Thank you all for your excellent advice and feedback in the realm of wedding planning fun.
We are not extravagant people, and very practical at that, so spending a lot on a day, albeit a very special day, is not something we take lightly at all. Plus, we're not exactly broke, but we continue to live paycheck to paycheck. Our parent's are not helping with the festivities, although my mother has offered to help pay for something, but I know their financial situation so I'm not about to ask for any assistance. Plus, we are in the process of trying to fix up our place to rent it out or sell it, so that we can move so the throught of additional debt is really not appealing and if my mortgage broker knew about this plan, he's smack me as hard as he could through the phone.
Since I have worked in catering for both small and large companies, and of course gone to many weddings myself, I have seen many takes on how extravagant to make the day. Our first plan was to have a BBQ/potluck where we provide the meat, beverages and sundries, and we ask everyone else to bring side dishes. If I had any sort of catering or restaurant type of meal, I would want to go too far the other way because THAT is the kind of stuff that I love to do and I like the wow factor and seeing my guests smile. Any dinner party I have, or even if I am preparing something at a friend's house, I like to go for the wow. Let my loved one's know that I love them through the food I prepare or serve them (you see the theme in the need to have wonderful food?)
The idea with the potluck, was that since Food = Love, that we wanted people to bring food as that would be a way for our loved ones to gather around us to "feed us" love. Some people feel loved with gifts... me, it's food. And Eric really doesn't want gifts (I haven't taken him registry shopping yet so he doesn't really know the possibilities) so he was full on board with the potluck idea.
But then we got all excited about other ideas. Like going to Yosemite, which turned into a BIG deal, and that was the plan which included way too much expense and time for our guests. Perhaps we can still carry out the Yosemite idea if we elope, or maybe Hawaii, or Fiji? Man eloping sounds fun!
I am battling with my dreams and my reality, and it's not easy. I don't want to ever look back and wish we had done things differently (I'm very much a "What if" type of person). I don't like to regret decisions, and I know this is simply something I need to get over and learn how to be comfortable with me and what I've done in my life.