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How does anyone afford to get married? Well, according to the responses here a few months ago when someone posted the same question (I can't recall who it was or seem to find the post, I'm sorry), the answer is largely "my/our parents paid for it." That's awesome, and really nice work if you can get it - but what if you can't? What if neither of your parents can really afford to help out?
What follows is an internal circular dialogue that loops every time I ask myself this question.
OTHER ME (OM): Um, pay for it yourselves, idiot. You aren't owed a wedding by anyone, even your parents.
ME: I know. I agree. I would LOVE to pay for it! But we don't have that much money either.
OM: Whose fault is that?
ME: Mine, I guess. We live in a really expensive city. Most of my money goes to cost of living.
OM: Who asked you to live in that city?
ME: Nobody, I guess. My bosses? Like I need to live here to continue going to my job.
OM: Okay, whatever. So you don't have a lot of money. Weddings can be as inexpensive as a courthouse appointment and license.
ME: That's true! That's totally true. But what if I kinda want the party?
OM: ATTENTION WHORE.
ME: No! I'm not! I swear! I just would genuinely like to celebrate the occasion with people we love and who love us.
OM: Augh, whatever. Fine. You can afford to take your immediate families out to a nice dinner and be done with it.
ME: There are a lot of people outside our immediate family that mean so much to us. We would really like them there too.
OM: You know the guest list eats up most of the costs, right? Come on, selfish. You don't need to invite your mom's 4th cousin twice removed.
ME: Honestly, the guest list estimate isn't even that big by most standards. Maybe around 100 invites with at least 15-20 who probably wouldn't come. That's not that big! That's smaller than my bat mitzvah guest list!*
OM: Fine fine, okay. Invite the people. But you don't need extravagance! You've clearly bought into the WEDDING INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!
ME: I swear, I really don't think I have. I don't care about centerpieces or flowers or a magical huge cake or anything like that. I'll wear a dress off the rack, whatever. I just want to be with the people we care about, and hopefully feed and booze them.
OM: Well, ever heard of a little thing called a backyard bbq? You don't need to get all fancy to feed and booze people!
ME: I have heard of it, and it sounds awesome for people who want that. However, my intended beloved and I both kinda hate outdoors and it would be really outside our personalities to get married there. Also, we live in NYC. Nobody has a fucking backyard.
OM: Well who says you need to have the wedding there, dummy? Go outside the city! Go to your hometown, or his! Jesus christ you're picky.
ME: Those are totally valid suggestions! But also...we live here. This is our home, that we've built together. It would seem odd to have it in my hometown or his, because this is the city we share between us. Also, our hometowns are on opposite sides of the country. His entire family or mine would have to travel on multiple planes to get to each respective place. NYC is somewhat more of a central destination for both sides.
OM: Okay, so really you're asking, how do you afford an indoor wedding somewhere in or around NYC for at least 75 people on a very limited budget?
ME: Yeah, I guess.
OM: I don't think it can be done. Something will have to be compromised.
ME: Yeah. I agree. Which sucks.
OM: You suck. I hate you.
ME: I hate me too.
*Can we talk about bat mitzvahs for a second? My poor parents kiiind of already threw 3 weddings for each of their children. We were just 13 years old and couldn't appreciate it. Why didn't I appreciate that more?