Hands down one of the most difficult parts of planning a wedding is the budgeting, especially if you and your partner are the only ones paying for the wedding. Trying to figure out how to make everything work is frustrating and sometimes disappointing but as long an you work together and are honest about your budgeting and spending, you should do great! First off, budgeting is a team sport and at this point you should both be open about finances and where each of you are concerning debt, money coming in, etc. I know not everyone isn’t comfortable sharing finances but I’m in the school of thought that if you’re spending the rest of your life with this person you should really be honest and open with money. I may not have wanted to tell Conor about a few of my credit cards but I needed to because that impacts him as well.
The key to budgeting for your wedding is being honest about how much money you actually can spare for a wedding, not how much you’d like to spend. If you take out credit for a wedding, that’s your business. I have friends who have done it to get flyer miles but it’s not something that my fiance and I are planning on doing. The top priority thing to get done is writing out that budget and seeing what money you have to spend. It doesn’t matter how little or big it is, just write it out and look at it and accept it. The biggest trap that I fell into was not wanting to accept my little wedding budget. It’s disappointing because you might see friends having these beautiful weddings and you want to have that as well but at what cost did they have the wedding. Was it in budget, if it was, that’s great for them and you shouldn’t feel like you’ll have a lesser wedding compared to them, you might have to work harder but it can be just as beautiful. In the end though we’re striving for a beautiful day with family and the beginning of a beautiful and strong marriage.
After figuring out what you, yourself are able to spend, you must find out what aspects of your wedding are most important to you and your partner. For me, I totally skipped this part and was like “oh it’s all important and it’ll come together”. Well guess what, that is totally not the case and I found myself crying in Michael’s looking at fake flowers because I had an anxiety attack that I couldn’t afford flowers for my bouquet. I never took a step back though to figure out what mattered to me and I didn’t realize how much the flowers mattered until I was looking to purchase fake ones. *Note, there’s nothing wrong with fake flowers and I’m still considering getting fake ones. So now that I took the step back, the top five things that are most important to me are the following. 1. Dress 2. Conor’s kilt (yes that’s happening) 3. Photography 4. My Bouquet and his Boutonniere 5. Cake or Desserts. So these pieces of my wedding are the most important and I’m willing to forgo something like a DJ or a band in order to have my favorite photographer. Next you should really make a list of the things you’re willing to do without or you can get for free. I’m willing to go without a makeup artist for the big day because I can do my own makeup but maybe a friend of mine has amazing makeup skills and is willing to gift me her service. Use the resources you have available to you and get creative!
With the budget you have, you’re going to have to get creative with what you do. Look for venues that may not need a lot of decorating, think gardens, parks, anywhere that is a little whimsical. You might have to enlist some friends for DIY help and start crafting early, but you’ll be able to pull together a beautiful day. Remember that you can always resell centerpieces and other items that you purchased for the wedding. This includes fake flowers, linens, table decorations and the list goes on. Also don’t be afraid to ask if you can borrow things from family members or friends. If someone has a beautiful table that they aren’t using or may be in their basement, see if they’ll let you use it for the vintage dessert or confetti table.
Lastly when budgeting, try to think through other potential expenses that you might not expect or account for. If you thought through everything but still want to be on the safe side of keeping to your budget, try and create a small unexpected expense part in your budget. This will help you cover the cost of that last minute cab ride or parking pass. Planning a small budget wedding shouldn’t be stressful and should still be fun. Don’t feel intimidated by your budget, look at it as a challenge. Happy Planning Brides!