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Budget Weddings

Feeling the strain...

More a rant/vent than anything, but here we go...

My FI & I are paying for our whole wedding ourselves. It's going to come out to between $30k and $40k, depending on factors such as if we get money from his family (they say they'll give us some or cover DJ or photog or something. I'm budgeting for $0), how many guests we invite (our guest list can fluctuate from 110 to 150 depending on our savings account at the time of the invitations), and a few other factors. That's a lot of money, as my family is quick to tell me, but a lot lower than what most of my friends and coworkers have spent, because the NYC metro is a brutal place to plan a wedding. 

Before you ask, we did it the right way: we decided what our budget was based on our current savings + what we could save over 2 years (~$40k, including contingency), then made a guest list, built a full budget, and then found a venue that accommodates 110-200 people and fits that budget. We're aiming for $30k because we want to buy a house after, and any savings on the wedding will go directly into that. 

On top of that, I'm getting a lot of side-eye from my family for spending more than $10k on a wedding. They're not big wedding people, and don't see the point of us inviting a bunch of friends or me getting a big wedding dress instead of something off the rack for under $100 at Macy's or something. Which is 100% fine for them, but really not what I want. Since we're paying, my FI and I get to choose. But it's still hard sometimes to avoid unsolicited opinions from your mom or MOH sister, even with a lot of bean dipping. At some point they have to know things like the fact that you're inviting over 100 people or where your venue is on a Saturday night, and they can do the math to know that we don't exactly have a cake & punch budget.

Now, it's still 18 months away, and in the 5 months we've been engaged we've put together about 1/3 of our max budget, so we're completely on track, but it's starting to weigh on me. I'm still working on my MA and I'm thinking of taking a semester work off to do my thesis. While I probably won't have to, it's tough to realize that I've pretty much committed to working full time for the duration of my degree, and that making other big changes, such as moving, are bad ideas until spring of 2017. I think what's worse is the uncertainty of not knowing what the end budget will be, what will happen once I graduate this spring, etc. Family telling me that there's no reason to have a 100+ person guest list and wondering why I need a DJ is just added stress.

Anyone else go through something like this? I know, I could have far worse financial problems (and have in the past), but it doesn't make the stress of this any easier to deal with. 

And really, reading this over, it's not that bad, but it's a lot of stress that I can't talk to friends or family about, because there's absolutely no reason to stir that pot, or let them get that close to my budget. So thanks for letting me vent. 

Re: Feeling the strain...

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited October 2015
    Take a break.  Really, just keep saving money, but take a break from planning.   You are long way off and there are some things that just don't need to be confirmed at this point.     Plus plans change, visions change.     For the love of god, step away from Pinterest or like websites.  They just suck you into thinking you "need" things when you don't.

    I assume since you have a date you have the venue already.   If yes, then that is great.  The budget for other things that you spend money on like invitations, flowers, attire, linens can be easily adjusted closer to the wedding.  Even reducing menus at the venue can often be adjusted (as long as you met an minimums the venue/caterer might have).

    I originally had a $5k flower budget.   3 months out reduced it to $3K.    I had the extra $2k, but just decided I really didn't "need" the extra flowers.  There were a few other things we reduced simply because our priorities  and/or tastes changed (although there were 1 or 2 things that were increased).  

      With 18 months to go I'm sure your priorities will change also.     




    Feel free to post here.  We do not mind wedding talk.  That is what we are here for.   I agree, do not involve your family.  They will just stress you out even more.







    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    JediElizabethShesSoColdlc07[Deleted User]
  • I haven't told anyone my budget, but I do have friends giving unsolicited advice about full open bar versus beer and wine only, wedding dresses, etc. Fortunately, I have one friend who is very opinionated and is of the same frame of mind I am in that she believes that your wedding IS worth whatever you can/feel comfortable spending on it. She's all for going all out for this one event because it's a day you'll always remember. When I bought my wedding dress under budget, her response was "fantastic! Now you can spend the rest of the money on killer undergarments which will make it look even better!"

    If you can afford to spend the money, then it's no one else's business. But it sounds like you're also struggling with the possibility that maybe you're spending too much given that you want to take a semester off work. If that's the case, then I'd urge you to spend some time thinking about it before committing, then think of cost-savings alternatives. Everything on a wedding list can be altered, in my opinion. It just depends on your priorities.
    JediElizabethMesmrEwe
  • Thanks! I just had one of those freak-out moments this morning - I had car trouble this week, and put a bit more money into my engine and a bit less into the wedding budget than planned this paycheck. Nothing we won't be able to compensate for later, but I'm always anxious about money stuff.   

    You're both right, put put a lot of flexibility into our plans, knowing that situations change, and we'll be able to figure it all out.

    Venting helps. As does both of your input. Thank you! :)
  • Keep saving up "as if" and at the end of the day, remember anything you don't spend is going to go towards upgrades on your new home or even possibly being closer to paying it off entirely and living future debt free and save for retirement!!!  $30,000 - AWESOME.  Remember it's still the little nickels and dimes that will add up whether you've got a $500 budget or a $50,000 budget. 

    I also wholeheartedly agree with the PP - step away from the planning and Pinterest/bridal magazines/etc. for a while!  Relax and enjoy the process.  You aren't getting married in December, you've got time to enjoy the process and take things at your own pace.  Some things really don't come until the end - like finalizing your budget for flowers as the market can fluctuate a lot between now and then.  Cake is something you could do now since that's something that is easy to have extra slices leftover (if you book for 100% of your invited count) than not have enough so you can have your pick of bakers now.  It's easier to come in under budget than it is to go over budget!

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  • Try posting on the Luxery Weddings board.  There are other brides who feel as you do.
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  • I get how you feel. Our budget is way less then yours and we are saving as we go. I will be working 2 jobs and FI (a disabled veteran) is looking for a decent paying job. His truck broke down, we spent 1500 to "fix" it and it's still a mess. He has a good lead on a job, just waiting on background check ( he had a DWI 3 years ago and it might snag his hireablility) I stress every dollar we spend. If he gets this job, he can get a newer car , make payments and put money away. But two jobs and not seeing him a lot is stressful in and of itself. Right now, I have a lot of what I need, except the money. I need a planning/stressing/over thinking break too. But it's hard to put it aside.keep saving, but take a break, go,do,something fun, blow off steam and tell the people giving advise that you appreciate their opinions, but you have a different vision.
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    JediElizabeth
  • I know how you feel - spending a large amount of money on this from your own back account is stressful. Our budget is a little lower (smaller guest list), but we had to increase it more than once and each time it's like yes, we feel we really want this DJ and a good photographer etc. etc., but we also want to save for a home and such. It all just feels so big, you know? Like all really big decisions about our future.

    Weirdly, my family is actually providing the opposite problem - we want to stick to a lower budget, but my mom keeps insisting that we need to get the more expensive option and FILs want more people to be invited. We're like don't these people want us to be saving money?!

    In sum: paying for the wedding ourselves is stressful in a lot of ways. When we get too stressed about it, we remind ourselves why we're doing this, review the budget to remind ourselves we're doing the best we can, and have a drink.

    Good luck!
    JediElizabeth
  • nerdwife said:
    I know how you feel - spending a large amount of money on this from your own back account is stressful. Our budget is a little lower (smaller guest list), but we had to increase it more than once and each time it's like yes, we feel we really want this DJ and a good photographer etc. etc., but we also want to save for a home and such. It all just feels so big, you know? Like all really big decisions about our future. Weirdly, my family is actually providing the opposite problem - we want to stick to a lower budget, but my mom keeps insisting that we need to get the more expensive option and FILs want more people to be invited. We're like don't these people want us to be saving money?! In sum: paying for the wedding ourselves is stressful in a lot of ways. When we get too stressed about it, we remind ourselves why we're doing this, review the budget to remind ourselves we're doing the best we can, and have a drink. Good luck!
    That's exactly it! In a lot of ways, I feel like whatever we choose now is going to affect us for a long time, financially at least.
    nerdwife
  • JediElizabeth said:

    nerdwife said:
    I know how you feel - spending a large amount of money on this from your own back account is stressful. Our budget is a little lower (smaller guest list), but we had to increase it more than once and each time it's like yes, we feel we really want this DJ and a good photographer etc. etc., but we also want to save for a home and such. It all just feels so big, you know? Like all really big decisions about our future. Weirdly, my family is actually providing the opposite problem - we want to stick to a lower budget, but my mom keeps insisting that we need to get the more expensive option and FILs want more people to be invited. We're like don't these people want us to be saving money?! In sum: paying for the wedding ourselves is stressful in a lot of ways. When we get too stressed about it, we remind ourselves why we're doing this, review the budget to remind ourselves we're doing the best we can, and have a drink. Good luck!
    That's exactly it! In a lot of ways, I feel like whatever we choose now is going to affect us for a long time, financially at least.

    Sounds like you went the right way with the budget/planning although since you have so much time I think I'd use some of it to look at ways to cut costs with things like flowers or decorations or maybe finding some items on a discount on a fb wedding resale page or something similar.

    Your comment above makes it sound like you're somewhat unsure about spending that much money so maybe just think about what your priority is - is it the big wedding, or finishing your thesis w/o having to work at the same time, buying a house, etc.

    JediElizabeth
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