Weddings are a Scam, but I’m Planning One Anyway

When my fiancé David got down on one knee in my high school bedroom to propose, I swear I saw a flash of our life together. In a matter of seconds, I thought about our kids, the home we’ll build, vacations, Christmases, all of it.

I snatched the ring box out of his hand without even answering his question, put the ring on my left hand and sobbed.

David’s proposal was our kind of perfect. Our relationship blossomed at 3 a.m. in my car sitting outside his dorm chatting about life; our love for one another deepened in the quiet moments in my college apartment when we’d hold each other at the end of bad day and our future was solidified during a private moment with this ring.

Growing up, I didn’t dream about my wedding day. As a little girl, when I’d play with Barbie dolls in my room, I’d pretend I was running music label and writing love stories and shitty poetry in my journals.

I love romantic comedies, but even at a young age I was acutely aware that love was not a fantasy. Sure, I wanted a husband, a life partner, maybe a kid or two and enough money to feel comfortable (whatever that meant to me as a kid) but I never dressed up in my moms white dresses and heels or my dad’s suits pretending it was my wedding day.

When I had friends over, we made choreography to the Cheetah Girls soundtrack or the newest 3LW single, we’d occasionally obsess over how cute so and so was, but I don’t remember marriage, or even dating being a topic of conversation for my friends and me.

I think that’s why I stalled a bit when posting David and I’s exciting news on the internet. While I knew people would be happy for us, I wasn’t ready to answer a bunch of questions. When do you think you all will get married? Big ceremony or small? Destination wedding? Do you think you’ll invite so and so? What about your hair, you’re not going to straighten it, right? 

I got anxious at the thought of a dozen questions being thrown my way and not having an answer. So, the next morning when I got home from the gym, I looked at David and said “Let’s wait a minute to tell the world, okay?” He agreed.

We spent the weekend making phone calls and FaceTime appointments with those closets to us. We didn’t want close family members and friends to find out via a Facebook post proclaiming that we had “Some ~personal~ news” to share.

When we finally did post out announcement on social media (three days after our engagement) my fears came true. Random people reached out and asked if they’d be invited to the wedding (we didn’t even have a date set yet). People began sending me venue websites and names of photographers I didn’t ask for, comments were made about if we’d settled on a date so that I had enough time to get my “perfect bridal body.”

It was a mess. I get we live in the age of oversharing and posting every move on social media, but why do strangers who maybe knew a college or high school version of me feel it’s appropriate to ask questions the people closest to me weren’t even asking?

About a month later, as David and I were driving back to Indy from Mizzou’s Homecoming, I asked him how he felt about eloping. I’d done some light research on average wedding costs (according to Brides, in 2018 the average cost was $44,000) and found myself overwhelmed by Pinterest and The Knot. Knowing how much we had been able to collectively save in the last year while we were both living with our parents and virtually had no bills, I knew the budget four our wedding wouldn’t even come close to what other couples were spending.

I began to think about the parts of planning I’d hate and decided I wasn’t up for it. I wanted the life with David, the indulgent weekend that could easily cost us $30K, I was willing to do without. So, I began planning a month long honeymoon instead. I got excited about our multi-country tour through Europe; I researched photographers that took pictures of couples who’d chosen month-long adventures together in lieu of the big party and ceremony. I got excited, really excited. But something was off.

David wasn’t completely sold on the idea. And when we thought of what a compromise would look like, we realized there were so many people we couldn’t imagine leaving off of our guest list, that we either needed to be all in on one special weekend or all in on the elopement.

We made pros and cons lists, we prayed, we I cried about it.

In the end, it was our now wedding planner that changed my mind. After a terrible first bridal show experience (which I will write about next), we met her and she made us feel like what we wanted to do at the budget we could realistically afford was possible. Which in turn made me more willing to spend a year and half stressed over planning, especially with her by our side.

So, that’s what we’re doing. We are planning a wedding for October 2020. I’ve had the last year to get out all of my worries about planning our big day. Now, I just feel ready and even kind of excited.

I’ll admit, we are spending way too much money on this day (and that’s with cutting corners) and it has been stressful. More than anything, I’ve hated feeling like I’m doing this alone. David and I are the first to get married out of our close friends and we’re each the oldest sibling, so we’re laying new ground work here and it’s tough.

That’s why I decided to blog through it. I like the idea of giving myself an hour or so a week to bitch about all things wedding. Plus, there aren’t enough Black brides out there sharing their story, I want to change that. I’m not sure David and I’s story will be inspiring or anything, but it will be real. It will be flawed and messy and confusing because that’s life. Still, I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you happen to be one of the dozen that asked me one two many personal questions right after I announced I was engaged, or if you’ve been lurking on my Instagram to see when and if I’ll post about wedding planning, you’re in luck! I’ll talk about it all here and I’ll do my best to give advice based on what worked for us.

Let the countdown begin!


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