Thursday, October 29, 2009

What the heck does *budget* mean anyway?!?

So I am new to the blogosphere as my wedding planning has led me to the net and I came stumbling across sites like Get Married, Blogger.com, and many many blogger brides.  I love it all.  I love that in today's day and age we have a means to be able to support one another, share advice and tips, gain inspiration and feedback and just vent or shout with joy about all of our wedding planning. 

So many of these blogs have titles relating to the costs of the bride's budget...$2,000 Bride, the Broke A$$ Bride, a $10k Wedding, etc.  These are really great for those thousands of brides across the country that are on limited funds to plan the day of their dreams...especially with today's recessionary economy.  It's difficult to figure out how you are going to piece together the funds.  And when a girl (like me) sits in front of the boob-tube watching shows like Platinum Weddings it can be a bit devastating to realize that you can't afford to have a gorgeous orchid sitting on every guest's napkin or offer favors that cost $10 a pop!  Heck, my boss's own wedding included a check I wrote out to his florist for $25,000!  Most brides today don't have $250 for flowers. 


But, then you have the girls like me...we are somewhere in between.  I have heard many times (and verified through a google search) that the average wedding costs anywhere between $20,000 and $35,000 depending on how recent the survey is.  But on the net, I don't seem to find many brides that are spending much more than $10k on their weddings - and it seems like that's if they're lucky.  One of my very own girlfriends just got engaged a couple months ago and her parents are only giving her $15,000 to plan her wedding.  She has a guest list of 250 people!  I told her that's just not gonna happen and she said realistically they're planning on 200 and will probably have to cut it down to 150.  Again, I don't see that happening at all...but I know it can be done.  I just don't know how these brides do it.

The very first thing I did when I got engaged (well, the first three things I did) were to visit venues, come up with a rough draft guest list and start plugging figures into a budget.  I guessed at some things like the costs of photography, flowers, videography, DJ's, etc.  But I also started browsing a lot of web sites for those type of services and tried to find styles and personalities I liked that I would consider contacting for a meeting.  I tried to see if they listed some basic pricing options on their web sites so I could most accurately plug those figures into my budget. 


After our appointments at the venues we had some clear ideas of what the realistic costs were going to be.  That helped us narrow down our guest list from 300 to 200.  (Not an easy task since I want everyone and their mother at my wedding!) 


Now the fun part was showing my budget to my fiance.  He gasped!  We have gone back and forth a little on the budget.  He has given in a little and raised his dollar figure but I have still gone over what he asked me to keep it at...but hey, I am paying for almost the entire thing myself and I am not having to go into debt to do so, so what's the big deal? (wink, wink)  Besides, I am sticking to the budget...it's just *my* budget, not his.

I consider myself a budget bride, but that doesn't mean I'm planning my wedding for under $10,000.  It simply means I have a budget and I'm trying to stick to it...because believe me, anyone can go way over their budget when it comes to weddings.  Right?  In a future post (soon), I'll share our exact dollar figure and the breakdown of all things budget related. 

But as a teaser and for my own poll related purposes, let me know ladies (if you don't mind sharing and don't get offended discussing money issues) what are your budgets set at?  Have you gone over them?  What are you doing to keep them in check?

11 comments:

A. Marigold said...

I am also a "budget bride" in the sense that I have a budget that I'm obligated to stay under (by virtue of the fact that our parents gave us X dollars and we have only so much money of our own to play with until I graduate), but it's not what I would call a "budget wedding" of the under $10K variety. We're in the $25-30K range, which is on the low end for my area and on the very low end for my venue. It's a stretch, no doubt, to feed, entertain and photograph 180 people for that amount. ;)

PartyPlannerGal said...

I live in the SF Bay Area and we are trying to have a 400 person wedding with an open bar for around $60,000. It sounds like a lot of money and I actually haven't discussed it with anyone who knows me in "real life" because it sounds ostentatious. However, I'm scared we aren't going to be able to do it! Right now, I am taking things like my dress "out of the budget" and buying things along the way that I'm not keeping track of. As long as we keep a budget for the big vendors, like catering and photgraphy, I am hopeful that we can make it work!

Born to be Mrs. Beever said...

400 People?! Holy Moly! That's amazing. It's crazy, isn't it? When people hear how much we are spending on our wedding they flip out and say "That's a down payment on a house" or "That's a whole new Mastercraft (boat)" (My fiance loves to go wakeboarding) :)

Anyway, it's nice to hear that people have more higher end budgets as well. I think that the typical brides feel guilty or bad for spending those larger amounts of money...but I love what I heard one Dad say on tv once when discussing the cost of his daughter's gown: "This is not a party or a practical day so the cost is worth it." :)

Katerina @ GirlWithARing said...

very interesting post. I can't for the life of me understand how people do $3K or $5K weddings with a full meal if they don't have friends or relatives who are vendors and can give them steep discounts or provide stuff for free. We are paying ourselves and still trying to figure out our budget, but it will surely be at least five digits. will be posting about it soon.

Morgan said...

Our budget is in the $25k range, not including rings or honeymoon. Well, really, when I initially added up all the major expenses it was about $23,400, but I'm rounding up. I have a feeling it will creep up a bit, with all my trips to the craft store. I'm keeping all receipts and keeping track of what each project costs, but I don't plan to add it all up until after the wedding. I'm not sure I really want to know until then, since it's not like we're going to go broke or use credit to pay for any of it!

A Los Angeles Love said...

This is a great post and I'm on the bandwagon to retire the term "budget bride." Don't we all have a budget, ie an approximate number that's shaping our wedding choices? (More power to you if you have an unlimited budget and woe to you if you pay no attention to your budget line-in-the-sand.) My budget is higher than the low-end but lower than the local average. Our figure is flexible, but will be over $10K and under $20K. I love honest discussions about budgets and think we need more numbers, more context, and less judgement about each of our individual budgets and priorities.

Chocolate Lover said...

I think this is a great post! Everyone has a budget and hopefully most people end up staying close to theirs. Ours is around 30K and our aim is to pay for this on our own. We think that both parents are likely going to contribute but we have not asked for money and aren't going to. If we get something from them it will be viewed as a pleasant gift. Also, since money is the main gift given in Greek weddings, we can spend some of that on wedding expenses. Vendors work quite differently in Cyprus, which I will discuss in an upcoming post. I wish we could spend less money, but that could only happen if we omitted a lot of people we care about, and that we don't want to do.

Nicole-Lynn said...

Just found your blog! Great post... I also consider myself a 'budget bride'.

Born to be Mrs. Beever said...

Thanks, Nicole-Lynn...so happy to have you (and your comments) :)

And thanks to all you ladies for your honest thoughts on this topic. I agree that it is one that many of us feel almost ashamed to talk about for fear of offending someone. I think the important thing is to remember that each girls' wedding is meant to be a reflection of the couple and their desires...not just their means due to financial constraints or abilities. I think it's so amazing we can celebrate, encourage and inspire one another about such a momentous major life achievement in a way that allows us to all be joyful about weddings, regardless of the asthetics of the event. Happy reading! And I welcome your further thoughts.

Brittney said...

I am a "budget" bride by the under 10k definition. We have a budget of $5,000. Right now I am a student and my fiance works part time from home. We are both already in debt due to school and other expenses and can't afford to go more so for a big extravagant wedding. How are we sticking to this? We're doing o.k., but we've had to call in a lot of favors and make some compromises. I search craigslist daily for good decoration deals. We also found a photographer on CL who is just starting his own business and gave us a super discount. We are using a friend of my fiance's family for flowers (hopefully), and probably doing the DIY ipod wedding music. One thing that has also been helpful is the ability to barter. We bartered for our engagement photos, our flowers, and possibly (if we decide to go that way) our DJ. Also, do a LOT of web searches for good deals, as well as planning a lot of DIY sort of things (programs, invitations, thank you cards). It's going to be hard, but really, in the end, I think it's going to be more "us" than if we had 3 or 4 times that amount.

Cupcake Wedding said...

We are spending less than $9000 on everything-- rings, honeymoon, a party for 100 people. It's not a political decision by any means. I simply don't want to go into debt or significantly alter our lifestyle to save for the wedding. We are paying for it as a couple without any help from anyone else. I am glad you all shared your numbers! Thank you. I've found some really judgemental posts about cheap weddings versus expensive weddings lately and I don't like the tension between the two crowds. Everyone should spend what they feel comfortable spending. No one should feel insecure about what someone else is spending. We are all different, but can still benefit from each other's ideas ;)

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