Let’s talk about the B word …not bitch, budget!
Before we started planning anything Brian and I sat down and figured out how much we were comfortable spending on our wedding (comfortable is a relative term, realistically we would like to be spending about a quarter of what we are, but it’s about finding a balance between what things cost and what we are willing to spend).
According the a radio story a couple of weeks later, we are spending around half of what the average Canberra wedding costs, so we feel good about that. Of course we have all heard the stories of “we ended up spending fifteen thousand more than we budgeted for on our wedding” but we were determined that we wouldn’t do that, and so far, with all the decisions made, we haven’t.
Now don’t get me wrong, I hate the B word as much as anyone, and I could very easily blow this wedding out to epic proportions. But a wedding isn’t the only thing we are planning for right now, we are also in the middle of saving money to buy a block of land and start building a new house and we are also hoping to expand our family in the next few years which will mean reduced income. One of the first things we agreed on when it came to our wedding was that we refused to go into debt for the sake of what is, after all, just one day.
I think having these other big life events on the horizon has helped to make some of the decisions about the wedding easier, we could for example pay $1,500 for wedding cars, that no one but us would see, or we could upgrade the heating and cooling system in our new house to be the one we want. When I think of things like that, it’s very easy for me to choose the thing that is going to affect us for at least the next 10 years over the thing that will affect us for one day.
Stubbornly sticking to our budget has also helped us make some decisions, hiring a company to decorate the space for us vs decorating ourselves? EASY, we do it ourselves because it is about 1/4 of the cost. There have also been several things that have been deleted off the spreadsheet simply because they were pushing the budget over. I went back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to wear a veil, so I did some research and the ones I liked, and would wear, were $300 plus, are you kidding me? Decision made, not wearing one, to me that wasn’t worth it.
Things we decided we didn’t want to scrimp on were food and drink. We hate being somewhere wishing there was more/better food or drink and we didn’t want that for our guests. We also knew that those were probably the only two things people were going to remember anyway (unless someone calls flat on their face … please don’t let that be me). While we have chosen a more affordable catering option, we haven’t compromised on quality and we are making sure there will be plenty of it!
An unexpected splurge came in the form of my dress. I had found one online I loved, it was $350 and I was ready to buy it. I decided before I pulled the trigger I should go and try something similar on in person just to make sure it suited me (we all know how it is when you buy something online and when it arrives you put it on and look in the mirror and think … well shit). So off I went with my maid of honour and bridesmaid to try on a dress, just one that shape, I wasn’t buying anything there! the lovely ladies at the dress shop asked if I was willing to try on different shapes just to explore my options, I said sure. I tried on about 6 dresses, all pretty different, and there was one that I liked and my friends LOVED, it was pretty close to the one I liked online so I thought I was set. But as I drove home thinking about the dresses, one of the others I had tried on kept coming back into my mind, it was $2,200 so I had told myself it wasn’t an option right from before I put it on. Long story short I was back there the next day ordering that dress that was more than four times the amount I had intended to spend!
I don’t know if you could really call this blog advise, maybe after our wedding in September I will be able to tell you if the choices we made were the right ones. But for right now, this is just how we are approaching it, we are sticking to the amount we set as our budget and we are making compromises along the way to achieve that.
Wish us luck!