Wedding Daze

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by Carol Kicinski on May 21, 2008

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I returned home from Palm Springs all rested and happy with that slow easy way of moving one does when one is on vacation. And then – WHAM! I was thrown back into the real world. I had a big birthday party for that week and a huge wedding for this weekend.

Now as an event planner, I should probably not ask this question but what the hell.

Here goes.
What is the deal with weddings these days? Seriously, they are getting out of control. I blame celebrity magazines and television. Young girls see these extravagant weddings thrown by the likes of Donald Trump, Tom Cruise and Christina Aguilera and think that this is the ideal they need to shoot for.

A big production for the wedding day is fine if you have the bank accounts of Donald Trump, Tom Cruise and Christina Aguilera but what usually happens is that my bride shows up with all these photos from “In Style Weddings” and the like where the flowers alone cost tens of thousands of dollars and when asked about her budget says something like “Oh, about $10,000.00 I guess…”. And how many guests? “ 200 maybe 250.” “And I want a sit-down dinner.” “And a martini bar.” “And sushi for hors ’d oeuvres.” “Oh, and wouldn’t fireworks be great?” Hmmm. I’m good but I’m not that good!

Even when money is not a big issue, I have to wonder is what is essentially a party worth the cost of a really nice car? Or a down payment on a house? I did a wedding not too long ago where the parents could have literally bought the couple a very nice 3 bedroom house for what they paid for the wedding. Quite frankly I would have taken a house, but maybe that’s just me.

It kills me when I see people going into debt to pay for their weddings. I have always thought it is the marriage that is important, not the wedding. And honestly, is that any way to start a life together? Up to your ears in debt?

I recall my own wedding. I was very young and had no one really to help plan it. My Dad had paid for my sister’s wedding only the year before and gave me a budget. He told me what I did not spend on the wedding he would give me in cash! So I was all about economy. My whole wedding cost less than my sister’s dress.

Now that I am an event planner I cringe ever so slightly at my own wedding. There are things I would have done differently certainly. But there is one thing I would never change.

The man I married!

I got married so long ago I can barely remember the specifics. I am no longer in touch with 75 percent of the people who attended. I cut up my wedding dress and used it as a costume in a play I was in. So really did the stress and anxiety matter so much? No.

The wedding was no celebrity wedding that is for sure, but neither has the marriage been and I mean that in the best way possible. Despite the odds my husband and I are still married after 31 years and are so much more in love than we were on the day we wed.

He is still the person who can coax a smile from me on my worst day. He is the first person I want to share the really great news with and the person I desperately need when the news is bad. He can make me madder than anyone one else on earth but God can that man make me laugh!

If you are planning a wedding anytime soon, let me pass on a few tips:

Set your budget realistically and stick to it!

Prioritize. I think the pictures are the most important. After all, that is the legacy. The cake gets eaten, the dress goes out of style, the flowers die but the pictures are what you will leave for the great-great grandchildren.

Simple is okay! It is a whole lot better to just have a great cake and some champagne than to try to feed 350 people if you can’t afford it. Whatever you do, just do that well.

Enjoy the process. The stress does no one any good and really, if you’re going to throw a party, you may as well have fun!

And lastly, for God’s sake – MARRY THE RIGHT PERSON!

Anyway, that’s my two cents for what it’s worth.

I’ll be back to gluten free food blogging soon, I promise. Just please let me live through this weekend!

Wedding Daze – Simply Gluten Free

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

glamah16 May 21, 2008 at 8:54 pm

I agree. If CS ever proposes,I can envision me even making the cake!. In Germany you just get a simple gold band as the engaement ring. All the wedding fuss and engaemnet expense scares him. This summer we have about 4 or 5 to attend. Yikes!


bee May 21, 2008 at 9:32 pm

what a great post. i completely share your sentiments. our wedding was attended by two people in court on a sunday.

you should see the weddings in india. people spend their lifetime’s savings on these things. i think it’s a waste.


Mrs M May 22, 2008 at 2:41 am

I really enjoyed reading this post.

My love & I got married “Las Vegas” style for a minimum cost but with a beautiful ceremony. We couldn’t afford [and wouldn’t want] a big wedding extravaganza but it doesn’t make our vows any less special.


Carrie May 22, 2008 at 3:46 am

this is a GREAT post Carol!! Beautiful! My husband and I had no one to help us plan or pay for our marriage so we did it all (including paying for the honeymoon) for under $2000 dollars. I wore my high school prom dress for my wedding dress (you can see the picture on a recent post I did) and we got married at the beach. We only invited our immediate family and the most expensive part was dinner, in which we went to an intimate restaurant and had a nice dinner together. We were more interested in saving for a house than having a huge wedding we couldn’t afford. And I have to say, Michael is definitely the right man! But you are so wise to share this advice. I work with women who are thinking of getting married in the next couple of years it blows my mind on how much they think that one day will matter. It’s the days after that really count. Congratulations on a LONG and happy marriage Carol!


DebPC May 22, 2008 at 5:57 am

Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are sharing the lunacy. Luckily for me, here in Colorado Springs things are a lot more laid back, so there is less need to keep up with the Joneses. I don’t care, but I know that in 3 years my daughter will care very much if her Bat Mitzvah doesn’t have the requisite “in thing.” With luck we won’t have moved into riding in on a white horse territory (yes, I’ve heard of that being done on the east coast).

Thanks for posting on my blog– I felt like I’d been visited by a celebrity! That was one of the lamer posts, too. Oh well.


Vittoria May 22, 2008 at 6:51 am

That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking, watching my friends start getting married. Being the jeweler of the bunch I’ve gotten to do the engagement rings and bridesmaid’s jewelery. Both low-low budget and medium budget. Myself, I wear a diamond from CraigsList and my grandmother’s wedding band. I have the marriage, if not yet the wedding. I my be coming to you for advice on planning that in the future ;)


Victoria May 22, 2008 at 9:23 am

I am getting married in 3 weeks and was very encouraged by this post. We have opted for homestyle food, good wine (from Trader Joe’s) and music as our staples, since we love to eat and dance! My ring is a family antique, and we’re getting married on a farm. We didn’t buy flowers- we planted. Thanks for the confidence boost that we are right for wanting to keep it simple, not create debt. (ps. we’re a GF couple!)


The Good Eatah May 22, 2008 at 1:51 pm

What perfect timing! I got engaged two weeks (I wrote about it on my blog) ago and already I’m feeling pressure to have a grand event; this is great advice to hear.

Luckily, I’ve got one part all set: I’m marrying the right guy :)

Congrats to you and your husband on 31 years! Couples like you give me hope.


StickyGooeyCreamyChewy May 22, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Congrats to you and your husband for making it this far! I’ve been with mine for 21 years. Back then, I wanted it all…and I got it. My dress alone had an 8 foot hand beaded train and cost over $3,000. That was a fortune back then! I was lucky, because my parents could afford it. But, we were so poor starting out, we couldn’t afford dirt! In retrospect, I would have had a smaller, tasteful wedding and taken the money to buy a house!


Carrie Hasson May 22, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Hi Carol~ I met you tonight at Jaden’s class and WOW am I impressed! Your blog (food, writing, photography) is AMAZING! I can only imagine the events you plan are the same. Event planning has always been a hobby of mine and so my ears perked up when you mentioned it. Somehow, there has to be a way to combine all the things you love…isn’t that when one is truly successful?! I am on “the journey” and I am so happy to have crossed paths with you. This is such a great post too! The photography workshop I just came back from, she shoots a lot of high end weddings. We’re talking destination/million dollar weddings…hard to comprehend spending tens of thousands of dollars on just the reception fabric alone! When I got married at the tender age of 18 (almost 15 yrs ago!) I am just happy I married the RIGHT guy! Loved reading your 2 cents on this, definitely worth a lot more…


White On Rice Couple May 22, 2008 at 9:41 pm

Oh goodness, good luck this weekend Carol!! I just can’t imagine spending that much money, let alone have that in my lifetime!
When we finally get married, you can organize it in our backyard by just making sure that there’s enough mesquite BBQ chips for the smoker and lots of rice paper for the springrolls! Everyone will have to make their own food!


Emiline May 23, 2008 at 2:46 am

Good advice! I’ll need it (maybe) someday.

My sis just ran away to Hawaii last week and got married. With hubs only.


Mariposa May 23, 2008 at 11:47 am

I love this post! I just had this conversation with my boyfriend last month how neither of us want a big wedding, we would take a couple thousand dollars, rent a hall and get catered food and call it a big bash! or even have a backyard bbq.. we would rather have the money leftover than anything else.


Sheltie Girl May 26, 2008 at 8:05 am

We were older when we got married and pooled our funds. While we had a little bit bigger wedding than we wanted…for all our friends who were utterly delighted that we were getting married. We didn’t spend much and I made my own dress. It was beautiful. The wedding we really wanted…small and intimate on the beach, we’re saving for our 20th anniversary.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go


Krysta May 27, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Amen! It’s the marriage not the wedding, anyways. I eloped because I didn’t want that kind of stress and I am just not into that kind of thing… my daughters are going to hate me when they get married.


Jessy and her dog Winnie May 30, 2008 at 7:27 pm

Very cool post!


Tiffany May 30, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Oh boy, do I agree! Our reception was held in the gym of our chrch building. It was free. We had friends do everything for us-pics, flowers, etc, and they turned out fabulous and inexpensive. I made all of the decorations myself, and we made our wedding mix CD on Napster! It was the best day of my life, and I would never trade it for anything fancier. It was so beautiful and it maybe cost $2,000 total.


Jescel June 2, 2008 at 8:29 am

nice post. i agree about marrying the right man. here in the US it’s easy to get married, and to get divorced as well. another hollywood influence, eh?
but it’s great to know that you’re a wedding planner. i’ve always wanted to be one… must be exciting as well as stressful.. but i’m sure the rewards of your labor are great, esp. after having a successful event and knowing that you’ve made a lot of people happy.


Gluten Free Steve June 7, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Having a wedding on a budget is easy. When the Artist and I had our wedding, our overall theme was “Simple, yet elegant.” We made our own wedding invitations, using some great copper colored shiny envelopes and a wax seal. Elegant. We ordered dozens (and I mean dozens!) of roses from Costco. For $300. Our friends arranged them all for us. We (well, the Artist) baked over 300 cupcakes for our guests, since bakeries wanted $3 and up per cupcake. Music- a fantastic violinst we found on craigslist. Photos – found a great photographer on craigslist as well that was just graduating, had a great portfolio and we were not disappointed in anything!


Travis Ingersoll June 9, 2008 at 5:21 am

My partner and I are in the midst of wedding planning, and our biggest worry is that the wedding will be viewed as more important than our marriage. It’s so crazy how families of the engaged, try and hijack their weddings. We have been together for over 11 years now, and love it! We both make each other want to be the very best we can be, and have amassed an array of amazing experiences and accomplishments because of that dynamic. You shared some pearls of wisdom that I hope more people get to read. This was such a great post, and even though it wasn’t about food, it was very much appreciated.


Blog Princess G June 12, 2008 at 7:15 pm

Such a great post… the marrige is what really matters, the wedding is just one day.


ilovecakes July 23, 2008 at 1:25 pm

Loved your post! Congratulations on 31 years. I’m sharing with my daughter, who is newly engaged. I’d rather give her a small reception and money for the down payment of their home. They are going to need it with the real estate market now. Thank you for sharing!


Sylvia October 19, 2008 at 4:14 am

What such wonderful post,I totally agree with you. My youngest cousin get married a few month ago in Sao Paulo and they spent almost the price of a small apartment. Now they are living with his parents until they can moved to their own home. I can´t believe in this. Because real life is not a one night fairytale.


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