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Wedding costs: Do I barf or laugh?

Marketplace Staff Aug 22, 2007

Wedding costs: Do I barf or laugh?

Marketplace Staff Aug 22, 2007

TESS VIGELAND: Saving for life’s big events is something we talk about a lot on the program. College tuition, retirement plans, and perhaps the biggest party you’ll ever throw: a wedding.

If you’re thinking cha-ching, don’t let our commentator know. Michelle Philippe wants to keep the costs down for her big day.

MICHELLE PHILIPPE: Planning my wedding seems so doable — until I actually get involved in it. But I am the bride. My involvement is mandatory.

Small. We’ll keep it small and simple. I’m going to eat those words as sure as I’m going to eat cake.

I start with the biggest questions: When and Where?

When is easy. My fiance Misha and I want to get married during our favorite time of year: fall. Check one off the list.

Onto where. A hip Los Angeles restaurant. Velvet curtains, chandeliers. Very romantic — until the crushing price tag: 20 grand for a Saturday night party.

Twenty thousand dollars. Should I barf or laugh? Add tax, 18 percent service charge and about $750 in valet parking for our guests. Haha! What are these crazy event planners thinking?

Soon it becomes clear that it’s me and not them. What am I thinking?

I should have listened to Misha when he wisely suggested we run off to Reykjavik. But I have no family in Iceland. The only person I know there is Bjork — and we’ve never met.

We compromise, leaving the glitz of Hollywood behind for the quietude of wine country. Very practical — we can get vino by the case! Sparkling wine for everyone. I can toast to that. Bubbles make me merry.

I call bakeries and florists and photographers while Misha takes on DJs. Deja vu. How can things possibly cost this much? The word “wedding” prompts instantaneous inflation. One photographer quotes a price range with the high end reaching the cost of a new car. Barf or laugh?

So: we are getting married in a beautiful garden where flowers are already growing. The sunshine is free. At 2 a.m. the morning after our wedding, daylight savings ends and we gain a whole free hour. I say “I do” to that.

VIGELAND: Michelle Philippe is an actor. She works here at Marketplace. And tune in next week for another installment of our Engaged series — Mike and Tiffany’s wedding date has finally arrived. This is Marketplace Money from American Public Media.

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