Great news! My brother got engaged recently! The family is thrilled about the engagement and I’m excited to have yet another perky blond sister-in-law join the family!
And I’m really proud of my bro; he seems like he’s ready and excited to start the next chapter in his life. Then again, this was the guy who sold my hard-earned Coach bag without my consent–the one that I had scrimped and saved for back when I was 20 and working at Lord & Taylor. I had waited for the extra 10% employee discount to use on top of my regular 20% employee discount, saved money for months, walked by my bag countless times, admiring the soft leather, marveling at the perfect tan color and slouchiness of the bag, counting the days until it could be mine. Years later, probably to pay off some poker debt, my brother cleaned out the house, held a yard sale and sold my beloved Coach bag to a lady for $5.
I’m over it but I just thought I’d mention it one more time.
And since “J”(future sis-in-law) and bro are about to plan a wedding on a budget, we both agreed it would be great for J to document the emotional and financial rollercoaster ride on which they are about to embark. Thanks J!
It couldn’t have been more perfect – the beach, the champagne, the proposal…the fact that he had flown 900 miles in 24 hours to ask my parent’s permission to marry me. It was such a special day, so well-planned by him (except that he didn’t quite plan for the tide to go out, stranding us and the Wave Runner for three hours on the small barrier island where he’d proposed.) We got back to a fabulous family dinner and spent the rest of the evening on the phone telling friends and family the big news.
That was Saturday.
Sunday – panic. Questions were asked, like “When is the big day?” Really?? We hadn’t even been engaged for 24 hours! Although we’d been dating for about a year and we were pretty serious, I hadn’t actually planned for a wedding. I’m in my mid-thirties; at this point in my life, I don’t fantasize about the 20-person wedding party like I did when I was younger. I was happy to find a great guy who puts up with my stuff and keeps his to a minimum. I imagine how he’ll be in five years, whether he’ll make a good dad, whether I will grow resentful that he spends fourteen hours on the couch every Sunday watching football. I am definitely not day-dreaming about the centerpieces at our wedding.
But now that we’re engaged, the topic of the wedding comes up pretty often. And more, important–who’s going to finance this shin-dig? If I was twenty-three years old and heading towards my first marriage, my parents would probably pay. But I’m a 30-something bride planning my first and hopefully last wedding, and I don’t feel right asking my parents to help me pay for their late-blooming daughter’s wedding. Where will I get the money because I definitely didn’t budget for this?
A wedding planning book from my future sis-in-law put things in perspective a bit, and gave me a good place to start. Also helpful was talking to “L” (future ball-and-chain) about what’s important to us at the wedding and what isn’t. We agreed that the venue, food and drinks are important. Save the dates, an expensive dress, and the small things that add up to big $$ aren’t.
More research, lists, talking to people who’ve been through this have helped ease my stress but I’m still panicking. A slice of wedding cake can cost up to $10 PER PERSON. That’s like I’m buying approximately 200 of my closest friends and family a dirty martini …all at once! I’m thinking of going ‘retro-quirky’ and serve everyone Ho Ho’s instead of traditional cake.
To keep my sanity I’ve decided to tackle the wedding planning by knocking things off a list one thing at a time. Concentrating on the venue and the date now and literally nothing else. We’ve thrown together a tentative budget, but we’ll really have a better idea of that once the venue shopping gets into full swing. And we’re hoping that although he has about 400 first cousins and I have a pretty big family, not to mention our friends, that we can find a decent place to accommodate our reception. Here we go…