Do decide your budget
Wedding budget planning starts with figuring out what kind of wedding you can afford. Will you be grilling hot dogs in your parent’s backyard or partying at the plaza? We immediately talked to each of our parents to see if they would be willing to financially help us celebrate our big day. From here we found out what we could afford. Thankfully since we had about a year to pay everything off, the financial burden didn’t hit us all at once. This is why wedding budget planning is so important.
In my previous blog posts regarding finances, I have stated that I live the exact life that my income allows. This logic was present when designing my wedding, I had the exact wedding my budget would allow for. Although I’m happy I had the wedding that I did and spent the money I did, it’s an extravagant expense. Do not go into massive debt to host a wedding that could destroy your future. We found ways to cut costs where we could or D.I.Y. when possible. I did my own hair and makeup and don’t regret a thing.
Do open a 0% interest credit card
This section could alternatively be called, how I strategically went into credit card debt after delving into my wedding budget planning. Once we were aware of how much our parents would be giving us we opened up a credit card with an introductory offer of 0% interest for 15 months. This gave us the freedom to secure most of our vendors immediately and our parents the ability to give us money over time instead of all at once. This section would be a don’t however for anyone who currently has credit card debt. If you’re unfamiliar with credit card interest rates, check out Credit Card Debts and Interest rates on March 28th.
Taking the route of opening up a new credit card, also allowed us to collect cashback to put towards the honeymoon. Instead of draining our savings account we decided to pay off the debt over the 15-month period and keep our emergency fund in case B was to lose his job. Most importantly, we never spent more money than we had in our account. Then when we received cash for the wedding, I put it in a separate saving account reserved for every vendor that had to be paid in cash. We were fortunate enough to be able to pay off our wedding and honeymoon debt within an 8 month period and now we’re back on track and still have our emergency fund in place.
Do things your own way
I’m not in love with weddings. I think the concept is absolutely lovely but when it comes down to the number of traditions surrounding them it’s just a bit too much for me. I threw every tradition I didn’t like out the window. I had no formal bridal party and my husband didn’t have any groomsmen. I just think these traditions are a bit mean. You have to show publicly that certain people in your life aren’t as important as others. My husband and I have both been at weddings where we have had that feeling of rejection and it’s horrible. I also walked down the aisle with my husband and we had our first look privately. I also didn’t carry any flowers and he didn’t have a boutonniere.
By throwing away traditions when doing out wedding budget planning we were able to focus on other aspects more important to us and we saved a ton of money. As with everything in life you have to decide what’s important to you and that stuff just wasn’t. You might get some hesitant people who are against your plans, its a wedding after all but I promise they will work past it. I got a lot of compliments on how personal our wedding was and how every detail took you through a journey of our relationship. We had a bit of an Italian nod to represent our honeymoon and mini fish and chip baskets to honor our trip to Scotland the Christmas prior. Just stay true to you and your relationship and have fun!
Do a limited bar
If you’re looking to cut cost the bar is an easy way to do that. We knew we wanted an open bar for guests, especially since everyone paid to get to NYC to celebrate with us. A wedding can be a huge expense for your guests as well, try to be mindful of their time when planning. In order to treat our guests but not go over budget, we served a limited bar and bought everything ourselves. B found a restaurant wholesaler to purchase all the beer from and we searched around for a wine seller who would accept returns on any wine we didn’t touch. We also created two cocktails ourselves then gave them names inspired by our wedding. People loved the personal touch to the cocktails and we even made it into a competition about which one people loved more. You can find the recipe for my cocktail here!
Don’t follow the standard wedding budget planning outline
There are countless worksheets that will tell you to put a certain amount towards different factions of your wedding, I deviated far from this, because I got a great deal on my venue. My advice would be to create your own budget, price everything out before committing to any one thing. Also what’s important to you will take precedence in your budget as it should be, not everyone’s priorities will be the same. I started my priority with my venue to help create the look.
I knew however that I wanted the food and drinks to be amazing, wedding food is usually kind of terrible. I’m not big on buffets where the food is standard and dry, and plated is often too expensive. We opted for family-style which allowed our guests to interact with each other while they passed a plate. You would not believe the number of compliments I received after our wedding on how incredible the food was and how our drink menu was so unique. For you, music may be the most important thing, decide where your priorities are, then find the average in your area for each vendor.
Don’t buy the dress before picking your venue
I’m embarrassed to say I had to learn this the hard way. I was so positive I was going to have my wedding at a beautiful estate on Mackinac Island in Michigan. After much debate and consideration, we realized we could have a less expensive wedding in New York City because there were so many more options. I, unfortunately, had already gotten the dress during an impulse buy at a sample sale downtown NYC. Until you have signed on the dotted line, DO NOT buy your dress. The wedding we ended up going with was a completely different style than our original concept. When attempting to resell my gown, I ran into a lot of other girls who unfortunately had done the exact same thing.
*Below I’ve attached an Excel worksheet that I used to help sort everything and keep everything in one place.