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B is for Big Budget Brides by Merida
I knew I was in trouble at my Mother-in-laws funeral 2 years ago when I overheard a family friend on her mobile; “Oh yes, beautiful service…..the flowers were out of this world, yes, yes, you must go and see them. Yes, I’m at the wake now…..Mmmmmm yes, beautiful. In fact, this is better than all the weddings I’ve been to…..Yes, even Steven’s.”
Steven is her Son.
But the lady did have a point, I’m not sure anyone was expecting the day to be as it was. The send off had been lavish, extravagant and one that you wished you’d been too (Jumping up and down to “Your sex is on fire” at your MIL’s send off anyone?). It definitely wasn’t the norm but it pulled us all through, gave us focus and something to talk about and for those reasons we bought our wedding forward.
So rightly or wrongly the bar had been set.
I never intended to have such a big wedding, Mr T did. Everything he does is big, extravagant, lavish and really expensive (there is a pattern!). He is so unlike anyone I’ve ever known – he works like a trojan and can spend money like the world is going to end tomorrow; but the utter brilliance of my husband-to-be is that if he doesn’t have it, he doesn’t spend it. If he does use a credit card, it will be paid off at the end of the month and any money that hasn’t been earmarked for something is given to me with a wink and a “treat yourself.” (Well, before the bottomless pit otherwise known as “THE wedding” opened up and swallowed every penny)
My future In-Laws have been beyond generous, gifting half the wedding bill; my poor Father in Law gets an email every week from me asking him to transfer monies and each time he replies, “All done with pleasure”. He is now known as Bank of Father-in-Law. My Parents have been amazing, paying for everything to do with me and my bridal party; which was so unexpected. My Dad literally cries if my Mum tells him he needs clothes for their holiday…I mean, he literally weeps as he is marched up to M&S so when the costs started coming in for my dress and alterations (and the sodding veil that cost the same again to have more lace shipped in from Barcelona and then be hand stitched on…..) I yelped I’d pay but they wouldn’t hear of it. My Dad just kissed my head and told me he just wants me to be happy (and besides Mum has told him it was “essential”…..).
And I am, the whole lead up has made me so happy and I can’t quite believe that we’ll get this day we’ve been planning for almost 2 years. From Mr T’s bespoke suit from Italy to a midnight feast with fireworks and everything else you can possibly cram into a day, I have. I’ve tried to think (steal ideas) of little tokens that are unusual (to the average person, not obsessed wedding blog readers!) and hopefully things that will make our guests feel welcomed and pleased they’ve made the trek from outer Mongolia. Or Essex.
Only a couple of friends have got married and both were done beautifully, one was in the region of £15K and the other £40K. I danced, ate, drank, laughed till my belly hurt and loved every second of both so I know what you spend doesn’t have any bearing on the day, so why have I spent so much?
Whilst putting together the guest list we realised that we had about 120 day guests, and a further 60 for the evening so my idea of going to one of our favourite pubs for food and a knees up wasn’t going to mesh very well and it didn’t matter which way we looked at it (he has a huge extended family and I have a huge list of extended friends, wish they were family, types), it was either going to be all or nothing. We went with all and I am so glad we did as the excitement leading up to the 1st of September is almost tangible. But, going for all meant going for broke!
Our wedding has cost in the region of £55,000. There I said it. Oh God, is that big budget enough? Do you think that actually sounds about right? Or are you spitting out your tea shrieking “I could buy a ruddy house for that???” I know your right, our children could be private educated for life with that money (luckily we have an amazing state school on our doorstep so i’ve sidelined that guilt trip) or we could of paid a huge bulk off our mortgage or invested it in something fabulous. Well in a way we have invested it in something fabulous, us.
I really tried not to buy the wedding magazines but I could not leave the darn things alone; even now with less than a week to go I have two left to read as maybe (just maybe) I’ve forgotten something that I must have. A huge chunk of this fluffy literature were budget and DIY features and admittingly I came across some great tips but on the whole I did not want to know how to make my own soap (it was bad enough wrapping the favours let alone making the bloody things). Do not get me wrong I wish I was crafty with a glue gun whilst being able to bake 200 cupcakes and that Mr T could rustle up a photo booth with a bit of plywood or have friends that were handy with a video camera and had a vintage coach in a lock up but that’s so not the case. Mr T has to call a handyman to put up a picture. This should give you some indication of how unhandy we are. And so, such is life, it went to the other extreme; Mr T and I loved the Designer Wedding Show but even he wouldn’t spend 2 grand on a wedding cake. I got some great ideas but went off and researched and got most of them cheaper but still the same service standard; I may of had a big budget but I’m not stupid….photo booth, invites, videographer, styling, all cheaper when I shopped about.
Another thing I came across, mainly from blogs and forums, was that our ceremony and reception won’t be as heartfelt or meaningful because we haven’t spent the time making jam or roping Granny in to get the sewing machine out and run up miles of bunting (FYI, although I wish I had someone to do bunting!!!). The weddings that I have seen online that have been done on a shoestring have been jaw droppingly amazing, I am in actual awe but if our guests turned up in a middle of a field with straw bales and a mass picnic I think they would of thought they had turned up to the wrong place. Its just not us, damn it. I may not be on the DIY trail but my heart has gone into our wedding, especially the order of service, and I hope we do our families proud and that it all lives up to everyone’s expectations. I think this is why I felt ever so slightly sick, people do have expectations of your day and although I know I shouldn’t of cared, I did. I was worried about people thinking we’re flash, that we’re showing off or that they would be gossiping about who paid for what, or how much it came to and that dreadful comment, ” How much? Yes it was lovely, but not worth that…..”
After my lovely MIL’s funeral we did get the mutterings of “A bit much….” and yes I suppose it was to anyone outside our family, we are a “bit much” and we do like to put on a show but in the past month things have happened and I’ve reached a point where I’ve realised you can’t please everyone. Mr T is happy, our children are happy, our parents are happy and I am head over heels happy and really what else could I wish for?
All the money in the world couldn’t buy me the smile I’m going to have plastered all over my face in just a few days and there is a little part of me that hopes someone will mutter those 3 words, then I’ll know I got everything utterly perfect. And it was indeed, “Us.”