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Cost-Effective Weddinging Part 2

Cost-Effective Weddinging Part 2 published on

Image via an alarmingly gauche eHow post

All RSS feeds forgive me for yesterday’s post of this in-progress.

A friendly friend told me she dug Cost-Effective Weddinging part 1 and it takes so little to stoke my ego like a wild inferno so here is a follow-up. If this makes your eyes roll back in your head feel free to skip. There will be more silly drawings coming along shortly.

This post is accompanied by GIS results for “money+wedding.” Stock photos on the subject are a surprising market.

Repurposed, reusable and same cost as fresh flowers? Not bad.

Excessively Handsome Manperson’s willingness to marry me is a Huge Freaking Deal. Embarking on this life commitment is a Huge Freaking Deal. Joining our families is a Huge Freaking Deal. The idea that friends and relations would even be willing to gather across thousands of miles is a Huge Freaking Deal.

But the wedding part itself is A Real Small Deal. For various reasons of family and ritual and public dancing we have decided to do it, and we take seriously the responsibility of not making it a hot pointy knife in the eye of our guests, but otherwise it is A Tiny Deal for sure.

So while I respect the institution, I mock the trappings. The institution doesn’t check The Language of Flowers to see if hydrangeas say the right thing.


With four months to go until weddinging, and complete willingness to elope at the snap of EHM’s fingers, deposits on venues and photographers notwithstanding, everything that can be done this far in advance is done. The books have been balanced. The stickers have shocked. Verily there are some things that are too damn high and some corners that are getting thoroughly cut.

May the following findings be entertainducational.



  • Dress I did go for the dress that was twice what I meant to spend. Eeeeeeeee. Part of this is $45 in shipping (with garment bag! So that’s reasonable, right?) Part of this is $75 in sales tax, which I HATE until I remember I have voted for sales taxes, and a floofy wedding dress is exactly the sort of luxury good that rightly screams “tax me.” I am conveniently rationalizing this expenditure because 1) my physique is… ah… nonstandard, and 2) I know I can sell it afterward for at least half what I paid. I know this because I really tried to buy one second-hand, but the few that go up for sale get snarfled up like hot Jell-O in a summer camp relay race.

    Via Homemade Gifts Made Easy
    . Not terribly relevant, but very cute

    Until I do sell it, the total means it will cost at least $125/hour to wear. This dress’s time is apparently as valuable as a licensed cognitive behavioral therapist. Make of this what you will.

  • Hair Including the hair trial (did you know there is such a thing as a “hair trial”?) and gratuities, my hair will cost $25 per hour of anyone getting to see it. Oh, my God, I wish I hadn’t calculated that. I conveniently rationalize this expenditure thusly: I have hair best described as “cobweb blond,” whose modes range from “lank” to “extra lank.” I am paying for it to look good, but mostly I am paying not to have to do it myself.


  • Cake I swear I would bake if there were time. There will not be time. We are doing cupcakes to maximize multi-flavor trying and young-child hyper-making.
  • Invitations Overnight Prints, yo.
  • Anything else paper Kinko’s, yo.
  • Reception Food/Booze People are coming from across the country, after all. Jet lag requires protein. Plus it’s not a wedding unless you can tell what time a picture was taken just by looking at it.
  • Next-Day Brunch We lately went to a wedding where, over the course of many engagement and marital events, the bride’s parents fed us five times. FIVE TIMES. I respect this highly, though I could never hope to duplicate it. However we can at least do some super-casual second nosh in the morning. Elevensies? Yes.


  • Lodging We looked into reserving a hotel block. In the region, one reserving such a block accepts responsibility for 90% of the cost of the reserved rooms, which requires coordinating potential guests before invitations even go out. It also assumes all the guests want to stay in the same place. It seemed much more prudent to just give guests all the information we could and let them Do Their Thing.
  • Transportation Our transportation approach may be described as “here is a cab number” and “I believe so-and-so is staying at the same hotel” and “I can scoop you up in the Pontiac.”
  • Venue Ceremony and reception at the same place, which is a restaurant. Can’t. Recommend. Enough. Madd props to EHM’s older sister for figuring this all out over two years ago.
  • Makeup I have Ben Nye and latex. I could go as a zombie if I wanted to. But probably I will go as fixative, primer and false eyelashes, because the day is long and the photos are digital.
  • Flowers Every bride needs one last-minute DIY project to bitterly regret. This will be mine. HA HA HA. Actually, of all areas to attempt this is the safest, and truly I’ll need something to keep my hands busy and there are only so many napkins to doodle on ONLY SO MANY.

Quick sidebar to comment on the post this image comes from, which I understand is linkbait and not supposed to be actual useful content, but still typifies most “Money-Saving Wedding Tips” posts — here are the useless tips the thrifty couple finds everywhere:

  • Get married not on the weekend. If you were willing to do this, you were doing it already. This “tip” is like telling someone Jewish to “try the BLT.”
  • Use email instead of invitations. Again, if you were willing, you were already doing this. More useful would be “here is the cheapest place to get quality printing online” (answer: Overnight Prints)
  • Shop around for a cheap dress. THANKS FOR THE PRO TIP.
  • Invite fewer people. Actually the best advice in the list, but more useful would be rules-of-thumb to use as a starting point, and elegant ways to discuss things with those not invited.
  • Have your wedding in a church around a major holiday so the place is already decorated. What. I don’t know a lot, but 1) churches are already pretty because that is their job, unless their job is to be unpretty, in which case some flowers ain’t gonna help, and 2) how much money are you hoping to save on decor that would justify setting the date for it?

So I end this rant by presenting:


  • As a couple, figure out what’s not at all important to either of you. This will be a surprisingly short list. It will save you 2.5% of your budget.
  • Do what you can to pay cash instead of credit. Start saving for it on your first date. Stop eating so many Quest Bars, although they are delicious. This will save you save you 15-25% but never show up in your budget.
  • Get married somewhere with a low cost of living. I don’t know how much that will save because we’re not doing that.
  • Pick a venue with an occupancy limit. This is the best guest list control. Save 10%.
  • Get married at a restaurant. This seriously saved us 25% of our budget.
  • Don’t tangle with lodging. You are too old. Make up for it with gift bags. Save 8%.
  • Have lots of talented, spirited friends willing to donate their arts and energies. This is just basically rad, and what I’m most grateful for.

A-a-a-and spent.

Cost-Effective Weddinging

Cost-Effective Weddinging published on

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.

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