Catalina Island News

Getting Hitched

Afishinados Charters

My eldest daughter got married in the Avalon Theatre and we had the reception in the Casino Ballroom in September, 2012. It was a beautiful wedding and a great three day party for all involved, minus the standard hiccups that happen at these events.

I have been told that hers was the last of the ‘affordable’ weddings at that facility. Frankly, I thought it was pretty pricey, however, I have been educated as of late. Karen shared an article that listed the best places to get married.

For this article, ‘best’ meant ‘cheapest but still good’. I have good news for those of you planning a wedding and looking for a venue…South Dakota. That’s right, South Dakota scored the top spot for an affordable, traditional wedding.  Average price tag: $17,000.

Given today’s standards, that is pretty cheap. It is certainly less than the cost of my daughter’s wedding. I can also share with you that California did not make it into the Top Ten Places for an Affordable Wedding…not even close.

What is happening?

I can remember only 34 years ago, when gas and bread were less than a buck, that Karen and I struggled with the wedding planning.  We were young kids, with little money in the bank, but with a decent job and good prospects.

We had to work pretty hard to find a venue that we thought we could afford somewhere in the local mountains.  I had been a Crestline kid and Karen had spent some time in Lake Arrowhead.  We knew the mountains and figured it would be a great place for a fun wedding weekend.

We found a location that was truthfully shabby, but it was cheap, would fit our gang and we had plans to dress it up.  Fortunately, Karen’s Mom would have none of our shenanigans.  We nixed the dumpy place and found the Lake Arrowhead Burnt Mill Beach Club.

I cannot recall the actual cost of the whole thing, but I can tell you that nobody suffered financially as a result of our union.  And that seems to me how it should be.

Weddings have gone ballistic.  There are so many costly options; like flowers.  We have heard of local weddings with over $100,000 worth of flowers decorating the Casino.  Wow!

Kids today are already strapped with college loans that are criminal.  These things are set up as 30 year loans and they are not kidding.  I looked at my son’s left over loans and found that we had already paid $45,000 for the $35,000 we borrowed and the remaining balance is about $30,000.  Look up the word ‘usurious’ and tell me you do not agree.

This is our future.  Kids graduating from college with a huge and long-lasting debt burden.  Finding someone they love, getting hitched for a minimum of $100,000 and then looking at the cost of buying a home.

I can tell you that without the new home buyers coming in to the market, we do not have a housing market.  No new buyers stepping in, means fewer current owners can stepping up to the next home.  The whole deal is balancing on a group of future home-buyers that cannot carry the load.

I know this sound like a rant, and what does it have to do with the theme of my ‘On the Water’ column?  Have I ever let you down before?  Here is the connection.  I can do something to help solve this problem.

Take a look at the name of the writer of this column.  Where you may have seen Capt. John in all of my previous, you may now notice Chaplin John.  This does not indicate a major career change.  It is simply another hat that I have added to Afishinados Charters.

Last week I had a lovely couple looking to find a way to get married on Catalina Island without breaking their bank account.  I offered them my Wedding Package on the Catallac.

For $1450 I can deliver a floating venue that can accommodate 49 passengers for a two-hour wedding cruise, the services of yours truly, Chaplin John as Officiant and a champagne toast for all.

This is not going to work for everybody.  If you have the coin the Casino ballroom is a magical place to tie the knot.  In fact, many of my Catallac customers book a cocktail cruise as a part of their wedding festivities and then do the ceremony at one of our beautiful island venues.

Of course, our Catallac Wedding Package is a very basic wedding.  Adding flowers, photographer, catering and cake ups the ante.  Even going full bore on these other services it is possible to get hitched aboard Catallac for a fraction of the cost anywhere else, even South Dakota.

Chaplin John runs Afishinados Charters and Catallac Tours – – 888-613-7770