My husband and I were married last winter, after a year of planning and decisions and details. Because we were saving for a home and investing in our small business, we were committed to planning a wedding on a budget. At the same time, we wanted our wedding to be one of the most beautiful days of our lives, and one that was as free of stress as possible. I'm happy to say that we accomplished our goal to stay sane throughout the planning and the wedding day, and we learned these five things in the process.
1. Remind yourself frequently, "Our wedding is a stress-free zone."
You wouldn't believe how many times I said this to myself, silently and out loud. Remember that your wedding is about celebrating your love and commitment to your partner, so it would be a shame to let worries about money and logistics steal your joy. If you feel yourself getting anxious or upset about something, take a deep breath and put it out of your mind for a while. Before you come back to it, recommit to making your wedding a stress-free zone.
2. Decide where to save and where to splurge.
My husband and I decided to invest in the items most important to us -- photography, food, and music -- and seek out inexpensive options for most everything else. We bought affordable wedding rings, reasonably priced wine, and a beautiful wedding dress on closeout. To finance our honeymoon, we encouraged guests to donate to our Honeyfund account instead of sending us a gift. It wasn't important to us to provide wedding favors, so we simply skipped them. Make a list of items you want for your wedding and rank them in order of priority. Splurge on the items at the top of the list, and save on the ones at the bottom.
3. Limit your guest list to close friends and family.
Given the astronomical costs of the average wedding -- currently more than $25,000 -- people will understand not being invited when they hear that you're keeping your wedding small. Let's put it this way: Are you willing to pay around $100 for your second cousin once removed to eat a sit-down dinner? Although I couldn't afford to invite my extended group of local friends to my wedding, I wanted to include them in the celebration. I sent an email early in the planning process to let them know that I was keeping my wedding small, but I'd love for them to join me at the after-party. Guess what? They completely understood. Plus, those who were planning a wedding on a budget themselves didn't feel obligated to invite me.
4. Find vendors through your network.
I live in a small community, and my husband and I made good use of our local connections to find vendors for our wedding. A few traded labor with my husband; for example, he designed a website for someone in exchange for professional lighting at our reception. Other vendors knew that we were planning a wedding on a budget and liked us enough to give us a good rate on their services; in turn, we recommended them to others as often as possible. We asked two dear friends to play music during the ceremony as their gift to us, and they were honored to be part of our big day. Think about your own connections, and the skills that you could trade with wedding vendors, or loved ones who have similar talents.
5. Make decisions by asking yourselves, "What do we want for our wedding?"
You'll get tons of unsolicited advice from friends and strangers (Exhibit A: this very blog post!), and you'll probably feel pressure of some kind from your families. Take other opinions into consideration if you like, but keep coming back to what will make you and your partner happy on your wedding day. If you're lucky, it'll be the only one you ever have, so tune out the noise and make your own decisions.
Stay within your budget by finding affordable wedding rings at My Trio Rings.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user sinksanctity.
About the author
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