Thursday, April 17, 2008


Last night my parents gave me an offer that threw me for a loop.

They had offered to pay for the catering at our wedding. Because of venue-imposed restrictions, we are limited on the caterers we are allowed to use. And they are all pretty fancy. And so the catering quotes we've gotten so far? Are a lot lot and did I say lot? of money.

So, my parents said, they could pay whatever the catering ultimately winds up being. Or we could have a simpler reception and they'd just give us the rest of what they would have spent. It could be money that we could use towards the down payment on a house.

Spend it on food? Put it towards a house?

It seems like the answer should be so clear cut. Both my parents said they'd take the cash if they were in my shoes. But. Well, just but.

On the one hand, I want to be a bridey-bride. And I want to treat our family and friends to something lovely and have a nice event. This is the only time I'm going to do this, and I really want to enjoy it, and for my friends and family to have a nice time as well.

By the same token, I don't want to be wasteful. And spending all that money for one single day seems fairly profligate.

I was really fretting last night thinking about this. As Nick pointed out, as dilemmas go, this is an extremely luxurious one to be in. But still.

In a huge swirl of a quandary.


  1. My parents made me the same offer. I'm totally taking the cash.

    So why can't I just have it now instead of waiting to find a fella'?

    Talk about luxurious quandaries.

  2. hmm... Maybe it's just because I'm a guy, but honestly, I can only remember what I ate at one wedding over the past dozen years. And I've been to dozens of weddings in that span. The one I can remember is because I was clumsy and spilled a plate full of palak paneer on myself.

    People are there to be with you and Nick. To celebrate with both of you. They aren't there for a fancy expensive dinner.

    Anyways, that's my take.

  3. while my parents never made me that offer, i'm not sure what i would have done.

    i loved my wedding but it was over the top. we had a wonderful time and my friends and family still mention it almost 4 years later.

    but if i had to do it all over again, i'd probably do a low-key affair. however, i'm saying that as someone who had the big shindig. :-)

    i think you'll be happy with whichever way you go. have you looked for an alternate location with mroe flexibility on catering?

  4. i agree with vvk about the food - as a general rule, i think it's not what people are there for, and it's not what people remember. and that's as far as i'll go advice-wise, because this decision should ultimately come from your gut and Nick's gut, you know? :) so, weigh the options, and go with what feels right to you!

  5. I'm with VVK -- go with the simpler reception. It will still be lovely and you'll still be bridey-bridey. No one remembers the food at a wedding. They just remember the love.

    and mmmmm, palak paneer....

  6. My parents gave us the option of eloping and taking the cash, or having the wedding.

    It was tempting, oh so tempting, but in the end I figured that what was important to me was celebrating our love for each other in front of our family and friends, and thus we had a wedding and no big check.

    However, I'm with VVK and the others. You can have a fabulous wedding with great food, or you can have slightly less great food and some cash, but in the long run, people are there to celebrate you and Nick, not to stuff their faces with fancy food.

    Do what you want, be a bridey-bride, but that doesn't mean you have to spend lots of money.

  7. I think only you and Nick know what's best. We had a similar offer - elope and cash or big fancy wedding. The elope/cash pot kept getting bigger and bigger as the bills piled up. But, I stuck to the big over the top wedding and have no regrets.

    I think the first couple years when we were just out college (we were 23 & 24 when we got married)and super-dooper broke we wished we had taken the money. But, now 5 years later, things are a little more stable and we are so glad we did the wedding! And this is coming from a non-over-the-top-girly-girl.

  8. I think I take this more seriously because of how I feel about food. Food is the aspect of my wedding that I think about the most (which probably makes me a big loser) and it would be hard for me to not have AMAZING food. I'd sacrifice other things (like venue etc.) for nicer food. But again, I'm a freak.

    I think with this (and any big decision) you need to just picture yourself going one way and seeing how you feel, and then picture going the other way and seeing how you feel. At least you know that no choice is inherently a BAD choice, and that things will work out nicely either way.

  9. Like a pp said, you probably know what's best. From the tone of your post, it seems like your really *want* the fancy reception, but don't want to feel silly for feeling that way. Don't. You feel the way you feel. Your wedding isn't just your only wedding, it's also pretty much the only time (and particularly the last time if you're planning on starting a family soon) that you get to have it just the way you, and only you, want. (Ok, fine, maybe you have to consult the groom here and there. Maybe.) Other people may do things differently, and that's all fine and well -- they can do things differently at their own weddings.

    It's also not just one day you're spending your money on. It's the months of anticipation, the big day itself, and the memories you'll have afterwards.

    Not that taking the cash is a bad idea. But ... I dunno, it would feel odd to me. Parents paying for wedding? Yes, fine. Parents offering to pay off my credit cards? Eh, feels weird. I guess I just like the "in kind" sorts of gifts better.

    And w/ respect to the people that say they don't remember the food at the weddings. Sure, most people probly don't. But what you need to ask yourself is whether you will remember the food. And whether your wedding just won't feel like quite what you envisioned if things are just so, and if the food is part of that. If it's not, then great. But if it is, that's really important to consider.

  10. If it's a quandary, then have the wedding you want.

    You have a job, your significant other has a job, so you'll acquire a house, and the things eventually. The event will only happen if you plan and have it now.

    And in that dress, you'll be a bridey-bride no matter what you decide. (I also wore my mother's dress, mmmm, 1950's satin.)

    Karen, random reader

  11. particularly because you both already have houses/condos.

    go for the wedding lisa if only for the cake.

  12. My opinion? The more you spend on a wedding, the more stressed out you'll be that something might go wrong. If I had the same offer, I'd take the cash and put it towards a downpayment of a house or a fabulous honeymoon.

    But then again, I was never one who has been dreaming of my princess wedding since I was two. I'm more of "let's go to Hawaii, get married on the beach barefoot, while the sun is setting" kind of girl.

    Now THAT would be something everyone would remember!

  13. Are you getting married or are you building a life together? You won't forget your wedding day whether you have it in a barn or a palace.

  14. You are creative. You can do fabulous without breaking the bank. I know you can.

    Compromise would be key.

    P.S. We had a beautiful sit-down dinner, but what people still talk about is the band and the dancing. I don't remember the food because I was too busy socializing to eat.

  15. Are u nuts? Take the house! I've never been to a wedding that I would've preferred to a house.

  16. The Maiden Metallurgist - Ha ha - yah - too bad you can't have it now!

    VVK - Thanks, my friend. That's a refreshing thing to hear. I can't say I've remembered any wedding food either. And palak paneer - as Wendy said, yum.

    MrsMac - We are locked into the place, not because of deposit (was small) but because it's so incredibly important to Nick, and it makes his dad so happy. We are going to have to work with caterers to scale it down a bit, but I think we can. I bet your over the top affair was super fun! :)

    Thanks, Wendy! Big hug to you. :)

    Sarah - I like how you put that - celebrating your love for each other in front of family and friends. I love that idea.

    Canaan - I'm glad to hear that. I do think we would regret not having a wedding.

    kate.d. - Yes, I think that's true. Food is less important in the scheme of things. This really caused us to evaluate how we feel and what we want.

    Nicole - I do realize you're very much on the great food end of the spectrum (and no, it doesn't make you a loser - we all have pieces that are more and less important). I don't know how much I care about it - mostly want guests to be nicely taken care of. You are right, just have to figure out how I feel.

    Melissa - Yes, you are right, I don't want to feel silly for wanting a fancy reception. That said, I'm trying to figure out if some modified version can work, what I really really want, etc...

    Karen - Thanks - you make such a good point. And I do love the bridey-bride idea. Lovely to hear you wore your mom's dress!

    Slightly Disorganized - Good point on the houses. And either way, we are having that cake - absolutely.

    Beach Bum - I haven't ever dreamed of a princess wedding, but I really do want all the people I love around me.

    Anon - I've gotta say, I don't think one has much to do with the other. We could go to the courthouse and build a really nice life together. This is more about what we offer our friends and family.

    DCup - Thank you for the vote of confidence. I think this is what we need to do.

    HIN - It's a piece of a downpayment.. . not an actual house. I suppose this means you can tell which way I'm leaning.

    Rich - I dunno. I think I will regret if I don't have a lovely party.

  17. i'm sure you will work it out and everything will be wonderful. sounds like a lovely venue with great caterers (albeit pricey!). everyone will have a great time no matter what because you are making it about you and nick and that is what is most important! can't wait to hear how things turn out :)


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