Cost-Effective Weddinging

So I’m getting married.

Of interest is why a man 99th percentile in handsomeness, cleverness and good-naturedness picked me to marry, particularly after he had seen me with no makeup on.

Of interest is his warm, good-natured family with well-developed empathy levels.

Of interest is how we met (OKCupid!) and how circumstance tested him early, hard and often, and he passed each test with great dexterity.

But this post is not about important, meaningful things. Oh no.

This post is about planning a weddinginginging.

I can’t even say it properly. But it has been consuming my evening crafty times, as reflected in the past few weeks’ paucity of comics. Be assured when the time is right there will be pictures of twee papercraft out the veritable yin-yang, THE YIN-YANG I SAY.

For no reason, this post will be accompanied by various results of a GIS for “groom’s cake.” This one is from Stacey’s Cakes.

Like all good little progressives, I had dreams of cost-effective and streamlined. Small guest list! Potluck BBQ! eBay dress! Paper flowers! The Excessively Handsome Manperson (hereafter EHM) has been notified that I am 100% game for eloping, at any time, with any notice.

So it has interesting to watch myself hurl these dreams of lean-budgetedness, one by one, out the window.

Deer cake by Nonpareils Cake aka She Takes the Cake, which makes a variety of adorable cupcakes that this deer does not necessarily suggest.

Those attempting to get married for cheap may benefit from my inexperience.

Sticker Shock #1: Number of Guests We worked up our guest list and it was 80. There wasn’t really room for cuts. It was 80. Certainly not everyone will be able to make it, but we are prepared. 80.

Sticker Shock #2: Feeding Guests Now, there are many many options for doing a reception. There is no law you have to have one at all, of course. And no one will faint if you do a potluck, or a tea, or have a morning wedding with a brunch. No one will faint at all!

But the decision was made early to hold the ceremony (I like to pronounce it SERemny like I’m fake British) in Monterey peninsula, where EHM has had the decency to locate most of his family and many friends he’s had for 15+ years. Also his older, less portable folk live there. Also there’s no other location that has that kind of guest population density. Also it’s freakin’ Monterey. It was a bit of a no-brainer. I like no-brainers.

However, once a volume of guests is getting on an airplane to get to your wedding, a potluck makes less sense. I wouldn’t be in town to help cook or organize. No one in the area had the Kennedy compound resources for 80 people to descend on their home, and, yeah, I could probably have talked a couple of friends into effectively catering for 80, but DAMN that is a lot to ask of anyone. I mean damn.

So I found myself traveling the venue and catering.

As it turned out, all roads led back to a restaurant in Monterey where EHM’s sister was married just two years prior. We did the due diligence and arrived at the same destination. And lo the venue and feeding fees were HALF, no kidding HALF any other option we’d explored. Plus we can party ’til 1:00 AM if we want (we won’t.) In the end, another no-brainer. Also jettisoned were apprehensions of oh no our pictures will look the same as theirs OH NOOOOOO. Open that window… out they go.

(We also looked at other restaurants, but no other could accommodate 80.)

Tools cake by Cakes Amore, I think.

Sticker Shock #3: The Dress I am still circling this issue. I have located what might be termed a dream dress, but it is twice what I had planned to pay. And it prevents me from scoffing at the expense of wedding dresses in general, which is a hobby I previously enjoyed. Am I perpetuating the wedding-industrial complex? Am I happily ditching my ideals when they inconvenience me? Is this the road to BRIDEZILLA RUINNNN?

Maybe. And I don’t have to commit until December. I have some other options to explore. But apparently if you want to do something totally wild and avant garde with your wedding dress such as WEAR A BRA you need descend deep in the Mines of Moria because there ain’t nothing in Redhorn Pass but Hope You Like Strapless and Good Luck Hugging.


Om nom nom nom tuxedo strawberries by Flour Power

Sticker Shock #4: Photography I knew this would be a bite. I have no illusions about asking a skilled friend to do it out of the kindness of their heart — I prefer skilled friends to be independent volunteers who can quit shooting and have another glass of wine if the mood strikes them. For various reasons, it is pretty important to me to have a professional — someone whose only concern is photographing, and who works for me but knows when and how to take charge. I would forego hosting any bar before I would forego a pro photographer, THERE I SAID IT.

And I realize with a pro that the conversation starts at $2K for 4 hours. Then I see the difference between a pro pro and a regular pro, and that $500 or $1K more doesn’t seem like much when you compare it to the overall total, and everybody knows pics or it didn’t happen, AND YOU CAN’T AFFORD NOT TO and AIIEEEEE!

Sticker Shock Consequence Once you see how many shekels are leaving your hands, a strange in for a penny, in for a pound fugue state descends. A pro hairdo always made sense, but suddenly a pro manicure beckons… and a fancy-ass cake I’m not going to eat… and that $300 corset isn’t so much to ask… and limos are a thing, right? People should have limos…

It’s a bit of a departure from where I started.

Wut. Brilliant. From Southern wedding traditions via Estate Weddings and Events.

Of course it’s possible to have a lean-budget wedding. But it requires a considerably harder nose than I discovered myself to have.

All I can do now is keep approaching each expense as a new, discrete allocation. The in for a penny hypnosis is so strong. A penny’s got to be squeeeeezed. YOU GOT TO MAKE THE BUFFALO POOP.

Be assured I am also seeing places where a little DIY saves a lot of of shekels. I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but, yeah, twee papercraft. It’s coming.


Draws. Sweats. Eats too much sugar-free candy.

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