I talk about my purchases all too frequently however I have never really alluded to our budget. I have been brought up to understand the value of money. Money was tight in my youth, we were not poor, but we were made fully aware of the sacrifices my parents were making to make our life comfortable. (In comparison to my school friends I was positively broke). So along with the "supposed" value of money and I have also been instilled with the pseudo-Victorian tenet that people should never talk about money in polite company (or really at all).
So for me it is rather difficult to be completely honest about money whether it be in public to my friends or anonymously here. I am not sure where this post will lead yet I would never ask for you to divulge your situation. That's just not what I'm about. I guess I want to review the budget.
Living in the UK, especially with such a poorly performing Pound, means that it very difficult to compare budgets with others across the world. Indeed, comparing across the UK is just as difficult with the inflated prices London brings. Yes, you can marry for less than £500 and indeed it is no more or less romantic than those who are able spend £500,000. The wedding is important but at the same time the wedding (for me) is a means to an end, the end being marriage. So why do we spend money on weddings at all?
I went to a close friend's wedding this weekend. Speaking to the somewhat inebriated groom (after the champagne reception) he revealed that whilst he enjoyed the whole wedding experience, to be married was the reason. I could not agree more. Yet, my inevitable secret criticisms did escape my on the long trip home from Wales with Bean. It was not the wedding for me. It was a beautiful traditional church wedding but it did feel a little impersonal. Gosh, that sounds so awful. It wasn't their fault. It was the vicar. A vicar who had obviously spent more time conducting funerals in recent years. Whilst the detail was there, there was no passion or joy in his words or voice. I always cry at weddings. Yet no tear fell from my expectant eyes. I guess, money cannot buy personality. The food was splendid, the wine flowed and there was dancing. They got what they wanted. They got married. Isn't that the most important thing?
Now Bean and I are so called DINKYs (double income no kids, yet) so we have no real financial commitments.
We I am happy to spend money on things others find trivial. Yet, I do not like to waste money. My choice would be to invite people over for dinner than drop £100 on a night out. (I just need a little dancefloor at home!) I would rather spend money on random prettiness for my home than a weekend away in country. I am different from most of my older* friends. Indeed you may disagree with me entirely. I adore the details and trawling the internet for wonderfulness (much to the detriment of my sanity). So when it came to the wedding I knew where my priorities would lie.
We are spending an obscene amount on our wedding. (However I have now reconciled my worries.) Our hooplow is going to be relaxed, decadent fun. We have a budget. Budget. The scary word. A loaded word. It is a difficult concept with which to compare with others. We have a number but this number has been an organic beast. It has shrunk and grown over the months but now I believe we have reached our plateau. It is still scary but at the same time I see it as exciting. The money could be spent on umpteen different things, a car we don't need, a flat which we may have to sell due to relocation or maybe even children for which we are not ready. However, whilst the wedding is a means to an end (and I guess I am at heart a utilitarian) I am slowly realising that I do want to celebrate the next stage of my life. Apart from my abject fear of being the centre of attention I am actually rather looking forward to "wasting" some money on our celebration.
The thing is I don't know what you earn, what your family circumstances are and how you value your money. This works both ways. For me that's the whole point. I won't lie and say we have spent next to nothing. To me it is the equivalent of saying you have done no work for an exam when you have done nothing but revise. It is counter-productive. We are spending more than ten thousand dollars. We don't have to but we do want to. I realise that you do not need to spend money to make people happy but sometimes you really do have to throw money at a situation. Before starting this blog I had very few physically creative friends and knew I would probably have to shell out to get what I wanted. I have to pay for my dress, my flowers and my venue. However, this wedding world has shown me I can be creative and fabulous. Our wedding will be nothing like the "perfection" you see on inspiration blogs mainly because we are not time rich, super crafty, Russian oligarchs. It will, however, be a fun and personal weekend of wonderfulness and I will not regret spending a single penny.
Weddings are what you make of them. Despite the intrinsic link with marriage they actually have very little to do with the next 5, 10, 100 years of your life. Whether you share your wedding with just your two witnesses or two thousand close friends you will share your marriage with everyone you meet. That is the important part but you have to get to marriage through a wedding. How you choose to do this is no-one's business but your own. Embrace the fact you are spending money on yourselves. Embrace your decisions. Stand by your decisions and remember....
....it is for this moment.
My beautiful friend marrying her fabulous boy this past weekend.
I love that you can see her smile as a white flash.
*By older I mean in terms of relationship rather than age.