Ask any gal that has already walked the aisle, and she'll probably say something like,
"My wedding didn't go exactly as I had hoped, budget-wise".
Why is that?? People get married every day, why does wedding budgeting have to be such a big mystery? I have two ideas that might just be a game-changer for how you think about your wedding, and it might save you....thousands.
The #1 Enemy of your Wedding Budget?
I want you to use your imagination for a minute. Pretend I called you this afternoon in a panic and said,
"I'm going to be bringing two large bus-loads of people in to town and they will all be looking at me to take care of them for a big portion of the day- at least 5 or 6 hours! They're going to be hungry, and some of them will have come a long way to get here! How much is this going to cost?!"
What would you say? Where would you send me and my massive load of friendly folk?
Let's say you sent us to Buca di Beppo, a mid-range priced Italian restaurant, to take everybody out to dinner. A quick Google search of Buca's menu shows me that for the average Joe to get dinner and a soda will run me about $18.50. Throw a (stingy) tip in there, and you're looking at 20 bucks a head.
Here's the deal, my buses will be bringing about 150 friends total. Oh shoot. That's THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS.
So - in your infinite wisdom - friend, you say to me,
"Elena, how are we going to do that? Your guests are going to be crammed in there, and there's no way we're getting a table for 150."
A good point you have there. So then I start looking around...well maybe we could find a low-key place that will let all 150 of my pals crash for 5 or 6 hours. How hard can that be?! That won't cost too much.
Except...I might also want for that location to have chairs and tables. Also bathrooms, air conditioning, ice, trash cans, and wifi. I'd also like for them to let us play loud music, maybe drink a little, and I need them to take out the trash for us. Where would you send me then? Let's say you send me to your church fellowship hall that is going to (graciously) meet all of those above requests for just 1000 bucks. Not bad, considering they have to pay the guy who sets up the chairs, cool the building, pay the attendant on duty for all 6 hours of our event, then pay the clean up crew afterwards. DEAL.
But we still haven't solved the food issue.
Maybe we could ask the staff of Buca di Beppo to just close us shop for the day and bring their ENTIRE SHOW on the road to feed me and all my guests. We've determined that feeding us at their place is going to run me about 3K. But you remind me,
"Elena, they are going to have to haul a lot of food and equipment, as well as pay ALL those folks fairly, even though they're ONLY feeding us today, no revenue from others."
Well shoot. Sounds like at least another $2,000 to me! Maybe 3! Now we're at $7000.
It is NOT the caterers fault- that makes sense. It's on me for bringing two bus loads of people in to town and then expecting to host them in a grandiose way for anything less than what is fair.
If this is a wedding we're talking about, we haven't even touched the expenses of dresses and photographers and flowers and DJs, and linens, and pretty jewelry and hand crafted bridesmaid gifts and matching bowties and limos with red carpets.
Friends, I love you, but the #1 Enemy of your wedding budget is probably your guest list.
Before you come after me with pitch forks for being an inhospitable Spartan and kick me to the curb for trying to exclude your friends from your big day, just remember: the real opposing forces here are the number of your friends vs. your finances.
Which brings me to the #2 Enemy of your Wedding Budget:
It's the wedding you went to last May at that country club in Charleston. Your handsome date was all about the mashed potato bar followed by the steak carving station. You slid your custom coozie on your ice cold bev and snapped an Insta of the flora in the middle of your table. The band was the kind that sweats a lot when they perform because they're singing the classics in their white dinner jackets or sparkly heels. The second shooter got a couple shots of you and your honey on the dance floor and on the way home you can still smell a little bit of sparkler smoke in your hair.
Friend, that was a....oh I dunno....$70,000 wedding you attended. It didn't feel like it, and I promise you, it wasn't just one thing.
It's the wedding snowball effect that starts when the bride has an expectation- just one expectation - which informs all the other decisions that have to be made.
"Well, we invited a lot of people, so we had to go with the nicer venue."
"Well, she bought a ballgown, so we can't have that small beach wedding anymore."
"Well, we booked this amazing photographer, so we need to have pretty things!"
That fancy Charleston wedding? It may have silently wrecked your expectations. And so did the other three weddings you just attended. As a guest, it's so easy to think- "Mine will be bigger, better, more relaxed, more fun, more food, more music, better dancing, more seating...more more more." And before you know it, you're expecting to have (like most images you see on Pinterest) a $100,000 affair.
So, sweet thing, the #2 enemy of your wedding budget is hands down your expectations.
Listen to me: if you have 70 grand to spend on your wedding, go for it! I'm not stopping you. I'm speaking to the girls with $15,000 that can't understand why it's just not coming together like that Charleston gig.