Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wedding Planning vs. Backpacking

I have been planning our wedding since March 2012, so it's been a while.  In that time, I have managed to find my way through many, many wedding blogs.  Since this will be the most expensive event I've ever planned, I usually click through websites that include advice on how to save money.  Some are great - did you know you can dress up a grocery store cake into something pretty fancy?  Even though picking our bakery (maybe five months too early?) has been one of my favorite parts of planning so far, I love reading through posts like this.

Making our cake tasting even better, we got samples to take home.
Other websites quickly leave me feeling inadequate.  For every gorgeous featured wedding, there's another wedding that was just as beautiful and cost half the price.  On a post about a $10,000 wedding for 100 people, there's an internet commenter saying, "$10,000?  My 200 person wedding only cost $5,000 and we served a seven-course meal with fresh-caught lobster."  For every $5,000 lobster-filled wedding, there's an internet commenter saying, "You spent that much on one day, you idiot?  I fed my 300-guest wedding with $20 and a box of saltines!  And they all said it was the best wedding they'd ever been to!"  This race to the bottom leaves me with the constant fear that I am behind on my research.  Clearly if one vendor's prices look good, I must have missed the other guy whose prices are even better, plus he'll throw in a puppy for the day.   

This mentality - that there is always somewhere cheaper - is apparent in certain backpacking circles.  When Eric and I were in Surabaya, Indonesia, we swapped stories with another traveler about our time in the Gili Islands.  We had found Gili on the more expensive side, since we paid roughly $25 per night for a private room with a hot, freshwater shower.

"Oh!  Well," the guy scoffed.  "You wanted freshwater.  That's your problem."  Obviously we were bourgeois flashpackers who couldn't handle roughing it a little.  We then got to listen to him describe how comfortable he was coming out of the ocean and showering off with cold saltwater.  This type of talk appears in everything from finding the cheapest food to searching out places so remote that Lonely Planet has never heard of them.  If that's how you like to travel, power to you.  I'm just not a big fan of saltwater showers.

We also splurged on some nice dinners, because how could we not eat at a place like this?
The water is right there!
On the one hand, the wedding equivalent of freshwater showers - be it favors, a fancier venue, nicer invitations, or a specific type of flower - is not strictly necessary.  For a wedding, all you need is your person and a justice of the peace.  Everything else is extra, and it quickly becomes difficult for me to justify the upgrade to late night sweets or pricier flowers. 

This also ties into my constant issue in wedding planning - need vs. want.  Did I really need a hot shower in Indonesia?  Not really.  I wanted one, so we spent an extra $10 per night for it (and that was great after a day of snorkeling).  What if we had saved the extra $50 over five nights?  Maybe that would be paying part of my train fare to work every day this month.  (Unlikely, but this type of thinking is not exactly rational.)  Weddings are already so expensive - and I'm not whining about the wedding industry, I mean that feeding 130 people is just not cheap - that it's hard for me to choose extras just because I want them.  There's a voice in my head saying, "You want those peonies, eh?  Do you know how many sheep in the Andes those would buy?"

So far my solution is to research and make the best decisions we can.  It may not completely drown out my feeling that somewhere in Chicago there is that magic DJ who will trade her services for six weeks of dog walking, but at least I can be reassured that our wedding will be what we want, and damn it, we like hot showers. 

What are upgrades you have a hard time justifying, in weddings or in everyday life?

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you have recently got engaged and also you tend to be gonna start out the planning period of the marriage ceremony? Well, before you acquire much into organizing, you really should look at soliciting assistance from being married advisor.
    Entertainment Phuket