I spent eighteen months planning my wedding live online (hey APW). I also spent eighteen months feeling eaten up inside with pure irrational guilt over my wedding budget. There was no way to talk sense into me (I know, because David tried). It didn’t matter how much people told me that feeding 120 people just cost good money. I still felt badly. Why? Because I could have done it for less. One hundred percent guaranteed, if I had been calling all the shots at that damn party, I would have spent less cash.
But the thing was I wasn’t planning alone. I had two sets of families with different opinions and requirements. I had a partner who also had some strong feelings. And then on top of it all, I had a couple of things I actually wanted myself.
When you’re in the middle of wedding planning, the Internet can seem like it’s divided into two camps. One camp is folks that (at least from the outside) look like money is simply not an issue. They have the prettiest designer dresses, stunning custom wedding invitations, a thousand roses hanging from the ceiling on diamond ropes. Or, at least that is how my stressed out mind always saw it. And in the other camp you have people bragging about how little they spent on their wedding, with the idea that the less you spend, the more moral you are. Or, again, that’s how my frazzled brain translated the message.
All these years later, I can tell you this: every second I wasted feeling badly about how much we were spending on our wedding was a second wasted. It was energy I really needed for the actual problems of wedding planning, thrown down the hole of imagining what other people thought about me… or worse, judging myself.
(My Own) Real Life
Like every other human who’s thrown a wedding ever, I was working with a particular set of advantages and limitations. I had a particular number of people that we wanted to host. I had style requirements from family members (seated dinner please, no taco trucks—I still feel annoyed over this). I had a budget available to me that I couldn’t go over, because we just flat out didn’t have any more money than that to spend. So we did what every other human who’s thrown a wedding ever has done: we made it work.
And all these years later, I can tell you that don’t regret what we spent. Hell, I almost never even think about the amount of money we spent. Because we did what worked at the time, we had a lovely wedding, and…. honestly? That’s all that really matters.
But I also know that it can be nearly impossible to not feel consumed by guilt over your wedding budget when you’re in the thick of planning. Are you spending too much? Are you spending too little? Are you asking too much of your friends and family?
the guilt doesn’t stop here
We all know that one of the ways that society eats away at women is by telling them all of their choices are wrong. We’re consumed with guilt over what we eat, what we wear, how we parent, and on and on and on. But sometimes we don’t notice that society is giving us the same messages about weddings. We’re cheap or tacky if we spend too little. We’re immoral and lavish if we spend too much. We’re bridezillas if the enormous massive stress put on us while planning a wedding… stresses us out.
So I thought I’d take a moment today to point out that it’s all bullshit. And whatever you’re spending on your wedding is probably just the right amount for you. Hell, it might even give you a chance to invest in (often women-owned) small businesses in a meaningful way. In fact, ignore all of the message you get that say you’re doing it wrong. Because you’re doing it just right.
Or at the very least, you’re doing it the best you know how. And what else can you ask of yourself?
Okay, spill. Who’s feeling guilty about their wedding budget? Who’s worried about being judged? Who’s frustrated because the very same people who are going to tuck in to that chicken dinner are telling you that you shouldn’t be a spendthrift? It’s a safe space in the comments today, so feel free to let it all out.