Broke-Ass Category: Wedding Planning

8/23

As soon as we started talking about getting married I knew funding the wedding was going to be an issue. We had no money saved up. None. What. So. Ever. Once we got engaged and I started crunching numbers and forecasting potential savings, it was confirmed. I was a Broke-Ass Bride. Immediately, I started thinking of creative alternatives to a traditional wedding that could help us keep costs down. I came up with various ideas, but my favorites were these two:

  • Afternoon reception – I figured serving brunch instead of dinner had to cut down on food costs. However, I vetoed this idea after I realized that my day would start crazy super early. Plus, I would probably end up feeling rushed, which would be no fun.
  • Cake and Punch reception – I really liked the idea of having a late-night wedding where only drinks and desserts were served. I imagined the most epic dessert tables on the planet, but my fiancé shot me down. It was important to him that we feed people, even if it meant he had to do all of the cooking.

Once we crossed off every idea, our only option was a traditional reception with dinner and dancing. Which was fine, it just meant we were going to have to cut costs in other ways.

I know what I want … Now, how do I get it?

Since I already had my wedding vision, once we decided on a traditional format I was ready to make the budget. First, I started by calculating how much money we could realistically save between now and summer 2019. Because I love to make lists and spreadsheets (I use Microsoft Excel like it’s crack) this was an enjoyable task for me.

I know, I’m weird.

Then I added in income tax refunds (I underestimated this amount because you never know what can happen). Then I deducted money for other things we saved for in a year, for example, Christmas shopping. Once the vortex of paper, spreadsheets, and formulas stopped swirling, and the dust settled; I unearthed our magic number. That number is …

Drum roll, please …

$12,000

Not the tiniest budget, but certainly not anywhere near the average cost of a wedding in Connecticut, which is over $40,000.

 

I took my budget and turned it into a chart. See, told ya I was weird.

How do I turn that number into a budget, without wanting to pull out my hair?

Next, I sat down with my binder, which contained a budget breakdown spreadsheet (BAB has one here, too). It was very helpful. I used the percentages under each heading to calculate how much of my budget to allocate to each item. For example, it said that 50% of my budget should go towards the reception which includes the site rental, food, alcohol, etc.

Once I went through the entire sheet, I started tweaking the numbers to suit my preferences and needs. For example, according to the planner, I should allocate $500 towards stationery, but since I decided that I was creating all of the stationery, I cut that amount to $200. Next, I started filling in some of the sub-categories within the budget plan. For example, under the Decorations heading I budgeted:

  • $500 for flowers
  • $300 for miscellaneous decorations
  • $200 for linens

I continued playing with the numbers until I was satisfied the money was allocated in the best way possible to make our wedding a reality.

This is a snippet of the budget that I put together.

Hallelujah! A budget has been born this day!

I suspect, that even though I have my budget plan, there will be plenty of changes to make as we continue to plan our wedding. Once I start figuring out all of the DIY projects I may find that I need less money for flowers and more money for general supplies. Or maybe I get a great deal on the catering, and I use the extra money to fatten up our photography package. One thing I know for sure is that we can’t go over our $12,000 bottom line, so whatever challenges come our way we’ll have to figure out how to overcome them without spending more money.

Not easy to do, but we’ll figure it out.

Y’all got to pray for me!

 

  • 8/22

    My wedding is two weeks away and I have never felt such a flurry of emotions! Despite some stresses, however, the excitement is definitely in the forefront as we near the final countdown.

    In the spirit of lists, here are a couple related to my big day.

    10 things I am most looking forward to:

    10. My university friend group, which has been scattered across the country, finally reuniting in one place after a long time.

    9. Introducing my old friends to my new friends and hopefully seeing them hit it off.

    8. Looking like a freaking beauty queen in my dress.

    7. Getting to seeing my family, and my fiance’s family, who live in another part of the country.

    6. Getting dressed up with my bridesmaids.

    5. Seeing my brother, who lives in dirty jeans and T-shirts, in a suit for the first time in my life.

    4. Dancing the night away. I haven’t been to a club in years, as I’ve lost my patience for extremely crowded places with overly-friendly strangers. I can’t wait to shake it to my heart’s content with people who I actually want close to me! Also, I got to pick the music.

    3. My bachelorette party with all of the amazing ladies that I call my friends.

    2. Dancing with my husband to our first dance song. We sneakily even learned a touch of choreography for it and are going to surprise everyone when we bust out some sick moves. I’m otherwise known for having two left feet.

    1. Marrying the love of my life.

    4 of my favorite personal touches:

    4. Since we get to supply our own alcohol, Ev and I are going to have an insane hand-picked collection of our favorite local craft beers for our guests to sample.

    3. I made all of the signage myself: Seating charts, guestbook signs, etcetera. I created a simple watercolor paintings on canvas and then wrote over top in gold acrylic paint and gold sharpie.

    real bride holly signs

    2. My “first dance” with my dad isn’t actually a dance. He’s not a dancer, and one of my best memories with him is singing along to the radio in the car.  So, instead we are going to do karaoke and so air guitar to Queen.

    1. My homemade wedding cake!

    What are you looking forward to? What are your favorite personal touches? Share in the comments!

  • 8/18

    Reef flip-flops are one of my very favorite things in life. I buy a new pair of Gingers every year. Every year for the last 7+ years. So, naturally, when Reef reached out to see if I'd be interested in working with them to include their products in a post, I jumped at the chance. Because here's the thing -- it's not a far stretch…

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    8/17

    Hi again BABs!  Today we bring you a bridge in love with a unique sparkly gown. Reader Natz Hay commented on this post looking for her dream gown: Thank you for what you do! I just discovered your site and it's helping me figure things out since my recent engagement. I have fallen in love with the Galia Lahav - Bella dress but the pocket…

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    8/15

    Weddings are one of the last grazing grounds where the nearly extinct thank you card can be seen. These rare beasts are comprised of mostly paper, ink and the occasional adhesive to hold it all together. Many find the art of creating these near mythical beasts difficult, but I’m here to lead you through this wilderness. Thank you cards generally have six parts. A greeting,…

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    8/14

    So, I’ve felt like I’ve been kind of stagnant with the wedding planning lately, but I finally feel like the ball is actually rolling now. We had our second consultation with the wedding planner this past Saturday, which was Chris’s first actual in-person look at the venue and meeting her, made all the more interesting because he was coming off of an overnight shift at…

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    8/8

    Credit: Little Wedding Extras It has come to my attention that I may be a cheap-ass rather than a minimalist. Earlier this week, a friend called me in a crisis asking me for ideas on favors she might be able to do for another friend’s bridal shower. She was out of time, trying not to spend a lot and trying not to put forth that…

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