wedding fever


Last weekend, Bob and I went to his friend May’s wedding.

justin and dominique

The event was just beautiful. The Manor (in West Orange, NJ) was so gorgeously fancy. Really made you feel like you were attending an extra classy affair. We enjoyed ourselves and I loved getting to see bits of traditional Chinese culture thrown into the ceremony and reception.



Being at the wedding gave me serious wedding fever (as weddings tend to do). Recently, Bob and I have been discussing our own wedding plans in earnest and I’ve learned that we have very different ideas of what we want ours to be. I’d love something intimate: get hitched at City Hall and then have a small gathering at a nice restaurant with a few of our closest family and friends. Good food, good laughs, good people. That’s all I really need.

I also have a hard time wrapping my brain around spending more than a few thousand dollars for one day. That’s partly why an intimate get-together appeals so much to me.


me and bobBut Bob would love something bigger. He doesn’t want to leave anyone out of the equation, so his idea would be a banquet hall to fit both his and my family and friends which totals to approximately 130 people. He wants a high-quality selection of food, a space for dancing and an open bar. These are his must-haves. He’s concluded that this + other expenses will set us back over $10,000. In my opinion, it’ll easily be over $10,000. Perhaps closer to $20,000.

laughing john

In an ideal situation where money is no object, I’d say, hell with it! Let’s do this thing grand! I want the Kleinfeld experience! I’d love to have our families celebrate with us. I was talking to Bob’s friend at the wedding who’s in the middle of planning her own wedding and she told me, “I finally decided to give in to a big celebration because there is never going to be another time in our lives where we will plan something of this caliber with our families and friends all in one room. That means something to me”. I get that. I’m not one for being the center of attention, but there’s something really nice about a bunch of people coming together to celebrate something monumentally joyous in your life. It’s a way of shouting from the rooftops, “I love this person and we’re going to be together forever!” Plus, it’s FUN. Large weddings are fun! But the more practical part of me still can’t help but think, we need to play this thing smart and cheap.dessert

photo booth

Right now, we’re at a point where one of us is trying to convince the other that our idea is best. We’re not officially engaged, but after eight years together, the topic of a wedding and marriage comes up frequently. Long ago, we both agreed that it would happen eventually and since we felt committed to each other already, there wasn’t any rush. Now that we’ve been together for so long, “eventually” is a lot closer. Both of us acknowledge the legal benefits that come along with marriage (romantic, right?), but we also recognize that, hey, maybe it’s time to start thinking about this thing already…for us.


So that’s where we’re at right now. We’re in our “thinking” and “dicussing our options” stages. There’s lots of compromising to be done. Either that or I’ll find ways to make my idea sound more and more appealing to him 😉

18 responses to “wedding fever”

  1. Paige says:

    Jillian, I’ve had the (mis)fortune of having been married twice. My first wedding was a huge event with 300 people, six-tiered cake, open bar, huge spread of food, and a dress that I still absolutely adore and try on occasionally (like a little girl playing dress-up). I still have great memories of my wedding today — people I hadn’t seen in forever, my multi-flavored cake — red velvet and cream cheese filling/chocolate and raspberry filling/almond wedding cake and pineapple filling (because back in 1996, no one was having pineapple filling anymore), and the satisfaction of having made a million decisions without severe anxiety and no tears shed. My second wedding in May of 2013 was performed in a courtroom by a judge, who is a friend, and a small, elegant dinner with just immediate family at a fabulous restaurant here in New Orleans. I think the vintage bottles of champagne we toasted with, thanks to my wine-importing sister-in-law, were more expensive than everything else. Very low key. But because of that, we could afford to honeymoon in Paris. I enjoyed both for very different reasons. However, if I had to do it again (and God help me, I sure the hell hope not), I would have to say I would still go low key and splurge on the honeymoon. That’s what really mattered to me. Bottom line: do what matters to you. Figure out what you want to take away from the experience. It’s a huge event in your life that, sadly, boils down to a few hours (unless you find a way to string it out like we all try to do with our birthday “months”). And P.S. you can always have a one-year anniversary party and blow it all out if you want. We’re planning a large fete for our 5th (that is, if we don’t plan that dream trip to Vietnam/Cambodia in the meantime).

    • Jillian says:

      You bring up a great point, Paige. Something I’ve definitely thought about. The honeymoon. Or rather, just general travel. I love my vacations and do a lot of my saving just for that. The way I see it, I can go on several trips with all the money that we would spend on a big wedding! And that’s really what is important to me. However, something else that’s important to me is having Bob feel good about that day too. This is what we struggle with right now because our visions are so different.

      Your first wedding…wow! 300 people?! That cake sounds amazing (and I don’t even like cake all that much). I actually really love pineapple filling and prefer it over any other of the fruit fillings. I seem to be in the minority, lol.

      Whatever you decide to do in the future (large party or a trip to Vietnam/Cambodia), I wish you lots of happiness and fun!

      • Melissa says:

        Like Paige I’ve had two weddings as well. The first was a bigger affair with a lot of people. Since we weren’t loaded the reception was in an (unfancy) hotel reception area with heavy horderves instead of a fancy meal and open bar. Looking back I realize it was a very generic wedding – which is FINE, but totally not me.

        My second wedding was tiny. Thirty people at my in-laws house. It was a sit down dinner that we had catered with a personal chef. We paid for the wedding ourselves and wanted it to feel like a party, a celebration of us! Which it totally was. We had a huge reception a few months later that included everybody and was so laid back and fun.

        OF course I loved my second wedding the most but that could also be because I’m now married to the right person where as with my first wedding I was not. But I agree – you and Bob will have to hammer out what works best for you guys.

        • Jillian says:

          I love the idea of a hiring a personal chef for the party! That sounds so neat. See, I’d love to do something like that. And for a few people, it would totally be possible. Agreed, we will have to discuss it a little more. It can be frustrating, but at least we’re both listening to eachother and trying to understand the other. It’ll be a long process, but I think we can totally decide on something that will benefit us both.

    • Paige says:

      Thanks, Jillian. And P.S.S., we’re spending our Christmas week in Puerto Rico, which I know you can appreciate, and plan to make a day trip to Vieques!

  2. rooth says:

    The wedding looks like it was beautiful, firstly. And secondly, this is probably the most practical discussion about big weddings vs. small weddings as well as engagements that I’ve read in awhile which is totally how I think about it as well. I’m totally in the same camp as you are, re weddings and engagement but understand what they mean to others, particularly family. As I’m unattached at the moment, luckily I can shove all of this into a dusty corner of my brain but really enjoyed reading about how you and Bob are thinking about it all

    • Jillian says:

      Thank you for your comment, Ruth! The thing with being so practical about it is that it’s almost painful for me to even think about how much money goes into a big wedding. And it’s only for a few hours! Bob has a more…romantic (not sure if that’s the right word to use, but I’ll go with it) way of looking at it. Hopefully, if/when you find someone in the future, you can agree on the kind of wedding you want, if you want one at all. I tell you, it’d be a hell of a lot easier if he would just do whatever I say, haha.

      • rooth says:

        Isn’t that life in general? Things would be so much better if people just listened to me. After hearing about so much wedding drama from lots of different parties, as well as griping about the money poured into it, I’m convinced a small wedding is the way to go. But I’ve also been a part of some big ones that have included all of two very large families and had a complete blast at those. But I do think my very favourite are the ones where the bride and groom are true to themselves – from the ceremony to the reception. Those feel the most genuine and like what a wedding is really supposed to be about

  3. Nat says:

    I’m with you on the small, intimate wedding preference… luckily my hubby was of the same thinking and our wedding (13 years ago) was for just 40 of our immediate family and closest friends. We simply could not justify spending a fortune on what boils down to a few hours, and by having such a small group, we were able to spend a decent amount of time with each of our guests, not just a passing greeting to hundreds of people.
    We probably did offend some family members by not inviting them, but everyone that was close and important to us was there.
    I’m looking forward to reading about how your wedding pans out and I’m sure it’s going to be a beautiful one, whatever you decide to do….

    • Jillian says:

      YES. Yes to everything in your comment. I love the idea of getting to spend quality time with just a few of my closest family and friends, instead of quick hi’s, bye’s and thank you’s. I’d much rather spend a decent amount of money on each guest for a small party, rather than trying to pinch my pennies on 100+ people. How stressful that must be! And thank you, Nat. I’m looking forward to see how this all ends up too, lol.

  4. ashley says:

    ” I’d love something intimate: get hitched at City Hall and then have a small gathering at a nice restaurant with a few of our closest family and friends. Good food, good laughs, good people. That’s all I really need.”

    Sometimes I read your words and think you are me! Like you, being the center of attention gets on my nerves…and the idea of spending THAT much on a day (one of my friends spent $25,000) sounds insane. But I get Bob’s point. If he can pull it off for $10,000, I’d say that’s an alright compromise (but gosh, ten thousand?!? That’s a very nice vacation–of course I think of travel).

    • Jillian says:

      “but gosh, ten thousand?!? That’s a very nice vacation” I thought THE SAME THING. Not to mention, all the savings we would need for our future home (in case of damage, etc.). There’s just so many better things the money could go towards! Just my thinking, anyway.

  5. lena says:

    I’m definitely biased on this subject, but I think you can have more than one wedding! I loved our elopement, but I’m also so excited to throw a larger celebration next year. I hope that it will give us both what I think we need and want from our wedding/s, and our communities, too!

    • Jillian says:

      Lena, this is so true! And it something I actually suggested, but what’s funny is that he believes that if we get married now and plan to have the party at a later time, then the party will never happen (and that no one will care at that point, lol). I try to tell him that’s not true, but boys are stubborn.

  6. Jamillah says:

    I’m totally team small wedding then dinner…then maaaaaybe a larger party whenevs. But I, like you, have a super duper hard time coming to any kind of terms spending thousands and thousands of dollars on one day.

    Also I love that YOU want a small situation and Bob wants a huge mega situation, lol. Also, also! – Has Bob been watching Agents of Shield?!?! It is so friggin frackin awesome this season!!!

    • Jillian says:

      Yes he has! It’s funny because he always wants to talk to me about it but I have no idea what he’s talking about, so I’m always like, “Oooooh, that’s crazy, can’t believe that happened”.

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