How many knots am I tying here?

Weddings are stupid expensive.

At what other time would someone pay more than $200 for a cake without batting an eye? Don’t get me wrong — I love cake. And I get that cake decorating is a skill; it’s one I certainly don’t possess. But why does the cake have to be that fancy, anyway? Can it not just be pretty and tasty? Why must it be art?

Why in the world should I spend more on a dress I will wear for three hours than I do on a month’s rent?

The price of everything related to weddings is over the top. The paper you send out asking people to come. The paper they (are supposed to) send back letting you know if they will. The pictures. The food. The music. The venue. Every last little detail, if it has the word “wedding” associated with it, is going to cost more than it would if you said this was an anniversary party, or a birthday party, or a reunion.

Obviously, I’m looking to save money on our wedding. And, having been around this block once before, I know some tricks. But I think the biggest one is this:

Don’t invite 200 people.

That’s it. That’s all. No matter what you do, it’s going to cost more if you invite a bunch of people. Your venue will cost more, your food will cost more. your beverages (if you’re supplying the adult kind, especially) will cost more. You’ll be expected to pony up for a higher level of entertainment. Because a ‘do of that size is no longer a party — it’s an event.

I’m not an event kind of person. For starters, in no context would I ever want 200 people looking at me.

So, small. Small venue means small guest list. Small ceremony, small reception. No seating charts, no sit-down dinner, no 12-tier cake. The trade-off: A more personal touch. We can take care of a lot of the details ourselves, make it truly reflect us and our relationship. We will also have more time to spend with our guests, rather than nod and smile as we dash out the door.

It’s a step above a courthouse wedding, but not a wedding.

So, how’s it going? Well, I have most of the flowers and ceremony/reception decor. We’ve set a preliminary guest list, a preliminary menu. We have a venue, an officiant, a photographer, and a familymoon hotel reservation. I have also picked up some family heirloom-type stuff: The Christmas ornament we’ll use as a cake topper, the Jenga game that will be our guest book. I still need to get my dress fitted, and we need to go clothes shopping for the groom, the mini-mes, and the matron of honor. We need to work on a Spotify playlist. And a trip itinerary. We need to decide upon and order the cake — I do acknowledge that if I want it to look good, I need to let someone else do that part. (Or do I?) I need to decide if I’m having hair and makeup done.

In other words, if we did no more work between now and November, we’d still be getting married. Because the important stuff is taken care of: We have a day, a time, a place, and a person to make it official. We could get married in our pajamas, serve Pop-Tarts and apple juice, and we’d still be married.

Actually, that would be a fun way to go. But I already bought the dress, and all these flowers.