Broke-Ass Author: Peach


I don’t want this post to be about regrets. Our wedding day was beautiful and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. However, I feel I should be completely blunt with you fabulous BABs about budgets and how they can easily veer way off course. Because I know I’m not the only bride whose budget took a path into “oh shit” territory, nor should there be any shame attached to it. Instead, there needs to be better communication and knowledge transfer through honesty. So prepare yourself. I’m about to get real up in here.

Jurassic gif


Our original budget: $15,000

My  parents were able to contribute $10,000 to our wedding day.  How great are they???  So when our venue price estimate* totaled right at $10K, the groom and I figured, “No biggie! The biggest expense is covered, including food, beverage, ceremony/reception space, linens, the whole nine yards! We’ll grab a reasonable dress, a fancy suit, officiant, rings, DJ … we can do that for about another $5K, easy!” And we danced off merrily into the deluded wedding sunset.


Did you notice that (*) up there? It stands for Beware the Caveats. Because while I give our venue credit for being forthcoming that the flowers, decor and cake would be additional charges, I could also string them up by their toenails for not giving us specifics on how much those charges would actually be. Once the day came to choose these items, my parents, the groom and I sat there silently with mouths agape at the prices. When we ruthlessly slashed all the extras and went with mostly the basics across the board, it left us feeling like we were being cheap!  End result? Our final venue payment was still almost $3K more than the original quote. Luckily all of us felt good about the “basic” decor and floral choices we made together. My parents insisted that they could cover the extra $3K. We were grateful, but still felt kicked in the nuts defeated by the Great American Wedding Factory.

Looking back, there were plenty of warning signs about our venue that we should’ve acknowledged. In a nutshell, it was their lack of flexibility on just about everything. (Your guests cannot throw anything or wave sparklers during your exit. You cannot exceed the 6 hour window onsite, or you will incur additional charges. If you want your wedding to be the only event that day, you will pay extra. No, you cannot taste the food ahead of time unless you go to a bridal convention where our caterer will be, this one day in five months, after you sign with us, of course. No, you cannot bring in your own votives for your table decor, you have to use ours at our price. And so on.)

Instead of listening to our instincts, we locked ourselves in with them and paid the price. Dearly. So where are we now?

Parent Budget  ($10K) + $3000.00 = $13,000K



The Snowball Effect

The venue was the biggest offender, by far. But we quickly discovered we’d under-budgeted for our pieces of the pie, too. We decided together that my husband would get a very nice suit because of it’s long-term use and practicality. Don’t regret that one bit. But what we didn’t expect were the prices on the rest: photography (ouch), DJs in Atlanta are $$$$$, the officiant, our rings and my dress, well … there went a LOT more money. Our own budget was officially toast. And we weren’t even done yet. Shit, double shit.

Parent Budget + 3000 + Our Budget (5K) + 4200 = 22,200



The Rest of the Story

Here’s where it gets even hairier. Add on videography. Oh, and you still don’t have shoes — for either of you. You don’t have jewelry or any hair or makeup people booked. And let’s not forget paper products and the guest book you made on Shutterfly. But the real kicker — the one I completely and utterly did NOT budget for: bridal party and parent gifts. With 13 in the party + 4 parents, we came in just under $1000 dollars. Dear Budget, excuse me while I prepare my favorite fatality move.

mortal kombat


Parent Budget + $3000 + Our Budget + $2500 + $3300 = $25,500

And there you have it. That’s how a $15K budget became a $25K budget … all in a matter of months.

But I can’t leave you feeling this crappy.

A few disclaimers: Our engagement was 13 months long, therefore our payments were spread out far enough that we didn’t have to dip into extra savings. The payments my parents made to the venue were spread out as well. But we know that if we had had a six month engagement, we’d have been in serious trouble. So remember that the shorter your engagement, the more you’ll need to have cash at the ready.  Another tip — ask around for ballpark figures, not from venues, but from people you know who were married in your town/location. Our original budget wouldn’t have been so laughably bad if we’d priced out DJs, officiants, photographers, etc., in Atlanta before we pulled a number out of thin air.

I hope some of you can learn from our experiences and follow these nuggets of wisdom: read the fine print, plan for the unexpected, ask more questions than you think are necessary and do not, DO NOT, pay one cent more for anything than you think you should.

Lastly, look out for my full Real Wedding post coming up soon here at BAB, which describes some ways that we did manage to save serious cash in other parts of our wedding day and other useful things I learned along the way.

Till next time,

  • 12/16

    This is a post Peach and I talked about, kind of at length. We talked about whether it would be better over on her blog because it’s intensely personal, but I really wanted her to write it, because I know the feeling. I felt the same way about a great many of my photos when I first got them back and guys, it’s devastating. For a multitude of reasons: You’ve spent a lot of money, presumably, on your photos. You’ve spent a buttload of time and / or energy — most likely and — planning maybe not every little detail, but a helluva lot of them. You’ve been under pressure, you’ve been asked questions, it’s been tough … and sometimes it feels like “Just as long as everything looks great in the photos. The photos will make much of this stress and worry and fear go away, because it will be a visual representation of everything I’ve been trying to accomplish.”

    Our wedding photographer published our pictures to a private website a few weeks ago. Immediately, I had sweatypits and I waited anxiously until Mr. Peach could view them with me. And as we scrolled through the hundreds of images, my most overwhelming feeling wasn’t “Oh wow, I look so pretty!”. Instead, the horrific thoughts running through my cranium were “Oh man, I have back fat hanging over my dress!”“Ugh, I hate my nose in those profile shots” and “I should have spray-tanned to cover up those tan lines”. Wedding 1

     Credit: Lee Patterson Photography

    My Wedding photos Made me Ugly Cry

    Photo credit: Lee Patterson Photography

    My Wedding Photos Made Me Ugly Cry

    Photo Credit: Lee Patterson Photography

    I have to tell you that this kind of destructive self-bashing … it’s not my usual style. I’m normally a pretty badass, confident, life-list chasing kinda gal. But with my wedding pictures, it’s almost as if I expected our amazing photographer to magically POOF me into someone I am not.

    Someone with a perfectly dainty nose.

    Someone who doesn’t exercise outdoors to stay fit.

    Someone who didn’t get those sunburn blotches on her back during a pre-wedding escape weekend.

    Those are ME. That’s who I am. And I’m pissed at myself for letting those demonic voices sour the happiest day of my life in the slightest.

    I’m not saying there weren’t a great number of photos in which I feel I looked very pretty. Striking, even. But I was left eating my feelings that night over certain shots that haunted me.

    What if everyone secretly thought, “What in the world made her think she could pull off that dress?”

    What if I was ruthlessly judged by the extra skin that crept over the strapless top of my dress if I leaned this way or that? What if I’d made more of an effort to eat better and run more before the wedding? Would it have made a difference in the way I feel right now? If that weren’t enough destructive self-sabotage, my brain continued on with: Should I have not even bothered with a strapless dress? I am getting up there in age, you know. I’m not exactly young and the crow’s feet and laugh lines show it pretty fucking well. Maybe I overshot my wedding fantasy.

    It was that last horrible sentiment that started the ugly-cry.

    Guys, don’t worry, Peach turns her shit around in Part II.

  • 12/11

    You know how it goes: You get engaged. And everyone under the sun has an opinion about what you should and should not do on your wedding day.  But when my time came, not one. single. person. told me that they regretted having a video. In fact, most of the people with “advice” stressed that they loved their wedding video more than anything because it…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    Lethal Rhythms, Atlanta DJ Hey everyone! I may be a Mrs. now, but that doesn't mean I can't look back and help guide y'all on your bride-to-be journeys. And one major component of any wedding is ... the music! When Jersey and I began looking for an Atlanta DJ, we were a bit befuddled at first: A) there are SO MANY; B) each one comes with a price tag…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    While Real Bride Peach has already been a married lady for a few weeks now, she kindly saved some of her pre-wedding posts to keep us going until she gets all of her pro photos back. Here's the final one before she delves into deets of her big day! Photo Credit: Lee Patterson Photography Looking back on this last year, it's been surreal. There were…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    Ever look back on a major event and wish that you had more photos/videos to capture those awesome memories? I sure do. So when it came to what I'll affectionately call my "Epic Bridal Weekend," I knew that I needed professional help with the documentation of all the fun details. Enter: WeddingMix!  My fiancé actually told me about the app first, and then I learned more about…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    I've been a busy Peach since my last ohmygodthisisgettingreal post! It really is true that no matter HOW long your engagement, the last month is straight up bonkers. Here's what we have been up to: We got our marriage license! Booked our honeymoon: We are going to Costa Rica! I. CANNOT. WAIT. to get all toes-in-the-sand, coconut-drink, do-nothing-for-a-week. Remember how stressed I was about booking this…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    I'm sitting here as I type, enjoying the delightfully foreign sensation of dramatically long lashes and a super-duper-moisturized face. You guys, I wish I had a Gatsby-caliber party to attend tonight, because I LOOK HOT. What just happened? My wedding makeup trial session! Being a runner/CrossFit freak, you wouldn't think that I have a girly side but let me tell you, I can throw down…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    This past Labor Day weekend marked the one year anniversary of being engaged to my Jersey. He was taken by surprise when I mentioned the milestone, completely in awe of how quickly the time has whizzed past our faces. Even to me, it doesn't seem that long ago that he was still living in New Jersey and I was completely clueless to the fact that…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!