Frugal Wedding Manifesto: We need a new paradigm

I’ve been pouring over wedding magazines, or really mostly wedding dresses, practically ever since I can remember. But it’s been a waste of time, because the kind of things showcased in wedding magazines are only relevant to the lives of a richer minority.

I’m searching for something, something that speaks to me in just the right way. It’s a quest for a certain aesthetic. I’m sure lots of people experience it, whether it’s about dresses, or furniture, or really any art : you get a vision of how you want it to be, only the vision is very hazy. You can feel the vibe, and maybe some of the macro aspects of the design (art deco!), but the details remain hazy. And so you search and search, all the while trying to hang onto the original feeling and trying not to pollute it with all the new pictures you’re seeing.  You keep looking, mostly assessing each new item in terms of the ways it doesn’t fit. And then, sometimes, you find it, and you think, This! This is what I’m talking about!

Today I happened to come across a wedding in a magazine that fit like that, with everything I think I want, and more amazingly, almost no element I didn’t like. Want to see what my fantasy wedding looks like? It’s in the May 2011 of Country Living (British Version). Let’s dive in, with a selection of excerpts:

“..farmhouse…courtyard…rose garden…orchard…” Yay! A country setting! Very The Shire*-like . Tell me more!

“…linen napkins tied with pink ribbon…swags of ivy…” Yay! How rustically pretty!

“…favours for every guest – small lavender pillows made from old French linen…” Wait, what?

“…summer vegetables supplied by a neighbouring organic farmer…”Crap. I don’t have one of those.

Ah dammit, let’s just cut to the chase and see what this wedding cost.

Well, of course the magazine doesn’t talk about the budget, silly chickens! It does say the dress is from Pronovias though. Also the entire thing hinges on one of the couple having a family holiday farmhouse in Normandy. Dammit, I don’t have one of those either! Looking on Once Wed, I can see second-hand Pronovius dresses going for about US$1000…let’s be conservative and say a new one cost about $1500. Reversing-engineering from this online calculator, we can estimate the whole wedding cost about $25k. To reasonably pay for a wedding that expensive, you’re looking at a couple with $250k in income a year. Or ok, say if for an entire year the couple doesn’t buy anything else big ticket-ish (a honeymoon maybe?), they need to be making about $125k in combined income.

Guess what the median income of marrying couples in your country is not?

So where, oh where, are the weddings for the all the people that aren’t higher end earners? How in the world is everyone paying for their weddings, for goodness sakes? Why is the Standard Wedding something that is not achievable on a standard income?

We need a new paradigm!

*As in, where the hobbits live. It forms the basis of my personal version of Utopia. Go ahead and laugh, I’m not ashamed!

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2 responses to “Frugal Wedding Manifesto: We need a new paradigm

  1. One idea is to find out where your local weak currency market is, travel there as cheaply as you can (look for budget airlines) and then buy what you can when you get the benefit of the exchange rate. Chances are there is a local dress maker eager for your business who will put more time and care in than the that Louis guy who charges 2K for a handbag.

  2. Pingback: Frugal Wedding Manifesto: In search of authenticity | Frugal Wedding

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