February 8, 2008

The Budget, The Strategy

Posted in Planning Your Own Wedding: Step by Step at 8:15 pm by Jess

So the budget number is out there, looming closer than that raincloud over Eyeore’s head. It’s hard to be cheerful about the budget. The budget is not your BFF.  The budget doesn’t want you to have mini-cupcakes at each plate. The budget is a real stick in the mud. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot work with it. Try to shift into thinking of it as a challenge. Every planner loves a good challenge. At least that is what I feel about planning. And to meet the challenge, you have to strategize.

The best strategy is to figure out what your priorities are. This is HUGE!  Your wedding budget might be exactly the same number as another couple, but the money will be allotted in a totally different way depending on what is important to you. If you are a level-headed person, who doesn’t want to bankrupt anyone in the family, or lose the last five year’s savings, you won’t be able to have all that you want. I know I might sound a little harsh here, given that it is your special day, but consider that hopefully you are embarking on a happy life, one of many special moments. Consider that in a few years you might be buying a house, or stocking up on baby supplies. You may want to finally trade in your ancient clunker for a nice ride. Do the mini-cupcakes seem so important now? Your day should be special – Memorable – but it should also be reasonable to your lifestyle and means.

Take an hour with your fiancé at a local coffee shop. Bring with you a copy of the list from this post. Now list the top five priorities for your day (or ten, if you’d like, or go crazy and rank each item if you have had extra caffeine) . Do it separately. No peeking!

This is a really great exercise because not only do you two discover what really matters about this day to each one of you, and then where to put the money accordingly, but you are having a lesson in the fundamental truth about marriage: You are still two people, with two different minds, and possibly two different sets of priorities. Life together as a married couple will be about meshing those together constructively, with success.



  1. Great tips! I also encourage some of my clients to ask their good friends to buy them a gift certificate toward their photo package that they REALLY want but is a little out of their budget. For her shower one of my clients asked her girlfriends to buy her the photo album she wants to add to her package. I think it is smart to ask for what you REALLY want, that is the whole point of the registry thing. So if you really want a certain photo album or a special cake for your wedding day, perhaps your friends could help you get that for a shower or wedding gift instead of a frilly bra or candle.

  2. Jessica Brogan said,

    That is a really good idea. I know a lot of people cringe at the words gift certificate. But honestly, isnt that kind of just an extension of a registry?? Just like YOU said. The idea of a bridesmaid giving me a present for getting married is a little crazy to me, but some really want to out of generosity, and this is a good idea. So i have heard that one couple asked their whole audience for money as a gift, and they were able to buy “portions” or areas of their home-to-be which they wanted to have built. Like “kitchen floor” or “bathroom cabinets” etc. I cannot remember where I read it, but some of the comments were horrified at this idea. I think it is great. Asking for money for a tangible, life-long gift…much like photography

  3. Martina Lomibao said,

    I couldn’t agree with you more regarding your thoughts about budget. When we first started wedding planning, I had a ballpark figure of how much we were willing to spend on this thing but of course with time, things just seem to add up, and your budget gets thrown completely out of the water. However, I do really think it’s still important to initially outline one and to definitely prioritize what items you could not do without regarding your big day and put them on top of your priority list. This is something you should sit and do wiht your fiancee because what may be important to you, can be completely not important to him. Now on a side note, I’m really enjoying your blog and keep up the great work. It really does help to write things down sometimes to keep yourself organized.

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