Tuesday, July 27, 2010

You see, what had happened was....

You see, what had happened was this. Mr. Magic and I went to check out a caterer for our magical feast.

Background: I knew, from reading Harry Potter more times than the average human, that food is one of the five Principal Exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration. So even if I was a witch (no commentary needed, Mr. Magic!) and did know magic, I couldn't just conjure up food with my wand. Bummer.

I also knew, from my intensive research (reading Brides magazine and Weddingbee, natch) that catering is, like, super expensive. I think it's like 40-60% of the overall alleged budget's costs. I'm sure there is some hard and fast (kinda) number or percentage or integer or equation, but honestly, I can't be bothered to do this math stuff.

Seriously. I realllllllllllly cannot be bothered. One time I took a personality test at work (all my coworkers did, I wasn't singled out for being a freak or anything like that) and when my analysis came back, it actually said this:

"You eschew rational thinking, especially regarding finances."

Well, duh, I knew that. This just validated what I had known for years! Money just ain't my thang. I mean, I like having money. But I'm not really good at managing money. And when the IRS sends me a letter saying I owe over $2000, I tend to burst into tears and then avoid, avoid, avoid!!!! I am a champion avoider. Whenever anything changes to make me anxious, I just bury my head in the sand (or drink margaritas - same diff, really).


OK, back to the story. So what had happened was, we went to check out a local catering company. This catering company had decent reviews, appeared only moderately pricey, and served mini hamburgers. Seemed like a good option.

I was really excited to go, because I thought that once we figured out our catering budget, we could figure out our actual total budget.
Yes, that was the sound of a record scratching.

Confession Time. Uh, yeah. So we might not know our total budget yet. I mean, I know what some aspects will cost...and I'm trying to save as much money as possible on other aspects...but since the final number is an estimate anyways, can't we just estimate it after we find a caterer? Am I insane??? (Remember, I do eschew all rational thinking!)

Well, we went to the caterer, and first it was really fun! We talked about menu options for our heavy hors d'oeuvres wedding (mini burgers! bacon wrapped things!). Then, the fun ended. He asked what we wanted to drink, and would people want sweet tea, or coffee, and how many people did we think would want coffee, and would people want regular and decaf, and how many coffee mugs would we need? UM, SERIOUSLY? WTF? TOO MANY DECISIONS! BRIDAL SHUTDOWN!

After going through the food and the FREAKISHLY EXPENSIVE AND RIDICULOUSLY DETAILED RENTALS...we were about $2000 over what I had wanted to spend. And since I also owe over $2000 to Uncle Sam...well, this was not looking good. My eyes must have either glazed over or welled up with tears, because Mr. Magic and the catering guy both started looking concerned and asking me if I was ok. I verbally told the guy it was a bit more than we wanted to spend, but I'm pretty sure my non-verbal communication clearly conveyed "Are you f*#@ing kidding me?!?"...and so he went back and made some cuts. He cut $500 and looked at me as if to say "Better?"

Um, no. No, it's not "better." Because that would mean we would still be paying more than I think we can afford for only a heavy hors d'oeuvres reception. Not even freaking passed hors d'oeuvres, y'all. Buffet.WTF!

The guy could tell I had hit the wall. He assembled all our papers and a print out of our itemized list with costs, and said he would be in touch. I spilled my coffee on the way out. And as soon as I got ten feet out the door, I burst into tears. Then I rejected Mr. Magic's hug (because I was mad at the world, dammit!), got in my car, and promptly drove the wrong way on the highway and got lost.

And since then, I've been avoiding, avoiding, avoiding any talk about money, wedding planning, and especially caterers!

Have you avoided anything about your wedding? Can you recommend a way for me to embrace catering and finances, instead of avoiding it? If not, can you come do it for me? Thanks so much.


  1. Oh honey. Money is definitely a tough thing, we are feeling it too. But when it comes to your wedding things are definitely negotiable. We managed to cut our original catering cost from $5,000 to $3,000 by ripping the quote a new one. We didn't need/could find some stuff cheaper elsewhere. I know you said caterer dude went through things with you but I suggest looking over it again when you are calmer and really contemplating what you do and don't need, and what you can get for cheaper. If you can't find anything move on to the next caterer. You can always find something else. If you really can't find an affordable caterer, have you thought about picking up party trays (cheese platters, etc.) and having only the speciality stuff catered? You've got options still PB! Except the tax thing. You have to pay that.

    Dust yourself off and try again! :D

  2. Get more than one estimate. Seriously. I know the process can suck but you might be surprised.

  3. definetly shop around. the first 3 places we looked at were several thousand over my budget and we finally found someone who was in our budget and willing to work with it, and his food was incredible! Just be firm, tell them what you want to spend upfront- they can make it work!

  4. I know it is overwheleming... all at once is hard to handle but hang in there. Taxes are a must... but I agree with Hayley, get more than one estimate, you'll be surprised what deals you can get

  5. For me, it's the location. Location is my number one most important thing about the wedding, and I REALLY want to get married over looking the ocean in California. I'm also on a strict budget (we're looking at about $12,000). These two things do not go well together, so I avoid venue hunting now because it makes me super anxious and depressed. And that's bad because the venue is the thing we need to book first! Ugh, I hate it. And honestly, I can't help you on a solution except to say that if you look hard, you'll eventually come up with good, cheaper options.

  6. ditto other commenters, it will get better, just get some more quotes, and see if there is a self cater option, have favorite people, aunts, moms, etc make some snack dishes and do the buffet. you can find a way to save soo much money, dont give up. good luck

  7. Thanks everyone for the advice. I had really never thought about us doing the simple hors d'oeuvres ourselves...chesse, crackers, fruits, and veggies. That seems totally doable! I have a few more caterers I'm gonna contact, but y'all's encouragement means a lot. Sometimes I just need to take a break from it all, ya know?