It’s the principle of the matter (wedding budget)

13 Jul

Let me paint a picture for you. I am not yet engaged nor really thinking about getting married any time soon. I am watching a guilty pleasure wedding “reality” show on TLC, and I am thinking to myself, “They spent THAT much money?! Just to throw a PARTY?! That’s INSANE!” I make a “Pshhh” sound out loud and roll my eyes. “I would never…” I think.

Fast Forward.

I am engaged. Yay! I get to spend the rest of my life traveling the world, having a family and generally just hanging out with my best friend. THIS ROCKS!

And, oh! Icing on the cake, I get to plan a wedding! I get to pick out pretty dresses and flowers and table runners – yeee! And let’s not forget the thrill of walking through a store with a bar code gun adding items to the gift registry. I want, I want.

Ok, I think. Let’s not get carried away. Remember the TLC show? Remember your promise to yourself to be reasonable? You can still plan a wedding and have lots of pretty things. But, you can do it for $10,000. That seems like a good amount. I mean, that is ALOT of money. And, it’s all going to a party that will only last one day for Christ’s sake.

So, now it’s time to get out the excel spreadsheet. Let’s see exactly what my budget will be on individual items if I spend 10K total. First, I google “sample wedding budget” to get a list of all the things I need to budget for. Each item gets a line on the spreadsheet, and I start filling in an estimated cost. It takes about 15 minutes of scouring the internet for invitations, wedding dresses and venue/catering charges, and I realize it. Weddings are expensive. $10,000 is not going to cut it. After filling in what I think are reasonable goals for individual items for everything from catering to gifts for the wedding party, I came up with a little over $16,000 in total. So, that is the budget.

I am still very early in planning and not many checks have been written yet. But, already, I have some lessons learned:

  • It’s ok to splurge on something if it is really important to us/me (e.g. I am ok with spending alot on my dress and overall look because I love getting dressed up, and when else am I going to get to wear a beautiful white ball gown?)
  • It’s ok to completely cut items that are not important to us (e.g. We’re alright with home-baked pies and cake a la friends and family. No need for an expensive wedding cake.)
  • DIY is not always the cheapest way to go, but sometimes it’s just fun to be crafty.
  • Generally, wedding things cost more than I think they should. (A belt I tried on while wedding dress shopping had a $1000 price tag. In.Sane.) Luckily, my mom is an expert bargain hunter. I will put her to work to find the item of my dreams at a reasonable price. (Ahem, half priced designer wedding gown)

I am sure things will come up that will expand our budget. Hopefully we can find other places to cut if/when that happens. But, for right now – 16-17K is the goal. Luckily, Shaun and I have parents that want to help cover the costs. (Thanks, guys!) With their help, Shaun and I will not be spending much of our hard-earned savings on this shindig. Could we afford to if we wanted to? Probably. But, it’s the principle of the matter.


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