Weddomg: First Thoughts on a Budget

I just discovered while trying to type wedding that if you misplace your right hand on the keyboard by one row of keys to the right that you instead type "weddomg," which I find totally appropriate on many levels. "Weddomg" is a perfect description about how everyone, including myself, goes somewhat, if not entirely, batshit crazy at the mention of a wedding. So, I'm thinking that at least some of my wedding-related posts will be labeled "Weddomg," particularly those that relate to my own craziness or the craziness of others. Today I'll talk about wedding budget craziness, even before we have spent a single penny.

Carolina Man and I are now in the very preliminary stages of wedding planning, i.e. we're going to look at a venue, we're putting together a draft guest list, and we're generally thinking of what time of year we're going to plan for. Oh yeah, and we're piecing together a wedding budget. If you want to make yourself insane in a matter of minutes, start looking at how much weddings cost on average. You'll probably shit yourself and/or start crying.

Even as a newbie, I can say that there's a whole lot to putting together a wedding budget, and there's a helluva lot of unknowns when you haven't begun looking into all of the vendors you'll need. But, we do know approximately how much our venue will be per person, how much the ceremony will be, and for the rest of it, I just googled average costs of wedding shit and put the numbers into a spreadsheet. The amount I saw before my eyes was somewhat shocking. A preliminary estimation of our wedding was about $25K. *gulp*

And then I wasn't so shocked. Weddings are expensive, yo. We knew that going into this. It's about what we'd said we wanted to spend from the beginning, and it's an amount that we can afford to pay out of pocket, if we are able to save as we anticipate (and as he and I both have been saving since we first began our relationship).  Yes, it's an awful lot to spend on "one day," but let's be clear here. Celebrations of life and love are important. And I feel as long as we aren't going into debt, nor are we using all of our savings, then we can feel guilt-free in our spending on a day where we'll gather with loved ones to celebrate the new stage of our relationship.

But you got to prioritize. Here are some of the things we care about:
  • Beautiful, convenient location
  • Meaningful, personal ceremony
  • Looking good
  • Delicious food
  • Ease of use (i.e. having an all-inclusive package)
  • Awesome pictures 
  • Unique honeymoon
The things we care less about:
  • Having everyone we've ever known there (we're thinking 50-60 people)
  • Favors (probably won't have them)
  • Tradition
  • Having a huge bridal party (probably will have a Best Man and a Best Woman because I hate the phrase"Maid of Honor")
  • DJ
  • Flowers 
  • Having a theme
  • Invitations
  • Putting on a show for our guests 
So, if these priorities stay the same, we know we want to spend most of our energy and probably finances on the location, the clothing and rings, the food, the photographer, and the honeymoon. 

Yesterday I was still feeling nervous that our designated monthly savings wouldn't be enough to cover things. So, Carolina Man suggested we both commit to saving an extra $200 over what we said we would save each month. In a year, that gives us an extra $5K. And I don't think either of us will miss this as we both got raises this year.

I'm thankful for his calm attitude about all of this, and how on the same page we are about planning this event. And I feel good knowing that we're going to be able to afford the kind of wedding we both want.


  1. The cost of weddings is absolutely ridiculous. Did you ever see that show Platinum Weddings? People spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ONE DAY. It's gross.

    However, you want to celebrate the day you become husband and wife. And you should! But I think it's smart to know right from the get go what is important to you and what isn't.

    I'll be honest when I say that Boyfriend and I have already discussed marriage. And unlike my first marriage, if or when it happens again I plan on making sure that the only two decision makers of the wedding are Boyfriend and me. Because too many cooks in the kitchen is a recipe for disaster (ha, get it cooks, kitchens and recipes?)

    ANYWAY. I'm proud of you lady! And I know you're going to have an amazing day!

    1. Thanks, lady! We're fortunate in that our families are pretty much staying out of it (financially and otherwise). My mom might help with the dress, but we don't expect much else. Hopefully that means we get to decide it all ourselves (right? RIGHT?!)

  2. Based on your list of priorities, you could probably plan a FANTASTIC day for much less than $25k, and use a larger portion of that $25k for your fantastic honeymoon.

    Your list of "things we care less about" includes all of the most expensive parts of wedding planning (flowers, HUGE guest list, favors, DJ, and "the show.")

    My guest list was 50 people, we had a lovely (though decidedly low-key) venue, and a fab photographer on a $5,000 budget. Granted, the food was hors d'oeuvres, there was no open bar, my dress came from a big box bridal store (David's Bridal, but I still felt beautiful!), and the photographer was almost half our budget. But my point is that you're on track for a pretty reasonable wedding if you stick with this list of priorities. I know that some venues and bridal stores can eat a budget fast, and full catering with an open bar would have almost doubled our budget, though, so my estimates might be way off if you want a designer dress and an open bar.

    You're absolutely right that if you can afford it, you should spend whatever will make you happy. I had zero regrets about my $5,000 wedding, and you will have no regrets if you spend $25,000 on what's important to you without taking on a ton of debt. But if it were me, I'd try to do the wedding in $10k and go on a totally kickass honeymoon. :)

    1. $5K? Wow, are you Superwoman? :-)

      The major cost, if we do what we're hoping to do, will be the venue and catering. It's a very beautiful hotel where we got engaged, and a wedding there costs a lot of money. It includes an open bar and five-star food, and impeccable service.

      But, I don't want to have blinders on. CM and I need to look at all our options, but this one is pretty appealing!

  3. It sounds like you've got the planning part down perfectly. I think the danger is when people plan for this kind of wedding withOUT planning (eg: have no funds so borrow or have family pay, enabling the perfect breeding ground for family feuds). Awesome!

  4. APW can help a lot with this. There's plenty of ways to do a wedding for less than $25k, you just have to focus on the things that really matter.

    Also, even family that isn't paying probably deserves *some* say in the wedding. Otherwise you'll likely be dealing with some hurt feelings. Try asking each of the parents for the three things they truly care about, just so they know they're being heard :) A wedding isn't necessarily just about the bride & groom, it's about negotiating space within your existing families for your new, baby family.

    1. Actually, we're very much ok with that number. We've already got a third of it in a special wedding fund, and can easily save the remainder in a year. Whether or not we use all of it (or a bit more), we've covered!

      Our families are unique in this way. This isn't CM's first marriage, so his family is more interested in just knowing when to show up! As for me, my dad is out of the picture, and my mom has already said "It's about the two of you." I think her strongest opinions will be about the dress, and we've already discussed that'll be a mother-daughter event. I'm sure some strong opinions will come into play eventually, but so far they've only come from people not that close to us as a couple. I think we're pretty fortunate to have laid back families!

  5. my wedding cost about $31,000 and i probably had about 600 guests. Yo! that's the way we do it in Nigeria,(mostly parent's friends and family) some people even have as much as 1,500 guests.

    ANyways you have got it right from the beginning by making a list of what is important to you and what is compromisable. Go girl, good luck

    1. 600 guests--incredible! I think it's amazing to include the entire community in that way. Thanks for the encouraging words!