Why does my wedding cost so much?

Engagement Ring Luxury Tax Monopoly
Photo by Philip Taylor PT on flickr

It’s killing me inside. Every time I look my budget spreadsheet, the numbers don’t add up. Well, they add up in the math sense, but not in the way they should. We set a budget – a bit arbitrarily, but mostly based on the absolute maximum amount of money we were willing to spend on this day – but no matter what I do, the sum at the bottom is still more than it should be (currently by 2 thousand dollars)!

The lesson, I suppose, is a bit like the one first-time home buyers on reality television shows get: once you see what money actually buys (and how much things really cost) you can either raise your budget, or lower your expectations. It’s simple really, but it’s tormenting me. I feel like I am missing something, like it’s a puzzle waiting for me to figure it out and if I could just find the all-important missing piece then everything would come together.

So far, that hasn’t happened.

The result is that wedding planning has yet to be any fun at all. None. Well, pinning fantasy items is still pretty fun, but only if I remind myself that like all things on Pinterest, wedding pins are for imagination-land only.

The biggest struggle is a venue. Finding something cool, fun, and cheap in downtown Toronto is not an easy thing to do – time will tell if it is even possible. We’ve seen some really fantastic places that, on a more reasonable (not even crazy) budget would be great choices. But they still far exceed our budget. And then there are all the extra costs I hadn’t considered: liquor permits, liability insurance, SOCAN fees, security costs, supervision etc etc. Don’t forget photo-books and thank you cards, dish rentals and non-religious-humanist wedding officiants. And don’t even get me started on the catering quotes! (What part of “simple” and “on a budget” would ever lead you to believe that I want 3 chefs cooking at stations?) Restaurants that aren’t even normally open in the evening are requesting $2000 for the room (on top of bar-priced alcohol and food). We’re not even looking for something particularly ritzy – and I’m trying not to be ridiculous by thinking there is somewhere in Toronto where no one has ever been married – just something with a little bit of character.

I know that the simple solution is to run off to Vegas or City Hall and elope, but I don’t want that. I want an event. I don’t want a spectacle, but I want to be able to look back on this day and say “I’m really glad that we marked that day. I’m glad that we chose to declare to the world that we’re in this for the long-haul, that we’re important. And I’m glad we did it with the people who helped to make us who we are today.” I mean, marriage might traditionally, and in many ways, currently, be an arrangement about money and property, but it’s also an agreement to take on the world together. I want to commemorate that. After all, it’s kind of a big deal.

I did find an especially helpful spreadsheet online that lays out a bunch of the costs you might not have thought about, and my brother graciously offered me his budget so I have something to work against. And I have been checking out any lead I get, but I’m feeling pretty defeated right now. If anyone has any secret gem places, I am taking suggestions. Failing that, maybe we’ll just form a flash mob in a park and hope for the best.

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3 thoughts on “Why does my wedding cost so much?

  1. i remember when one thing i had budgeted for came in under budget and i actually cried with relief! the whole thing is ridiculous, i know. I’ll be at your flash mob, baby! but in the absence of that, i’m also happy to help brainstorm other ideas 🙂

  2. I love this: ‘it’s also an agreement to take on the world together’. The more you network, you will find deals 🙂 Let’s talk.

  3. «I want to be able to look back on this day and say “I’m really glad that we marked that day. I’m glad that we chose to declare to the world that we’re in this for the long-haul, that we’re important. And I’m glad we did it with the people who helped to make us who we are today.»

    That is lovely, Lizz, and important.

    I’ll send you an e-mail about some of the ways I think you could economize.

    Dad

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