December 6, 2019
Bride Guide #20 is big. It’s all about building the perfect wedding budget, making the most of what you have, and even includes a little bonus wedding budget spreadsheet too.
Does it feel like your budget is the limiting factor? Sometimes it seems like if you just had enough money, you could make your wedding as perfect as you’re dreaming of, right? Or maybe you’re like I was and thinking that weddings are so expensive and they shouldn’t be.
Well, let’s talk.
Right now. This very moment. I want you to drop every idea you have that a wedding is too expensive or needs to be cheap. I want you to drop the idea that your budget is the limiting factor. Seriously. Let that soak in. Stop any self-talk you’ve got on repeat about money being the reason you can’t do something or the reason you “shouldn’t.” And then we can move on.
It is so good to want simplicity. I applaud you for it! Seriously. Wanting to have a simple wedding that’s focused on your marriage is such a good thing. But it is not good to want cheapness. And it is so easy to get the two mixed up.
Cheapness does not have to do with money. Let me say that again. Cheapness has absolutely nothing to do with money. It has everything to do with the attitude you approach your wedding with.
It should never be about money.
Your wedding should be about making a meaningful celebration of your marriage with whatever resources you have available to you. Whether you have $100 or $1,000,000 for your wedding budget, it is the same. Seriously. It matters so much more where your heart is and the intention with which you plan your wedding. Don’t try to be cheap or make it “simple” (which is often just another way of saying cheap). Make it as nice as your circumstances allow. Plan it to be meaningful. End of story.
Maybe you don’t believe me? Maybe you’re thinking there’s no way the budget doesn’t matter. Let me show you.
Imagine with me for a minute a couple with $100 to spend. Just $100. The bride could borrow her dress, veil, and accessories from friends and family. She could wear a $10 ring from Walmart until a time in their life that they could buy the ring of her dreams. She could find a bouquet at Costco for $50 that she loves and wrap some ribbon around it. They could have a close-knit celebration with family and friends at someone’s home or backyard, and make it a potluck where everyone brings a dish to share. The wedding party could wear something they already have that matches the color scheme. Rather than invitations, a text or email could be sent to everyone inviting them to the wedding and informing them of the couple’s marriage. Hair, makeup, and nails could be done by a talented friend or family member. A friend or family member could make the cake and another could do the photography. Dancing and music and speeches are free. And they could celebrate their first night together at their new place.
This wedding would cost around $70. Not even the full $100!
Weddings do not have to be expensive to be meaningful. And they don’t need to be cheap either. The budget is not your limiting factor. Be positive. Use your creativity. Ask for help. Don’t envy or bemoan your budget. Be grateful. And make the most of what you have.
Spending money on something communicates that it matters to you. Remember that? The same goes for your wedding. Choosing to invest all of what you’ve been given, or working hard to earn money for your wedding, reaffirms to your brain that your marriage matters and is worth investing in.
So, how do you go about it? How do you actually set a wedding budget? Here are five simple steps:
1. First and foremost. Do not go into debt for your wedding! This is essential. Starting your marriage off securely financially is one of the best gifts you can give yourselves. Wait to buy the perfect ring, borrow, DIY, do whatever you can to avoid going into debt for any part of your wedding. Financial problems is one of the biggest sources of contention in a marriage. Remember, our goal is for you to start your marriage off right.
2. Second? Ask your parents for their budget. Yep. Gone are the days, or they should be, where you have to look up all these weird traditional norms about who should pay for what and awkwardly ask your in-laws if they can pay for things. No! That is ridiculous. Sit down with each of your parents together and talk with them. Ask them what they would be willing to contribute to your wedding. Let them know your intentions (what you’re planning on spending the money on). Then ask them if they’d be willing to transfer that amount to your account or set up a separate account for your wedding that you have full access to as well. And be grateful. Choose to see anything you’re given as a bonus and be so grateful for it.
3. Once you know how much you have coming from your parents, sit down with your man and decide how much you two can contribute, if needed.
4. After you have your big budget number, start breaking it down. Remember to invest in yourselves first! For example, buy the dress of your dreams before you spend a ton of money on food for your guests. Break down the big budget into smaller categories for each expense. Remember to spend money on what will make it most meaningful.
5. Once you’ve created your budget. Stick to it! Do your very best to make the most of what you have and stick to your budget. And use all of it! Whatever you’ve been given, use it! Don’t hoard it for later. It’s not about money remember? Use what you have to make your wedding as special as it can be. And remember. Beautiful, meaningful weddings start in your heart, not your wallet.
Things I recommend spending money on:
Things I don’t recommend spending money on:
Money saving hacks:
What five things matter most to us, in order of importance:
How much money do we have from the bride’s family?
How much money do we have from the groom’s family?
How much can we contribute as a couple?
Our total budget is:
Remember to include all the little things like postage, envelopes, taxes, tips, a cake knife, etc.