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 Post subject: Weddings
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:38 AM 
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I'm getting married. We're not rich, and I need solid ideas for containing costs. It looks like I have to take out a loan as it is.

I met Chelsea Rose Dasso on March 1st of 2007. I was the IT Director for a clothing chain that had a store in the Bellevue Square Mall, and I stopped in at a mall store called Teavana to buy a teapot and some cups that looked like they'd go well with my coffee table. It should have taken ten minutes, but I made it take almost two hours so I could talk to the cute clerk. I juggled CD's from the rack, and browsed through the whole store, got her talking about music, and spent $220 so her commission would be worth the time.

I came back the following Sunday and asked her out in front of about two dozen people. (That's how I know she doesn't like scenes.) She gave me an e-mail address; it was wrong, but I can't take a hint, so I went back to the store. She was talking with a co-worker when I walked in, why-hasn't-he-emailed, I-must-have-come-off-like-some-stupid-desperate-kid, and the other guy saw me first. On hearing the words, my face changed -- and then he realized who I must be, so his face changed... and Chelsea turned around with her Customer Face already on, and said "Hi! How are you?"

"Well, I think this e-mail address isn't right -- I tried it about 16 ways in case of typos and nothing routed." She said something about her handwriting that flew right by, and wrote her address down again with a phone number. (Ah -- different typo, an edge case I didn't test.) I said thank you and I'd contact her tonight, and then I went home and sent an e-mail. When that actually succeeded, I looked her up. MySpace, Facebook, Live, everything I could think of. Doesn't everyone?

She cosplayed Illuminati Kozi (very, very well) at SakuraCon the previous summer, but was asked to leave because her costume violated decency rules, giggity. She wasn't the 25 I thought; she was 18. (I was 29.) This was a deal-breaker, as far as I was concerned, but Taenia and Maathi pointed out that as long as I thought she was 25 based on how she acted and carried herself, maybe I was being narrow-minded. Okay, fine. First date. I got a speeding ticket on the way there, and still wasn't late. Still, when she got off work, all that was open was Denny's. Eggs Benedict and movie conversation ran until almost dawn. Turned out she held that full-time job while managing a full-time courseload at Seattle Central Community College, and lived alone on Capitol Hill in Seattle in a culture where none of her peers could handle the rent with less than two roommates. As my father put it after meeting her, "she's damn old for 18."

That was March 4 of 2007.

A few months later, we were walking someplace and I had a copy of Neutron Star in my bag, when she asked what a neutron star is.
"Well, a star of the right size -- bigger than ours, but less than five times as big -- gets done becoming a red giant and throwing its mass away in nova shells, what's left collapses into a mass so dense that the 99% nothing between atoms closes to contact and the result is so heavy that a teaspoonful weighs billions of tons."
...
"...plus the weight of the spoon."
I just stared. I could think of nothing.

Chelsea, driving home a few weeks later: "That star is super bright. Which one is it?"
"Honey, that's not a star, that's Venus."
"...ssssssslut."
I kept us on the road, but I'm not sure how.

She loves the zoo. She's never happier than at the zoo. June 27, 2011, I took her to the best zoo in the country, in San Diego. She had become a dog groomer and trainer, and so the hyena and wild dog exhibits were her favorite. I loved the panther and the baby hippo, and the eagle that caught an illicit rabbit in its enclosure was worth a laugh (they're not deliberately fed live prey). But she doesn't like scenes!

So there's a cable car that stretches across the park. If you take it, you can see the whole place, but only the people in the car can see you. I put the ring in her lap and confessed that the bag I'd been hiding through TSA didn't have her birthday present in it. She sounded painfully disappointed as she looked down... "Oh.....! OH."
"Marry me?"
"Okay."

I remember dinner that night because the restaurant staff were getting high just standing next to us, but little else.

But Jesus! Wedding vendors want aaaaall the money! I'm talking to some lenders just to make the event happen at all, but how do you people manage to get married without being indentured for 20 years??

The venue is $6.2k. The cake, a friend is making, but that's worse because she's charging "whatever you want to bless our family with", and she has a new baby, and I can't see her costs. Chelsea's mother (who is white hot at 50 :) ) is making the dresses, bride and bridesmaids, and I can't see her costs either, but she won't starve either way. (The cake woman might.) I have yet to finalize anything with a caterer, but the alcohol looks formidable -- I'm heading to Oregon, the Land of No Sales Tax And Way Lower Alcohol Taxes, to drop roughly $1k on hooch. The caterer has to serve that for insurance reasons.

How does one cut corners on this stuff?


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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:43 AM 
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One thing we did to save money was to make our own invitations. We took them to a local print shop and had them done on heavy card stock so they looked professional, but saved a lot and it wasn't difficult.

But I'm not the best one to talk about saving on wedding expenses. We paid for 150 guests at a reception hall, but only ~50 guests showed. It did happen to be the day Hurricane Irene hit, but you know, still bad for the bottom line.


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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:25 AM 
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- Make your own invitations.
- Have the reception at someone's house. Rent a huge tent and limit the booze.
- Have a friend who may be a photographer do the work. Make sure it's at least decent quality, because that's the only fucking thing you'll get from spending all that money that lasts longer than 1 day.
- Consider having the actual wedding at someone's house, too. My brother happened to be related to someone who had a large farm which was really beautiful. They had the wedding in their horse barn, which was so clean you could eat off the floor. Got any rich family? :)


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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:31 AM 
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I have no answers, but I enjoyed the story. Congrats!


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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:00 PM 
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I got married in October for about $7000 with 120 guests. A friend got Internet Ordained and was the official. Everyone got their own suits and dresses. She made boutonnieres and corsages out of felt and buttons, I bought matching ties and shoes for the parties. I made about 100 mix CD's in color-coordinated envelopes, invitations (100 re-purposed NES cartridges), RSVP cards, and programs, which were the cost of an inkjet printer, about a dozen ink cartridges, and a ream of card stock.

The key is to use local businesses as much as possible. We got married in a local microbrewery ($15 a head for a 4 hour rental including open beer bar) who printed custom pint glasses for every guest ($2 each). We had BBQ ($6 per person for 75 people), street tacos ($4 per person for 75 people) from local businesses, and ordered special dishes for vegans ($12 per person for about a dozen people) from a cafe around the corner from the venue. Instead of a big cake, we had 20 dozen gourmet cupcakes made by a local start-up for $8 per dozen. Tables, chairs and linen were provided by a local rental company for about $14 per seat.

Everyone I've spoken to said it was the most fun wedding they've ever been to. The pictures were great, we got married, the food, beer and cake were delicious. So yeah, just stick with local business as much as possible, and you can definitely have a great wedding on the cheap. The national average is $25,000 spent on a wedding, and we did it for a little under $7000.

Also check out sites like offbeatbride.com, she spent a lot of time there during the planning searching for ideas.

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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:02 PM 
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I can design your invitations if you want for no charge and you can get them printed locally that would save you a ton.

As other have stated get a friend who can take decent pictures do the photography, find a Dj friend who will do it on the cheap.

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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:13 PM 
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Congrats.

I am not saying that this is how you need to do it, but this is what my wife and I did when we married almost 17 years ago.

She had a friend make her dress, they ended up putting two patterns together and that cost less than a couple hundred.

The church we attended at the time provided a wedding coordinator (free)

We did our own invitations (cost of paper, ink, and postage)

We didn't go all out on flowers (bridal bouquet, groom's lapel, and some other flowers) ~250.00

Photos - we were extremely lucky on this. We found a guy that was really good, and had done many weddings before but decided to get out of the wedding photo business (we were the last one he booked) and we rec'd a hell of a package from him, with many amazing pictures (engagement photo shoot, bride photo shoot, pre-wedding photos, reception photos, several prints of each and the full proof set) for less than $200.

Booze - well, my "uncle" is a salesman for a local major liquor distributor... Cases of bubbly for cheap.

Food - at the time my wife worked for Sysco Foodservices... lots of good food for cheap. (also had a friend make the cakes)

Reception hall - we rented a local place that wasn't fancy but was nice, fairly close and was not expensive.

All in all the most expensive items were photos, flowers and her dress.

I think the best advice that I can give you is to remember that this is YOUR wedding day. You don't have to impress anyone else. Do what YOU want that makes YOU happy. Don't feel that you have to do anything to please other people.


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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:02 PM 
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We got our rings on Amazon (tungsten with blue inlays) for about $60 total.

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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:30 PM 
Trakanon is FFA!
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Awesome. Thanks, guys. Cakvala, what would you need from us?

Chelsea's mom is making all the dresses, but we have to get suits for the groomsmen and myself. A friend is making our cake. We're not going overboard on flowers, but I think we made a mistake with the venue -- they require us to use a narrow set of caterers, and they're priced about like they already know our deposit isn't refundable. Chelsea's ring is a diamond and platinum solitaire (she can't wear gold), so that'll be fun to finish. I'm going over catering estimates, but probably just so I can pick the one that's going to screw us the most gently.


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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:49 PM 
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Where's the venue? I might have a few photographer friends who'd be willing to cut you a deal on photography, depending on location.

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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:31 PM 
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Tranthas wrote:
Awesome. Thanks, guys. Cakvala, what would you need from us?

Chelsea's mom is making all the dresses, but we have to get suits for the groomsmen and myself. A friend is making our cake. We're not going overboard on flowers, but I think we made a mistake with the venue -- they require us to use a narrow set of caterers, and they're priced about like they already know our deposit isn't refundable. Chelsea's ring is a diamond and platinum solitaire (she can't wear gold), so that'll be fun to finish. I'm going over catering estimates, but probably just so I can pick the one that's going to screw us the most gently.


Example Invititation: http://www.perfectweddingguide.com/wedd ... mage-8.jpg

I need the simular information on this, as well the following.
- Size of the Invitation you want.
- Information you want on it (address, names, date etc see link above)
- Colors you want
- Any images or examples you want it to look like.

Send me a email to thewatcher2k(a)gmail.com and I can get started on it, all you will need to do is take it to a local place to print or there are many online places that provide very cheap printing.

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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:42 PM 
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Save yourself the money and the headache and do what the rest of us wish we would have done. Elope to Vegas!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:08 PM 
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That venue cost is ridiculous. There has to be something way cheaper than that. We spent probably 12K on our wedding total and that was with a lot of booze.


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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:54 PM 
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Xantheus Diabolus wrote:
That venue cost is ridiculous. There has to be something way cheaper than that. We spent probably 12K on our wedding total and that was with a lot of booze.


Think me and Topher spent a total of 8,000 for our wedding and reception. That included a flight/trip to Washington, DC for 5 days to get married and the reception that we held locally for the family and friends.

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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:04 PM 
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I had a wedding priced out (venue/catering/band/booze) for like 7k and my wife said "let's just get married at the courthouse"

I wasn't going to say no...

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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:11 PM 
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I'm getting married this July, and our venue is a well kept community center in town-- for $400. We are having the reception in the same place, too.

We bought all our decorations from http://www.orientaltrading.com/ and our invitations too.

We are catering in KFC. http://www.gokfc.com/catering/catering_planner.asp

No DJ-- just an Ipod hooked up to some speakers we will be borrowing. Photographer is a friend doing it for free, and we are making our invitations.

No rehearsal dinner. Simple wedding officiant for $175.

I think we are going to come in at about 2k total for the day with about 200 guests, and that is just fine for us! With that many guests and that low cost, we might even come out a little ahead with our guest gifts :p.

We both agreed early on that it seemed ridiculous to spend a lot of money on the day when it is the event that matters, not the stuff around you when you do it.

I really enjoyed your story, though!


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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:01 AM 
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Well... my intent is that Chelsea only gets one of these, and it's really more for the parents than for us. In accordance with that philosophy, the parents are now throwing some money at it.

Cakvala, thank you so much for your generous offer -- but Chelsea engaged her uncle before I could get to her, and he's also a professional graphic designer, and I hope to sleep with my wife ever again, so we've sent him the template ideas. I really appreciate that you stepped up, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:18 AM 
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Tranthas wrote:
Cakvala, thank you so much for your generous offer -- but Chelsea engaged her uncle before I could get to her, and he's also a professional graphic designer, and I hope to sleep with my wife ever again, so we've sent him the template ideas. I really appreciate that you stepped up, though.


No worries at all, if something falls through and her family member can't do it just let me know! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:15 AM 
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Cool stories, Tran and Frib. Congrats on your engagements :)


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 Post subject: Re: Weddings
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:11 PM 
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Grats! Just rememeber to have fun and I agree, don't skimp too much on the pictures.

Fernassassin and I just went to Vegas and got married by a fat Elvis in sequins and all for about $ 600.00 and that included the photos, video and horrible singing :D It was so tacky it was a blast!

His sister just did the same thing last month at another Vegas chapel but she got young Elvis and they were all serious about everything. It wasn't nearly as much fun.


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