UNPOPULAR OPINION: Rustic "Real" Weddings Are Heinously Expensive — Let's Not Pretend Otherwise

Here's the truth behind these "real weddings" that parade around your blog feeds: they still cost a ton of money.
Publish date:
March 9, 2016
marriage, getting married, wedding planning, wedding anxiety

When I got the go-ahead to start planning my wedding — aka my fiancé finally popped the question — I thought I was well prepared for it all.

I'd finally be able to "unhide" that Pinterest board of wedding wish items I'd been slowly collecting over the last seven years. I had a real reason to visit popular wedding sites like Green Wedding Shoes. I also figured I had a leg-up on the planning process because our location was easily decided upon (in our case, my godparent's graciously opened up their home in Carmel by-the-Sea, CA).

Boy, was I wrong. The truth behind the "real weddings" that parade around your blog feeds is that, while perhaps indeed 'real', rustic, hipster, and simple weddings still cost a shit ton of money.

If I hear the word "rustic" associated with some hipster-inspired wedding where tents are rented for upwards of $10,000 a night, flower crowns are worn by every member of the 14-member bridal party are touted around, and some supermodel skinny bride is donning a perfectly flow-y wedding dress from a designer in Paris, I'm going to scream.

This isn't reality, folks. Let's stop parading around like it is.

For most weddings I've been in or attended, there isn't a team of planners there to step in with every detail or a disposable budget where guests are delivered an endless array of signature cocktails, handmade desserts, and a parting package of champagne.

Weddings are way more expensive than anyone talks about, and I'm sick of the wedding industry shielding their prices from brides-to-be. It may be that my location is in one of the more romantic, shall I say "rustic," seaside towns in one of the country's most expensive states, but even in my research I found that prices didn't differ much depending on location. $3,000 florals for a bridal party of 6 and only 80 guests? No, thanks.

And forget about trying to incorporate your own signature style into anything, because most vendors will scoff at the idea of adding your personality into the ceremony with touches like bringing your own silverware or stocking up on wine at Costco (as we suggested for our own nuptials).

I recently read an article in the New York Times (granted, it was from 2010) that millennials are spending less on traditional weddings (think bouquet tosses and five-tiered cakes) and opting for more personal touches that celebrate the bride and groom's families. If that's the case, why aren't vendors following suit?

I haven't found one florist who is willing to work with me on my idea to incorporate my godmother's rosemary into the table pieces or a caterer who doesn't raise their eyebrows when my fiancé and I suggest creating our own cheese plate. I'm sorry, but I've hosted enough dinner parties to know that putting a cheese plate together, even with a sampling of France's fancy fromage, doesn't cost a whopping $300 (and apparently to caterers, that price doesn't even include silverware, plating, and serving staff).

Why can't there actually be a site dedicated to "real weddings" where "real" means homemade desserts, a bouquet that doesn't scream "I cost too much!" and a wedding gown that was purchased off-the-rack from last season (because yes, that's what I got and I'm proud of it, baby!)?

The insanity in attempting to select my bridal colors (I ended up just giving up on that archaic detail) or choosing whom to invite slowing started to seep its way into the most important relationship — the one I have with the groom.

For a while in my planning-infuse haze of stress, florals, and chiffon, I seriously questioned my groom solely based on his insistence that he wanted the whole 'big' wedding thing. Why couldn't we just elope and get it over with? Why didn't he understand how frustrating it was to decide who was in and who was out? And why wasn't he as upset as I was that there probably wouldn't be a four-piece band or Zac Brown Band playing 'our song' for the first dance? Because in the end, it doesn't matter about how much we spend on flowers or whether we have brie from Trader Joe's or some imported shit from France.

It's about celebrating our life together and what's to come with the people with love most.

The only person I can blame is myself. I'm a stereotypical millennial who loves to compare myself to others and always has a bad case of FOMO. It also probably didn't help that I'm a true "girly girl" who has spent years looking at "real weddings" via wedding blogs, scouring Instagram-feeds of wedding dress designers, and pinning every ideal floral bouquet I could think of.

But reality eventually set in: I wasn't a millionaire, and frankly didn't want to fork up the cash. After all, it's just one day. We've got the rest of our lives to make a four-tiered cake, one layer at a time.

Here's a question for all your married ladies out there:

I've done a lot of research but there's by no means a way I'm scoured the Internet for all the wedding blogs, wedding sites, or wedding Pinterest pages dedicated to this phenomenon. So if you've found something inspirational that showcases a bit more real-life DIY than DIY-inspired by Martha Stewart, would you mind passing that along? I think I might go crazy over here.