Good Times, Bad Times

Did anybody notice I already failed my promise for 2006 of an article a month? The article I had in mind for January is near completion. I just need to put a night aside to get it finished. Easier said than done at the moment though.

January has been a hectic month of ups and downs at our house. Without dwelling on the downs I'm happy to report that the major up of the month has been Karen and I deciding to tie the knot.

Neither of us are exactly traditionalists, so it's going to be a little different. So far we've told all the people who are invited and even booked the venue, although I'm yet to get down on one knee and formerly propose. We went to Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter last weekend and chose the ring. Now I'm just waiting for it to get delivered. The wedding date is set in early April, so it's all getting a little tight.

By keeping the date so close I'm hoping we can keep the costs from spiralling out of control. Reports suggests that the average price of a wedding nowadays is around £20k. To me this is absolutely ridiculous. By my reckoning our "cheap" wedding will cost us between 7 and 8k. Cheap? Hmm. To do this we are just being sensible. It's not that we are denying ourselves luxuries. It's just that neither of us really want them. What's the point of arriving in a white Rolls Royce? To me it's a frivolous waste of money. Maybe I'm just a tight sod? Either way, I'm probably lucky that Karen's a divorcee, who's already had a church-based white wedding and gotten it all out of her system.

With both of us being completely irreligious we've opted for a civil wedding in a local, newly-restored hall. The alternative is to start attending a weekly mass, to convince the vicar we're believers, only to never return after the wedding. This is not something I'd be happy doing. Either you do or don't believe. I don't and so I'm not interested about a matrimony in the "eyes of the lord". All I care about is the eyes of the law.

The guess list is being kept to fifty close friends and family. No cousins and nobody who we've not seen for more than a year. At one point we'd thought about eloping with a handful of people and just getting it over and done with, but I think this will just upset people and isn't worth it.

There are lots of other things we won't doing. Like two weeks in the Maldives and other luxuries. Will any of this make the day any less special? Personally, I don't think so. It's going to be an amazing day! I've been to £20k weddings and, while they're amazing events, I know of couples who look back and wish they'd not spent quite so much on it.

Anyway, I'll let you know whether she actually says yes when I get down on one knee and pop the big question. For now I've got a lot to do in the mean time. Not forgetting a couple of articles for you guys.


    • avatar
    • Jon
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 06:19 AM

    Congratulations on engagement.

    • avatar
    • Jono
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 06:25 AM

    Congrats mate... :) I only wish that when the time comes for me, I can convince the other half to economise, just a little!...

    • avatar
    • Jef
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 06:32 AM

    Nice job - best (and indeed most expensive ;-) day of my life so far ...

    • avatar
    • Lee
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 06:47 AM


    • avatar
    • David Wall
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 07:11 AM

    Congratulations, hope you have a grand day, we did ours in 32 days and for the bare minimum expence wise.

  1. Congrats Jake, having just celebrated our 11 week anniversary, I can imagine the hectic times ahead. My one bit of advice for the day is to every now and then just pause and look around you and take it all in, I can remember the ceremony well, the wedding breakfast pretty well, yet the reception is somewhat of a blur of lots of faces!!!

    • avatar
    • Edsko Hekman
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 07:21 AM

    Congrats Jake! Big milestone ahead of you. I'm not married yet, but my girlfriend keeps giving me some "subtile suggestions" about me getting down on one knee as well.... Makes me wonder.... :-) Hope you enjoy it!

  2. I tied the know last year. But I proposed to my lady in front of 350 people at a major convention in 1996. So a 9 year engagement was probably a bit too long. Like you we're not religious and went for a civil wedding too. Only 26 people, but ours cost us £10k incl the honeymoon to the Bahamas.

    Oh, I like the "guess" list. So nobody knows whos coming? :)


  3. Congratulations!!

    Being married 15 yrs & 51 weeks (not that I'm counting) it's been my experience that tying the knot make a relationship more of what it was before. Ditto that for children.

    Just be sure that Karen knows that you're still ours...where else would I get all those great ideas to use in my projects??

    btw, I was seriously thinking about taking my wife on vacation, perhaps even to England. Post the plans for the big event and I'll hop a plane from the States and crash, er, stop by the ceremony....

    • avatar
    • Glen
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 07:47 AM

    Congrats Jake.

    So does this mean that the amazon wishlist is gonna have crockery and bed linen on it now?;-)

    Best of luck.

    • avatar
    • John Fazio
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 07:57 AM

    Congrats! I'm with you on the low cost wedding. Fortunately for us we could use a notary and didn't need a religious figure head to perform the ceremony. Cheers.

    • avatar
    • Richard C
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 08:15 AM

    Congratulations to both of you, Jake & Karen.

    Also, to Quinn as well - for getting a step-dad.

  4. Jake, Congrats. April is a fine time of year to be married. My own was 20 years ago this coming April.

    Best wishes to the both of you!

    • avatar
    • Brian Miller
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 09:07 AM

    Congratulations, Jake.

    • avatar
    • Mike
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 09:08 AM

    Jake -

    Congratulations, and great job keeping the costs down. Weddings are a complete racket these days, and I speak from experience having recently been married in May. So much money is wasted ... luckily I was able to talk my wife out of the $10 per for renting chair covers!

    -- Mike

  5. Congratulations, now you will really have to get the house finished, excuses won't count for much now

  6. Congratulations Jake, we did something similar, and spent most of the budget on the honeymoon.

    The only thing I would say is don't skimp on the photographer and the brides present ;-)

    I brought a very nice necklace from mappin & webb as a surprise for my wife - these were the contractor gravy train days - and always brings back great memories every time I see her wear it.

  7. Congrats!

    My wife and I were married 25 years ago. Total cost was US$200. Plus probably $200 for the 'professional' photos ...we also had many pics that friends took.

    We rented an outdoor girl scout camp ($20 for the day), hired a gent to officiate, had a buddy of mine play classical guitar, and did a 'potluck' reception ...everybody brings some food to share. We told everyone to dress casually. My wife made her dress (and the bridesmaids' - WAY too much work). No tuxes ...I was in a hippie 'Jesus' style shirt.

    Definitely not a traditional wedding, but we did not have the money for a fancy one, nor did we want one.

    You are correct; there's little point to go heavily in debt. Far more important is to have a ceremony that is meaningful and to share it with friends and family.

    Best wishes for many, many happy years.

    • avatar
    • ursus
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 10:30 AM


    • avatar
    • David C.
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 10:46 AM

    Congrats from me as well.

    There seem to be a lot of people getting married this year.

    Is it catching? ;-)

    • avatar
    • Desigan Ramanujam
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 10:47 AM


    • avatar
    • Keith
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 11:11 AM

    Congratulations, Jake! Pam & I married 6 years ago come May. We set a budget for the wedding, and pretty much kept to it. We used the long engagement plan, which worked well for us, as it allowed us to plan out just what we wanted without having oodles of pressure to make a decision. It al gave us time to unite our homes and iron out the rough spost between us, as we got married over 30 and were pretty settled in our independant ways and stuff.

    We did the traditional thing, minister and all, as we are believers, and it worked out well for us.

    Our big goal was to make sure the reception was an actual celebration -- a party -- rather than a stuffy formal event. To this day people say our wedding was the most fun one they have ever attended!

  8. Let me add my congratulations to the list. Both on the marriage and on the wedding. I'm with Keith on the celebration-versus-event thing, and I'm sure you'll find that everyone has a better time just being themselves rather than worrying about where they can and can't step and which fork comes next.

    • avatar
    • Rod Stauffer
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 03:08 PM

    Congrats Jake!

    • avatar
    • Mark Elgar
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 03:59 PM

    Congratulations Jake, best of luck you and Karen

    • avatar
    • Ben
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 04:20 PM

    Hey Jake

    Excellent news. I got married around 4 months ago and we were well into not spending silly money. We spend around 4 grand in all and had a brilliant day.

    We struggled a bit with the wedding presents tho as we really didn't need anything and didn't want friends and family buying us stuff we didn't want so we ended up asking for donations to the honeymoon as our wedding presents. It was a great idea as we had a fantasic 3 weeks in California doing everything we wanted to do. We matched donations to hotel prices, etc so sent cards to people with a photo of the hotel saying "your donation paid for a night here" or whatever and they all loved it.

    Anyway, hope you have a great day and glad you've realised that it's not money that makes the day great.

    • avatar
    • Anura
    • Mon 6 Feb 2006 06:09 PM

    Congratulations, Jake - really great news!

    As an old-timer (40 this month, married for 18 years) I think you're on the right track.

    Looking back, all those things we stressed over seem so unimportant. Make the day special by having the people who are close to you there, and forget about all the stuff that is really only for appearances.

    Really, your marriage is not about the ceremony but about what you make of the relationship over the years ahead.

  9. Ach - another good man down... :-)

    Seriously - good news and congratulations. Dont bother spending money on the wedding - just spend it on a damn fine holiday/honeymoon.

    Take Warren and Kitty. Around the world in 6 weeks, first class. Nice..


    Good luck, and all the best.

    ---* Bill

    P.S. If its any help, I've now been married 18 years, and known my wife for 23 years. Some of them happy.

  10. Oh

    One last thing. Get married in a Kilt. Its a babe-magnet..


    ---* Bill

  11. Congrats Jake! I must say your ideal wedding sounds awefully similar to my thoughts on the matter...I only hope you make the "template" available as a download in due course! ;)

  12. Congratulations, Jake.

    Just to let you know, with or without an article a month, I still visit your site, everyday...

  13. Nice one Jake.

  14. Congrats Jake (when you finally get around to doing the knee thing).

    Our wedding is this new years eve - I think with all the work I will have to do to pay for it (I'm not sure my Fiance and her friends believe in budgets) - I might not make it that far!

  15. Congrats Jake

    Mine is 33 years this April, it's not that bad...

    • avatar
    • Mike
    • Tue 7 Feb 2006 07:24 AM

    Congrats Jake and Karen - here's to many years of happiness together


  16. Congrats again Jake!

    We had a "traditional" event (baptist church, preacher, comunion, vowes) but I made the rule that only Aunts, Uncles, Best friends and immediate family were invited. Kept the list to 60 or so, rented a dining room at a B&B for the reception for $125 for 4 hour lunch and it was all very tidy. I think we got in under $4000 with tux rentals, hotel for the wedding party and our week in the Blue Ridge mountains.

    7 years this June, and each year is better than the last. May it be so for you and Karen as well.

    I think it's a great idea to put some wedding gifts on our wish list. ;-)

  17. Congratulations & I agree with you -- I think you cherish the memory of the day with or without all the traditional, fancy trimmings.

  18. Jake, Congrats on your engagement. Good luck with the future, I wish you all the best.

    • avatar
    • Richard Shergold
    • Wed 8 Feb 2006 02:49 AM

    Congrats Jake. All the best...

  19. Congratulations Jake. One of the nicest things I remember about our wedding day was a walk in the sunshine together between the Register Office and the reception. It was free.

  20. I wish my fiancé was irreligious too... we are marrying on 03/03/2007. This date is sort of quirky. She's all exceited about it. I wish we didn't go to some chapel to hear a stranger declaring us as husband and wife. I hate to be in a spot because Im supposed to. Its so unnatural, that it takes the magic away from what a wedding should be: Simple, genuine, brief, alcohol and good food. the rest is bling bling over the top and ridiculous.

  21. Hey Jake, I'm just coming back from vacations and heard this from you ......

    Congratz for you and Karen!


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