Small is beautiful.
That’s my wedding philosophy, which follows on nicely from the BS-free motto.
The wedding journey has been interesting so far. Reaction to our engagement ranged from “oh yeah, about time” to “uh, so you’re engaged? But you haven’t set a date? YOU’RE NOT PLANNING A WEDDING YET?”. My guy friends got it (unsurprisingly). Bless their hearts.
I’m pretty sure we come off to others like the kind of people who would elope or just do the registry thing. I wouldn’t have minded eloping, but T would insist his mother attend. We would have to pay for that. Then it wouldn’t be fair to leave my parents out. And I personally did NOT want a wedding only attended by the parentals. So that led into the next logical step – a full blown wedding.
A registry wedding would certainly be cheap, but I’m not ashamed to say that I would actually want the photos and the gathering of friends all in one place. To do it “properly”, as such. And unfortunately we have no family property as so many brides on forums and in magazines seem to have, sadly – so we marched onwards with the knowledge that we’d be starting from scratch.
To keep myself from going insane, I think of it this way. At the heart of it, there are only a few key expenses. The core things are:
Photography. Budget weddings often skip this but getting a pro or semi pro is important to me. T and I have very few (good) photos of ourselves together so I’d like our wedding to be documented. The lovely Amanda will be shooting us. Blogging FTW!
Dress. I know what I want – now I just need to GET ON IT.
Food. (We’ll get to that).
My plan is for a $5k wedding. $1800 is already accounted for by venue, celebrant, photographer (our amazing venue is also ridiculously affordable, costing just under $500), plus of course official paperwork costs (which I think will be about another $150).
Here’s what we’re NOT spending on:
Flowers. I see budgets recommending to set aside 10 percent of the budget on flowers. Are you effing kidding me? Personally, I plan to have zero blooms at our wedding. I have no patience for things that make me sneeze and serve no practical purpose. There’s zero romance in that. People are probably going to find our lack of decor a bit plain, but that’s how I roll (and that’s why I chose a sweet venue with character). They don’t have to like it.
Music. I don’t want a live band, and I’m not sure there’s one in the world that could do justice to my, erm, eclectic playlist. I’ve got all the songs in a YouTube list – now to work out the hardware logistics. Also, I have no idea where we would FIT the band in our venue.
Then there’s the smaller things.
Rings. I know roughly what I want; it’s just a matter of finding it – a vintage ruby ring along the same lines as my antique engagement ring. It doesn’t have to be a three-stoner, but it does need to be subtle and rounded off (no remotely sharp edges, thanks). I don’t wear any other jewellery, so it needs to earn a place in my life. I don’t want a plain band, but nor do I want anything I’ve seen new in stores … I’m more or less the opposite of a magpie. I hate bling and secretly find your super shiny ring repulsive, while you probably think mine is pathetic. I’ve already been to a couple of antique shops and not found anything – I’m not sure what I’ll do if I don’t find a ring I like before the wedding.
Guest book. As life would have it, I recently ran a sweet Moleskine/Milk Book giveaway through work, and was offered a free one for myself. So I made up a swish photo album with all the semi-decent photos of us as a couple that I could find.
Decor. As I said, I’m nixing flowers. Any centrepieces will probably be something edible, like chocolates. Not sure if I’ll bother with table linens. (I will need to double check that they’ll have enough furniture at the venue for us.) I quite like the idea of getting colourful disposable plates/cutlery (the less cleanup the better, even if I do overstep my daily landfill contribution in the process).
Celebrant. We found a lovely, salt-of-the-earth type West Auckland woman who’s also very affordable and has sent us through a bunch of short and sweet ceremony examples. Win.
One thing I am struggling with is the culture thing. Old-timers probably remember it’s always been a fraught issue of identity for me. My auntie surprised me by offering to hold a traditional tea ceremony the day before the wedding – I’m such a banana that I only heard about these in the past year thanks to other Asian bloggers getting married themselves; I knew my parents definitely wouldn’t be suggesting any random cultural traditions. Anyway, we’ll probably do it, and laugh a lot at ourselves along the way (I have NO idea what to expect, and I’m guessing jeans are probably not appropriate dress).
But the one thing I do hold on to is the food. Oh, the food. It took me about 20 years to realise, but nothing will ever top Malaysian food in my book. This is the only ethnic thing I care to integrate into the wedding. At first I agonised over this – just because all the mixed race weddings in blogs and in magazines incorporate something cultural doesn’t mean I have to. But you know what: I want to, and I also kinda FEEL like I should. I spent so much of my life denying my ethnic/cultural heritage as a first generation immigrant and insecure teenager and while I want to have an otherwise very white wedding, having it be totally Euro would be a bit of a disappointment if for no other reason than I’d really like to eat my favourite cuisine on the day. My mum has suggested one place not far away, so I’ll need to check them out (hopefully over the holidays – they’re presumably non-Christian immigrants, so I’m sure they’ll be open throughout).
Still haven’t decided anything re: my bridal party, but seeing as it’s really not a huge deal – really, whoever ends up being in it, all they’ll have to do is turn up, which they were going to do anyway … and maybe stand up the front instead – I’m okay with leaving it a bit longer to get sorted.