Before you read today's blog, I want to take the time to introduce you to a new member of and the author of this blog...Rachel student...future bride...intern. I met Rachel several months ago at the local restaurant up the street where she is a server in her spare time from school. As a soon-to-be bride, she was looking for wedding invitations and came across my website. Little did she know at the time that the owner of the website...was me. Now, several months later, not only is she a future client but she is also the new intern and looking forward to writing a wedding blog series for you guys. 

It finally happened. Back in February, I tricked this poor, innocent sap into getting on bended knee and asking me to be his wife. (I’m still not entirely sure he knows what he’s gotten himself into, but hey, my parents have a “no return” policy, so he’s stuck with me now!) Unfortunately, this means that the big nightmare has now started: wedding planning. It’s been insane, so far. We began with a May 2016 wedding. Then it became a September 2016 wedding, after seeing how many of our friends were married in May this year. And then, suddenly, our wedding was in March. That’s right: our wedding is now 5 months away, and we have next to nothing planned. But this week, after many, many conversations with my parents, we did manage to plan one thing: our budget.

Originally, my parents told us to “just find somewhere” to have the wedding, and we would work around that. I think they finally got smart though, because the next time we talked, she said that if they were going to spend ten thousand dollars on us, they would put use it as a down payment for a house. Budgeting is so important because you cannot let yourself get overwhelmed. A new marriage is going to be hard enough without the struggle of thousands of dollars of wedding debt sitting on top of it. You might have to give up some of those big things you wanted, or make compromises, but it’ll be worth it. I might not be able to get that perfect venue we originally wanted, but at the end of the day, I’m still going to be spending the rest of my life with my best friend, so I figure that I’ll get over it.

When we broke down the budget, the first thing that we talked about was the venue and the food. My mom teaches, and since our wedding is right in the middle of the spring semester, she wanted to find somewhere that was going to marry us, host our reception, and deal with the food for us, so that we could just show up and get married. She sat the budget for it at five thousand dollars, maximum, with food. The venue and food are always going to be your biggest expense, and should be a top priority when you begin your planning.

After that, we thought about the dress. Personally, I’m hoping for a dress that’s less than a thousand dollars. Even if it’s my dream dress and, “I’ll only have one wedding day!” paying more than that for a dress just seemed a little silly to me.

Finally, there are the littler details: the entertainment, the guest favors, the decorations. All of the little things that work together to make your wedding a success. For that, we decided we would take it as it comes, research the best prices and work outward from there.

When it comes down to it, there are some simple tips for setting your budget:

1.     Find out what you can afford. You do not want to be that girl on the wedding dress shows who has a budget of a thousand dollars and then begs to try on the five thousand dollar dress, only to fall in love with it and be heartbroken when you can’t have it. Don’t be that girl. Don’t go into immense, drowning debt because you want the princess wedding you’ve been dreaming of since you were six.

2.     Figure out if you’re going to have help. Are your parents going to help out with the expenses? Are his? Talk things out and try to figure out who is going to pay for what, so that you can get an idea of exactly how much your wedding is going to cost you.

3.     Do you have skilled friends? I think one of the best things about my wedding is that there are going to be so many personal touches. A woman I work with that used to do flowers has offered to do the arrangements for us if we pay for the supplies. We have personal friends that bartend for a living tending our bars. We’ve got so many people that love and care for us coming together to help out.

4.     HAVE FUN! Don’t get so stressed out over your budget that you forget to enjoy your planning. It’s supposed to be fun, and at the end of it, you get to be married, so enjoy the process and enjoy your day!

So that’s budgeting. I’ll be back soon with more tips (and personal experience) on wedding planning, but for now, I’m off to find a venue! Happy planning!