Wedding Wednesday... Smile Now, Cry Later

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This post has been a long time coming...and now, thanks to 2 other brides/blog friends, I feel like I can air out some of my dirty laundry and be honest because we're both going through the same types of issues... also known as the dreaded wedding budget.
What started out as planning my so-called wedding a mere 6 months ago has turned into complete chaos--there I said it and yes, it does feel better to get it out there.
Let me explain: most girls, including myself, grow up planning their "ideal wedding day" and thinking I can't wait to wear THE white dress, have those beautiful {roses, hydrangeas, orchids, etc} flowers and whatnot, and have all these people there to see me and my fiance say "I do"...but as we get older, our priorities change--some brides focus on photography for their "i-don't-care-how-much-it-costs-i have-to-have-it" item, some focus on the food and drinks, others want the perfect band, and some choose pricey invitations as their priority--whatever it is, we all have our "wants versus needs", right? 
Well, in planning my wedding, I have come to the realization that I don't have just ONE thing...and yes, before I continue, I am being COMPLETELY honest and putting it out there for all to see--this is intended to help me get through this without pulling my hair out and  write about what I'm going through/decisions I'm having to make. I just need to move past this so I can focus on something else for a change...rather than having budgets/receipts/costs constantly occupying my thoughts.  
Back in January when Jeff and I got engaged, we started planning as soon as we got home. My dream ceremony venue was booked within a week of us returning home,  not to mention my reception venue, rehearsal dinner locale, wedding planner extraordinare, and photographers were ALL booked within a month, and the other details soon followed: blocks of hotel rooms, our pastor to officiate the ceremony, ceremony musicians and reception band, caterer, cake baker, transportation, etc...check-check-check! This has all been done. {and yes, I know--I am on top of my planning game}
We kept track of our budget thanks to handy-dandy Excel , and itemized each and every item we were buying/reserving/etc. And I kept seeing that bottom number AKA the grand finale total, increasing at a rapid pace, but not once did I think anything of it... I just thought "this is our dream wedding and this is what it is going to cost".
Mind you, I do know that I like nice things--I want our guests to enjoy the food and drinks and dance all night to our band, I want my bridesmaids to have gorgeous bouquets, and I want my reception venue to be covered in draping and have lots of flowers and decor for ambiance... and yes, now I know all of these items are pricey.
I say this to you because I have had some comments saying  try to "cut back here" and "trim that off", yet at the end of the day even after we have cut back on some things--most specifically our guest list--Jeff and I {along with my parents} agree that this is our day...sure, does that mean we are sacrificing a few things so that we can have the wedding we want? YES--going out to date night dinners will be few and far between, but is it worth it?? Absolutely.
So I say this to any girls out there who may be plannig her wedding or getting engaged within the next few months... do your research!! Unlike me, pick your top 3 priorities and focus on those items first--start with a budget and discuss every detail BEFORE you start booking your wedding vendors... it will really make your planning process a lot easier.
So now, I am starting to look for ways to cut back--I am VERY excited to take on some DIY activities for my wedding, including using someone on Etsy to help me with our favors, making our welcome bags for out-of-town guests ourselves, and just really doing more research so I can save a bit more--hey, every little bit helps, right??? 
Thanks for listening to me blabber on...back on to more important things! Happy Wednesday =)

- 19 Comments

  1. Those items you listed DIY are all things we did to help justify the money we spent in other areas! You gave great advice on picking the top things you will not/cannot forgo!! There are some things you just CAN'T cut back on! Nor should you have to! It IS your big day! We went full fledged into our big day knowing it was going to be expensive no matter how you slice it! Gave up the "extras" in our lives for those few few months and I could not be happier that we did! It was all worth it! You will thank yourself for not sacrificing something you dream of being a part of your big day in the long run!!! Good luck! I can't wait to see how everything turns out!

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  2. Wedding planning can be SO stressful. That's all there is to it. But, just remember, at the end of it, no matter what, y'all will be married :) And that's really the MOST important thing.

    Oh, and I changed my blogsite! Sorry, it's a pain, I know.

    www.imtly.blogspot.com

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  3. Everything does add up fast! And then there are all of the little things that you don't think about that just seem to pop up out of nowhere! Your day will be just perfect no matter what you decide to cut back on. You just have to pick your battles and think to yourself 'does this really matter?', 'are guests going to really notice if I have this instead of that?'. That's what I had to do. DIY projects are your friend! And, since you are on top of your game, you have plenty of time for DIYs. Also, take a day out of the week to just RELAX! That is one thing that I wish I would have done because it came to a point to where if I wasn't working or sleeping, I was planning. And it really can take over and turn you into this crazy-stressed-out woman.

    Just take time to relax, prioritize, and focus on those DIYs! I can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  4. Thanks for this helpful post!! I hope to see a ring by the end of the year :)

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  5. Oh goodness- how I relate- I am getting married in 2 weeks and I about to go crazy! Every final payment is due, all final details must be decided, oh yea that 19% food and beverage tax was added- it goes on and on. Their are days where I literally am ready to call of the whole Gianormous thing and just get married on the honeymoon! Hopefully you can stay level headed until then! It only goes downhill (how sad)

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  6. That was the first thing we did was we each made a list of what we wanted and didnt want out of our wedding. And we had to pay for our whole wedding ourselves and cut back as much as possible. Luckily we had a friend take our wedding pics and a friend whos mom made our cakes. That saved us quite a bit of money!

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  7. I can not believe how fast things are adding up! The DIY projects are helping save money and they are fun... just take a lot of my time! Good luck lady!

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  8. Great advice! I can totally see me going spend-crazy when that day comes! The Top 3 most important is a really great idea for budgeting...I'll have to remember that! :)

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  9. As you know, I am SO there with you, girl! I'm sure I'll be taking on some DIY projects too, for favors and programs, and prioritizing things as they come up. It's hard, and sometimes I wish my parents would have just given us the money to put into a house, but when the big day comes I know it will be all worth it!

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  10. Everything adds up fast! Although I do have to say that your wedding planner should've gone over these things with you. I know some other girls who have used the same planner and had the exact same issues with budget creep-up. My planner was super strict with if you want THIS, you can't have THAT, etc. Not to say any planner is better than the other, of course nothing like that. But luckily for you, you guys were able to catch it relatively early and make changes where they need to be. And ultimately at the end of the day, guests won't remember everything that the bride "NEEDS" to have. They'll remember you and Jeff, so wonderfully in love and happily married :) xoxo

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  11. Can you post more of your engagment pictures?! I want to see more!

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  12. Our journey has begun!… secretly though

    If I’ve left you this message, you’re a follower of my original blog ~OR~ just someone I’ve happened upon while sending out these invites and that I would LOVE for to come along for the ride! Though I won’t be revealing who I am just yet – until we’re TO and THROUGH the first trimester! Just getting the word out about our new site – further explanation of all the secrecy and what we’re about on my first post. I’d love for you to stop by.

    Exciting things going on around here!

    www.definitelymaybebaby.com

    ~ the {secret} *Maybe* Baby Mama

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  13. My wedding was just the the weekend before last and although it was stressful in many ways, we are now married and everything went wonderfully. I can only offer you the same advice of prioritizing. We wanted a party for our guests, so a lot of our budget went into a cool venue, a great band and an open bar. We had a plated dinner, which ended up being a little less expensive than a buffet, and we served chicken, which was cheaper and suits most tastes. Although we had many out of town guests, we were married in Indiana and my husband is from Tennessee, we decided to forgo extras like welcome baskets in the hotel, favors after the reception, and out of town guests at the rehearsal dinner. I thought this would be an area where I could really be unique, but then I decided that giving our guests a memorable evening of delicious food, endless cocktails, and a rocking band was enough of a favor and welcome:) Good luck, I do enjoy reading about your plans!

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  14. Ha! If it is any consolation I too used Excel to "budget" everything. I thought I was doing such a good job and staying within our discussed limit only to find out I did something wrong with my formatting and my total and the actual total were very off!! OOPS! Guess that was my "blonde" moment. Now looking back was it all worth it, sure, but I think you make a smart point at prioritizing what you really want. Another note I had a friend just get married and she had a photo booth at her reception and it was so cute, and the company makes a scrap book of all the pictures. Just a thought....

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  15. P.S. you are so crafty no one is ever going to know if you do some things yourself! I made my own programs and instead of ring bearer it said right bearer...stupid Word! But no one said a thing!

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  16. I guess I can't relate since I'm not engaged or married, but I can completely imagine what you mean! It sounds like you booked a lot of stuff up front, so you were kind of left with a big shock factor once everything was added up! But I don't think its necessarily a bad thing - it is your day after all! And I think it's really sweet that you and Jeff are trying to put together a special party for all your guests too. Sometimes some things in life are worth splurging a little for - and you only get married once! (hopefully!)

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  17. It is your big day, so you should get everything you want. However, I think it's a good idea to ask yourself, "will I really care that much if I have that there? Will anyone even notice?" I paid a fortune to have chavarri chairs at my wedding and sure, they looked pretty, but it's not like normal chairs would've stuck out like sore thumbs in our pictures. I often go look at other people's reception pics on Facebook and what I don't notice (AKA chairs, centerpieces, etc.) are probably things that I could've cut back on. I loved my bouquets and would not have changed those, but the centerpieces were an expense I wish I had DIY! Good luck and just remember that what's important is at the end of that day you'll be married to your best friend. It doesn't get any better than that!

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  18. You are so right to vent about your frusterations. I felt like a 2yr old child when planning my wedding (with the temper tantrums, I mean!). You are right about setting priorties and sticking to them. However, if I may offer some post-wedding advice...the things you REALLY think will matter SO much while planning the wedding, do NOT in actuality matter that much. i.e. flowers...bouquets, table arrangements matter. draping does not (as much) in my opinion. cut out any random flowers that you think will add more drama...they get overlooked and look overdone. just my 2 cents. Feel free to call if you want more (unsolicited!) advice. Keep blogging, I LOVE it!!!! And you are going to be married at the end, which is the bestest part of the whole deal.

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  19. You know I love this post because I wrote one just like it last month :) It is your day so do it the wy you want it. When you look back you will have no regrets and will have only the most amazing memories of your dream day!! I would say cut out some Starbucks for the next few months; see how much that saves you hehe your wedding is going to be GORGEOUS!!! xoxo

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