Broke-Ass Tag: Budget Woes


Five Lies That Will Stop You From Enjoying Your Wedding

You can face the day with anticipation … or fear and worry. Choose option A.
Photo: Liz Coopersmith

Your wedding day is here. You can hear the DJ tuning up outside. Your fiance is in the building. Everyone is helpful and excited and happy … Except you. Instead of gearing up to enjoy this cool day that you’ve created,  you’re still worried that you should have thrown down the extra three bucks (per bloom) to put peonies in your bouquet. Or, should Uncle Leon really be at the same guest table as your freshman year roommate. What if the cake melts? Is the wedding going to start on time, is it going to end on time?


Look, I’ve literally planned 250 of these things. I can guarantee that if you let it, your wedding day is only going to get better from here — there’s the smiles and the love of a bunch of people on the other side of that door, and cake and dancing later on, too. But you’re not going to see or feel any of it if you’re focusing on the  constant stream of lies that you’re telling yourself, convincing you of all the mistakes you’ve made that will surely lead to disaster. And if you believe that’s what’s going to happen, that’s exactly what you’re going to find, and yeah, and it’s going to ruin your day. Self-Sabotage is brutal, people.

So, when you hear these lies bubbling up in your brain, shut them down with The Truth. Okay? Okay.

Lie #1: I didn’t have enough money to have the wedding I truly wanted.

The Truth: First of all, you did the best you could with what you had, and if you were honest with yourself, you did a really good job. There’s at least three things that you’re totally looking forward to, whether it’s the gold silk chair ties you cut yourself, the bare red velvet cake, the blue mason jars you’ve been buying for the past six months to use as candle holders. Renting vintage furniture may have been out of your budget, but no one knows about that. And don’t try and make yourself feel worse by telling them!

You’re also going to be surrounded by your favorite people in the world, some who you haven’t seen in ages, and probably won’t see again for a while. You got them all together in one room on one particular day. Having the wedding you want is about a lot of things. What else were you able to pull off that you can’t wait to see today?

Lie #2: No one is going to have a good time. Seriously, they’re not.

The Truth: Your guests are not there so they can experience the wonder of sitting on gold Chiavari chairs. They are probably looking forward to the free food and cake. Oh, and the bar. But really, they are there to celebrate with you. And that means hanging out with you, and with the other people that are also there to celebrate with you. So, do that. You want your guests to have fun? You first. Eat the food, drink the drinks, ask your DJ to play your favorite songs and haul people to dance floor. Tell everyone how happy you are that they made it. Because you are. Look around and actually watch how much fun everyone is having. Nice job.

Lie #3: I don’t know what I’m doing, something is going to go wrong, and it’s going to ruin my wedding.

The Truth: You are partly right. Something will go wrong. And it’s not even melted-cake wrong (it’s happened) or forgot-your -bouquet-at the-hotel wrong (that’s happened, too), it’s too-long toasts and running out of scotch at the bar, or a bridesmaid ripping her dress or forgetting your cake knife at home. It could rain. Yes, something will go wrong, no matter what you do to make sure it doesn’t. Life is still life, even if it’s your wedding day. Whether it turns into a wedding-ruining disaster is up to you. You can either freak out about it if you can’t change it, or do the best you can to solve the problem or work around it. If you can’t do either, you should let it go. Not easy, sometimes, I know. Fake it, if you have to, until you can turn it into a good story! I know, I’m so zen. I’m also right.

Lie #4: I can’t handle this pressure. You’re right, I’m going to ruin my wedding because I suck.

The Truth: Yeah, I kind of set you up for that with the premise of this post, sorry. Look, you’re human. And you’re a human who probably hasn’t planned a wedding before. And there are a thousand questions that need answering, and a thousand expectations that need managing, and a bunch of stuff that you had no idea you were going to have to deal with when you started this.  Pull the breaks when you start giving yourself a hard time about giving yourself a hard time.

Lie #5: Nothing ever goes right for me. I’m telling you: This is going to suck!

The Truth: If you’re standing inside a door, waiting to walk down the aisle to marry the love of your life, followed by cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and the love and laughter that you know (and you do know) is coming at some point that day? Then a lot of stuff has gone very, very right, for some time now. More things — most things — will go right on your wedding day then will go wrong. For one thing, you’re going to end up married, which is why we’re all here in the first place. You’re going to have a good day, I promise. Just remember to watch out for it.

What are you beating yourself up about right now? Do you have any questions about anything you’re afraid will go wrong? Let me know in the comments below.

  • 5/8

    Credit: Picotte Photography

    So, somewhere along the numbers counting line, you realized you and your budget are screwed. Now what?

    This week, as promised, here are five pre-contract and post-contract tweaks and cuts that you can make now to save some money.

    Step 1: Find Out What You Can Do and When You Can Do It

    Go over the contracts, signed and unsigned. What is non-refundable? What is refundable? When are final counts, final choices and final payments due?  Are there minimum catering costs, minimum hours, minimum services that you’ll be locked into? These are part of every contract or agreement you’re going to sign, so if you can’t find it or it doesn’t say, call and ask.

    Step 2: Cutting Your Guest List – The Hard, Painful Truth

    The biggest slice of every wedding budget is the cost of your food, alcohol, and your venue. The “rule” is that it shouldn’t take up more than 50% of your budget. So, if you have a $10,000 budget, food, alcohol and your venue should not be more than $5,000.  Remember that when you look at the food and beverage minimum for the venue. If it’s more than half your budget, that is your largest money issue. Focus on that first half of your budget before you tackle the rest.

    Here’s the potentially painful part: The biggest factor determining your catering and bar costs  is your number of guests. Less guests, less money. Twenty guests at $50.00 per person, not counting tax and service is $1,000. You heard me: 20 people is two tables (10 guests per table), two centerpieces and 20 chairs — 40 for both ceremony and reception. Twenty slices of cake. Sixty drinks. And you have to pay for it all, one way or another. The easiest way to save money is to cut your guest list, if you still can.

    Step 3: Reduce and Downgrade To The Minimums

    Can you have a choice of two entrees instead of three? Serve beer and wine instead of mixed drinks? Signature cocktail instead of open bar? No string lights, no chair covers, no chair ties, no chiavari chairs. A slightly smaller cake that you can cut into slightly smaller pieces, since there’s always cake left over? Peonies are gorgeous, but they’re also expensive, no matter what season it is. Talk to your florist and look at less expensive alternatives. Photography for five hours costs less than eight hours. If you’ve already upgraded, downgrade back down to the minimum you can contract for, and you can figure out how to make it work. Email me if you need to.

    Step 4: Recycle and Combine

    If your ceremony and your reception are in two locations, will you save money if you have them in the same place? Can your ceremony flowers be used at your reception? One set of chairs instead of two?

    Step 5: Ask. Just Ask.

    This should actually be Step #2, but people aren’t keen on asking for help. It shows vulnerability, it means you’re settling (the “S” word), you’re publicly proclaiming that you don’t have “enough” money and it shows that you don’t know what you’re doing. I get it. But how are you supposed to know what you’re doing if you’ve never done it before. And the only thing you’re settling for is less debt and more money in your bank account. And you aren’t going to hurt or offend any of us — that’s why the payment and cancellation terms are in our contracts in the first place. So, ask anyway, and find out how we can help.  And if the answer is “No,” then it’s on to the next decision. But you won’t know until you ask. And, the last option you looked at is not the only one you have. You may get tired of looking and asking, but that’s not the same thing as not having choices.

    So, what’s killing your budget right now? What is that you aren’t willing to sacrifice that you need a work around for? Let me know in the comments below!

    And if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, visit

    See you at the end of the aisle,

  • 3/2

    Dear Liz, I thought I was just another BAB until I came to this site, now I think I am THE BAB.  I see these posts where people have $5,000 budgets, and I have no idea where they come up with that kind of bank!  My fiance and I are both teachers and neither of us have family to attend, let alone help pay for,…

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