Saturday, August 23, 2008

The other side of the coin - $27,800 just doesn’t buy what it used to

In contrast to our last post (the popularity of the $100+ invitation), it’s clear that rapidly rising prices are causing more couples to take a closer look at how they spend money for their weddings. From the August 20, 2008 Boston Globe:

“Couples planning their big days are finding that their budgets - whether hundreds of dollars or tens of thousands - won't stretch as far. The cost of the average American wedding is still $27,800 with 153 guests, but that $27,800 doesn't buy what it once did. Local brides and grooms have pared down guest lists, taken on creative tasks themselves, changed venues, and in some cases considered moving their wedding over state lines to save money.

Even some couples without budget constraints appear to be toning down their celebrations. According to Rebecca Dolgin, executive editor of the Internet’s popular wedding website, “…there's less shame in going small as opposed to emulating a celebrity wedding. Some couples with no budget restrictions are using their money to make an affair look homier and small by doing weddings at home and on beaches, she said.”

So small can be beautiful. Take my wedding, for example. My husband and I got married on two weeks notice in front of 28 close family members and friends in my mother-in-law’s living room. Our reception was held in her home’s lower level. All of my out-of-town family was able to attend, as was our rabbi who came down from Maine (after Shabbat began). We had beautiful flowers and fabulous food (grilled outside) on December 30, when every caterer in town was available. I bought an off-the-rack dress and veil that needed minimal alterations. My husband wore his best suit; we did buy a new tie for the occasion. Our chuppa (wedding canopy) was made using my husband’s late father’s tallit (prayer shawl) and dowels from the hardware store (decorated with greenery by our florist). Ironically, we didn’t even have invitations – everyone was invited by telephone.

Our biggest indulgence was to hire the best available photographer, which was a fabulous decision because after all, photographs are one of the few things you have left when the wedding is over. We didn’t skimp on that, and we’re still happy about that decision. We have gorgeous photographs of our warm, intimate, spectacular wedding, which I wouldn’t have traded for anything. All without the stress of long-term wedding planning. And we had money left over to enjoy a honeymoon in Mexico.

So don’t be afraid to think small. Oprah Winfrey did a show on how couples might be better off having small weddings and saving their money for major anniversary celebrations if the marriage lasted 10 or 20 years. That’s not a bad philosophy. The important thing is to get married, not to go into debt to have a “fairy tale wedding.” And it’s a lot easier to live “happily ever after” when you start married life without a mountain of debt.

Six months after our small wedding, we had a party where we invited all of those friends and co-workers who otherwise we might have invited to our wedding. We kept it simple in a private room at a local restaurant with gourmet pizza, wine, and another wedding cake. For this party, we did have an invitation – now preserved in a Purple Raincoat keepsake collage with a photo from our actual wedding.

Wedding Anniversary Framed Keepsake
Originally uploaded by PurpleRaincoatonline

This collage uses a photo from our wedding plus the invitation from the "reception" held six months later. Read more about it and see other examples on the wedding/anniversary page at

It’s never too late to create a cherished invitation keepsake. Dig out that wedding invitation and let Purple Raincoat help you bring back the memories of that special day. What a wonderful anniversary gift for you to give to your spouse – or, kids, to give to your parents to celebrate their 20th, 25th, 30th, 35th, 40th, 45th, 50th, or any other wedding anniversary.

So think ahead if there is one of these milestones coming up in your family, and get in touch with Purple Raincoat - beat the rush.

No comments: