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Brides, grooms and brooms write about their wedding-planning experiences, and wedding vendors share tales from their professional experiences.
Viewing entries tagged backyard
Want to see something funny? (No, you don’t have to pull my finger.)
Tell people you plan on spending a grand total of $2,500 on your wedding and watch their reaction.
“But…but…I spent that much on flowers!” they’ll shriek, wide-eyed with astonishment. Or, “My veil cost $2,500!” Or, “So…you’re not having any guests at your wedding, are you?” This last one is my personal favorite; like I’d have a wedding and not invite anyone. (I have recently been called a “narcissistic groomzilla,” thanks to my blogging, so I certainly don’t want to risk my reputation.)
I have met entirely too many newly married couples who act as if they had no control over the cost of their own wedding. They present themselves as hapless victims of some unseen race of Wedding People In The Sky who, with the aid of fire and brimstone, decreed that there would be no wedding without a price tag upwards of $50,000. “I just had to have 12 bridesmaids,” laments the poor bride. “We just had to get married on the French Riviera,” grunts the groom, with a roll of the eyes.
Um. No, y’all didn’t.
Weddings have gotten out of hand, folks. When did memorable become synonymous with expensive? Let me tell you, I will never forget my first car—a 1979 Mazda GLC hatchback, the color of metallic diarrhea—but it was hardly expensive. As a matter of fact, I have a wool coat that cost more than that car did. But I digress.
Weddings have gotten out of hand. It’s turned into a competition, as has most everything in the world these days, thanks to the audio-visual plague of “reality” TV. Everything is a war: Cupcake Wars (it’s a cupcake, for the love of fuck; no one has to lose a limb!), Storage Wars, Whale Wars. Someone who makes the decisions at TLC or Bravo will, no doubt, see this and have a light bulb moment, and we’ll have Wedding Wars before the year is out, hosted by none other than that self-appointed protector of the sanctimony of marriage himself—Newt Gingrich. But, again, I digress…
My wedding is not going to be The Mother Of All Weddings. I am not Kim Kardashian, thank the sweet baby Jesus. I’m not flying the wedding party and guests to a secluded beach in Hawaii, and I won’t have 12 bridesmaids who I expect to pay an arm and a leg for a dress they will only wear once. I have a back yard and it isn’t going to cost me $5,000 to rent it for three hours, with a further obligation to use a certain caterer for another $5,000. As a matter of fact, I’ll be doing all the food myself, which really sends folks into fits of apoplexy. “WHY???” they wail. “You won’t be able to enjoy your big day!” Actually, I will be able to enjoy my big day, because I’ll be happy in the knowledge that I fed 65 people for less than $250—and no, I’m not kidding.
Maybe it’s because women have been planning their weddings since they were old enough to pronounce the word, and gay men have only recently gotten serious about marriage. We come to the altar with less outside expectation, so we can drape some tulle between two trees in our back yard, throw on a tie, invite a few close friends, and call it a wedding. Meanwhile, Pinterest boards are replete with wedding fantasies that would make Martha Stewart’s head spin. By the time most women actually float down the aisle wearing Louboutins, on a carpet of organic rose petals in a Vera Wang number with a price tag that could easily bankrupt a developing nation, the planning has been going on for 20 years or more. There is a battalion of bridesmaids and groomsmen, a flower girl and ring bearer dressed to look like the bride and groom, a carriage drawn by no fewer than eight snow white horses, a bottle of Dom Perignon at each table for the toast—and there are 30 tables with eight guests apiece, a full orchestra, servers in tie and tails… You get the idea.
Now, if you can afford a wedding like that, great! Have at it. Or, if your oil tycoon father is footing the bill, take the money and run. But most of us can’t afford a royal wedding, and that’s great, too.
I started planning our wedding the day after Derwood asked me to marry him, and within a month, it was done. We’ve postponed once, but nothing has changed, and we’re moving into the home stretch again. The most expensive things on our list are the Champagne (although…isn’t Prosecco cheaper, now that I think of it?) and the silverware and glass rental. I’m wearing jeans, a dress shirt, a vest, a tie and Vans. Derwood is wearing jeans, a dress shirt, a tie, a jacket and Chucks. We have four bridesmaids who get to buy and wear whatever they want, as long as they stick to our color palette. There are no horse-drawn carriages. Our guest list is small (and getting smaller as folks unknowingly remove themselves from it…but that’s a topic for another blog entry, so stay tuned!). Decorations are cheap, as I am hoping to grow all the pumpkins we’ll use, and the rest will come from farmers markets—you gotta love a fall wedding! Oh, and we may very well be handing out disposable cameras for guests to do the photography…although this is still up in the air.
So, like I said, $2,500. It can be done. And I’d rather spend money on the honeymoon, anyway. Also, there’s that whole thing about putting more into the marriage than putting too much into the wedding. This will be my only wedding, so I don’t want to jinx things. And maybe I can have a side career as a budget wedding planner. Now there’s a thought.
Weddings are hard work. We haven’t completed much yet but the the planning is overwhelming. We are doing everything ourselves. With a little over 100 days until our special day, the pressure is beginning to build. Our budget is next to none at this moment in time, which just adds to the craziness. Some days this whole thing sounds so impossible. My solutions? I wrote to Ellen. Yes, that Ellen. I wrote to Ellen DeGeneres, and not just once. On my rare spare time, I also read blogs, wedding sites, scourer the internet for ideas, watch David Tutera, and enter wedding contests. I laugh at myself because I'm turning into one of "those brides."
Despite my lapse in sanity, I/we have actually been planning. We decided to have our ceremony/reception at my grandmothers house in Oregon, where most of my family and our friends live. We will do something small to legalize it as well either in Iowa or if everything is in our favor, Washington. Venue is one cost I am so grateful that we can avoid.
The next decision that has been made is that I am making our cake. I am an “all natural” nut! I snub just about anything with a hint of artificial, with an exception to a few weaknesses such as an occasional grape soda. Looking at vendors and quotes, I couldn’t find anything within my teeny tiny budget so I started looking up recipes and found an amazing one I adjusted a bit. It is an extra chocolate cake with a peanut butter filling and chocolate mousse frosting. I have done a trial run and my fiancée fell in love with me all over again. I bought a new spring form pan and a few more cooking utensils that will hopefully help for the second trial. We are looking at around 50 guests so I think making our own cake shouldn’t be too unreasonable.
My take on peanut butter filling for a 9 inch cake :
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1/4 cup organic peanut butter (regular is fine)
- 1 cup organic whipping cream (originally called for whipped topping, ew)
- A smidge of raw sugar (2 TBSP confectioners sugar)
- The original recipe said to beat cream cheese until smooth. Add the peanut butter and sugar; beat until blended. Add whipping cream. (But because I do not own a mixer, I used a blender)
Planning at times hasn't always been light hearted. When it comes to the topic of family, its quite complicated. To be honest, I have yet to tell my mother, or father for that matter, that I am engaged. I just don’t see the point with how everything has been in the past. Although with social media influence, I’m sure some of my more liberal family members have told them.
To make it a little more complicated, I am also adopted but have reunited with my biological family on my father’s side over the last few years. The good news is they have supported my relationship with Clara and have welcomed her into the family. As I mentioned earlier, my grandmother is allowing us to use her house. My biological mother is in Texas and I really have no clue whether she will attend or not. The way we see it though for the most part is that the people who need to be there will be and everyone else shouldn't matter.
On a lighter note, our next adventure will be deciding what our guests will eat. I am taking a trip to Portland next month for the first time since we decided on the location. Hopefully this trip and meeting with my family in person will help me be able to get more informed and organized as we make our final decisions. We still have a lot of work to do but we aren't ready to throw in the towel yet!
I need to know something.
When did a wedding invitation become the Holy Grail to straight, white, twenty-something women? Because if I have one more straight, white, twenty-something woman I don’t know more or less invite herself to my wedding, I will not be responsible for what comes out of my mouth.
And no, I am not kidding.
This is how it usually happens: I’m out somewhere (say, a restaurant) and I run into someone I know who is there with friends, and he/she will ask me how wedding plans are going, and I’ll tell him/her about it, and the next thing I know, some chick I don’t know is in my face, shrieking, “Ohmygod! You’re getting married? Ohmygod! I think that’s SO. CUTE! Can I come?”
Um. First, who the hell are you? And second, no. Make that hell no.
To begin with, this heifer just butted into a conversation of which she was no part. Rude. Furthermore, there are people I actually know who aren’t going to make it onto the guest list, so who does she think she is? I mean, really. Who are these people?
Is there some overpowering need, coded into human female DNA through centuries of evolution, to shop for a dress and shoes that drives this behavior? I can see the Facebook status updates already: “At the mall looking for the perfect little black dress to wear to a wedding! I love my life!” Or, “Found the perfect dress, but it was green and we all know how green clashes with my spray-on tan. Why does this always happen to me?”
Do all gay couples deal with these women who, for the sake of appearing socially evolved and politically correct, need to be the guest at a gay wedding? Because that’s usually the next thing out of their mouths—right after I haven’t responded to their demand for an invitation: “I think it is SO. BRAVE. that you guys are doing this. I think everyone should have the right to marry the person they love!"
(Insert a stare of utter disbelief.)
For the record, bravery has little to do with it. We aren’t digging trenches and firing missiles at an army of Bible-thumping religious conservatives bivouacked across the street. (Although, now that I think of it, that would make for a kick-ass bachelor party!) We’re having a quiet ceremony in our backyard with a small group of our friends, and it’s more a quiet declaration of our love and commitment to one another than it is a battle cry. And yes, I am aware that the simple act of doing such a thing at all in the Fascist state of Georgia is taking a stand of sorts, but honestly… I just want to marry my boyfriend.
Meanwhile, these women and their need to be at a wedding—any wedding—completely baffle me. They even do it to straight brides-to-be. I catered a wedding shower recently and the bride-to-be told me it had happened to her more times than she could recall. Seriously? Is it a result of all the wedding and Bridezilla shows on TV these days? Like the Olympics—do people see weddings on TV and vow to attend one before they die? I really can’t think of a logical reason, but if you or someone you know is one of these women, stop it. Now. It’s not pretty, and frankly, it’s just plain weird. Go find your own gay couple and demand they invite you to their wedding. And make sure they’re giving out prescriptions for Ativan as favors.
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