Broke-Ass Tag: Budget Wedding

2/7

Now that we’re introduced, let me tell you about some details of our wedding!

There were two reasons that I hesitated when it came to starting the wedding planning adventure:

1) When I Googled “how to plan a wedding” (yes, I seriously did that), the one big thing that every site said we “must” do was figure out a budget. Money is gross. Budgeting is even more gross. But I knew it was 100% necessary since I know that we needed some type of control and we knew we didn’t want to put ourselves in the poor house from a single day.
2) Timo is German which means that half-ish of invitees that would come to our wedding live overseas. We bounced ideas back and forth. Timo and I assumed the Germans wouldn’t make the trip across the pond and we’d do the ceremony/legal proceedings in the U.S. with an awesome reception then have another gathering/reception in Germany for those that didn’t come to the American celebration. I couldn’t come up with any alternatives, so I pushed down the knot in my stomach and hoped for the best, giving him my best smile and nod.

But then, we got the best news ever. Well, second-best news ever. The best news would have been a relative telling us, “Oh here’s a lot money for your wedding!  Congrats and welcome to the family!”  That didn’t happen (despite the dreams that it will), but after Timo’s Dad (aka Papa G) found out, he starting making calls to relatives (even to Timo’s Mom (Papa G’s ex-wife)) to see who was down for a journey to America. To our surprise, most of the relatives were down for an American adventure!  This was a relief to me for many reasons, the biggest one being the money saved on not having to put on two events. Close second was that I/we didn’t have to figure out/plan from afar a reception type event in Germany. Just the idea of  planning an event in Germany almost gave me shingles.

I asked Timo to find out what date(s) work best for them. They were coming the farthest and I wanted to make it easy for them to attend (thus saving me from the medical issues that planning any event in Germany would entail). We told Papa G we were aiming for a fall wedding and that October/November was probably best. They gave us a date range of October 27-November 3rd. They would already be on holiday, so they wouldn’t have to take extra vacation time to come to America. This was the third-best wedding planning news we received.

While those proceedings were going on, Timo and I started discussing some broad ideas and a budget (barf).

One of the most important things we had to decide, which would affect our budget was where we were going to get married. We bounced the idea of getting married in southern Maryland back and forth because we had a potential hook up for a venue there. We bounced the idea of getting married in western North Carolina (where I grew up and where my Dad still lives). Eventually, we decided on having everything go down in Charleston, S.C. (our home).

1) Charleston has an airport.
2) Being close to home means that Germans who come to the wedding will also get to see our house/life and meet the dogs they’ve only ever seen through the internet.
3) It’s easier to plan a local event (or so I’m telling myself).

The biggest issue with having a Charleston wedding is that Charleston, S.C. (depending on who you ask) is the #1 or #2 destination for weddings in the U.S. That doesn’t matter to me, but it matters for the wedding “industry.” It means that as soon as you mention the “w-word” (wedding) prices absolutely sky rocket. It’s not unusual to see venues that cost $4000 for an all day Saturday event with nothing included (i.e., tables, chairs, sometimes bathrooms) AND have a required catering bill (from one of the venue’s preferred caterers) of several thousands of dollars. My heart dropped when I realized this because I knew that this would strain the budget we had decided on.

Our budget (goal): $10,000.
It still kinda makes my blood drain when I think about the fact that we are paying that much for one day of partying. I know, I know, it’s a super special day, it will only happen once (it better only be once!), etc etc. But that is a lot of money.

Right off the bat, I asked Timo what was most important to him about the entire day, ya know, other than the obvious — becoming legally bound to each other — and he told me booze and food. I let him know up front that photography was my most important thing. I even explained that I was willing to spend a LOT of our budget on photography (like 40%). He seemed to have a similar reaction as me when I heard he wanted to potentially have two receptions: smile and nod.

I had read it plenty of times and was well-aware that having friends “help” at the wedding is a great way to save money if you’re planning a wedding on a budget. I have experienced that firsthand. I consider myself an experienced amateur photographer, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say “professional” photographer. I’ve photographed parties and weddings for plenty of friends. But here’s the thing about having your friends “help” at your wedding: they become the help, not the guest. Timo and I discussed this before we even got deep into the planning process and I told him that I didn’t want our guests to “work” at our wedding. I wanted our friends and family to be able to fully enjoy our day with us, not be distracted by getting their “job” perfect (lest the wrath of the bride come upon them) or having to experience it through a lens (specifically for a photographer). I obviously had feelings about this, so Timo said OK. This mostly means that we’re having to be extremely thrifty.

challengeacceptedvia

With a budget and a range of dates, I set about finding a venue, photographer, coordinator, and caterer, the big items that needed to get reserved ASAP.

How did you decide on where your wedding will take/took place?  Did you have family come from another country to attend your wedding?

  • 10/31

    Jane B. Writes DisclaimerReal Wedding: Diana and Tom's Handmade, Personal New York Celebration

    Credit: Carole Cohen

    The word cliché is the last word you want to use to describe your wedding. But the fact of the matter is weddings are full of clichés because they are time-honored traditions.

    Most weddings have a number of similarities since they consist of traditional elements that are largely shaped by religion, law and cultural norms. Some brides buck tradition, but even the most unconventional couples work in a few of these incredibly awesome wedding clichés.

    Wedding Sparklers

    At one time throwing rice at the bride and groom as they made their big exit was the trend. However, pictures of the couple dodging pellets didn’t make for the best photo ops. Today people are using festive wedding sparklers instead. These are specific sparklers for weddings and add a fun element as well.

    Sending a couple off in a sea of sparkles became popular about five or six years ago. That’s when people started to see specialty made, long sparklers that guests hold to create an arch of light for the bride and groom to walk through. Needless to say, this now cliché trend has staying power because the photos look amazing.

    Wearing White

    Brides are starting to branch out from wearing solely white on their wedding day, but walking down the aisle in a colorless ensemble is still the norm. Wearing a white dress isn’t really a matter of choice for most brides, but rather it’s a symbol rooted in tradition that dates back to Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840.

    Way back in the day, wearing white on your wedding day signified a woman’s purity. In other words, it represented virginity that would soon be a distant memory (although it probably already was). Despite the newfound acceptance of pre-marital sex, the vast majority of wedding dresses are still white. Today, most brides simply consider the color to be symbolic of the event, not their virginity.

    A Whimsical Veil

    Most brides have no idea why veils are part of wedding day attire, but they wear them anyway. Maybe it’s because we have so few opportunities to show off fancy headgear these days.

    If brides knew the real reason why this tradition was started, they certainly wouldn’t consider a veil to be a necessity. Veils were first worn by ancient Greeks and Romans who thought it would protect a bride from evil spirits that were jealous. We’re not sure who was putting evil spirits on the guest list, but we’ll gladly take advantage of our one opportunity to rock a veil.

    Towering Wedding Cakes

    Really you only need one reason to splurge on a huge wedding cake – it’s delicious. Another reason couples still make cake a feature of the reception is because guests expect it. You can always save a little on the main course if you provide guests with a huge chunk of wedding cake at the end.

    There’s also the cake cutting tradition that isn’t possible without something to cut. Just be sure to get a few pointers from the baker before the wedding. Towering cakes have been known to topple over or collapse because they were sliced into at the wrong spot. Another delicious tradition that isn’t possible without a cake is freezing the top tier and eating it on your one-year anniversary.

    June Nuptials

    June has been a popular month for weddings since calendars were first created. These days it’s a top pick because the weather is relatively nice, and it’s easier for families to travel since kids are out of school. Originally, Roman couples got married in June because Juno was the goddess of marriage and childbirth.

    A DJ That’s Obsessed With Classic Jams

    After you’ve been to a handful of weddings it starts to seem like there’s a DJ manual that guides the music selection. At first, you tap your foot lightly to the familiar tunes and settle in for the typical wedding reception playlist. But after a few glasses of Champagne, you find yourself out on the dance floor.

    That’s why classic jam DJs are so great. Even if the setlist is a little dated, guests young and old know the music. The songs are classics because they’re awesome to dance to, and that’s the DJ’s top priority.

    Today a lot of brides are bucking tradition and doing their own thing, which we fully support. But if you enjoy certain wedding traditions there’s no reason to feel pressured into avoiding them so your ceremony doesn’t come off as cliché. Embrace the traditions and put your own twist on them so they’re more meaningful and special.

    christen
  • 10/27

    Galia Lahav Loretta back

    Today's CAI/GOI request is for a seriously gorgeous Galia Lahav gown. Reader Jasmine commented on this post asking for some help finding a "Loretta" lookalike. She writes: "Hi! I too am in love with a Galia Lahav "Loretta" dress. Would like to keep my budget around $3000 (and lower if possible :D) but there might be some wiggle room if truly necessary ;). I am…

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    10/14

    Cash Wallet by BlackArrowStudio

    Cash Wallet, $56 by Etsy seller BlackArrowStudio I've been wracking my brain to come up with some truly epic wedding advice for you, BABs. This being my last advice post for The Broke-Ass Bride for the moment, I'm feeling some (self-imposed) pressure to get it right! ? I hope you enjoy it, and remember that you can always reply in the comments or email BAB directly…

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    8/10

    Real Bride Lucinda married Chris under sunny skies and amidst a gorgeous northern Massachusetts backdrop in a classic wedding celebration. After DIYing some seriously huge aspects of her wedding -- including her wedding dress, veil, signage and paper flowers for decor -- the couple celebrated with family and friends while the talented Maria Burton Photography captured their day. In a typically super expensive wedding market (about $40K on…

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  • 6/27

    Real bride heather_post

    Since my wedding is a year away, I have not actively started the DIYing that I plan to do. I have also experienced my fair share of being totally non-committal in choosing our wedding venue. While on vacation, we found one, and it is gorgeous. It's n an island in Georgia, overlooking my favorite thing on Earth: the ocean. The ceremony will take place under a…

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    5/20

    Etsy TheAngelPaperie These are My People Quote on Canvas

    Quote on Canvas available from Etsy seller TheAngelPaperie I recently re-shared a post I wrote last year about fear-mongering, shaming and budget weddings because I've been noticing a trend that concerns me -- not necessarily among our readers, but more among wedding businesses. Recently on BAB's Facebook page, one of our advertisers was harassed and bullied due to the nature of her business. See, she…

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    1/26

    save_the_date

    Our first official wedding correspondence is going out in a week or two (as soon as I get around to DIY-ing them) -- our Save the Dates. Everyone we’re close to knows that we’re getting married. It shouldn’t be a secret or surprise to anyone when they arrive in the mail. It’s also not as if our wedding and getting married doesn’t already seem real;…

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  • 12/8

    Sneak peek pic from Julie and Matt's wedding

    One of our sneak peek photos provided by SK Photography One of the things I was most excited for as my wedding approached was the free time I was sure I’d have once everything was said and done. For the past four years, any time Matt and I weren’t at least trying to think about the wedding, I felt an overwhelming amount of guilt. In…

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