When You Can’t Afford Your Wedding Dreams

It’s no secret that many people, women in particular, dream of their weddings from a young age. For me, these daydreams began when I was in high school.

An outdoor wedding, flowers everywhere, all the people I love on either side of me, my groom smiling at the altar. And at the reception…

A coffee bar.

I know, not the first thing in most people’s wedding fantasy. But for me, coffee has always been at the center of all my closest relationships. Some of my fondest memories between me and my Grammy took place over coffee in her kitchen. My best friend and I bonded by sitting at our regular table at Starbucks for hours on end.

Over the years, my fiancé and I tried to make time for each other (when we were just friends) at the occasional coffee date—sipping from our cups and trying not to let life get too much in the way of us catching up.

I could continue with more examples, but the point is that sharing coffee with my loved ones is a sacred, special thing to me.

So at my reception I pictured this beautifully decorated, elaborate coffee bar, like one I had seen on Pinterest—with a burlap sign, mason jars, flowers, and all the fixings people could possibly want for their coffee.

I wanted to hire a barista for the night who could make whatever latte, macchiato, or espresso my guests wanted. There was going to be a wall where I hung over a hundred mugs that guests could pick from, get their drink, and then take home later as a wedding favor.

After he proposed to me, I looked into making my dream into a reality.

Although you can find cute, affordable coffee mugs basically everywhere, after accumulating ten, I realized how much that would add up by the time I got to 150. And that’s not even counting what it would cost to hire and tip a barista for the night or the price of renting an espresso machine and milk steamer. And then buying the coffee beans and different flavor creamers, sweeteners, cinnamon, and whipped cream for people to choose from to put in their coffee.

It didn’t take long before I realized our limited wedding budget simply couldn’t handle a dream this pricey. So with a heavy heart I told my mom to stop looking for coffee mugs when she was out.

I was definitely bummed. For a moment, I feared that my wedding was somehow going to be less than perfect now because I couldn’t fit this dream of mine into our budget.

The following week, though, I had a couple of conversations with friends who, without knowing about this disappointment of mine, put things into perspective. They said that at their weddings they wished they had stopped focusing so much on making the day the most Pinterest-worthy experience. They said they wished they had taken more time to look into the eyes of their new spouse and to focus on them, less on all the other details.

This was the reminder I needed. So when I find myself feeling disappointed about my limited budget, I think about what really mattersThe only reason I’m even having a wedding is because of how much we love each other. I get to spend the rest of my life with this incredible man. And I’m choosing to keep that my main focus as I finish planning, with or without a coffee bar.

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