I spent my first few months of wedding planning gripped with fear. Instead of happily celebrating our new commitment, my partner and I were erupting into fights and banging our heads against the walls. I was scared that we couldn’t afford the dream wedding that I wanted. I was scared that somehow my thrifty shindig wouldn’t measure up. And somewhere, deep down, I was pretty certain that our small-ish budget was an indication that I – and our relationship – were lacking.
Thankfully for me, my partner, and our walls I discovered this site. I took a deep breath and poured a glass of wine and made the earth shattering decision that money is not morality. And that regardless of what we ended up paying for our wedding, the final amount wasn’t decisive of whether I was “poor,” “bad” or “that much more awesome because I paid $2000 for chiavari chairs.” (Ugh. Chairs costs.)
It doesn’t matter what you spend. Because here’s the big secret for the newbie brides: What you spend on your wedding can be a secret that goes with you (and your partner) to the grave. Or you can blog about it and tell the world. You can even lie about it. But the how much or how little you spend doesn’t mean you got the “wedding” part right. If it were that easy, our divorce rate would be lower and the WIC would finally win.
Try to release yourself from the pressure to spend and instead embrace the concept of money as a tool. (Because really, that’s all it is.) It can buy you chiavari chairs or an ice sculpture, but you can also get married in a your favorite pair of shoes and eat ice cream. (Nix the chairs all together and stand! It’s healthier anyways.)
Your budget does not equal your self-worth. (And it’s not your partners either. So give him a break if you don’t get a 2-carat diamond ring. Or, better yet – help him decide a budget you guys are both comfortable with spending. After all, it’s your SHARED resources that are merging. Go be a feminist.)
Creating a wedding budget isn’t really about being “rich” or “poor.” It’s about being smart with the tools (money) you have in order to pay for a complex event that’s unlike anything you have previously done. It is about wanting to use your tools effectively to create a moment of beauty that will live with you and your family forever.
Creating a wedding budget is simply deciding how many of your resources to spend on the act of getting married.
Because at the end of the day you really only need $25, or $50, or maybe even $100 to cover the marriage license fees. It is not about one-upping your neighbor or being forced to settle for something you consider ‘ugly’ because you’re not aware of all your options. The feel & beauty of a wedding can be created on any budget (and that’s the point of my weekly budget breakdowns). Hint: styling a wedding is the easy part.
Don’t let the fear of not having a “nice” wedding control how you approach wedding planning. Instead, feel empowered that you are creating a new baby family. Feel empowered that you are legally allowed to do so. But do NOT feel small or scared because your budget isn’t this guys.
Now, I know from personal experience that this is hard. It’s somewhat akin to going on detox. So let me offer up (for free!) my 3-step WIC-detox:
- Look at the stuff your ALREADY own. Admire your favorite coffee cup, your awesome cellphone, and even your favorite sweatshirt. And if you’re lucky enough to have a computer with the an internet connection?!! Then look at the WHOLE world.
- Avoid looking at wedding blogs. This is especially true for those that feature effortlessly perfect, staged pictures of wedding glory. Instead look at this. Or even this.
- Now make your wedding budget. Go find your partner, your family if applicable, and your favorite bottle of wine. Do some research on what weddings can cost and then decide how much of your collective resources will go towards this shindig.