This weekend just gone I sat on the other side of this wedding ‘fence’ and spent the day dress shopping with one of my closest girlfriends and brides to be.
What I was taken aback with was the number of comments from the ‘bridal posse’s’ at each dress shop. “Oh don’t worry it’s over budget just don’t tell him”, “your folks will pay” or a polar opposite “I’m only wearing it for a few hours why spend $5000?!”
I have to say I agree with the latter.
Getting married is one day, on the rest of your life. No doubt may other wedding industries folk will be cursing me for saying that but let me explain my logic.
Budget is the key thing to any Wedding, every single couple talks about it at some stage in their planning, it causes stress and arguments, and if you exceed what you had planned, you’ll regret it later.
I heard a great radio interview recently with another cool young Celebrant over on the east coast about his pricing. The announcer asked if that’s cheap, and he said no. But then went on to say he’s setting himself up so he’s still in business in 6, 12, 24 months and so he can keep giving this is all and be the best.
And I feel the same. Unlike every other component of a Wedding, you have to have someone to officiate it. Or it’s not a Wedding. And the Ceremony will set the tone for the rest of the day.
Every wedding supplier will say their product/service is the key to a successful day. And most are probably right.
But somewhere along the line, more often than not, something’s gotta give.
All you NEED to get married, and I mean be legally married, because after all that’s the outcome your trying to achieve and the whole point of the day, is someone you love standing beside you, 2 other loved ones (but it can be random folk off the street, it’s happened!) and someone to officiate it.
Those are the absolute necessities. Everything else is a bonus. You can get married in your jimmy-jam’s in your Mum’s lounge room if you like. Or the grand ballroom at the Waldorf.
But those few things are all you NEED.
So how to tackle this awful budget thing. Where can you splurge and where should you scrimp?
My advice is pretty simple. Write a list.
List every single thing you want at your wedding, then rank them from most important ‘must have’s’ to ‘negotiable’, and where possible include them in order of priority.
Usually the Venue, Celebrant, Photographer, Dress, Food and Drink are the top few. Their things you need to book or order in advance.
From there, think outside the square. Where can you save or ‘trim’ the costs? Perhaps don’t spend $500 on a wedding cake, and perhaps do a Cake Buffet? Or don’t have the photographer for 12 hours, if you can only afford 6 or 8?
Ask your married friends what they would’ve done differently? Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Another kicker is the ‘oh I can just do it myself, we’ll have a craft afternoon’ logic – this doesn’t always work either, (here’s another great blog on this and working with suppliers – http://www.shannonfleming.com.au/stop-collaborate-and-listen/) and can often end up costing you more financially as well as in sanity.
Some things are definitely worth spending the extra on. One common question I see on the Wedding forums is ‘can anyone recommend a great, cheap photographer’ – this is in the same category as Unicorns and a washing machine that folds your clothes. Doesn’t exist.
So spend a little extra, within reason, so you can enjoy your Wedding photos for years to come.
Celebrants is another thing, I know of Celebrants $250 cheaper than me (and Josh!) but with us, I genuinely believe you get what you pay for. I think I’m worth the extra and I’m sure the other ‘not so cheap’ Celebrants do too.
Food IS important. No-one wants to be starving at a wedding and chasing the caterer and their canapé tray around the reception. Make sure you have enough food and drink. If you can’t afford ‘enough’ of the fancy shmancy food, go down a level/cost bracket and you can order a bit extra, the same goes for drinks. And if you aren’t supplying food or a lot of drinks, that’s absolutely ok, but be sure to tell your guest beforehand, that way they can have lunch or a snack between Ceremony and reception.
Some things will longer long after the Wedding day, and some will be thrown out by the cleaners as everyone heads home, high-heels in hand.
So work out what matters to you, think of anything you’ve loved at weddings you’ve been to, things you thought they could do better, and go from there.
But above all keep it in perspective. It’s about celebrating the fact you’ve decided to spend the rest of your live with the one you love.