February 8, 2011

Wedding Picking, Planning, Pricing...and Meltdown

Yesterday my best friend from college drove out from Boston to see me. I was super excited to ask her to be my Maid of Honor. She is one of those 'forever friends' - we can go for a few weeks or a couple of months without talking, but each of us knows that if either of us needed the other we'd be there in a heartbeat.

Its hard to maintain friendships while moving around with TJ two to three times a year, but she's always by my side and forever in my heart and I am so blessed by her friendship....and of course she said YES! :)

I'm all about DIY projects for this wedding shindig, so when I found this super cute 'Will You Be My Bridesmaid' idea at Project Wedding I decided to give it a try:

Last night we also went to look at wedding gowns for the first time. I decided that I had found 'the one' after trying on six and after an hour of switching in and out of two of my favorites. When I went to the register to put what I thought would be a deposit to hold the dress, they wanted me to pay for it in full. Excuse me? For a wedding that is 17 months away? I don't think so. 

I'm a true believer that everything happens for a reason and I'm really glad that I didn't pay for the whole thing in full like I was contemplating because now that I look at pictures, I actually like the other dress a whole lot more. Jeeze Louise.

And now, on to my meltdown. I know that this probably hits everyone at some point during the wedding planning process. I hate to throw numbers around, but I honestly can't justify a $30,000 wedding. We could put a downpayment on a house or pay for an SUV with that kind of money, and we're hoping to get pregnant a couple of months after the wedding. I really don't want to 'start' our life together with that kind of debt....and the saddest part of it all is that a $30,000 wedding is considered on the cheap side for Massachusetts.
The venue that we booked at includes everything for a minimum of 175 people (this luckily includes vendors and children). We can even use their ugly table centerpieces if we want - but they gave me an itemized break down and it gives me heart palpitations.

Ceremony - $1,500
4 Course Dinner Menu for 171 people - $7,866
Childrens Menu (2 people) - $46
Vendors Menu (2 people) - $46
6 hrs Open Bar - $4,025
Champagne Toast - $350
Cake @ 2.75/pp - $481.25
22% Service charge - $3,150.02
Tax - $1,091.78
TOTAL - $18,560.05

We also have our photographer at $3,500 and the DJ at $2,145 - which brings us to $24,205.05 - is your head spinning yet? Because mine is.
When TJ and I first started talking about our wedding plans we decided that the important things we wanted to spend money on were the food and entertainment for our guests, and then the photography for ourselves. I plan on DIYing our save the dates, invites, centerpieces and all that jazz - I really don't care what any of it looks like to be honest with you (the more simple the better)... but it's all going to add up, quickly...


  1. A wedding does not make a marriage!

    I look back on my day...

    I bought the dress I thought was the one...I probably should have looked harder...don't rush, you will find a dress!

    We didn't spend too much on photography, I just asked to have my photos on a cd...I figured I could do the rest. I don't know where the CD is 14 years later, and I wish I had a beautiful book to look at with my daughter...Spend a little more here....memories are priceless.

    We spent a lot of money on an open bar...my husband is a hockey guy...enough said. I look back, wine and beer would have been plenty.

    I made my centerpieces (planted herbs), I made my church "programs" (thank you Martha Stewart), I made my pew aisle bouquets (dried lavender is cheap and goes a long way)

    My bouquets were made day of ceremony out of items found in a garden...my sister-in-law is amazing

    No one remembers the color of napkins (Navy blue....not my colors)...or the fact we had very nice plastic plates (we were on a boat)

    People remember the music, the dancing, and the fact you both are in love!

    Don't stress....it will all come together. As long as you are marrying the right guy, the wedding will be perfect!


  2. The second dress looks beautiful,and don't stress-you'll find the perfect one :) I'll have to agree with Hockey Wife on this "A wedding does not make a marriage!" and "As long as you are marrying the right guy, the wedding will be perfect!".IT's your day-try to make a lot of beautiful memories :) It's natural to stress out while planning for something this special,but things are going to work out.Love the paper doll Maid of Honors :)Here's something I read about a DIY wedding-if you have a friend who takes brilliant photographs-you could ask him/her to do the photography-that way you save and add a personal touch too :)

  3. I'm totally in the same boat! Planning my wedding and can't possibly think about spending so much on a wedding! I've read that "budget" weddings are STILL $10,000...um WHAT?! Insane!
    We have very few things planned at this point, but the dress I'm in love with is almost $1000 and I don't think we'll be able to afford a photographer even if we are having our wedding at a venue that is less than $500 and doing a cheap breakfast reception with less than 30 guests. Weddings are insane. The price makes no sense!
    I hope it works out for both of us, good luck and congrats on your wedding! :)

  4. I got married in MA and my wedding cost more than I would have liked....but it was cheap considering. I got a little discount cause I got married on a Tuesday and we had less than 100 people. I made my own invites, menu cards and seating cards...didn't have programs. Friends did the centerpieces (Dahlias).

    Take your time with the dress. You'll know when you put it on if it's THE ONE! Go back, try it on again, look for others, try them on again.

    More importantly, spend time with the people who are important to you. Enjoy the time with friends and family...and your love. After all, relationships are more important than the details of one day!

    Your day will not be perfect...and that's ok. It WILL be beautiful. Don't stress the small stuff!

  5. Also?There are certain friends in life that are like a concrete pillar to you.No matter how far you've been from the,or for how long-you can just burst in through the door and spill your heart out-and the best part is-they would completely understand :)Glad you have such a friend.I'm that I have a couple as well :) <3

  6. First of all you look amazing in both dresses! I like them both in different ways- the way the 2nd kicks out is just fab and the first one has a gorgeous bodice!! Saying that 17 months is ages so keep looking. My friend spent a fortune on a dress and then about 2months before the wedding bought another dress!One is expensive enough haha!

    As for the price- I am in shock!!! So expensive for food!! Then the service charge is just crazy on that amount.

    I think that whatever you end up doing will be fantastic, but as Hockey Wife says, it's down to you two to make the day. That's what people will remember. You don't want to spend all day thinking oh no that cost a fortune... if you want it get it. I know it sounds bad but put yourself first.. it is your wedding after all :-)

  7. Oh looking for a dress is both great fun and anxiety!! I turned out to buy my dress from Hawaii since they are big on Beach weddings:O But its was a couple of nervous weeks until got it and could try it on!! I had an idea in my head of what I wanted but the hard part was to find it in IRL!! Anyway you look beautiful in both dresses but take your time to pick put the ONE:)))

  8. Another tip on the flowers. My sister had my grandma arrange silk bouquets. She used yellow roses and wrapped ribbon around the stem. I still have my MOH bouquet and 4 years later it still reminds me of that awesome day. And they're wayyyy cheaper. She got real flowers for the altar arrangements but they were small and subtle (since no one really notices the flowers on the altar anyway - they're too busy looking a the bride!).

    She also did DIY for all her "paper stuff" - place cards, save the dates, invitations (THAT was quite the site - my mom, grandma, sister, and I all assembling invitations from boxes and boxes of cardstock).

  9. Love the second dress too! It is beautiful on you. Best of luck with the planning. And just remember, if it all gets too much, I know a great little chapel in Las Vegas that would take ya'll last minute :) Oh, and your "would you be my bridesmaid" dolls came out perfect! too clever!

  10. Girl...
    It will ALLLLL come together.. but i totally agree with you.. my head was spinning too- so with our busy schedule for hockey (limited weekends) .. friends ALLLL over the world... and the fact that making sure that our few super close friends (nearby) and family were there... we figured beach, small, and cheaper.. i'm sure the partying will be just as big.. then when we get back eventually to different areas of the world where our other good friends are.. we'll celebrate with them. Give it a lot of thought.. you still have so much time.. and we finally decided to do the small thing after MANY contemplations of options.. (and looking at how much everything costs... haha)

  11. p.s. your DIY way to ask your MOH is super cute ;)

  12. OMG, I just got engaged last Friday night. And this blog of yours is making me nervous. LOL

    Anyways, you look so cute in that wedding dress! Goodluck to you chica!


  13. I love the bridesmaid paper dolls! I want to make those for my buddies as a "thanks for being my friend" gift now :)
    And your "glory days" photo looks mighty familiar haha.
    Having a giveaway over at my blog- come check it out!

  14. Oh I love the 2nd dress so much more than the 1st dress. It looks beautiful on you. Weddings are SO expensive. I really think you can find ways to cut some expenses. I love champagne but quite honestly I don't care about getting a glass for the toast. I feel like you don't need it w/ an open bar. I know that only saves you a few hundred but every little bit helps right!

  15. The second dress is definitely my favorite! The first one doesn't really say "Kym" to me - even though I don't really "know" you per se...

    In my 31 years I've been through almost all of my besties getting married - the dress that is "the one" will make itself known (just like TJ did! :)That's how it's happened with all my friends... So - hopefully it will rub off on you - I'm shopping with you vicariously through your blog and tweets after all... LOL

    As for the expense of it all - should I ever find someone I deem suitable for spending the rest of my life with (I'm a lil picky...) I'll likely do 1 of 2 things: Go to Vegas - or be married on a beach with a small group of close friends and family. I'm a close friends and family type a gal - I've never been much for having all the attention on me. I don't have anything against large weddings - but my point in saying this is: do the things that matter to YOU! If having a photo album to show your children is important - spend the money on that. If having a large wedding and having everyone there is important to you - then do that! Have things there that have special meaning for you. My sister used my grandmother's cake topper - the one she had on her cake the day she married my Grandfather. The cake topper was the most important thing to her (our grandmother passed away when I was 8). Having that atop her wedding cake made her feel like our Grandparents were there with us that day. My father is a retired chef - he and all his little old women that worked for him over the years catered the wedding. That was another thing that she really wanted (and it ALSO saved an enormous amount of money)

    It's YOUR day! Make it a reflection of you and your fiancées love, personalities and dreams - and it will be PERFECT!!!

  16. I really like that the first dress has character but it isn't as flattering (IMO) as the second one. The fit of the second dress is beautiful - it just hugs your body in the right places. I know ... I sound creepy again.

  17. 1) I did the same exact thing for my bridesmaids:) It was such a cute idea!!!

    2) I love those dresses on you. You are going to be a stunning bride!!

    3) Budget stresses everyone out. Trust me, numbers were something Liam and I kept in mind during the entire process. But you have to keep remembering, in the end, its about the two of you...and money can't buy love...or happiness. No matter what happens, as long as the two of you are there celebrating with your family and friends, it will be your happily ever after!

  18. First, i have to say that was the cutest idea with the little cut out maids, i hope i will be asked some day to be a MoH!
    Second, you deserve to have the wedding of your dreams, but its up to you how much you wanna spend!
    And Third, with all that said i have to let you know that i paid $ 400.- for my wedding gown :)) and the total cost of our wedding after all the money presents we got was..... $ 1000.-

  19. Tim and I went to the courthouse. I have never regretted it. http://www.bigteethandclouds.com/2009/11/flashback-friday-november-15th-2002.html

    Starting out in debt is not good for your marriage.

  20. We had a beautiful wedding and as great as it was...I honestly wish we had just eloped! On your wedding day you are NOT going to be thinking about the decorations, food (I barely even got to taste mine!), cake, etc. etc. All you're going to care about is having good pictures to remember the day (a bomb photographer was key for me--I don't like sweets so I could care less about the cake) and spending the day how YOU want with the people that you LOVE. All the rest is just frivolous nonsense that you won't remember in a year. Personalize it for YOU and HIM. That's all that really matters :)

  21. Okay, how have I not been following your blog until now?!? I think both dresses look amazing on you & I absolutely love how you asked your MOH to be your MOH, such a cute, creative idea!! My hubby & I kinda eloped(we had our immediate family with us) & when everything was said & done, that was even way more expensive then I would have expected....i don't think you can win when it comes to the moola & a wedding:) Good luck with everything & I'm super excited to read your posts leading up to your big day:) Happy Wednesday!!

  22. That "Will you be my bridesmaid" card is so cute! I love it!!

    Don't stress!! I'm sure everything will work out perfectly! I think both dresses are beautiful by the way!!


  23. Wedding planning can be sooo difficult and expensive (I used to plan weddings once upon a time). Sometimes you can get discounts by referrals (maybe if you offer to feature them on your blog or something)- it seems as soon as you say "wedding" the price doubles.

    Love the dress and the post was great :)

  24. Holy cow lady!!! #1 Those dresses are both beautiful! You have plenty of time to figure out what you really want!
    #2 You don't have to do exactly what the venue said do you? You can cut the open bar down to like two hours... Then if the guests want more than that, they can fork over the dough! There are definitely work arounds to save you some cash!! So don't stress!!! This process is supposed to be fun!

  25. You look beautiful in both dresses! That being said, pick the one that feels right to you!

  26. Planning our wedding was STRESSFUL. If I had to do it all over again, I would beg and plead to just go away and do it on a beach somewhere. So much expense for one day. I was so stressed about the dress, too.

    New Follower!
    april@Party of Five

  27. SOOOOO, as you're very honored "MOH" I have to agree with all and say it was the best way I have ever been asked. You are truly and amazing woman that I am so proud to call you a best friend. Near or far, we've been there for each other through thick and thin and I can't wait to stand by your side as you become a MRS. to the love of your life.

    Seeing both in pictures I am saddened to say that I have to go with the second one. It's so crazy because the first one in person was amazing!!

    No need to stress!! We have plenty of time and you are on you're way home soon to family and friends that miss and love you.

    I can't wait to start the dress shopping adventures again : ) It's an unreal feeling to see someone you've been best friends with for the last 7yrs standing there in a wedding gown. You're going to find the perfect dress and everything else will fall into place.

    Love you bestie <3


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