Ask Caroline

Caroline Manzo tackles questions on wedding planning, having "the talk," and keeping the spark alive.

on Jul 26, 2011

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Stephanie from Hollywood, FL says: Hello, Caroline! I love your advice and many people tell me that you and I are a lot alike when it comes to perspective -- so it's completely appropriate to get your advice. My fiancé and I have been engaged for two years. We are finally at a place financially to afford a decent wedding and set a budget of fifteen grand, which is modest. We are also trying to save up for our home. With so many family weddings, it's all starting to feel like a contest. Do we have a cheaper wedding to advance our dreams of home ownership, or should we invest in this amazing memory to be? The more I plan this wedding, the more dreadful it becomes. His family loves lavish, my parents don't care, and we're left in the middle with a potentially horrendous event if we can't go in one direction. What is your wedding advice?

Caroline says: You sound miserable, Stephanie. You also sound like someone who has her head on straight and her priorities in order. Spending excessive amounts of money for a reception doesn't necessarily insure that it will be an amazing memory. Tablecloths and favors don't create memories; good food, good music, and good people make for a memorable wedding celebration. To invest money for the approval of others is ridiculous. You can't give what you don't have; if your future in-laws want to contribute financially so the reception is "lavish" then by all means, go for it. If not, no big deal, I'm pretty sure they'll survive a less than lavish experience.

The menu doesn't have to be elaborate, just make sure whatever is served looks and tastes good so they don't leave hungry. You don't have to have a live band or orchestra, it could be a DJ or a one-man band, what matters is that your guests enjoy the music. The décor of the room could be very simple and still reflect beauty and elegance. You're gown can be cost effective, and as long as you glow while wearing it, you will be nothing less than stunning. 

Every girl dreams of the classic fairytale wedding where everything is perfectly perfect and prince charming is waiting for her at the alter. Maybe you won't have all the bells and whistles, Stephanie, but you will have what matters -- you're prince charming will be waiting for you at the altar with the keys to your beautiful new castle in his pocket. PRICELESS.