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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

#3: Operation $10,000 Wedding

Time to talk money.

But before I break down our budget, I seriously need to explain what this post is NOT about. I'm not sharing our budget to flaunt my blessings, ask for a hand-out, prove my worth, or to make a statement about what couples should be spending on their wedding. Nope. Because I've learned not to judge a book by it's cover - or a bride by her budget. There's enough judgment and pressure placed on couples during the wedding planning process, no?

I am, however, discussing our budget for a very specific reason...

I remember that in the earlier months of our wedding planning I was greatly encouraged by blogging brides who talked about money -- some by way of challenging the wedding industry's grip on our values and wallets, others by way of honestly sharing the breakdown of their conscientious budget,  and still others by way of encouraging me to reflect on how I spend money for the wedding (not just how much of it I spend).

These blogging brides also gave me hope that it IS possible to keep costs way down without compromising in the areas that are most important to us as a couple. So this post is about me proving to myself (and maybe you) that they were right.

First, some background info on our situation:

Region: Long Island (just outside of NYC- in other words, it's CRAZY expensive out here, y'all!)
Average amount spent on a wedding in this area: About $35k (Find the average cost of a wedding in YOUR area here.)
Our wedding details: 130 guests; Saturday in July; church ceremony; afternoon reception
Our budget: $10k (No, that was not a typo.)

And away we go...

Operation $10,000 Wedding:

Venue: $2,050
Decorations (indoor & outdoor, including flowers): $200
Catering: $3,260
Beverages/Alcohol (not provided by our caterer): $700
Photography: $500
Cake/ dessert: $250
Rings: $900
Groom's attire: $250
Bridal accessories (shoes, jewelry, veil, fascinator): $125
Hair (day of, trial, plus tip) &make-up: $300
Church donation: $200
Music: $50
Marriage license: $50
Invitations/ Wedding website: $75
Tips: $600
Bridal party gifts: $150
Ceremony items: $100
Our 2-night hotel stay: $240

= $10,000
   (Not including the inevitable last-minute/ unexpected expenses)

Note: Here's a breakdown of what our parents have generously offered to contribute:
                 tent rental: $430                 
                 pastor's hotel stay: $120
                 my wedding dress: $1295
                 a week's worth of San Francisco honeymoon fun (thanks to parents' timeshare): $$$(?)

Originally, we were planning to have a 5k budget and not go on a honeymoon. (Ain't nothin' wrong with just a chapel and some chips, baby!) But with some assistance and encouragement from our parents, we decided that it would be worth it to a have a 130-person catered boogie-down bonanza and a week-long local(ish) vacation.

Granted, in order to stay within our $10,000 budget we are making sacrifices that might make your jaw drop (no DJ, favors, cocktail hour, flower centerpieces, limousines, or videographer, for example). But I'm at peace knowing that even with a tight budget we will be bringing to life our vision for the day-- a lovely, joyous, meaningful, and spiritual celebration (plus crazy dance party and good eats).

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