Beautifully crafted parties with everyone you love celebrating you and your partner following a heartfelt ceremony is 100% worth it.
Weddings, however, are not. So what the heck do I mean by that?
We've all heard of the "wedding tax", right? The idea that pretty much everything costs more if the word wedding is attached to it. Let's take a brief look:
Studies show that the average cost for a N.J. wedding in 2020 was $36,600 
Inexpensive Sweet 16s typically cost $5,000 or less, while moderate parties can cost $10,000-$25,000. 
So even the cheapest Sweet 16 in these studies average out to be cheaper than a ""cheaper"" wedding. I can tell you for a fact we went ALL out on my Sweet 16 and it was $5000 vs. the $40000 we're spending on the bare minimum. (I still remember the days where my budget was $10K. I was so young.)
Cool. Great. So we know things cost more when a wedding is involved. But there is a very specific part of the wedding tax that I feel like we don't talk about as much which involves boundaries and entitlement. You know that one tax form you've never heard of that you now have to file because you sold a custom-made quilt on Etsy for more than $400? Yeah, this part of the wedding tax is that. The random new form that is so important but often forgotten. People will suddenly feel very entitled to your choices, time, and money when the party you're throwing has the word "wedding" attached to it.
I get it. A wedding is very special and a very big deal. I'm really excited to be throwing one for myself and my fiancé. It's actually really important to me that people are comfortable, safe, and having a good time. Any accommodations that anyone may need is non-negotiable and must be met. No one is forced to dance or drink or anything. I just want to have a -ahem- baller ass day with people we love that also love us.
I'm aware that weddings are a special day for your closest family and friends as well. But so help me, this wedding is causing one of the biggest divides in my family than anything else I've ever experienced. It's so odd. This isn't the case with everyone. I've grown a much deeper connection with my friends and family. There is something about the experience of being married that brings out a lot of good. And for that, I am extremely grateful. But when there is bad, it's like....SO bad.
People telling me they're bringing their kids, their plus ones, demanding we make changes so they're not mildly inconvenienced, getting offended when we make choices they don't like (apparently some people really don't like when your wedding isn't in a church), etc.
Unfortunately, sometimes this "wedding tax form" (should we call it the 1040wed??) overpowers the nicer parts of the day and makes you just want to "get it over with" so that you can have your peace back. But...that sucks. So what can we do about it?
We can put our foot down and set boundaries.
AND we can do it politely!
What's the point of setting boundaries? Why not just tell people to buzz off? Well - the biggest reason I set boundaries is because as humans, we are not perfect. Even the nicest, best people sometimes cross a line and it's okay to let them know that. The way I see it, there are 3 major outcomes when setting boundaries:
They respect your boundary and now you can be together and have a great time!
They ignore your boundary and make you uncomfortable which then forces you to start shitting down and avoiding them entirely.
You don't set the boundary and be very uncomfortable every time you are around that person forever.
We should be setting boundaries with the people we care about that we want to keep in our lives as well as the people we may have to keep in our lives.
This wedding is testing me and making me realize that I need to be more communicative on my intentions. People cannot read your mind and as obvious as that sounds, we always seem to be forgetting that. If you're honest, polite, and not condescending and they still get offended, well, you did your part. The rest is on them to make the choice to keep you around or not.
Wedding or not, here we come! But seriously, wedding or not, remember that you need to make your boundaries clear. You may even learn that someone just didn't realize what they were doing. It happens!
So, lets file that 1040wed together and (hopefully) not get audited. <3