DIM Wedding (and I don’t mean low lighting)

Wedding! The one word that strikes fear in fathers and their bank accounts. I can’t even count the number of times my daughter assured her father and me that she would not be getting married. Even when she found—the one—they both agreed that marriage was not in their future. I believed her—sort of. Mostly I just hoped they would change their minds.

Be careful what you wish for. They did, and now we’re planning a wedding. What better place to talk about budgets. Remember I’m retired. My husband is retired.

Once the kids made the announcement, dollar signs began to spin in my head like a giant roulette wheel. Where the number stops…   Before I stroked out, the second part of their announcement calmed me down.

“This is going to be simple,” Darling Daughter said. “We don’t want a big splashy wedding. We’re thinking small and simple, and we’re going to pay for it. Screeeeeech! (Those are the skid marks my brain made after the announcement.)

Nice! My retirement is safe. I won’t be eating beans and weenies to finance an over-the-top bash. Before you think I’m an idiot, I did have a wedding fund, but when someone tells you year after year after year (I’m talking 12 years) that NO! I am not getting married, well, funds get diverted to other budget categories.

But bottom line… if she wanted an over-the-top wedding bash, it would have happened, with some minor negotiation, of course.

So, for the details. Destination wedding, followed two weeks later by a small reception in the town where daughter and future son-in-law live, followed one week later by a reception in the town where they both grew up. Do you see where I’m going with this? Small and simple? As parents-of-the-bride, we are expected to appear at all events, and rightly so. I wouldn’t miss any of the celebration. But my budget is starting to envision an extended diet after all the travel and clothing required to attend at all the events. Not to mention a really nice wedding present since they want to shoulder all the wedding costs.

Shortly after the announcement, DD and I set out to find “the dress.” And find it we did. One stop, one shop, and five dresses later, we had made a purchase. I’d post a picture, but the groom-to-be doesn’t get to see the dress just yet. DD choked back tears when I told her I’d like to pay for the dress. My mother had purchased mine, so I wanted to do the same for my daughter.  And so she’ll have something old, I’m making her garter using material from my veil.


My wedding dress and veil. Now to decide what to cut for daughter’s something old garter.


My mother-of-the-bride dress… Well, I’ve been to Dillards, Macys’, five wedding shops and have one more appointment before I call it quits. I’ve tried on at least 100 dresses, maybe more. Two have made the cut and are hanging in my closet, just in case.

And the hometown reception is DIY, or I should say DIM (substitute moms for yourself.) Yup, the mother-of-the-groom and I are in charge of the reception. DD and future SIL decided they wanted a BBQ reception, so that’s what we’re having—at a park. My co-conspirator, MOG (mother of the groom) and I are busily planning and making (that’s the DIM part) table décor. A friend gave the MOG some cute lanterns, which she spray-painted to match the wedding color scheme. I’m working on the card box and cute animal cut-outs (it’s a safari themed reception.)  The clerks at Michael and Joann are probably getting sick of me, but I’ve found some great bargains. And I know the MOG has hit up Party City, too. We’re shopping fanatics and just so you know, we’re using coupons everywhere we go.








Bottom line—elopement is not a four-letter word.


Cece’s (the main character in my work-in-progress) take on weddings:

Just kill me now! Especially the crafty aspect. I’d hot glue my fingers together or hang myself trying to tie a bow. When Jessie dates the same guy long enough for me to think about getting invitations engraved, then I’ll start to worry about how to squeeze the money out of my soon-to-be ex husband.

Until then, I need to find a job and fast.  — Cece Cavanaugh


  • Glad to discover this link!

    • Thanks Patricia, we hope you’ll stop by often.

  • We kept it simple for the reception, too, with good ol’ fashioned meat and cheese trays at the church hall. Our destination wedding to California with my immediate family only was not so traditional, but surprisingly inexpensive compared to a big church wedding. Nice first post, Budget Lady :)

    • Ours was fairly simple too. Small church wedding followed by a family reception at Noah’s Ark.

  • I can’t wait to see

    1.pictures of the DIM reception with all the decorations

    2. pictures of you in your different outfits

    3. picture of your daughter in her dress!

    YAY for coupons. And I think Party City is one of those places that if you buy something and don’t use it at your event, then you can take it back!

    • Will definitely post photos after the event.
      P.S. I found a dress. Yay me.

  • The cost of weddings has sky rocketed, and it will come after we’ve forked over our life’s savings for the college education. Years ago, my dad offered us ten-grand and a ladder. We chose the wedding, and he enjoyed handing out a card with a funny poem about “while you’re having fun I’m stuck with the bill.”


    • Joyce,

      That’s a great memory of a very special day. My dad walked around with his pockets turned inside out.

  • I love it when they pay for their own. It’s still expensive, but much more fun. I got here via Margo Dill’s blog. Congratulations on your blog. We are a critique group of four and, after our initial burst of energy in October, 2009, settled in to posting once a week. It’s fun, isn’t it. Good luck wit your blog.

    • Pen and Ink,

      Thanks for visiting. Please post your group’s blog so we can stop by.
      Yay for sticking with it.

  • Love the blog post, Budget Lady, and nice quote from Cece at the end 😉

    • Thanks Little Lady.

  • Enjoyable read. Don’t worry. Weddings are fun. Oh wait. That’s a few years later when you look back. My offspring sprung 3 weddings on us in 13 months. For the OS (only son), it was wear beige and show up at the church. The DD’s (darling daughters) consulted each other over every detail. All I had to do was turn over the checkbook . Ah, yes weddings are fun.

    Loved CeCe’s comment. Sounds like something she’d do.

    You should enter this article in the NYMB On Weddings. Good Luck with the wedding, MOB!

    • Alice,

      Three wedding in 13 months sounds horrifying. And for two, you were mother of the bride. YIKES. Not sure I would have survived.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • We have two daughters! At the ultrasound of the second daughter the tech says “It’s a girl!”. My first words were “we have a lot of saving to do for their weddings!” I love weddings, I love everything about them. I planned our wedding in four months. It was perfect for us. I know myself; I will give them everything they want. Yes – I am a sucker, but you only have some many daughters. (Side note – if either of them elope I am disowning them!)

    • Oh, I really wouldn’t want elopement either, but it sure sounds enticing when you’re up to your neck in plans, guest lists, and 2 receptions.

  • My brother and his new wife just did a ‘do-it-yourself’ wedding. They had only been to a couple weddings before and combined many, many themes. I nicknamed it the elegantbeachbarbequegardenpartydisney wedding. They didn’t have enough helpers (MY in-laws wound up running the reception) and planned it on the SW Washington coast where the chance of rain or drizzly fog in July is about 50/50. Major stress leading up to…but it all turned out beautiful. The clouds actually parted as she walked down the aisle.
    My husband and I were married in Vegas…it was fantastic. :)

So, what do you think?