They say the average wedding in Southern California costs $33,000.
We are 10 months away from our October 2008 wedding, and the quotes are coming in for wedding cakes, venues, flowers, gowns, what-have-you, and while it’s nowhere near that $33,000 magic number, the one line that goes through my head after a visit with one of these wedding vendors is, “ARE YOU FRIGGING KIDDING ME?!!!”
The mortgage consultant in me – the one who gives clients a stern lecture about taking the cashout from their refinance and putting it towards their daughter’s college fund or putting it back into their homes (great for value appreciation) instead of blowing it on a spiffy sportscar that strokes their egos and nothing more- can’t even comprehend how a couple-unless one of them had a last name like Trump or Hilton- could spend that kind of money on the Big Day. I know it’s the most important day in every couple’s life but $33,000 ? Come on! You can pay the closing costs and the down payment on a starter home. A starter home which would give you major tax deductions, and grow in equity over the years.
Having worked as an ad agency account exec prior to becoming a mortgage consultant, I also had to handle some event planning for my clients. We would do a decent markup on the vendor items, but it’s interesting how the mere mention of the word ‘wedding’ is reason enough for the markups to go through the roof.
So what does this cheapchic bride-to-be and her fiance decide to do ? Take up the $5,000 Cheapchic Wedding Challenge. I have planned enough successful events in the past to where we can do without a wedding planner. I make handmade paper as a hobby so we will be making our own custom wedding invitations. We just walked through the L.A. Fashion District over the weekend and found a store that would sell us two 50 yard-rolls of tulle for only $60, and 20 yards of gabardine for $1/yard (the vendor was going to charge us the same amount to rent it, but I intend to do something arts-and-craftsy with the runner after the wedding). I found these elegant burgundy floor-length gowns with intricate beadwork for my bridesmaids at $76. Corey found beautifully made black paisley vests ($29) and ivory shirts ($15) that his groomsmen could wear over and over at special occasions, and that was just the start.
We didn’t make it down to the Wholesale Flower Mart before they closed but we know we’ll find some really sweet deals there as well.
Will we meet the $5,000 Wedding Challenge? Who knows, but it’s a lot of fun to try. Plus, it’s one way to ensure that we won’t be up to our eyebrows in wedding debt on our first day as husband and wife.