Thursday, February 18, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: planning, wedding budget |
First, when talking about budget weddings, you have to consider several factors. $20K sounds like a huge budget, but for 200 people in the Manhattan area, suddenly $20K ain’t that much. For us, in the Los Angeles area, average weddings are about $30K (not including the honeymoon). Cost of living is higher than in other parts of the country. In some cases, it's double the cost. I'm not saying a sub $10K wedding isn't possible in LA. It certainly is, especially when all you need to get married anywhere in the US is a couple, an officiant and some witnesses. But you have to look more than just the dollar amount. You have to look at what you want your budget to include.
When I talk about our wedding budget, that includes everything--everything that we shell out money for related to the wedding. I've seen people boast about their $5K or $2K weddings, only to add later that the budget only included the reception venue, food, drinks and the photographer. I'm not leaving anything out in this budget. Everything, including the venues, food and drinks for 100+ people, all vendors, my dress and every little accessory, decorations, our wedding rings, the rehearsal dinner for 50+ people, even hotel rooms for the bridal party and the room for the bride and groom are included in this budget.
Oh, and the honeymoon is part of the budget. We wanted a nice getaway outside of California. The 3K we set aside for a honeymoon sounds like a lot, but a weeklong trip for two people is very expensive. So really, the max we can spend on the wedding itself is $12K.
Also, you have to think about your priorities. We're not really concerned with impressing our guests with what we buy for the wedding, but we are conerned with how much we spend. But we're also concerned with value as well as affordability. Every budget bride is. We don't want our wedding to be just about the numbers and how much we spent. We want to look back at our wedding and feel good about this special event that we spent a lot of money on. We don't want our only accomplishment to be that we spent X amount of dollars. We want to be thrilled about having a joyous time with friends and family while not going broke in the process. So that being said, what expenses are important to you? There are some expenses we weren't willing to compromise on...like food. We love food. Nothing brings together people like great food and we want our guests well-fed. We don't have the manpower or will to cater the food ourselves. And we can't bring ourselves to serve just cake and punch or finger foods. That's fine for other people, but that's not what we wanted for ourselves.
We didn't have an awesome large backyard or house available to us, so we had to find a venue we could afford. Finding nice venues under $40/per person is a tough challenge in our area.
We wanted a church wedding. Under the circumstances, we chose to wed in a Catholic church. There's a fee for the church, as well as for mandatory marriage prep classes.
We weren’t willing to cut down on our 100 guest limit wither. I have a large family and even with just our nearest and dearest friends and family, we'll have about 100 people at our wedding.
And really, we're shooting for the $10K range with a $2K buffer. We're fortunate enough, with help of family, not to go into debt, nor go broke with this wedding. But even more money left over would be really nice.
So with just under six months to go, what does our budget and projected costs look like now? Well, here we go:
Our Current Wedding Budget
Marriage Prep classes $250
Priest’s donation $50
Venue (food, drinks, taxes, tips, etc) $5700
Decoration setup $100
Bridal gown (dress, undergarments, etc) $300
Accessories (shoes, jewelry, etc) $50
Hair and makeup $60
Groom’s tux Free
Photographer and Videographer $850
All stationery $225
Bridal party rooms $200
Bride and Groom room $175
Transportation (van) $150
Rehearsal Dinner $500
Misc (unexpected expenses) $400
Honeymoon (lodging, airfare, car) $2,200
So far, so good. We won’t know if we hit our mark until after the wedding (and after I sell a few items). Wish us luck!
Editor's Note: People have asked me, why include the rings and honeymoon in the budget? They shouldn't count. Or some brides will say, "I'm not including my dress because I'm paying for it on my own and I'm not touching wedding funds..." In our budget, we included everything related to the wedding that we must take care of. You can't say "I'm just gonna pay for this on my own, and not take it out of the wedding budget." That's still money being spent, regardless of which pot you pull from. Besides, although we're not officially married yet, we set this budget with our financial future in mind.We consider whatever dollar he or I spend related to wedding is our money, so it only feels right to account for everything in the budget. The only big glaring thing not in the budget? The engagement ring. It's already all paid for, thank God! Basically, our budget includes everything we set out to spend when we first sat down to talk about the wedding, after he slipped that ring on my finger.