One of the things that I have noticed in planning a wedding is how much pressure our parents feel about putting on the right sort of wedding. Our parents think about reciprocation - by now, their friends and siblings have entertained them at the weddings of their children, and they want to return the favor. Our parents have their own aesthetic ideas, and their own social pressures to do things the right way. All of these things can make it really hard for parents to support the kinds of decisions we need to make to have a wedding on a modest budget.
There are a couple of things that have really helped me to help my parents get on board with a more modest wedding. The first is to really understand the emotional and social and cultural reasons behind their positions. In my case, I found that a lot of my parents' concern about where we held the wedding, what food we served, and how we decorated, really came down to wanting the guests to feel glad that they had come and - most importantly - to feel that we were glad they had come. Needless to say, it's definitely possible to meet this need whether your wedding is held in a park shelter or Saint Paul's cathedral.
The second thing that helped my parents get on board was to explain, in very concrete terms, how keeping to a smaller budget would change my life, and my fiance's life, for the better. So I made a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet illustrating my , expected monthly payments for the next ten years, and how my fiance and I could save $500 a month for the next ten years if we poured my savings and 3/4 of our wedding budget into paying off the loan with the . I also explained that my student debt is a chronic source of stress and fear in my life, and that I was pretty sure any stress I had about limiting our selection of alcohol, buying a second hand , or holding the wedding in a park shelter, would be temporary.
My parents have been extremely supportive of our plans ever since. My mom called up the park service to inquire about renting a shelter for a day, found a vendor at the farmers market who can provide local flowers for a fraction of the price at a professional florist, and she's come up with lots of good ideas for having fun without breaking the bank.
Carolyn is a third year law student in search of the perfect environmental law job. When she's not working on the , she blogs about cooking ethically at Localizing.
Jerry is a musician, entrepreneur, and an MBA student. When he's not teaching or recording at his studio, he's usually making brilliant YouTube videos.
Carolyn and Jerry met at the Bitter End, a bar, during her first week in NYC. She surprised and charmed Jerry by sitting down and brazenly introducing herself.
Your turn: Do you have something you want to share with 2000dollarwedding kindred spirits? Maybe you want to write a post about how to DIY your wedding invitations or you want to share a profound realization that helped you approach wedding planning a little more sanely. Maybe you want to write about the name-changing dilemma or a creative idea for making your wedding more eco-friendly. If so, e-mail me your idea. We're looking forward to hearing from you!