As anyone whose ever planned a wedding before knows, these events are shockingly EXPENSIVE. The average cost for a wedding today in the USA is just over $20,000. Yikes! The daughter of a pastor and a minister myself, these numbers are very intimidating. There is just no way we could be fiscally responsible and still spend that much money. And if we chose to spend that much money, what in the world would we do with it all? My sweet fiance has offered to help out a bit, but he has major expenses to prepare for himself: honeymoon, new home, furnishings, and eventually, children. At this time, I don’t have a job lined up there, so he may be supporting us both for a while. It doesn’t feel right to expect him to make major contributions to it as he prepares for all the other aspects of married life.
My parent’s have been generous with me. They are handling the lion’s share of the expense, and I am incredibly thankful that I was raised by gracious givers. As we go to the bank this morning to set up a wedding account, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the wise way they have managed their money over the years. The legacy they leave me is a great blessing. With all that gratitude also comes the realization that we cannot afford to spend $1200 on a cake, $5000 on a photographer, $2000 on a wedding dress, and $3000 on a discount videographer. (All actual, fairly normal amounts to spend.)
I’m a person who has spent my life building relationships. I love having friends, being a good friend, and networking all the people I know together so they can be blessed. As I consider my wedding day, it’s hard for me to imagine who I can exclude from that wonderful celebration and meaningful sacrament as we pledge our lives to one another. Which relationship is less important than the other? (BIG sigh.) I keep hearing that I need to cut, cut, cut the guest list and I react strongly against that idea. I love my family (all 125 of them). I love my friends. I want Rick to have his precious family around him (all 150 of them)!
The solution I’ve decided upon is to trust those friends and family who I have spent my life celebrating. I will have the extremely talented folks I know provide the entertainment, create delicious food, make beautiful pictures, arrange stunning flowers, and manage all the details that we can possibly work together on. And I’ll be delighted to tap into Rick’s amazing network of friends and family as well. They are a very talented bunch! Then I can take our limited budget and use it for materials and supplies. I am praying that with this philosophy, we will have a beautiful wedding that’s a community affair and brings blessings to many as they are able to display their gifts and talents.
I’m not the kind of person who wants every single person I’ve ever met at my wedding. I want those who I’ve built relationships with over the years to be there, to celebrate with us. Rick would probably gladly to go Vegas or get married with our parents and siblings around us. On this issue, I’m thankful that he has told me the wedding is mine to plan and he’ll do whatever he can to help. He’s a good, smart man! Even with all the help from family and friends, we still won’t be able to have an unlimited guest list. But I’m thankful that we’ll be able to invite many of those who have meant so much to us over the years.