One of the biggest decisions I’m trying to make in my planning process is about how I’m going to walk down the aisle. This is something that is probably a no-brainer for most brides-to-be, but it’s something I’ve been debating. The traditional father of the bride walk isn’t an option for me as I haven’t had a relationship with my father for most of my life, and he won’t even be invited to the wedding.
Option two is my step-father who has been around since I was about 10 years old. We’re certainly close, but not super lovey-emotional. I’ve never called him Dad and I’m just not sure how I feel about having him stand in for this role. At the same time, I don’t want to hurt his feelings if it’s something he wants to do.
Next choice is my mom. She was a single mother for most of my childhood, and has definitely made me who I am today. On the other hand, I don’t know if she’s one for the spotlight and being the center of attention like that, so I don’t know if she would want to. Plus, she doesn’t really get a lot of the more modern wedding elements, so she might think it’s strange.
I’m leaning toward option four which is to walk by myself. It just seems to fit since I can’t really decide. I’m a very independent person, so it fits my personality in a lot of ways. Also, I just don’t buy into the whole “being given away” thing. No one owns me or is giving me to him. I’m making this choice on my own. It just seems a little antiquated. I just don’t know if it will seem weird, or like I’m trying to make some kind of statement — which I’m not — or if it will make for a strange walking down the aisle picture. I’m also considering having my dogs escort me so I’m not all alone. This might be cute, but I fear it could end in disaster if a squirrel streaks through.
Have you had to make similar choice? Has anyone walked by themselves? And I haven’t even started to think about what song to walk to! This sums up wedding planning; all the little things become big ones!
Every time I see a post or discussion about ways to save money on your wedding, the number one piece of advice I see is “keep your guest list small.” I can see why this is appealing in many ways: For me, I wanted to keep my numbers down because I didn’t want the kind of day where I was spending all my time walking table to table, greeting and thanking my mother’s cousin’s friend. I wanted to be able to spend quality time with the people that are most important to me. Of course, I recently decided to decrease the guest list to zero and have our ceremony with just us, but our after party list will still have less than 100 guests.
I think having a smaller wedding is great, but I want to caution that it doesn’t necessarily save money. Is having 50 people cheaper than having 250 people? Likely yes, but the difference between 50 and 100 isn’t as much as you might think. Sometimes, there is a minimum you have to spend at a venue or a minimum number of people you have to pay for which can put you on the hook even if you want to keep it small. We found this at several places, especially on weekends and during peak season. (Venues suggested getting married Monday through Thursday or in the winter to avoid this). I was hopeful that a side effect of our small group would be saving money, but it turned out that the areas we were really spending were not dependent on guest count. Here are some of the things that are going to cost the same regardless:
Any bridal party expenses (flowers, gifts, etc.)
Your DJ or other entertainment
Ceremony fee (if applicable)
Site fee/room rental
Bride and groom flowers
Delivery or setup fees (cake, flowers, etc.)
Hair and makeup
Some areas where you can save a bit by keeping your guest count down:
Food & Drink!
Invitations and mailing
Table decor (you would have fewer tables)
So is it worth it? Well if we take a wedding that is $75 per person, invitations that are $1 per person and $.50 to mail, tables of eight with $40 worth of decor per table and favors that are $3 a piece you’re looking at about $4,200 — double that for a party of 100. Another element to consider, though is gifts. I know, I used to cringe at the thought too. Weddings are not a for-profit affair just to get gifts, but hear me out. If you got $100 from 80% of your guests, it essentially covers all of the per guest expenses in this, admittedly frugal, scenario. That would mean the added guests are not really costing you anything since all of the other costs are static at that point.
So don’t invite your estranged uncle in hopes of getting gifts, but don’t drive yourself crazy over those few people on the gray area of the guest list either. Those few extras are not what is going to make or break your budget. A budget will be busted on those static costs! It’s hard to wrap your mind around, but that means that more guests don’t always mean more money, and the flip side, small weddings don’t necessarily mean savings!
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