At first when I thought about wedding planning I felt both overwhelmed with where to start and kind of like it was going to be a piece of cake since our wedding would be small and not allow for too many details (Read: Choices). As with most things in my life, when I don’t know where to start I just start blindly moving forward hoping I will stumble on the right path.
Having moved forward a little in the process, I now see where the real work comes in. The budget – or more specifically, creating the wedding of your dreams within the budget you can afford. The hard choices aren’t Roses vs. Tulips or Blue Vs. Purple. The hard choices are “can we afford guest gifts vs. finding a gift that fits your vision and is the right cost so you can fit it into your wedding” and “I envision my bridesmaids carrying bouquets vs. can we find a less-expensive non-flower option that will add to the wedding experience instead of detract”.
When I wasn’t sure where to start with the wedding planning, I just started making a list of everything that I will need for the wedding I envision. Then I started putting numbers to each item in my vision to see what we would be looking at cost-wise. To my surprise, my “simple”, “budget” wedding I envisioned was still twice what we have to spend on one!
It turns out that the budget was a good place to start. After seeing the total cost of my ideal I could start picking each item apart and seeing where I could reduce costs or cut something out completely.
The first thing I looked at is what would happen if we reduced the number of guest at the wedding (which would mean we would just be growing our after-wedding celebration barbecue party list). Still not within budget. Then I started looking at what costs I could reduce and, reluctantly, what details of the wedding were things I could let go of and eliminate the cost all together. Even when I go down to what I consider “bare bones plus a little deeper” we still aren’t within budget.
Now I see this the part of the wedding planning where you really have to roll up your sleeves and dive in. It takes a lot of work to research all of the options out there to find the best choice/value for the money. It takes a lot of running around and looking in all the dark corners to find that great deal so you can include an element of your wedding that you might have to exclude otherwise due to cost. This is where you have to get creative and resourceful and think outside the box. This is where you have to sit down with your Fiancé and make the hard choices about what to let go, what to keep and face the reality that you just might not be able to invite some of the guests that you want to.
As a side note: I am hoping my bridesmaids can help me brainstorm ideas…when I finally decide on who I am going to ask. Five heads are better, and more creative, than one.
Anyway, luckily I have over a year to plan. I think the wedding I envision is very simple and basic but it is going to take a lot of work to figure out how to make it happen and still come in at or under budget.
What was the hardest part of wedding planning for you?