All About The Benjamins, Pt. 2

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Where them dollars at?????

The gigantic elephant in the room when it comes to wedding planning is the wedding budget. There is a lot of judgment around how much couples spend on their weddings. It seems that you get either judged for spending way too much or there is shame about not having enough to spend in the first place. I was just reading a discussion on WeddingBee about wedding budgets that generated over 80(!) comments. When I did a casual search of average wedding costs for the Houston area, my head nearly popped off. Needless to say, I consider myself a budget bride because we certainly could not afford to pay 17K (the low end of the average for Houston) for anybody’s wedding.

I haven’t talked much about how much our wedding is going to cost so far. But I plan to.  I’m an accountant by profession so please believe I have my spreadsheet set up and am tracking the wedding costs. I will show it two ways: 1) show the actual expense vs budget and 2) show the expense with contributions from family, friends etc vs budget.  We will not be going into debt to pay for the wedding but our savings will probably take a nice hit. I hope that by being transparent I can help someone with their planning.

Since I am getting toward the end of this race to the wedding day, I just wanted to briefly mention a few things that I have gathered about trying to rein in your budget and keep it on track.

  1. If people offer to help you, LET THEM. Now is not the time to be a martyr. LOL!  My aunt pretty much bought my wedding dress, my twitter friend designed my invites and our DJ is being gifted by a groomsman.
  2. Keep in mind if family (in particular the parentals) offer money to help, that you will need to consider their input. My parents gave us a cash gift and Myron’s parents are paying the cake vendor.
  3. Compare vendors carefully. Break down the cost per person and see if you really get your money’s worth. I have a spreadsheet of vendor comparisons that I used to help me make the decision. Look at all the services provided for the money. Price check. Ask for discounts.
  4. Once you select a vendor, have your list of questions ready. There are vendor checklists on sites like The Knot. If you can’t bring in your own alcohol, you better know that before you sign on the dotted line. Don’t let them pressure you into signing a contract you don’t understand. It’s perfectly fine to look it over and bring it back the next day.
  5. By the same token, don’t look at too many vendors. You will get overwhelmed and your feelings will be hurt if you look at a bunch of venues that are pretty but ultimately you can’t afford. I think I looked at around 8 total.
  6. Consider the all-in-one. Think seriously about having your ceremony and reception at the same place. We thought about switching from my initial desire of the all-in-one concept to having the church and reception deal. The church alone was $1200 (for members!) and would have required decorations. Yeah, no. Back to the original plan.
  7. Cut out the ceremony all together. Go to the courthouse and have a reception for family and friends.
  8. See what you can DIY. I have previously stated that I am not a crafty chick and I continue not to be. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it because if you are crafty, you can save a lot of money on wedding doo-dads. There are tons of tutorials on wedding blogs and on YouTube that can show you how to make everything from wedding invitations to bouquets to place cards.
  9. Decide what is important. Some of the easier cuts you can make that save money are Save The Dates and favors and er..um..ahem, GUESTS. We aren’t doing them (the favors and save the dates that is). I doubt they will be missed and if someone misses them, oh well.
  10. Keep it all in perspective. I don’t remember all the details of about linens and the food of the weddings that I have attended but I always remember the smiles of the happy couple. (I’m preaching to myself on this one. *grins*)

Thoughts from the comments??

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6 responses »

  1. I love this!!! “It seems that you get either judged for spending way too much or there is shame about not having enough to spend in the first place.” SO TRUE!! I know b/c I’ve done it myself (the former). For shame! I’ll be better in the future. Congrats to the bride who can.

  2. Great list, Tiffany. I am bartering for our dessert and cutting other stuff all together, i.e., having a cocktail reception versus sit down dinner, doing a potluck BBQ rehearsal dinner, using stuff we already own in the decor, and DIYing to the best of my – limited – ability.

  3. I have yet to pin down a wedding date, but my mother and I had quite the discussion on chair rentals ($3 chairs versus $8 chairs) the other day. Budget is important and key, and in this economy I hate to blow a lot of money on a wedding. I’m taking your info above and printing it out! :-) Many thanks!

  4. I got married for about 3K (11 years ago) so I know that having a wedding on a budget is possible and can be quite lovely.

    I think couples should remember to be flexible, invite those people to mean the most to the two of you, and um…screw folks who try to rain on your parade!

  5. When planning your budget, plan for overages. I think the recommended amount is 10%. That will cover the unexpected things that are bound to pop up at the last minute.

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