The Wedding Singer: Sometimes you just can’t afford it

Sometimes you just can’t afford it. 

Times are tough. Prices are skyrocketing all over. Businesses are trying to recoup what they lost in the pandemic. And no one has the heart to tell you that maybe you just cannot afford a big wedding. 

Not everyone has the luxury of a parent paying for their big day. And given the fact that half of all marriages aren’t going to last, it’s certainly not worth going into debt over, in my humble opinion.

Folks put entirely too much pressure on this day. Phrases like “the best” and “the most important” are applied to it. Really? Do you really want to have peaked that early? That’s a mighty sad precedent to set. 

Is it important? OF COURSE, it is! But it’s also one day. One party. And it can be a very expensive party. Very, very expensive. 

The sad truth is the moment you mention to a vendor that whatever you’re purchasing is for a wedding, the prices go way up. Try it out. I dare ya. Order some flowers for a party. Get some quotes. Then order some flowers for a wedding. Get some quotes. Compare. Yeah. 

I’m always happy to meet couples and discuss details with them and talk about their day. Sometimes to my own detriment, I like them so much that I offer deals or round down. My wedding trauma is fresh; I feel empathy. (For some.) 

Planning my wedding was one of the most stressful things I ever had to do. There were various personal reasons that I don’t care to discuss, but it was mainly complicated by the tail end of the pandemic. That made it much more challenging than it needed to be. If I had it all to do again, I wouldn’t. 

Here’s the biggest misconception I will dispel for you: Non-traditional venues are so much cheaper. Sure, you’d think they would be. But you’re only basically paying for four walls. You have to fill those walls with every last detail. I know; I went this route. 

When you get a traditional venue, you might get sticker shock, but as far as the reception goes, you also get EVERY little thing included (in most cases). This is handy when your asshole “friends” flake on you at the last minute. And the reality is, you’re not just paying for four walls; you’re paying for every plate, chair, water glass, fork, and goddamn napkin for each person. When four people don’t show up, you suddenly become a bitter mathematician. A proper venue has that shit there. They can set it, and they can take it away. (You can still be mad that you paid for your asshole friends’ meal and their open bar.) 

See the ACTUAL example below. $1.50 per fork! (That’s 50 cents a tyne)

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The venue we chose had NOTHING. They gave me the number for a rental place, which was great. I ordered everything from there, including the tables for my guests, a few weeks before. That night, just as I was about to fall into REM sleep, I sat straight up as if Jackie Chan had chopped me in my middle and screamed, “CHAIRS!” I couldn’t call the place at 2 am. I had to wait until 10. I lay there, wide awake, wondering if there would be chairs to rent for my mid-September peak-season wedding or if my guests would have to fucking stand. I mean, why would chairs go with tables? This is the shit you might overlook. (If you’re thinking, “Who wouldn’t know that?” then I’ve got a slow clap for you, genius.) 

A few weeks ago, I went to a panel of wedding pros, and one thing every vendor said was, “You can’t have a Hollywood wedding on a Walmart budget.” I might be a terrible businessperson for offering this perspective, but honestly, if “not being able to afford it” weeds out some folks, maybe my quote will save everyone some time. 

I had a bride reach out to me. She had this mansion for her venue with a grand piano in the foyer. She wanted someone playing for 30-60 minutes while guests were arriving, strings for the ceremony, a jazz trio for the cocktail hour, and a big band for a four-hour reception. It sounded grand and elegant. I quoted her. 

“No, I’m sorry. I don’t know any DJs you could hire.”

PS don’t bother mentioning to the band that your wedding will be small. We don’t get paid by the ear.

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