We all have budgets and you know what? They suck! I'm constantly having to put off getting what I want for something I need. And let me tell you, getting something I need isn't nearly as exciting (or as fun), as something I want. <Big Sigh> But like a diet, it's the reward you get afterwards, instead of the thrill of immediate gratification.
That means, if you are able to start your marriage on relatively solid financial footing after also enjoying the beauty of the biggest party you've EVER thrown, you are WAY ahead of the game. So what's the secret? Let's get right down to it...
Set a budget number and stick to it. I can't say that strongly enough: SET A BUDGET NUMBER AND STICK TO IT!! (better?) Before a venue, before a dress, before even the ring - this is the number that matters. Sure - easy to say, but really hard to do. So now you're thinking... "HOW???" Let's figure this out. You've budgeted $25,000 for your wedding. The national wedding cost average in March of 2014 was nearly $30,000, and here in the New York metropolitan area it was nearly $80,000. So $25,000 is a pretty conservative number, right? Now, let's figure this out. You plan to be married in June of 2016. $25,000 divided by 18 (months until your wedding) is approximately $1,390 per month you'll have to put away for the wedding. Also, that $1390 is a little bit more palatable than $25,000 when you break it down that way. AND That's assuming you are paying for everything, but more about that later.
Trim the guest list. I know - I know! You're getting married and you want half the planet to know about it and be there - but let's face it, you are spending beaucoup bucks for each and every person on your list! A good bargain per head is about $130 - closer to reality would be about $200. Take that number and multiply it by the number of people you want to invite. Oops, 125 guests and you are right at that $25,000! No worries, you say; you're going the DIY route. Guess what? That works fine for table decorations and seating cards, but not much else. So that means you'll be saving...umm... $200. I'm betting that if you save $200 in one place, you'll find a way to spend it in another.
Set up Vendor accounts with your bridal registry. Huh? What?? When I consult with an engaged couple I include many money saving tips and I have to tell you, this is the one big secret NO ONE has heard about. Let's face it, you are probably NOT leaving your parents' home to begin your married life. You've been on your own for quite some time. You live responsibly and maybe not too uncomfortably. You probably already have linens, kitchen equipment, dishes and serving utensils. Yes, this is your big chance to get the good stuff. Now, let's think about that. The good stuff (china, silver, crystal, Eqyptian cotton) comes out once a year, for guests and holidays. Do you really want (or need - see paragraph one) to have your family and friends spend money for something that is rarely used? Or do you want to throw the party of a lifetime? As long as guests are spending money to show you how much they love you, have them spend it on something that will provide a lifetime of memories. Besides, you're probably in line to inherit the good stuff in a couple of decades anyway.
If you've read this carefully, you know I've some great money-saving tips to share with every engaged couple so think about a consultation with a photographer right now. Give me a call at 908-229-1694 and let's see what I can save for you! That way, you have more to think about putting into the memories that matter!