if you are buying a house or planning for kids. that being said, every couple is different, wants different things for their future and should ultimately have the wedding they want- budget be damned. couples should plan for what they feel comfortable with spending.

    i think budget blogs help you realize there is an alternative to the high cost that a lot of vendors expect you to pay. i just got a quote for gardens in Los Angeles for 100k for just the space! that a venue can get away with charging such an insane amount of money just because someone is an emotional and vulnerable state - i just think it's unfair. i say let's all rally against the WIC, rather than judge each other.

    ReplyDelete
  39. a-f*cking-men. AGAIN.

    see, you can say that sort of thing and people are okay with it.

    soooo over the "i'm super budget so I care more about my marriage and the things that are important." what. ever.

    how about this, everyone do exactly what they want for their own wedding and quit hating on people who choose/chose something different.

    Even if it involves those weird fabric robey things that wrap around the backs of chairs at country club receptions. I'm willing to try to let those go.

    ReplyDelete
  40. i'm a new reader. i sure wish my wedding was going to end up more budget than we're heading...eh, that's a lament for another day.

    thanks for writing this! it seems to me that wedding budgets fall into the "money and politics are not to be brought up in polite company" category because people seem to have so much emotion invested in their wedding choices.

    that being said, i too am so sick of the indie brides who tracked down some gocco machine in another country and handmade 8 thousands paper item for the wedding on paper that she's been composting for 10 years.

    ReplyDelete
  41. No, your wedding should not, and just IS not a reflection on your future marriage. It just isn't. It's not just a budget thing. Just because your wedding is disorganized doesn't mean your marriage will be. Just because your perfect doesn't mean your marriage will be. Really your wedding is simply a party in honour of your marriage. In the same way that a fab or horrible birthday is not an indicator of how well or poorly you'll live for the next year. Here's my take, though, on budget blogs: budget brides are nothing new. I'd say a solid 75% of my friends had weddings under 10K. BUT the idea of having a budget wedding chock full of fabulous, creative, trendy ideas IS kind of new. The idea that you might NOT have to sacrifice so much IS new. Frankly, I find the best, coolest, most interesting ideas on those blogs because folks HAVE to think creatively. Even if I had double or triple or ten times my budget, I would still be incorporating the same details (though maybe I'd hire out the work *wink*). And really, spend what you'd like, but spend it on what's GENUINELY important to you. Even if you're loaded, if you don't give a monkey's butt about flowers, don't waste your coin. Really why? Even with a large budget it STILL makes sense not to waste that budget.

    ReplyDelete
  42. This post rings true, thank you for putting it out there. Wedding's are a very personal event that everyone seems to have an opinion on. What is or isn't spent on a wedding should not be the focus of anyone's attention. Weddings are about the union of two people, two familes and loads of friends.
    Throughout our lives we will all have different ideas of how to spend our money which works best for our circumstances, with weddings being a prime example of this. Just because a couple spends 'a lot of money' on a party to celebrate the beginning of their marriage doesn't necessarily mean they haven't prepared for the reality of marriage.

    ReplyDelete
  43. really? Because I'm pretty sure the hours of deliberation/negotiation you put into grey plastic chairs vs. white "wooden" chairs are a sign that you don't have anything better to do.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Ah! I totally agree! I am at the end of my wedding planning and I never had a strict budget in mind. That does not mean that I have more money then I know what to do with, it means that my parents, fiancé and I went into this thinking like practical adults, and looking for the best deals we could find on what matters most to us. I give all of the DIY brides major credit because there is a lot of that I can't do, but please don't judge those who aren't/can't!
    The wedding day is the start of your lives together and if it is $50,000+ awesome, if its $2,000 that’s just as awesome. What truly matters are all of the days after the wedding anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  45. If the love radiates through every part of wedding what does it matter how much one spends?

    ReplyDelete
  46. We got married just over a month ago, and since then I have happily stopped reading lots of wedding blogs. A few months before our wedding, I stopped reading the wedding blogs that pissed me off - nearly all of which were full of sanctimonious judgment toward anyone spending more than the writer. It's so ironic that the same folks who proclaim they've broken free of the wedding industry are the first to cast stones toward someone with, say, a designer dress, or a big floral budget. I don't need to reiterate the value of what you've written here about love and marriage having nothing to do with any of that - all these comments have done so beautifully. But thanks for putting it out there... I wish this post came with a mirror to provoke some self-reflection on the part of the blogging community.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I think Accidental Housewife hit it on the head in saying the idea of having a budget wedding featuring personalized details is a newer thing. Of course it's ok to spend more money, but the budget wedding movement has been a breath of fresh air for many of us who, a year or two ago, would have been faced with so much more pressure to spend enormous amounts on things to make our weddings look like they are 'supposed to.' I'm personally inspired to see what other people have done to save money, and I think it gives other brides the confidence to try things outside of the pre-packaged color-coordinated box.

    And you'll be hard pressed to argue that going into debt or learning to rely on mommy and daddy to pull out their check books whenever you want help are good ways to start a marriage.

    ReplyDelete
  48. hear hear(!) preach on, anon.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Wow! Ppl are fired up I see, but you are so right. It seems like weddings and money bring out the nasty in ppl.

    You should be able to spend whatever amount you want on your wedding if you have the means. It is YOUR MONEY. You are judged by who your parents are, where you went to school, who you married, where you live, blah blah blah.

    JUST LIVE YOUR LIFE(humming the Rihanna tune in my head now)!!

    Oh yeah, for all the budget brides or high spenders, stop telling everyone how much your wedding cost, that is called TACKY.

    Love your blog darling!!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Miss B-

    I don't think it's tacky to tell people what you spent on your wedding. It's tacky to ASK someone what they spent on their wedding. For the sake of my blog, that's alot of the reason people read... to find out my final total... and I don't think disclosing this information in order to help others is tacky.

    In one paragraph you complain about people judging each other and in the next you do the same thing you complain about... hmm.

    ReplyDelete
  51. My apologies Jessica, I didn't make myself clear. If your goal is to help someone save money (Clark Howard) then that is fine. I understand your blogs purpose. But for the people that are just telling everyone how much you paid for your wedding to BRAG or to feel HOLIER than thou, it is TACKY and mean spirited.

    You see what happens when I say something East Side Bride!!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Yeah, wedding obsessives, try and deny the facts if it makes you feel better in your delusion, but not only has that adage been statistically proven to be correct on AVERAGE, but it seems very much born out by the 10-15 weddings I have been to in the last 20 years or so, the only 3 weddings I know that have lasted more than 7 years all cost less than $500 (registry office, gathering around a lake, beech etc...), and the two which were over $40,000 didn't even make 3 years. I guess its all about whether the people having the wedding have their priorities sorted out...

    ReplyDelete