the wedding budget
bryan got a great deal on my engagement ring. he ordered it the day after valentine's day so it was on sale. it's beautiful. a simple white gold band with a round cut diamond in a six-prong setting. the diamond is color e, and you can't see any imperfection with the naked eye, which they tell me is a good thing.
i loved the ring, i loved him and loved that he got a great deal on it. that's my kind-of man. : )
that's how our financial journey as an engaged couple started.
with the excitement of starting a new life with bryan and being the nerdy financially-minded person i was, my mind began to reel with budgets, paying off debt, and planning for the future. for some reason, the fact that i was going to be married made it much more important. but we had a different budget to be worried about: the wedding budget.
and so begins the story of one of the greatest acts of generosity we've ever received.
first of all, my dad was so generous and gave me a figure to work with. we were engaged for 13 months so he gave me the money in small increments as he could. i booked the cheapest, biggest reception hall i could find, booked the church, bought the dress and found cheap photography. i spent very little money on the save-the-dates, invitations, and other things like programs and decorations. we borrowed a lot of things from friends.
i didn't really budget as much as i purchased everything cheaply. our wedding was near and i had spent about half of the original figure. that was pretty good considering all we had left to pay for was food for everyone!
we had already found a great and incredibly cheap caterer and had booked her for the day. she ran a very small catering company so she didn't even require a deposit! which was good news when we found out the bad news:
my dad was layed-off from his job.
just like many other dads and workers, he was one of those affected by the economy slump a couple years ago. that was it. there was no more wedding money to be had.
at first i was angry. then i was sad. then i resolved to make it work. i told my parents that we would just do cake. our guests would understand. the invitations had been sent, so should we send postcards so they know there won't be a meal? how do you politely say: sorry, you won't be getting a free meal, even though you were expecting to?
my mom called me and said, "someone just called me and asked if they could pay for all of the catering." yes. you read that right. someone wanted to pay for about 1/2 of my wedding. who the heck loves me that much?
i was immediately in tears. so was my mom. we were so happy, but so confused. should we accept such a huge gift? i wasn't so sure. but the giver insisted and my mom accepted on both of our behalves. they wanted to be kept anonymous and my mom has kept a huge secret from me and everyone else ever since. and she's not good at keeping secrets. so that's a big deal too.
it's still crazy to me. i mean, it's just a wedding. it's just food for our guests. but it was important to me that our guests felt loved by us in that way. a simple meal can say a lot. and whoever gave us all that money knew how important it was to me.
that act of generosity has shaped bryan and i so much and will continue to inspire us to give of our money freely. when we are asked to give, i think of all i have been given. and the ways that God has blessed us through anonymous givers or our parents or friends. i [literally] can't thank the giver enough. it wasn't just money or food. it was love, it was God's work, and it will affect our lives for a long time.
click here to start at the beginning of this series!