12/19 {Meet Robin} Under-the-Radar Wedding Spending

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Howdy, Readers, I’m Robin HitchDied, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be the newest Real Bride Blogger on the Broke-Ass Bride.  I’m having a 200-guest wedding at a nice restaurant; but my traditional wedding doesn’t have the traditional Endless Fountain of Money to pay for the whole thing.  Stay tuned every Sunday (say it in race track promo voice: “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!”) for updates on my adventures in throwing a big wedding without a big budget.

In wedding planning, as in life, staying within a budget requires keeping track of your spending.  By “keeping track” I mean “obsessing over,” such that when you put a receipt in your back pocket and your tush heats it up to the point the thermal paper fades to illegibility, you shake your fist at the sky and cry out, “Nooooooo!”  Because relying on your memory to determine the cost of those votive candles you just bought on super sale means rounding, and those 17 cents—or was it 71?—could make or break the balance of your budget.

Like many a broke-ass bride, I have an elaborate spreadsheet to monitor my wedding budget, the most terrifying cell of which subtracts what I have already spent to reveal the remaining funds in the budget.  I see that Scary Cell when I lay my head on my pillow at night.  With its dollar sign glowing in the dark like cat eyes.

But today I am going to face my fears and admit to Broke-Ass Nation that the number in The Scary Cell should probably be even smaller.  Because there are certain wedding expenses I haven’t accounted for.  And I need to acknowledge them, or this under-the-radar spending might torpedo my wedding budget.

Robin’s under-the-radar wedding spending (all figures approximate)

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  • Parking fees incurred in venue hunt: $12.50
  • Public transportation fares incurred in venue hunt: $8
  • Tolls incurred in wedding dress hunt: $9.20
  • Gasoline fueling venue & wedding dress hunts: $30

Crafting errors:

  • Cheap clear stamps that won’t stick to my acrylic block: $2.99
  • Needle-nose pliers I broke in one day of work on wire bouquets: $8
  • Bandages for pricked fingers while working on wire bouquets: $0.14


  • Overpriced face cream purchased in a panic when I woke up the morning of our engagement shoot with flake-face: $25
  • Extra bottle of conditioner I go through every month because I’m growing out my hair for the wedding: $5/month
  • Clips and other accessories to help keep my longer hair under control: $14

Grand Just-scratching-the-surface total after ten months of engagement:  $159.83.  That’s more than chump change.  It’s more than four times what we just spent on postage for our save-the-date cards.

As they say, the first step is realizing you have a problem.  From now on, I will be more diligent about monitoring the miscellaneous spending I’ve been doing in the name of my wedding.

What are some of the lurking line-items in your wedding budget?


  • GeorgieW

    Whoa. This is totally something I never thought about, but totally important! Welcome, Robin!

  • RhondaLove

    High Fives, Robin! What a great first post. I can't wait to follow along with you, since I'm a big wedding broke-ass bride too!

  • MarryMeNow

    BAB, where do you find all this insane talent? Yay for the new real brides!!!

  • ChristinaG

    Holy stealth spending! Thanks for this, I'd have never thought of it!

  • SamandAnn

    Welcome Robin! I can tell i like you already, such a fun writing style and such good info. Great post.

  • Rebecca

    Oh, stealth spending is like my little secret! Wedding magazines, used wedding books bought from Amazon sellers, lattes while dress-hunting or vendor-interviewing, (yes!) all of the gas spent seeking out the "perfect" non-wedding-factory venue, and the occasional glass of wine to celebrate said "perfect" venue or to take the edge off … I can show my fiance the budget tracker, and say, see, look, love, yes, of course we are still within the budget … Thanks for bringing it to the mat, Robin!

  • Meridy

    For this DIY bride it's the try-and-fail projects that add up. I think I want something then try it and hate it…or change my mind to a different craft after I already bought some materials. I just need to stop! I was aware of this spending so it doesn't really count as under the radar, butI wasn't adding it to the budget. Time to start. Thanks for the insight!

  • Amber W.

    I totally agree. You rarely notice that you are indeed spending money during the engagement process.
    -Gas Money
    -Meals, Snacks, Drinks while out searching for wedding items/vendors
    -New make-up to "try" to see if it will work for wedding day
    -Spray tan 'trials' to see if I trust it for the wedding day
    -Cheap DIY materials (which fail to work), then I spend more money on the quality ones so it will work (ARGH!)

    I'm sure there is more, but all these things add up. Whew!

  • Lindsay L

    I'm glad you put up this post. Makes you think about how all the little things add up to big bucks. I think the hardest thing for me is trying to estimate what to budget for each category in my budget. I don't want to set aside a crazy amount of money for it, either too little or too much. I'm kinda trying to figure that out in my reasearch. Thanks for the great post!

  • To each his own, I suppose. If it were necessary for me to bust my head to this extent to keep track of hidden expenses (which perhaps isn't exhaustive enough — were those car trips to venues never mixed with any other errands? does living in general need to be counted as a wedding expense?), I would opt for a more appropriately sized wedding. But that would be my own solution … perhaps other minds find this enjoyable.

  • mysanfranciscobudgetwedding

    Bwahaha! Awesome first post, Robin. Congrats on the new gig.

  • Margaret

    haha too funny! I had so many under-the-radar expenses… I tried to account for some (chalkboard paint, of which I used maybe 1/4 of a can, and then got rid of when we moved :-P) in my budget recap (http://silver-sandalled.blogspot.com/2010/08/our-wedding-budget-touchy-subject-alert.html), but I know tons of stuff slid through… crafting errors being a big one. 😛 The worst? Mini lanterns, to serve as table decorations/lighting. I didn't read the fine print and they ended up being doll-sized. We gave some away to guests, but mostly they just sat there and didn't even get turned on, Can only laugh about it now… money's long gone, LOL.

  • serious glue makes the clear stamps stay! I learned that in my wedding crafting days 🙂 you'll need it stuck good if you are going to be stamping a milliion things. great 1st post, Robin!