Room to Breathe

What’s your budget?

Some of the most awkward things are also some of the most important–first and foremost, money. Our budget was tricky to nail down at first–we didn’t want to spend more than we needed to, but how much you “need” is hard to figure out before you start. The venue was the big piece that helped us get an idea of how much things might cost, and I tried to pick realistic numbers for everything. That meant I didn’t include anywhere we’d really splurge, but also assumed pretty average pricing on everything–for reference, I knew there was no way we’d be anywhere near the $1000 I set for printing, and we’re not. But I didn’t want to stress out over trying to match a possibly unrealistic number, so I aimed high (well, I aimed middle, but I’m calling it high) and then tried to come in at or below those numbers. Our ceremony will be more expensive than what’s listed, but we’re below on apparel, flowers, printing and music. 

Budget also means different things to different people. I’ll save you the click–the number I threw out in that earlier post was $33,000. For me, that meant I would stay at or below that number, and use it for the things listed in my budget spreadsheet. If I have extra somewhere, I can feel better about going over somewhere, but I don’t reallocate the money. I don’t have $500 free to spend on whatever I want to because I made my own invitations, I just…didn’t spend that $500. And if I was off on something (ahem, men’s platinum wedding band) I just shrug my shoulders. We should come in at or below my current budget, but if we don’t because, for example, more people come, that’s totally okay.

I know some people have a number, and they plan to spend it (also where people go over–they allocate all of the money, and then the alterations cost more than anticipated, but the spare money from not buying favors has already been used so you could get better shoes and…you know)–the Set Amount Budgeter. Others don’t want to go over a certain number (the Max Budget), and still others have a target but don’t stress on the specifics (the Ballpark Budgeter). And some just spend as little as they can to get what they want and hope for the best (the Fingers Crossed Budgeter).

The other tricky thing about budgets is what exactly to include. I leave out my engagement ring and the honeymoon. The engagement ring because he bought that himself, for me. (I actually sort of feel like the wedding rings shouldn’t count either, since they’re a symbol of the marriage but can vary a lot, although they are counted in my budget.)

Honeymoons can take so many different forms that I don’t think including them makes sense. I have friends who are having a more modest wedding, but a pretty extravagant honeymoon and others who roadtripped their honeymoon to afford the huge wedding they wanted. Everyone has different priorities, but the type of honeymoon and type of wedding you have don’t really have too much to do with each other.

For us, I was a cross between Ballpark and Max–I’m generally a frugal person and we had money saved, I just didn’t want to spend more than needed. (I also didn’t want to spend less than needed at the expense of friends and family. If we had needed their help to allow us to have things we otherwise couldn’t afford that would be one thing, but saving money at someone else’s expense when we could afford what we want is another.)

By the end of the planning process though, it was getting tough. I wanted to just get things done. At the same time, $100 (or $1000) here and there DOES add up. Finally, Shamrock pointed out that I wasn’t going to get an award for meeting some imaginary target. If I spend a little extra money, that I already have in the bank, instead of stressing over how to spend $15 less? Nothing happens. I just have $15 less. So in the home stretch I let it go…and we’ll see how I did next.

What’s included in your budget? Are you a Ballpark Budgeter? Fingers Crossed? Or maybe a Set Amount or Max Budget?

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