Broke-Ass Category: Budget Concerns

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!

 

  • 8/17

    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 hasn’t caught up with that price yet. It would be a big help if you could find similar alternatives for less than $3000 especially in that color. Thank you.

    That’s gorgeous, no wonder you fell in love! This gown is particularly special in it’s materials. It is sewn clear beading on top of a nude colored fabric to give the impression of sparkling water. Other than the clear sparkly beads and the nude underlay, I don’t see any other color, so that is what I am going to work on for you. I’ll try to find some gowns for you that have a similar feel, of a nude underlay with beaded or lace on top to give a somewhat sheer and sexy look. Let’s see what I can scour the internet to find, Natz …

    ‘Bella’ by Galia Lahav; $10,000+

    Ivory and Nude Lace Backless Long Sleeve Bridal Dress JB32987; $1,500+ by Jovani Bridal

    Nadine; $2,000+ by Calla Blanche

    Galina Signature style SWG719; $1,000 by David’s Bridal

    Roberta; $1,500+ by Adrianna Papell

    Jasmine gown; $2,500+ by Calla Blanche

    Lucia; $2,500+ by Eddy K

    Florinda; $1,500 by Sottero and Midgley

    Long Sleeve Illusion Lace Wedding Dress; $1,400 by David’s Bridal

    Couture Style CT165; $2,500+ by Eddy K

    Ivory/Nude Floor Length Beaded Dress, style 37687; $1,500+ by Jovani Bridal

    How’s it looking, Natz?  Do any of these hit the mark for the sexy, shimmery, beaded lace  look you liked in the Bella gown?

    -Jennifer

    Got a gown that you just can’t get off your mind? We’re happy to help you get over it! Just tell us in the comments below! Please remember to include the budget you’re working with so we can find you the best alternative for you. Please be aware, though, that because you guys love this column so much, we can often build up quite the queue and it may be a while before we can get to your dream dress. Rest assured, though, Team Broke-Ass is on the case!

    *As always, please do your own research before buying a gown online. Team Broke-Ass is here to provide you with inspiration and resources, but it is up to the consumer to know what they’re purchasing.
  • 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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    7/27

    Shirt available from Etsy seller OldCollegeTryPress I'm starting to think that I'm the anti-bride. Not to mean "single woman" but rather "I do not meet the qualifications of being bride" besides that obvious engaged thing. This could be because society places a LOT of pressure on brides, granted society places a lot of pressure on many different realms of people, but I'm making this about…

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    7/18

    For the most part, I've snapped myself out of my wedding planning funk. I've emailed my wedding coordinator to nail down a time for next Friday's meeting to discuss menu, cake, setup, decorations, and the first half of the payment for the wedding. Chris is hopefully going to be able to take a day off (or at least part of one) to come with me…

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    7/17

    We’re in the home stretch for the wedding now. The countdown is at seven weeks. Last week, at the eight-week mark I had a mini panic attack about how close the wedding was and how much was undone. To calm myself, I sat down and tried to do two of the larger tasks that were left. I was finally able to tackle the program and…

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    6/13

    Hello fellow BABs! I'm back with Part 2 of my Ten Broke-Ass Bride Commandments. I know you have wedding planning and general badassery to get to; so let's get right into it. Ten Broke-Ass Bride Commandments 6. Thou Shalt Not Feel Guilty for Cutting your Guest List. The size of your guest list is what drives up the cost of your wedding; mo’ guests equals mo’ money…

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