4/11 Ask Heather: Bronx Wedding for $8000 and Parties for A Second-Time Bride

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Photo courtesy of Christopher Duggan

Dear Heather,

Our wedding is this coming August, 2014. Due to a job loss, our financial situation has changed majorly. I  have a venue – Maestro in the Bronx, NY – which  I love. I’m on a minimal budget of $8,000 and postponing isn’t an option. My venue, which comes with a videographer, eats up most of my budget and I’m downgrading my video package to raw video, but that’s only because I can’t break my contract with my videographer; they have already threatened me with legal action if I want to cancel, which would mean I’d have to pay 25% of our $6000 for no services. They got us when we first got engaged and offered us a free 3-day hotel stay and cruise gimmick, and I didn’t know to read the whole contract. This was obviously a hard lesson to learn. I tried cutting the guest list but I really have to find another option. My fiance proposed to me at my church school site, so I must invite not my whole congregation, but a good size. No offense to our church, but we just got our church building, and I wouldn’t have it there because there’s no drinking or playing mainstream music allowed. It’s not the wedding I imagine; I want to party. My dress is under $500. I have a friend taking my pictures for $400, a DJ for $600 and a make up artist for $75 each. I have to pay for my two of my bridesmaids because they want their faces done, too. Thank the lord my maid of honor said she would do her own. I’m paying for that because I can’t do the bridal luncheon or the spa day they wanted and they are on their own with their hair. I have no idea what I’m going to do for transportation and no family to ask for a loan. I’m doing the centerpieces and invitations on my with my Cricut cutting machine; It’s small, but it will have to do. I have a bunch of scrapbook paper and more craft supplies, so I want to use what I have and hope people will take them as favors. I haven’t even figured out how I’m going to have a cake and so many other things I’m sure I am leaving out. I so wanted this to be a day of love, but it seem to be turning into what one of my bridesmaid said that hurt my feeling so much: “You’re going to have a tacky wedding with all this arts and craft stuff you’re doing. It’s going to look like you had your students put together your wedding.” If you can help me I would greatly appreciate it.

$8000 Bronx Wedding

Dear Bronx,

For the majority of weddings, venue and catering take up 50% of the total budget. I’m hoping that the $6000 you’re paying for your venue covers catering. If not, you’ll likely be better off paying the 25% penalty and walking away from that venue, or it will decimate your budget. For all the other folks out there – read your contracts carefully!!! I cannot possibly stress this enough. Bronx learned her lesson; please learn from her.

You say you cannot cut your guest list, but I sincerely doubt that’s true. You should invite people you genuinely want to be there. Don’t feel required to invite obligatory guests. You might end up hurting some people’s feelings, but odds are, most folks will understand. Weddings are expensive, and each guest can add a sizable amount to an already small budget.

You mentioned being worried about favors and your cake. Don’t bother with favors if they’re going to impact your budget. I don’t know anyone, ever, who has left a wedding saying, “Man, that would have been an awesome event, if only they’d given out favors.” As for your cake –  get a sheet cake from a local grocery store. They’re often quite good, and way cheaper than going with a bakery and getting an official wedding cake.

I’d also consider dropping the DJ and just going with an iPod. It will be more work for you, but it’ll also save you that $600. I just coordinated a wedding recently that used a laptop and a set of speakers, and it was fabulous. When people requested songs, if we didn’t already have them, we could just download them from YouTube. I also wouldn’t worry about providing transportation. Your guests and wedding party can probably figure out how to get themselves from Point A to Point B.

And now, your bridesmaids. First off, they are not entitled to you paying for their hair or makeup. If they want to have their makeup professionally done, they can most definitely pay for that themselves. Second, they are also not entitled to having a bridal luncheon or spa day, so do not feel guilty about not providing that for them. If you can afford it, anything nice you can do for your ladies is great, but that’s only if you can afford it!

As for your bridesmaid who called your wedding tacky … I want to use substantially angrier language, but I’m going to be all polite and simply say please ignore her opinion. I have been to plenty of weddings with handmade decorations, and I have consistently loved them! It adds a really personal touch and shows that you put a lot of love into the day.

Dear Heather,

I’m on my 2nd wedding, and people keep asking if I’m having a bridal shower or bachelorette party. Is it common to have another, or is it usually foregone?

I’m a Bride Again

Dear Again,

Normally, a 2nd wedding doesn’t include a bridal shower or bachelorette party. However, if you want to have them and have people who want to throw them for you, I say go for it! Two of my friends got married last year and it was a 2nd wedding for both of them. The bride didn’t want a shower, and I was bummed! We did end up doing a low-key dinner for her bachelorette party, but I would have loved more ways to celebrate her upcoming nuptials.

Some folks might get all judgmental if you have additional celebrations for a 2nd wedding. Those people are just mean. If you are truly concerned about their opinion, though, you could consider doing a “no gifts” shower, if you’re worried about looking gift-grabby.

And now, I’m going to hop on my soapbox about 2nd weddings, because I just cannot resist. Some people get all cranky about 2nd weddings, about how they aren’t “real” and blah blah blah. This is nonsense. Second weddings involve people who have already been married, been through the life-altering, decimating experience of divorce, and have the courage to try again. They’ve loved, had that loved ripped away, but care about this new person so much that they’re willing to risk that pain all over again. I think they’re brave. So there, society!

What do you think, lovely readers? Any suggestions for Bronx on how to cut costs? Have you ever learned your lesson from not reading a contract thoroughly? And how about Again? Would you have a shower and bachelorette party for a 2nd wedding? Are you like me, and always looking for a reason to celebrate? Let me know in the comments below!

HeatherH
Heather Herrington is the advice columnist for The Broke-Ass Bride. When she's not satisfying the inquisitive nature of the BAB readership, she's likely crafting, trapped with at least one of her pets (one dog, two cats) on her lap, trying to ski but being unable to stop, or dreaming about where she wants to travel next. Feel free to stalk her at her website, on Facebook, or on Pinterest.