one evening last week i was going through my wedding bag, getting things sorted and paperclipped, when i started to wonder what my next entry for the wedding chronicles would be. with such a plethora of things i could start planning and describing, i thought it might be hard to choose where to go next, but as i looked through the many piles of carefully categorized ideas, it dawned on me that i had perhaps completely (albeit unknowingly) mistaken the venue as decision #1. decision #1 truly, i think, should be…that’s right…the budget. cue the dramatic music!
it’s my general opinion that no one really likes to talk about money, unless they have a lot of it. i mean, i’m talking millions on millions, and since i’m not in that position, i don’t often bring it up in conversation. am i the only one? probably not, so maybe because we don’t usually talk about money i seem to have forgotten to mention it as one of the largest factors when planning your big day.
there are oodles of articles and books written about how to portion the money you have in the most sensible way. for example, everyone these days says to not skimp on the photographer. eh, that’s pretty understandable. i’ll give them that. however, the different percentage breakdowns you see online or in magazines should, i think, really just be a guide for how you and your fiance/fiancee decide to spend the money. people also say that you should identify those aspects of your wedding that are most important to you and make those purchases worth your while. for example, if you want live music over a dj on your big day, be prepared to spend a little more and cut back elsewhere. or, if a five-course plated dinner is your style, understand it likely won’t come cheap. i think that if you go into things understanding that wedding services are in high demand and, because of this fact, can charge a premium, you may not be as sticker-shocked as you would be otherwise.
and that brings me to a very honest realization i had early on in this planning: the typical american wedding is expensive. let’s say you’re feeding around 100 guests at your reception. if you go on the more conservative end of the menu, you’re probably spending about $50 per person. that meal, that one meal right there, is $5,000 of your budget. yeah, it goes that quickly. and that might not even include booze! assuming that’s your thing.
regardless of what your budget is or is not, we must all keep in mind (brides, grooms, and guests, too) that even though the wedding is a large celebration of the vows you exchange with your husband or wife, it truly is a single day in the beginning of a long journey together. yes, getting married at a castle might be your dream, but it might not be reality. you might even glow the tiniest bit green with envy as you flip through magazines and shows, seeing couples with unlimited budgets. however, try not to fret, because at the end of the day your satisfaction with what you can/cannot do will be largely influenced by your perspective on it all. for phillip and me, we understand that we are spending a lot of money for this event. we also know we could go over budget and spend more. and, if we do go a little above, we’ll practice forgiveness because it really is the most special day in our lives so far. however, i think the way a couple handles their money during wedding planning is a large indicator of how it will be handled in the marriage, and getting off on the right foot, happy with and thankful for what you could afford, seems like a pretty good way to start the rest of your life.