Cash Money

An excerpt from my post up today at A Practical Wedding:

Oh yes, the Holidays are in full swing. The trees are up (I don’t have one, but I see them on TV), the Christmas music is on the radio, the menorahs are being lit, it’s cold, I’m getting a thousand emails about sales here and there every day, and I am totally freaked out about money. We’re trying to save for the wedding, and of course I want to give every single person I know a thoughtful, lovely gift that they will adore me forever for. You’d think I was exaggerating for the laugh, but I’m really not. And what does all of this have to do with wedding planning? Cost. Money. Moola. Our savings and how because we’re focusing on saving I feel trapped by my lack of spending money.

I’ve made choices for our wedding that are meaningful and inclusive and important, and also hopefully fun and engaging for our guests. And I’m not spending money just to spend the money, I’m not trying to out-decorate anyone or have the longest train. None of that. But my wedding is happening in Seattle and I live in San Francisco, and that right there is totally impractical as far as logistics are concerned. It’s difficult and creates more cost because I can’t be prepping tons of stuff beforehand and storing it in my mother’s closet, I can’t spend a week before the wedding buying supplies and building amazing home made godknowswhats and tying ribbons on everything, even though I want to. So that means sometimes I have to pay for the convenience of having someone else make and organize it.

The truth about money is I wish we had more. I feel like it would give us more options, would allow us to afford my exact vision without compromise, and I hate it. I hate it because I feel guilty for wanting more money and I hate it because it’s paining me that I have to actually say no to things I thought would always be a part of my wedding/reception – like a photobooth, for example. And maybe it’s almost cliche at this point to want one, but I don’t care. It’s so incredibly who Kamel and I are: goofy, fun, playful. I wanted to have a book of photo booth reels of my guests, my grandma, and me acting the fool, and making me happy. But I had to say no. And I feel guilty for wishing I could spend more on frivolous things like that. Because it’s not the point, right? We’re getting married, that’s what’s important. Our families will be there, our closest friends, in a space that is important to me. But, damnit, I can’t help wanting the other things, the things that are expensive, the things other people tell me not to worry about, that they say won’t matter.

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11 thoughts on “Cash Money”

  1. you hit the nail on the head – these are all things that are stressing me out right now too. i’m in nj and our wedding will be in seattle, so i totally understand the ‘want to do lots of diy projects but just logistically can’t’ mentality. it sucks! and we’re in the midst of paying off j’s monstrous student loans, so…not lots of mullah.

    re: photobooth, have you thought about maybe setting one up yourself? not in a diy kind of way, but just getting a sheet and stringing it up, borrowing a tripod and someone’s camera, and have people take their own pics? or maybe even ask a friend or family member to do it for half an hour or so? might not work, but it potentially could give you the type of pictures you want for much, much less. i’ve also seen people have a polaroid camera with the guestbook. but maybe that’s not what you’re looking for.

    okay, sorry, didn’t want to give tons of advice that you don’t want to hear right now 🙂 but just wanted to let you know that i feel the EXACT same way right now. let me know if you need to chat and vent/ bitch/ discuss ways to rob a bank discreetly. it’s nice to know i’m not alone!

    1. Ya know – we’re talking about it. We need to discuss it with our photographer first though. I don’t want to impede on her mojo or eff up on our contract. But I think things are better since I wrote that a few weeks ago. I hate not having a pillow a savings. That’s when I start to hit the panic button.

    2. I went to a wedding once where they set up their laptop to be the photobooth. It was just shoved in a closet on a shelf with a bunch of props and we got into the closet and shut the door and took pics. It was *awesome*. They had the mac photobooth application set on the four-rapid-pictures thing and it was the best set of pics ever. Hope your photographer allows it! Good luck!

  2. SUCH a great post, Lauren. I actually really enjoy that Practical Wedding website, and think it’s so cool you’re on there.
    I read most of the comments people left, and even when money SUCKS, and we don’t have enough of it, (do we ever?) it’s comforting to know others are wiping their tears with the same crappy 99 cent kleenex.
    On a different, but similar money related note, I just had a money dilemma this morn. My bosses gave me a $100 bill for Christmas- SCORE! and I found myself making a mental “what to do?” list, emailing the bf for advice, feeling so torn about what the hell to do with it. At first, $100 seems like a lot of money, but the more I thought about it, the more $100 felt like $5…money that would be gone faster than I can say “Nordstrom Rack”. So all morning long I’m thinking “save it, spend it, 50/50 it?”…ugh…money sucks.

  3. Obviously all I have to say to this is YES, IT ALL SUCKS. And it sucks feeling you have to constantly give things up. Especially in a situation when you feel like you’re supposed to be doing everything perfectly on one big perfect day. It’s hard enough to budget in real life, and harder for a “once in a lifetime” occasion.

    Ali, that is GUILT FREE MONEY. $100 bill? You can’t just take that to lunch. And who wants to go to the bank and deposit it? That’s a chore. Spend it, and spend it on something special. A massage. A new sweater. Keep it in your purse until you see something you want but would never let yourself get, normally. Special dinner. Let a gift be a gift. (This is what I did when I got a $100 for graduation this summer and despite being BROKE BROKE and UNEMPLOYED I let myself indulge. It was perfect.)

  4. Margaret,
    Two things you said really stuck out to me
    1. Keep the money in my purse until I REALLY find something I want (I planned on that and now I’m sticking with it.)
    2. Make a gift a gift..such a great idea.
    New goal is to combine both those ideas into some $100 bliss.

    1. Good job Ali! way to revel in the awesomeness of an extra 100 bucks. I have no qualms with shopping with any christmas money – not specifically for the wedding – that I receive. I feel like i’ll go insane without some treats for me. 🙂

  5. Lauren,
    I can only imagine. The idea of trying to live life normally, and have money for a wedding, scares the shit out of me. I am not grown up enough for that yet.

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