Broke-Ass Tag: real bride 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,

  • 12/23

    BAB contributor Peach wrote a really raw post last week about not loving … or even really liking her wedding photos. This week, she gets over it, but it’s a little bit of a process. For very real reasons.

    My Wedding Photos Made Me Ugly-Cry, Part II: Getting Over It

    So why the freaking out?  Two reasons.

    First, there are just so damn many pictures of me. Not odd in the big picture (pun intended). But for someone who would much rather be the observer than the spectacle, the amount of All Up In My Business is downright bizarre and mildly upsetting.

    Or maybe it’s the fact that the Great American Wedding Factory shoves nothing but perfectly posed, styled, airbrushed and photoshopped images of bridal perfection into every social media outlet possible. Months later, I’m still weeding out the Twitter/Pinterest/Facebook/Instagram overload of All Things Bridal from my feeds. And I certainly know I’m not alone in feeling that we brides are expected to live up to a Schmyle Me Shpretty stereotype that is virtually impossible. That is, unless you’re a twiggy, well-financed heiress with connections to the most expensive venues, florists, caterers and oh, yeah — access to a group of friends who haven’t eaten in the last 10 years, all who happen to be the same height and can each afford $500.00 dresses. Bottom line: To be expected to live up to this standard isn’t just daunting, it’s CRUSHING.

    All that said, believe me when I say there is not a single thing I would want to change about how our day went, or how it looks in our photos. My husband and I stuck with our wedding vision throughout the whole process and our simple, elegant garden wedding was perfect. Which just proves the point that you don’t need to have a damn rare succulent-filled peonies bouquet or tulle-strewn, twinkly-lit vineyards for it to be deemed a gorgeous wedding.

    And I have no doubt that upon a further review (perhaps with a giant glass of vino) I know I will find that there are more than enough of photos of myself that are pleasing to my critical eye. They will be lovingly shared with family and friends who will treasure the memories, not for whether or not my dress is pinching my armpit fat, but for the love that we all felt that day. As for me, this moment of freaked-out-ed-ness will pass. Perhaps with many years and a few kids in between that day and this one, I’ll even look at the picture album I’ve yet to create and say … “damn, what was WRONG with me. I look smokin’!”

    Therefore, to the voices in my head that night, this recent bride would like to say “shut the fuck up.” I looked hot. And our wedding was awesome.

    This is what 36 years old looks like. Credit: Lee Patterson Photography

    Fairy-tale worthy. Photo Cred: Lee Patterson Photography

    Fairytale-worthy. Credit: Lee Patterson Photography

    One of my favorites. Makeup by Andrea Carter Artistry. Photo cred: Lee Patterson Photography

    One of my favorites. Makeup by Andrea Carter Artistry. Credit: Lee Patterson Photography

    Absolutely, positively love this. Photo cred: Lee Patterson Photography

    Absolutely, positively love this. Credit: Lee Patterson Photography

    That first blow with wedding photos can be really hard, and emotionally draining, especially after you’ve poured so much time, money and effort into orchestrating this celebration … it’s more than deflating. But with time, there is a really good chance that you’ll start to see beyond your own perceived flaws and realize what the day was all about: You, marrying the person you love most in front of the people you adore most. Everything beyond that is just extra, even the photos.

  • 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…

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    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…

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    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…

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    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…

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    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…

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    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…

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    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…

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