When I first got engaged I was stoked as visions of the perfect wedding floated through my mind. However, I quickly realized that my “perfect wedding” could put us in debt before our journey even started. We are long past the times of the brides' parents paying for the wedding, especially if you are both coming from middle-class families as most of us are.
If you do have a Daddy Warbucks more power to you. For those of us who don't, who pays for these lavish soirees? How can people afford these things without breaking the bank? Here are a few tips to help you plan a wedding with a budget…
They say you shouldn't talk about politics, religion, or money… unless you're getting married. If you and your partner haven't had The Talk yet, this may be a good time. Lets face it when you're dating you may over spend on dates and gifts to woo your love interest. Sometimes overspending gives your partner the impression that there is more money in your bank account than there really is. I disclosed my debt to my fiancé from the big and scary student loans, to the small but-still-owed credit card balance. While this can be a scary topic, it's important to be honest about what each of you is bringing to the table.
Set an honest budget
If you and your partner are primarily funding your wedding, be honest with each other about what you can afford. This is why having “the talk” is crucial. Once you come up with a number you are comfortable with try your best to stick to it. Downloading a wedding budget template is a great place to start.
Then divide and conquer who is paying for what and the amount they are contributing. Start by making a list of your wedding costs. There are plenty of templates available online. Remember there are no rules here, mix and match until you find something that works for you.
Don't just invite people because someone else wants you to
Keep it small and intimate. We have chosen to keep our guest list at a rounded 150. You may be thinking “that's a lot!” But, when you come from a huge Hispanic family where a guest list of 300 is the norm, 150 is considered tiny. Be ready to sit your abuela down and let her know that her cousins-daughter's-niece's-boyfriend won't be making the guest list.
When dealing with a large extended family my guest list rule is: If they haven't met the groom and I haven't seen them in years they won't be making the cut. I don't mean to be harsh but I've noticed all too often guest lists multiply like fruit flies.
Reach out to people you know with specific skill sets
I cannot stress this enough. If your uncle is a baker, ask him to make your wedding cake. Not only will this cut the cost, but your cake will be made with love and dedication. Our wedding venue does not provide catering, so I reached out to the catering company where I worked in high school. I had a great relationship with my boss and he was more than happy to help, while allowing us to personalize our menu without breaking the bank. Everyone needs help at some point in their lives so don't be afraid to ask for it.
Three simple letters: DIY
While it may be a more time-consuming option, making your own paper flowers, spray painting old vintage frames, and crafting your own centerpieces will go a long way. If you have a wedding party or crafty friend this is the time pull out the friend card and ask for some help. After all what are friends for if not to help you create the wedding of your dreams? Just be sure to return the favor and offer to do the same when it's their turn.
What are your budgeting tips for paying for your own wedding?