Building Out the Budget

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning
House bank with a deposit going in

image via stock.xchng | photography by iprole

When deciding what type of wedding we wanted to have in our pre-gaged state, we knew we didn’t want this big, huge formal wedding but we did want more than just a courthouse ceremony and dinner afterwards.

We wanted a party.

I love throwing a good party and, thankfully, Mr. RT shares my enthusiasm for these sorts of things, so a celebration is not something we’ll willingly forgo. Whereas the usual party funds can be eked out over a couple of months, I’m thinking even a low-key wedding is going to cost more than our usual party budget and, this time, I’m definitely not doing my own catering!

Which brings us back to saving up over time, a benefit we have due to our longer-than-the-usual long engagement.

Confession: I’ve never been good at saving. I never really learned how!

Money was tight, growing up, and what came in almost always immediately went out. Whereas my brother grew up in the same home and was absolutely rabid about his piggy bank (we used to call him Alex P. Keaton-in training), I just never got the memo and, as an adult, not much has changed.

Still, I have learned that if I have a specific goal in mind I do much better than trying to save for some nebulous whatever.

And during the second half of 2011 I managed to get a good start to my savings plan.

But aside from the budgeted savings, what else can be done to help supplement that starter budget built by monthly savings alone?

I’ve known grooms who have taken fast food jobs at night in order to afford a nice honeymoon for after the wedding, but getting a part-time job might not be a) the easiest thing these days and b) most effective with everything else I’ve got going on.

Are you crafty? Do friends rave about things you make? Maybe an etsy store is a way for you to put your talents to good use. I have plans for one of my own plus other projects that may well net some additional wedding funds over the length of our engagement.

Maybe you’ve got a lot of items in your closets and garage and it’s time for a garage sale or an eBay blitz? Or register for items that you can use for the wedding as well as later (though I understand some etiquette mavens frown on that).

You could check and see if your bank offers a rounding-up savings plan–you know the ones, right? Every time you use your debit card (which is every grocery and gas and whatever trip, for me), they’ll round up your transaction to the nearest whole dollar and put that “spare change” into your savings account. Some banks even match those coins for a certain introductory period. It’s a high-tech version of saving your change in a pickle jar–though there’s something to be said for that, too!

And speaking of debit cards: does your debit or credit card have any points options available? And can you exchange those points for gift cards? Might as well put those points to good use, right?

But the real goal is to have a wedding that suits your style and budget without having to open a wedding credit card or get a loan to cover expenses. What’s NOT the best way to start out a life together? More debt!

How are you planning to supplement your initial budget?

A Laughable Amount

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Jar with coins inside

Since one of the pluses to a long engagement is the ability to save up for the wedding expenses over time, perhaps it’s time to broach the subject of exactly what our budget is. After all, budget it one of the big three to decide early on, along with when and where, and can have quite a bit to do with the latter.

I firmly believe that your wedding can be as lavish as you want; it doesn’t matter if it’s your first or your fifth. Whatever you want–as long as you can afford it–go for it.

And while Todd and I are a double-income-no-kids household, in possession of good jobs and able pay our bills every month a wedding budget wasn’t really something we’d planned on needing, oh, ever. Since I changed the rules, so to speak, on that topic, we had to confront the issue that if we wanted a wedding, we would need to pay for it.

Being the non-saver of our duo, I had to take a hard look at what I could realistically save up over the next 2 years and a bit. I figured $100 a month would be tight for me (for reasons I’ll get to in another post) but I could do it. That sounds like a lot, right?

Um, yeah. $2500. Double that because Todd is already adept at saving and I’m insisting we do this equally and you’ve got our starting wedding budget: $5000. (Okay, because we started saving before the engagement was official, it’s more in the $5500 range but let’s be cautious because, well, it’s me. And while there are plans for being able to increase that amount, it’s our bare-bones budget and the safe number to work from.)

I’ll sigh while you laugh.

But I know we can do it! It may not be easy as pie but I’m convinced it’ll all work out okay, we’ll just have to do a few things that every bride and groom have had to do since the beginning of time, even those with unlimited budgets:

  1. Prioritize
  2. Shop Smart
  3. Make Some Sacrifices

Plus, we’ve got a few things on our side:

  1. Small guest list–we’re talking a cap of 50 people, including us!
  2. I’m an inveterate crafter with my own in-home studio (own my own Gocco and everything) and Todd is quite handy with tools and such.
  3. We don’t want a big massive show-stopper of an event, just a good party to celebrate this next step in our lives together.

Next thing is to figure out how to allocate our meager funds to make sure we get not the perfect wedding, but a wedding that’s perfectly us!

Pretty Book and Flower Icon


How did you figure out how much your wedding budget would be?