Budget, budget, budget! For the majority of bride’s this is the dreaded word that is the gap from reality to dreams. We could literally imagine a divide where reality sits on one mountain and dreams sit on another and along the valley between the two are the letters “B-U-D-G-E-T” camped out in all their glory!
And, let’s establish that there are two different kinds of budget: what you think it’s going to cost and what it is really going to cost. You will discover this over and over in your adult life from buying a house to raising kids to visiting Disney World so consider this your initiation into adulthood! USA today states the average wedding cost for 2017 is close to $30,000 from dress to sparklers.
With the exception of a fortunate few, a budget will always be the governor that keeps us from going full throttle. But, maybe that’s a good thing! Maybe we should be thankful that when the day is said and done we can look back with no regrets and wallets intact!
Yet, the question remains: how do I accomplish all that I want on a budget?
Step 1: Establish. First things first, you want to begin by establishing a budget as a whole and make it comfortable. Find the bottom line number that you are able to spend AND comfortable spending. I say “comfortable” because there are endless avenues you can exploit to get the wedding of your dreams but after the last Instagram post from Tahiti are you going to be paying off your wedding day with retirement money?
Step Two: Prioritize. List out all of the things that you want and begin to number them in order of importance. Here’s where I tell you that there will probably be some things toward the bottom of the list, like hot air balloon and Maroon 5 that will have to be eliminated. (Sorry, Adam Levine!). The good news? The essentials, the things that are necessary to have beautiful memories, are covered.
Step Three: Assign. Lastly, assign a dollar amount or percentage of your budget to each item. Obviously, things at the top of the list will get a greater chunk of your money but that’s the reason for step two.
Step Four: Choose wisely. Now that your big “B” has been established, you can begin planning. Many brides look at their budget and automatically head the DIY route but I want to caution you about the perils that may lie ahead and then encourage you to proceed at your own risk.
The message here isn’t to discourage you but to encourage you to BE REALISTIC! All of those amazing photos you see on Pinterest that look like someone just threw a few bunches of wildflowers together for a bouquet, assembled a few sticks to make an arbor and tossed their cousin the camera for starry night photos are a…LIE! Behind those photos are one of two things: awesome professional wedding vendors or a DIY bride (and her Mom) who are worn out, probably over budget and stressed!
You see, when you choose vendors, you are paying for the product but you are also paying for the labor and skill that come from seasoned professionals. The DIY wedding usually comes at a higher cost than just doing it yourself. It comes at the expense of unforeseen mishaps, your volunteer workforce being conveniently absent and you robbed of the joy on your big day.
The bottom line? You get what you pay for and sometimes you can’t put a price tag on paying someone else to take the headache! There is nothing more frustrating than to see a bride on a budget attempting to get her bouquet through Etsy only to find her emails unanswered within days of her wedding! Yes, professionals that come highly recommended may be a little more pricey but so very worth it.
Hopefully, these tips will help to bridge the gap from reality to dreams with your B-U-D-G-E-T. In the end, remember, as long as the Preacher shows up and the groom is there, you have a wedding. What you fill in with before, during and after is up to you!