Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Health Insurance, Taxes and Other Reasons To Tie The Knot

Pete needs health insurance, so we've been debating getting married since we got back to Portland. We don't want to do it if we can't afford a party where all of our friends and family can come and celebrate with us, but we never have any money so we keep putting it off. Only now Pete can't get over this stupid cold - maybe it's bronchitis: we don't know because we can't afford a doctor! So I've been looking into throwing said crazy party towards the end of the summer, when people will likely be in town anyway, and I have discovered two things.

1) I am crap as a girl. The words "wedding" and "bridal" give me some hardcore tardwillies and I find myself thinking, "never mind! never mind!" every time I'm confronted with the "wedding planning" sections of venue websites. Aren't girls supposed to dream about this stuff from their wee days? Aren't we supposed to stand in front of a mirror in our mother's high heeled shoes wearing a cheesecloth veil and holding a bouquet of sock balls folded over wooden spoons, thinking, "Someday I too will be the blushing bride! O, how I long for that day, when my feminine destiny will be fulfilled!" I never once played "wedding" or "bride" or whatever little girls call that "game." I played Pioneer (specifically Laura Ingalls Wilder) and Princess Escaping Marauding Dragon. Please to note: the preferred roles in these games were Laura as a girl or adolescent and Princess; never Mrs. Manly Wilder or Queen. I also liked more generic pioneer games, usually ones in which I and the girl down the street played sisters who were orphaned at the foot of the Blue Mountains (typhus!) and had to make our lives out of the found objects left by other pioneers whose oxen could not bear the burden of their India Rose China Sets or dowry trunks full of lace curtains when faced with said mountains. I'm not sure what that says about me, other than I probably would have been crap as a pioneer too. "Ooh, look at all this free stuff! Hm, we're in Ontario, Oregon, you say? Good enough! Tea, anyone?"

2) Weddings are fawking expensive! This can also be read as: I am crap at math. I'm thinking $95 a head... that's not so bad. 100 people... that's what, $1,000?" Thank God I have Mom around to say, "Well, I don't know how, but if you want a $10,000 wedding..." And then I say, "Gaw!" And then there are some choking noises as I am both shocked at the actual price and ashamed of my inability to multiply by one hundred. ::shamed::

Here are things I don't need in a wedding: flowers (allergic); DJ (iPod); bouquet (see "flowers"); ceremony (allergic); bridesmaids (no need if no ceremony); garter toss ("That's not sexy." ::dirty looks:: "Oh, wait, yes it is!").

Things I do need in a party that might look like a wedding but is legally distinct: good music (iPod); good food; good friends; a nice venue; a couple nice speeches ::couJOEgh:: ; dancing (if people are into it); good beer and wine. Why is it so hard to get that for $1,000 or less?

Hey, Universe! Yeah, I'm talking to you! I'm not made of money, you know. So ease up!


Eric said...

I must admit that I am desperately waiting to see what Pete publishes on his blog now... It better not be some Alanis Morissette crap again. Funny though her humps might be.

Where's your dad in all of this, if I may ask so openly and boldly? Would your parents be able to shoulder some of the financial bruden of a wedding? Steph and I ran about $15,000 including airfare, wedding and honeymoon. We split it 3 ways between the families and ourselves. Not too bad when you really start to think about. If you're forgoing the honeymoon and not getting a $10,000 Vera Wang, I bet you can get this under $10,000. Steph and I were both really happy with McMenemins, which was also nice and cost-effective (read cheap). I'll give you a call this weekend and give you the figures from our wedding.

Loved the "allergic to cermony". What kind of girl are you? (When I first typed that, I wrote what kind of grill are you? HA!) Has Pete even gotten down on one knee yet? What's the story behind that?

Beau said...

First off: don't feel too bad about being "crap as a girl" In my experiance most girls worth marrying are pretty bad at planning their wedding.

I would recommend NoHos' for catering (if you don't mind Hawaiian food). My folks used them for their "wedding" (read: Large backyard party). I hear they do a whole roast pig for $100! A whole pig!

On a side note, since you might like to treat Pete's Bronchitis before any possible wedding, he might look into the Oregon Health Plan. It might not be the best option but its not too bad.

SonicLlama said...

Speech? Aw, shucks. I guess I can do that. Ok, here goes:

"Sydney and Pete are really cool. I used to live with them. Sydney made Epseranto flash cards and Pete played lots of Perfect Dark. Also, we watched VH1 all the time.
The End."

That what you had in mind? Because I can totally do that.

In answer to the question "what kind of girl are you?" the answer is: The Awesome Kind! Really- I long ago decided that given the choice between some ultrafemme who reads Candance Bushnell and a nerdy chick who thinks typhus is funny, I'll take the nebbish history nerd any day.

Seriously- the girls who fantasize about weddings and shit blow weasle nards. Well, except for my sister. She doesn't blow weasle nards. But the other ones do. Big weasle nards. Huge, hairy, sweaty, nast ones. Weasle nards encrusted with the dried spit of others who, also, blow weasle nards. That's what those girls who fantasize about weddings totally blow- weasle nards.
Aren't you glad you don't blow weasle nards? Because you totally don't!

You have, however, died of typhus.

Joseph said...

A few years ago, my cousin got married. She did the big, traditional, white wedding thing, at the church with the hundreds of guests and the whatnot. It was nice, so far as those kinds of things go. During the reception, my mom (clearly not getting into the celebratory spirit of the thing) pulled me aside to say "Joseph, if you elope, I'll give you the money that we would have spent on a wedding like this." I think that, so far as fascination with ceremony is an indication of personality type, you and my mom would get along well.

Irrelevant anecdote aside, though, yowza! That's awesome!

I must second Beau's pig suggestion. Even though I have no interest in eating it, I've seen whole roast pigs before, and I can't think of a more awe-inspiring food (unless, of course, you were to spring for a Turducken...). And don't you want your wedding to inspire awe (if not outright terror)?

And what's up with the continued silence on the Pete front? Doesn't he know we're talking about him?

Beau said...

hehehe... weasel nards... I knew I missed Joe for a reason

Stormy said...

Sadly, the size of our respective families (okay, really just my family) prevents Marissa and I from doing anything less than 250 guests for the reception. The anwser? Chinese food! There are lots of Chinese restaurants that Vietnamese people get married in that do your standard 8-course wedding fare for $450/table (with 10 people per table). You get the basic crab claws with shrimp, bird's nest stir fry, fancy fried rice, etc.

The other nice thing is that Asians don't do wedding registries--they just give CASH, so that should offset the cost somewhat.

On the same note, two friends of ours got married recently, and in lieu of a registry, they booked a 3 week South Pacific trip (Fiji, New Zeland, Thailand) honeymoon, and all wedding gift checks were sent directly to their travel agent.

Anyway, I've been thinking about the logistics of planning a Portland wedding from D.C. and I started looking around. I think the Kennedy School would be a great place.

I also think Turducken would be awesome.

As for cakes, we went to a great Portland wedding for one of Marissa's friends where instead of one large cake, they had 6-7 regular cakes from Ja Civa's. Best. Cakes. Ever. Probably more expensive now that I think about it, but totally worth it. Really, I think tiered-cakes with plastic wedding people on top are lame anyway.

Just let me know when this party is soon so I can snag plane tickets!

Sydney said...

My parents are helping out quite a lot, but we wanted to spend less than $3,000; the possibility of $10,000 never even occured to us! We thought, "Hey, how expensive can a party be, anyway?" And the answer is an unequivocal, "Really fawking expensive."

We've investigated other insurance options, but Pete doesn't qualify for OHP because he makes more than 300% of federal poverty level (which is like six dollars and a half-eaten chicken McNugget) and on top of that, OHP is closed to new enrollment. This country is so wonderful about so many things and such shit about providing people with basic healthcare. Marriage is pretty much our best and most cost-effective way of getting Pete insured for more than extreme emergency and catastrophic disease. Like typhus. Or weaslenard blowitis.

We're planning to just do hors d'oeurves, beer and wine, and just let people know that we're too poor to provide meal service. Oh, and cake. Yea, cake! I just can't believe how expensive site fees are! One vineyard we looked at wants $4,500 just for the site fee, and then $60/head just for valet parking and wine.

The whole wedding gift thing seems to be cultural. White people seem to hate giving money. Maybe we just like seeing a gift-laden table too much, even if we're not the actual recipient. Or maybe it feels oddly cheap, like, "Here, we like you enough to come to your wedding and bring a gift, but not enough to actually take the time to go out and buy something. Just take this money and pretend like we did." I think the whole registry thing is really just a channel for that weird need to bring something. "If we don't give them suggestions, they'll all just bring gravy boats." And really, how many gravy boats do you need? (Minor digression: need may not be the question so much as want. I seem to remember at The Cube that Pete, Eric and Joe would all vie for the gravy boat at cereal or soup time. Or maybe it was just the joy of being the person who thought they were left with no clean bowls and then were like, "Gravy boat! Hooray!")

Connie said...

You guys are such an awesome couple! Definately a dynamic duo (um, minus the codpieces of course and sadly the batmobile but you get the picture).You should have super hero themed wedding! That is as anti-establishment as you can get with nary a garter belt in sight.

Whole roasted pigs- priceless.

The rose garden is nice and free if you don't insist on red carpets and such. I've seen people having private ceremonies in the Shakespere garden there.

Also you know alot of gourmands. You could go pot luck which has people bringing something and then tell them where to send the cash!!

This is all very cool! Except for Pete having bronchitis of course! Can he manage one knee in his current state?

Suzanne said...

I never ever dressed up as a bride as a child either, preferring the "don't touch the carpet because it's shark-infested waters" type of game, and yet I still ended up with the big traditional wedding. Which was great 'n all, but involved a lot of work and money. Bob's parents paid for the rehearsal dinner and somewhat more than half of the reception, and we paid for everything else. I have never added up how much that was, and I considered doing it now, but I've decided I'd rather not know. It was mucho plento.
My brother-in-law suggested eloping to the caribbean, but I didn't take him seriously until it was too late because he added that he would come with us and be a witness.
I agree that any and all Ptld celebrations must have JaCiva cake if at all possible, preferably with that chocolate fondant icing. It's a good thing that I moved away only a couple of months after discovering them.