Budget Bride Permission Slips

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning
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image created by Miss Road Trip

Fact: weddings can be very expensive. And no matter how conscious we try to be of the budget we have to work with, it’s hard to escape the feeling of overwhelm as we flip through magazines with prices on every photo or browse vendors’ websites and check out their rate sheets (if they even have them).

So today I’m writing out a few “permission slips” for us budget brides that will hopefully remind us that it’s OK! to do what we have to do to create the celebration we want on our own terms and not those of the looming wedding industry.

And to start, we’re going to talk dresses.

it’s OK! to…

Watch wedding shows like Say Yes to the Dress
and shake your head in amazement at women dropping
your entire wedding budget on their dress.

Seriously, it always floors me that some folks are spending my budget or more on a dress.

And it’s okay to have that moment of ‘whoa’ but to keep everything in perspective.

What’s not okay is to get all bitter and hate-faced. After all, a wedding is a celebration and we want to keep everything as positive as possible so there are predominantly happy memories of this time of transition.

So we, as budget brides, savvy of our bottom line, will try on dresses to find out what we want well ahead of time and then scout out sites like Once Wed, Dress Rush, or Rue La La‘s Bridal Boutique for just the right dress. Or we plan a road trip with our favorite girls to a dress outlet like Bridal Outlet of Atlanta and look for a deal. Or we’ll make it ourselves (or find a dressmaker).

Whatever we do, we’re not going to let our budget get us down!


Next, let’s tackle photography fees. Ready?

it’s OK to…

Cringe at the sight of the word “investment” on a wedding photographer’s website or brochure.

Buzz-words may be the death of me, I mean it.

Look, I get it, the price tag on wedding photography is steep for a reason. As a way to reframe the customer’s perceptions, looking at your wedding photos as a long-term benefit can help sooth the blow of that bottom line.

Maybe it’s a leftover from growing up with the mantra “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” Anyone else familiar with that line?

But most of us are just trying to get a feel for if the photographer is even in our ballpark and might already be frustrated by having to hunt through half a dozen sites that don’t even list starting fees or package prices for comparison, so seeing the buzzword of “investment” just raises a red flag. And then, if the “investment” link leads to an explanation of how much effort goes into capturing this “once in a lifetime” *ahem* moment for all posterity but still fails to list a price range? *deep breath*

If you’re trying to make a sale, don’t hide the price. Don’t make it more difficult for me to hire you.

And I think it’s totally okay to not be as all about the photos and to just enjoy the experience of the day. If you’re not the type to look at photo albums and you’re not planning on having children to pass these keepsakes down to, do what’s important to you and don’t let the rest of the wedding industry tell you that you what you HAVE to have.


Okay, the last two were a bit vent-ish, this one is actually a fun permission slip:

it’s OK! to…

Splurge on the one thing that really is the most important to the day. Provided you…

  • Keep the splurge to 1 thing, not everything–that last bits a one-way ticket to an exploded budget.
  • Realize that a splurge in 1 category means cutting back in another one.
  • And keeping in mind the comfort of your guests.

Going back to the previous permission slips: if the dress is going to make the wedding for you, find a way to get the one you want by any reasonable means possible. If photography IS your number 1 priority, maybe you’ll find room in your budget to pay the travel expenses of the photog you just have to have.

For us? Our splurge is almost always on the food.

When we throw a party at home, I tend to go overboard on the food every. single. time. Partially because I truly believe it’s poor form to run out of anything at a party and partially because I want my guests to never leave my home hungry.

And the more I remind myself that the wedding is really just a party to celebrate the next step in our relationship, a party with a bigger budget than I’ve every thrown before, suddenly our $5K budget seems like a boom, not a bust.

What are you wanting a “permission slip” for?

One thought on “Budget Bride Permission Slips

  1. Pingback: Budget Bride Permission Slip: The Photos | Third Time Bride

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