I'm planning a wedding for under $15,000. That's $15,000 for everything. $15,000 out the door. And that includes our honeymoon! For some, $15,000 is a pretty comfortable maximum, but in Los Angeles where everything comes with a hefty price tag, that will be a diificult task. It's been said that the average wedding costs double that amount at $30,000 or above. Still, I think a $10,000-$15,000 wedding budget is perfectly doable, but we've heard the naysayers, including one former bride (who spent nearly $40,000 on her wedding). They claim we're sacrificing quality with a budget like that. I say money and price isn't always directly proportional to quality.
If my fiance and I wanted a $25,000 wedding, we could...if we wanted to go for broke . We have been blessed with family contributions to even make our current budget possible. But our families have given us a proposition: here's X amount of money, spend it on what you like --the wedding, a house, whatever. But we don't want to spend all of the money we have on one party. My fiance and I would rather put that money where it really matters--our future.
Before I became engaged, I was never one to dream about my wedding day. I didn't pick out my wedding gown at age 9. I didn't envision red and pink roses. I never got why people spent so much money on one day. The whole materialism of such ocassion, and the cringe-worthy image of the Bridezilla, was enough for me to consider eloping.
But that changed when my best friend and boyfriend of 7 years proposed to me. I started thinking about my wedding day, started looking up wedding dresses, possible reception venues and caterers. I can't stop dreaming about the day I become his wife. But one thing hasn't changed--I'm not willing to break the bank on my wedding.
So my fiance and I are on a mission to prove our naysayers wrong--we can have a beautiful, elegant, memorable wedding on a modest budget. After all, a beautiful, memorable wedding isn't about the $800 cake that ends up on your face, or the $1500 wedding gown you'll only wear once (hopefully). To me, the quality of my wedding is determined by the joyous union of two people who love each other, surrounded and witnessed by my closest friends and family.
Too idealistic and naive you say?
Well, this blog will take you along on my mission as we plan our wedding just less than a year away. Will I stay on budget? Will I max out on my $15,000? Will we have a beautiful wedding on a budget..that doesn't exactly look like it's on a budget? One thing I know, it will take a lot of research, creativity and DIY-spirit!
So how are we going to achieve this? Well, here's a preliminary breakdown of our anticipated budget.
I used the Wedding Budgeter at http://www.theknot.com/ to help me come up with the categories.
The $15,000 wedding for a party of 100-110 guests
Reception Venue (Venue, tables, chairs, food, beverage, etc.) $5,500
Wedding Gown (Including alterations) $250
Veil and other accesories: $100
Hair & Makeup $150
Pre-Wedding Pampering (manicure, waxing, etc) $30
Groom's Tux and Suit $100
Ceremony and Officiant fees $300
Bride and Bridesmaids bouquets $175
Reception decorations and centerpieces $400
Reception entertainment $1,000
Invitations and Reply Cards $150
Other Stationary $50
Wedding Rings $300
Hotel and Lodging (wedding party and Bride and Groom) $550
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen gifts $100
Party Favors $110
Rehearsal Dinner $500
Total, everything comes out to $13,755. Why not $15,000? I think we'll be more likely to stay within our budget if we leave a comfortable buffer.
Some items may seem like a stretch. For example, $250 for a wedding dress might seem unlikely, considering the cheapest gown I found at my last visit to a bridal shop was $600. But I'm determined to spend even less than that. Or invitations for just $250? Again, we're shooting for a particular amount, but if we happen to go a little over, it won't hurt us too much.
So now that we've decided on a budget, what next? We need to secure our reception room and our ceremony location. That is our biggest challenge! Stay tuned!