LadyAprill: I suffered the same dilemma for months. I’m a frugal Bee, probably because I never really had money. I never stopped going to school (I’m now 28 and still in college doing a ph.d, which I’m paying for, all by myself), as a result, I don’t know what it’s like to have savings, retirement funds and ”fun” money, for shopping or traveling or spending a day at the spa. Over time, I learned how to find good deals, and I pride myself in all the money I’m saving because hey, kudos to me if I can have exactly what I want, without increasing my debt all the while (it actually allows me to reimburse it off faster !)
At first when we decided to get married, Fi and I threw a random number on the table : 3K. We thought people spending more than that for a wedding were just treating themselves with fluff and luxury. Well, reality hit hard when we started looking at price. As you said, everything was so expensive, and we were pressured everywhere, from every vendor, to spend money to get better services. Because of course pictures will be crappy if you pay 800$ instead of 3000$ ! Of course your dress is going to be awful if you buy it off Ebay instead of paying 1500$ for it. Etc., etc.
After much stress, much tears and much frustration, FI and I doubled our budget (because for many reasons, it was not possible for us to have a 3K wedding, because of prices of catering especially, and we couldn’t cut the guest list any more), and now our goal is to pay not one penny more than 7K for everything including rings.
Still, I debated how I could just spend that amount for ONE day. But … in 2013, FI lost his grandma and one uncle. I lost my last grandma a few months ago too. My grandpa is turning 90 this year. Seeing my mom, grandpa, aunts and uncles be so devastated after they lost their mother made me even more grateful that I still have both my parents. I think it made us realize that the time we still had with our loved one is precious, that family is precious. In today’s life, will there be any other moments when we can reunite all our family together and celebrate love, marriage, family, friendships ? It felt like a unique opportunity and once I started seeing it that way … 7K became nothing.
Well, not nothing in the sense that it’s easy to save and spend. It’s not. But it’s worth it, for the sake of what this event is supposed to mean … not having a princess day (to each their own though), but to bring people we love together and spend time with them, while we still have the chance. FI and I asked ourselves : 10 years down the road, will we regret having spent 7K over our wedding ? Will this money have kept us from reaching our goals ? (being debt-free, owning a house, traveling, etc.) ? The answer is no. 7K for a day is a lot for frugal students. But it’s also something we’ll never look back to and think it wasn’t worth every penny. Especially as we age, and so does our family.