Where do I begin? The fiance and I took advantage of a free Friday for the both of us and crossed off a few items on our December to-do list. Friday started off with a great high. We decided to explore the LA Flower mart to scope out prices, materials and inspiration for our DIY centerpieces and bouquets. We walked through rows and rows of all types of flowers at reasonable to cheap, "are-you-fricken-kidding-me?" prices (a review and thoughts about this floral wonderland later). We found gorgeous potted orchids at reasonable bulk prices. We found dozens of carnations and roses at insanely low prices to make beautiful bridesmaids bouquets. We thought, 'Hey, we can do this! Doing our own flowers can't be that scary!'
Then we wandered a few blocks over to the Fashion District where we discovered stylish plum prettiness for our bridesmaids at great deals (that is, under $100! More on this in another post).
We also went to Chinatown for decoration ideas for our Asian/Polynesian-inspired decor. We found mini-bamboo in bundles of 10 for just $3, parasols for $5-$6, string lanterns for a few bucks. My fiance found pocket knives for $5 that would make cool gifts for his groomsmen. We saw the possibilities, the opportunities to create our own wedding ourselves at a price we can afford. Yes!
The excitement and optimism spilled over onto Saturday when we decided to order a small wedding cake. Well, wedding prop more like it. We really don't need a cake. Our restaurant serves cake (chocolate mousse cake far better than any wedding cake I've had), so who needs another slice? But, we gotta cut a cake! ( we don't really, but it's our "splurge" I guess). So we purchased a small, 10 inch round vanilla cake with custard and strawberry filling and buttercream frosting from Ninong's Pastries. Just a simple cake--our baker is going to wrap the base with a purple ribbon (provided by us) and we'll top it with flowers. Put this on an elegant cake stand and we have our cake! The cake itself will cost us only $41.
After our cake tasting, my MOH called me with great news. A friend of hers is breaking into wedding and event planning and offered to help plan our wedding pro bono (in exchange for experience and references, of course). Day-of coordinator issue solved!
Alas, I guess what comes up, must come down. Sunday, we decided to try our luck at the Monique Lhuillier sample sale in LA. Now I know I have my inexpensive Mori Lee gown that is perfectly in our budget. But...it's Monique Lhuillier, yo! We waited for three hours in the cold just to go through the depleted racks of still-overpriced gowns. I love Monique Lhuillier. But these dresses were nowhere to be found.
Later that evening some family members asked us how our wedding planning was going. With enthusiasm, we described our experience at the flower mart, our plan to DIY our flowers, the potted orchid centerpieces, our DIY bouquets, the mini bamboo favors, the one-tier 10-inch round cake...
The whole time we can see their faces freeze in horror.
What? No florist? Your going to do your own flowers? What? You're just going to have that tiny little Mickey Mouse cake? What? Do you need more money? Get yourself a real cake! You don't want a mediocre wedding!
Ouch! A mediocre wedding? Because we don't care for a cake that reaches the ceiling? I didn't know the value of our wedding was based on a mound of flour, sugar and icing. And...did you call our cake Mickey Mouse?! Oh but wait, the hits keep coming!
Do you want us to get you a real wedding planner? We'll pay for it. Stop messing around and do this the right way. You're only married once, you know.
I take a deep breath, trying to keep my head exploding with:
Messing around? What do you think we've been doing the past three months? Picking our noses? C'mon, finding deals that work for us and people willing to help us didn't fall magical into our laps!
But before I risk deterriorating my good and happy relationship with family, I say through through a pleasant smile:
Thank you for the offer, we really appreciate it. We've put a lot of thought into this and please trust us when we say it's not all about what we can afford but what we truly want...and this is what we want.
We let them put in their two cents: you're making a big mistake, you don't know what you're doing, you're going to embarrass the family....
But that's all we can do. Let them talk and keep doing what we've been doing all along, even if we don't have all the emotional support we'd like. I can't take it all to heart...but I do. I wish I can say I'm a kick-ass, unconventional, I don't care-what-the-eff anyone-says kind of gal like this awesome bride, but I have my insecurities. I can be come up with an idea, be really jazzed about it, and then become easily insecure at one disapproving look or slight pause of hesitation. For two days we had one big accomplishment after another, but it nearly lost much of its shine after people close to us actually said our wedding embarrassed them. I can take other people's BS, but our families...geez, it's not like it's my goal to embarrass family.
The practical side of me knows all of their fears and concerns are complete rubbish. I know they just want us to have a nice wedding, but they're basing it all on superficial standards. But the other side of me -- self-concious, emotional side--just wants to impress. I loved our cake idea and thought it can look really cute. But damn, I don't want people thinking I've got a Mickey Mouse cake!
In the end, I know what side should prevail in this situation. We have the wedding we want, not what anyone says we should want. We like our potted orchid idea, so take that! We're going to DIY our flowers, so take that! We like our Mickey Mouse cake, so take that! In the end, there will be no regrets (ok, hopefully few) but it will be a wedding that feels comfortable for us, a wedding we're proud of, a wedding that didn't scream years of more debt. Because, you know, you're only married once!