After many, many years watching A Wedding Story on TLC and later a myriad of other wedding shows I had some rather, grandiose ideas for my wedding. On those shows they refer to any wedding budget under $30,000 as small. That is why my original wedding budget of $25,000 sounded perfectly reasonable on paper
My original budget was generous; I put hundreds of dollars into categories when I wasn't sure. The scale of things I originally pictured was huge. Over a hundred people in attendance, lavish decor, multiple photographers, custom dress and gourmet food.
The wedding shows never show the bride and groom toiling away the first years of their marriage to pay off the party. Maybe those couples have parents footing the bill or horrible credit. When I blew the dust off my wedding notebook I found not one, but three budgets front and center. The first of these was a worksheet from the knot.com I made in late April 2008. I remember finding their "advice" on the sheet interesting, but that it was difficult to customize it efficiently. The second one was a plain old excel spreadsheet I did a month later, but it's covered in handwritten notes of things forgotten prior to printing. The last budget made on Martha Stewart's wedding site (which was by far my favorite wedding budgeting tool) in September 2008. It has estimated costs at $24,222 (and that's after the bargain dress). After a few years of a not-so-great economy, being out of work recovering from surgery and having a baby that number seems pretty laughable. I guess it's time to start a post official engagement, feet on the ground budget.
The things I thought I couldn't do without turn out to be largely dispensable. Why go for the $4,000 dollar venue at the expense of everything else when the venue under $1,000 is beautiful and less restricting. Why not cut the guest list down to the nearest and dearest? Intimate ceremonies are more romantic, anyway. A professional photographer and videographer would be amazing, but we have relatives who are pretty good with a camcorder. And so it goes...
I'm happy with a smaller guest list and eyes on the "plan B" venue. I know what's important to me now. I can skip costly engraved invitations (most of them will end up in the trash anyway), a bachelorette party (I'm not a drinker), multiple pairs of shoes (one comfortable pair will do), a veil (I’d rather wear flowers in my hair, anyway) and at least one DIY project worth of supplies. It will be the kind of day I want just scaled back to something within reason. It will be meaningful, unforgettable and so “us”.