My Dream Wedding

dream wedding
Wouldn’t life just be simpler if we all got married on makeshift boats on the bayou? Source

I don’t think I’ve made it super public on the blog yet, but I’m engaged! I hope to still be engaged by the end of the article as well haha. We’re very excited, and I’ve mentally moved on from proposal planning to wedding planning. I’m learning more about decorations, venues, catering charges, and set up and tear down rules than I’ve ever cared to imagine. For that reason, I wanted to make one futile act of resistance against the wedding industrial complex fueled with the gasoline of Pinterest. Here’s my dream wedding. If you think I’m nuts or can one up my dreams with how you handled yours, let us know in the comments.

My Dream Wedding Location Would Be Rural and Primitive

I’m a pretty simple guy. I like looking at gorgeous mountains, hiking, and camping a lot more than I like hanging out in art museums, theaters, and shopping malls. For that reason, the way I think about it is why pay thousands of dollars for a fancy pants place to hold a reception when you could do it in front of a barn and then hold the reception inside. No set up or tear down fees, and you don’t have to worry about messing anything up.

To find such a location, I’d just go on a road trip one weekend and ask a farmer if I could pay him or her $500 to host everything there? Instead of a gratuity, they might even just give me gratitude instead. For folks who needed it, I’m guessing they’d have an outhouse somewhere.

We’d Have a Preacher to Make it Official

Some folks are cool deputizing their friends with a clergy title from the internet so they can get married by them. I’m a little more old fashioned, so for my wedding the only thing I really want in the ceremony is a pastor that knows me. We’ll hear some nice words about the Biblical commitment of marriage, exchange vows, and keep it under 30 minutes.

Maybe we could sing a hymn or do a prayer or something, but it’d be pretty chill and meaningful. After all, people come to the wedding for the party, so the ceremony would be official and get the job done. I’d probably want to write my own vows, as the ones that are repeated at ceremonies are super cliche. After all, until I starting watching the series Victoria on PBS with my fiancee, I had no idea how much of modern weddings are completely based on the arbitrary choices of a teenage Queen from the 1800s.

In Lieu of Gifts, Folks Would Bring Their Favorite Food

What do I need that I don’t have? The answer is pretty much nothing. I’ve been steadily giving away my possessions since I started a lifestyle of radical early retirement (or is it a lifestyle of do whatever job or no job I want?) in June 2015.

Any gifts that I truly need will probably be given to me at Christmas or on my birthday, which means at worst I only need to wait a year for something that’s a nice to have. I don’t think I’ve purchased new clothing in years. When I need a new sweatshirt I can simply tell my fiancee or my mom, or more likely they will give one to me because they’re horrified with the random clothing combo I’ll wear in public.

Instead of helping Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond hit their quarterly earnings goals, I’d ask folks to put love and care into their favorite food and bring it to the wedding instead. That way we’d have amazing stuff to eat with a lot of diverse options. The best cooks I know didn’t go to culinary school and they don’t own restaurants. Making my wedding a pot luck would be super fun and very unconventional. If you felt like you had to give a gift, then you could contribute a cash gift to the honeymoon fund.

Two Choices for Booze: White Zinfandel Box Wine and a Couple Kegs of Natty Light

When I finally became old enough to drink, my parents would occasionally invite me to partake in their vast wine cellar when I was home visiting from college. It just so happened that this wine cellar happens to be completely contained in a Sutter Home White Zinfandel box.

For that reason, to this day my favorite wine is white zinfandel. If it’s in a bottle, I tend to not like it as much. I never understood why people like wine that isn’t sweet. Why not just drink vegetable juice or something? After all, it’s better for you.

So for the wine drinkers we’ll buy a dozen box wines, and maybe we’ll even mix up the kinds to keep the non-sweet wine lovers happy.

For the beer people, we’ll get 2 kegs of Natty Light for around $100 total. Folks might complain initially, but after the first couple drinks I don’t think folks will care all that much. Do you remember what kind of beer you drink at parties? Most folks won’t, and that means it’s not that important.

We’ll limit the total amount of alcohol so nobody gets sloppy and we’ll use small cups to make people feel like they’re drinking a lot more than they are. Their brains and livers will thank us. Plus, everybody will be lose and we’ll have a great time.

The Guests Can Wear Whatever They Want

Weddings can get really stressful with folks having to wear specific clothing. I’ve been in several weddings, and it never ceases to stun me when I get the bill from Men’s Warehouse for a 1 day rental of a tuxedo made in Bangladesh for $20.

Therefore, I would impose a policy of come as you are to the wedding, with party/dancing attire encouraged. The bride gets to dress up because I’ve heard women like that sort of thing. Everybody else though, just be there I don’t care what you’re wearing as long as it covers you bodies appropriately.

The Guest List is Open Invite

I heard of a friend who had a 250 person wedding recently, and apparently in their culture everyone gets to just assume they’re invited and thus they all show up. I like that. The only reason for limiting a guest list is because of how ridiculously expensive weddings are per person.

So with all the money I’m saving, I’d make the list open invite. I’d put in on Facebook and anybody who knows me and wants to come can come. That way no awkwardness as its completely up to you if you’re coming or not.

My Brothers Would Set Up a Play List and Auto Play It

Instead of paying $1,000 for a DJ, I’d hire my brothers and buy them a cool speaker system on Craigslist that they could keep. I’m assuming they’d be happy, and they would be in charge of picking the cool music that would get played.

They could put everything on autoplay and run over to the booth if there’s some problem. Maybe my middle brother would take the DJ equipment we buy him and start his own business to serve the wedding industrial complex. Teach a man to fish right?

But the Wedding Isn’t About Me, It’s About My Best Friend and the Guests Who Are Coming

At the end of the day, it’s fun to write about how I’d cut corners and get married in a cowboy outfit in a barn and then eat whatever the groom’s party brought in from a hunting trip, but it’s not about me.

It’ll be one of the most special days in my life of course, but I want my wedding day to be about my beautiful bride and not what I would prefer. For that reason, we’re setting a budget and trying to keep everything below $10,000. It’ll be tough because we’re getting married in a big city and are going to try to invite a lot of people, but I bet we can make it happen.

We’re getting creative. We’re renting catering equipment and decorations, scheduling pick ups and drop offs with a cheaper afternoon schedule, buying food in bulk from restaurants so they don’t charge us by the person, and selecting a venue that doesn’t require us to use overpriced service companies protected from price competition. I’m getting way more than I deserve with this wedding, starting with the woman I’m going to marry. So that’s enough for me. In the mean time, I’ll keep dreaming about what my perfect wedding day would look like if I was getting married to myself.

Have you accomplished an extremely affordable or unique wedding? How did you do it? Or if you haven’t what’s your ideal wedding?

8 thoughts on “My Dream Wedding”

  1. I love that you are considering your brides wishes too. My husband did that for me as well. He came up with a budget we could both live with. 14 years later and I don’t regret the money at all.

  2. Congratulations Travis! Keeping your costs under $10,000 would be very impressive. But mature of you to recognize that their are other people who have a big vested interest. No matter what the final bill is, I wish you and your fiancé many happy decades together.

  3. HAHA loved the wedding if you were getting married to yourself – except the Natty light. I won’t touch that stuff after college. My husband and I wanted a wedding with 30 people in the mountains and it upset my mother so much when I told her, and ended up stressing me out so much in return, that I had an appendectomy. I switched my plan after that and we did a $15k wedding in a big city with 100 guests. My mother was still not 100% happy but it was worth it to save the remaining vital organs LOL. You can’t choose your family. I really wish that you have sane parents. I don’t regret “not getting the wedding of my dreams” because I never had that dream and luckily, I had the money to throw at the problem.

  4. We did a potluck wedding with a Spotify playlist “DJ!” (We didn’t do box wine, but we did have a “cheap wine tasting party” with our wedding party ahead of time, and they helped us pick out the perfect cheap wines from Trader Joes to serve.) The whole thing cost about $7,000 all told, and it was perfectly beautifully “us” and the guests had a great time, which is what really matters. 🙂

    A barn wedding isn’t as inexpensive as you’d like, I’d have to say. People who own empty barns in decent shape have figured out that hipster millennials want to have weddings in there, and they charge a premium. Venue shopping is definitely the most stressful, expensive part of the whole thing (at least in my experience, but then again, I live in and got married in a high cost of living area).

    Best of luck with your wedding plans! It’s totally possible to keep the costs under $10,000 – it does take some ingenuity, some willingness to go against the grain (and to stick to what’s important to the two of you and not what anyone else tells you have to have to make it a “real wedding”), and a lot of careful planning… but do-able. 😀

  5. Married in a court house. It was cute because they had a little room with seats for friends and family and an arbor (what arch thing, whatever that’s called) so it was a little more like a real ceremony. We invited our gaming group as we were new to the area and everyone we knew was on the other coast and our budget couldn’t afford a real wedding that was worth them making the trip over. It was fine. We went to a lunch at a pub and played guitar hero after that. I only wish I had the cake and the dress and some pictures of that. Might do something for our 10 year where we rent a beach house, get the cake, dress and his tux, someone to officiate the vow renewals, and pay a photographer for pics and have our “honey moon” we never got after that. We’ll see!

    1. Wow that’s awesome. I’m the first of the siblings to get married and my fiancee is the only child in hers so I think the social pressure to have a typical one would’ve been pretty high, which I’m ok with. We can both afford a reasonable wedding and have a budget so hopefully we’ll be ok

  6. Travis, or as I often referred to you over the past 20 years, “my son’s nemesis” (in a good way of course), we are SO excited for you & your fiancee. My husband and I would like to be there with all of you (to see those proud parents as well) if it works out and you don’t mind. Can I get the details?

    I read your blog quite often. I am so proud of you!

    1. We’d love to but are keeping it small, would love to say hi when we make it Pensacola for the holidays 🙂

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