This post was tough to write, for several reasons. First, looking back at how much I spent on my wedding now that I have a child, I sometimes think “I could have put a down payment on a house with that money.” Second, talking about money spent on something can come off as bragging, and that is definitely not the intention here. I worked very hard as a lawyer to pay for my wedding, and my mother and stepfather were extremely generous and had saved to help us as well. As a couple, my hubby and I discussed what we were comfortable spending and set our budget from there. I would have happily spent less money if we had tied the knot in another location, and I totally believe that you can have a fantastic wedding for under $10,000, or even $5,000 (I featured a gorgeous DIY wedding with a $4,000 budget last week on my blog). But despite these misgivings, I still wanted to share with you why I happily spent $30,000 on my wedding. Because to me, it is what made our wedding so special!
My husband and I got married in the Los Angeles area, where we live. We knew that for most of our guests, it would be a destination wedding, with folks travelling in from Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, and various other parts of the country. They would have to spend a lot of money and effort to come to our wedding, so we wanted our guests to be as comfortable as possible, as close to the beach as possible, and to get a real Southern California experience. That meant getting married on the coast, and making sure there were hotels close by so guests could stay near the venue and the beach. This significantly increased the cost of our wedding venue.
We also provided transportation from the hotel, to and from the wedding. This meant guests could enjoy some cocktails and not worry about driving, avoid renting cars or taking a cab. To make each guest feel like we had thought of them when planning our wedding, they received nice out-of-town bags filled with snacks, TWO bottles of water, a map of the area, suggested things to do, a rundown of the weekend’s scheduled activities, and a homemade hangover helper kit, when arriving at the hotel.
We had two guests whose birthdays fell on our wedding day, so we enlisted the help of Vanilla Bake Shop (who did our cupcake tower) to make them special birthday cupcakes. We DIY’d cupcake flags for them, and sang Happy Birthday during our reception. We also had fun drink stirs featuring quotes about enjoying a cocktail, and my maid of honor made fantastic bathroom baskets with all the essentials for our guests. To make everything seem really thought out and personal, she included the DIY flags, stirs, and cute homemade signs in the bathroom baskets.
We wanted our wedding to be a fun party and we love to dance! To encourage everyone to participate and literally kick off their shoes, we had flip flops for all of our guests, which I bought at Old Navy’s yearly $1 sale. Almost everyone, including the men, wore them at our reception! And because we were getting married in sunny Southern California at 5pm, I bought parasols for guests who needed a little shade. Turns out, these parasols were great photo props!
So… the reason I happily spent $30,000 on my wedding is because every dollar spent, every splurge and every small detail, made our guests feel special and loved and made our day the best day ever. We still hear from wedding guests how much they loved our I Do’s, how they feel like they were taken care of, and how they had the best time ever. To me, that makes the expense totally worth it!