Our Wedding Budget Recap

I finally married the love of my life in July and I’ve been wanting to do this wedding budget recap but I’ve been slacking. So finally, here it is. I first wrote about our runaway wedding budget back in our initial stages of wedding planning almost a year ago. And boy, did that thing run away! We went from an initial (hopeful) estimate of $12k, which we soon realized wasn’t going to be possible for what we wanted. So we adjusted our budget up about $23k. But by the end of it all, we shot through that budget by $10k. I don’t regret any of it, since it was all part of the most amazing experience. We took a year to craft every detail of the wedding to be exactly what we wanted and it turned out even better than anticipated. Here are some quick pictures to give you a feel for the wedding (without revealing any identities – you know, since this is an anonymous blog and all).

Wedding budget - men gray vans

Wedding Chalkboard - Two Families Become One

Wedding Rustic Burlap Cake

Wedding Thumbprint Tree Guestbook Leaf Your Print

Wedding Bridesmaids Different Colored Shoes

But this is a personal finance blog, not a wedding blog, so it’s really all about the numbers. Obviously, this was a huge chunk of money to spend for one day and it absolutely could have come in handy when we purchased our house recently (more on that to come). But if I were to do it again, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Our wedding was a celebration of our life together.

But for those who are interested, here is the complete breakdown of the numbers. As you’ll see, this total budget includes our Jamaican honeymoon.

Wedding Budgets Results - Expenses\

The Runaway Wedding Budget

Last November, I proposed to my girlfriend of seven years. Who knows why, but for some reason she said ‘yes’. Until then we had discussed weddings in fairly generic terms without many details. But with the wedding looming in “the future”, the first talks of wedding details began.

Runaway Wedding Budget - Wedding VenueAs a couple, one of the first things that you must do is create a budget. It doesn’t have to be set in stone (ours is clearly not), but creating even the most basic wedding budget will allow you to determine what your wedding will actually cost. After becoming engaged, we voted not to do much wedding planning until this summer because we didn’t want to drag out the process any longer than necessary. So about two months ago we finally sat down and discussed our budget goals. Initially, we anticipated being able to have the wedding we wanted for $12,000. At the time that seemed reasonable to both of us. However, once we started looking at venues (and then some of the other associated costs), we soon realized that $12k wasn’t going to happen.

Our issue was that we had completely underestimated our expenses, as well as forgotten many of the “details”. Those $100 and $300 things you need really add up. Our other issue is that the categories where there is fat that can be cut (such as photographer), are categories that we do not want to compromise. There are areas where we will be able to cut some of our expenses, and others where we simply can’t.

I believe that there is a big difference between getting a deal on a quality photographer, and getting a cheap photographer. Ideally we’d find someone who is creatively talented but new, and doesn’t have a large portfolio (but has done a few weddings). At this point the photographer wouldn’t be able to command a top-dollar price ($3k-ish), but would still deliver great work.

Because we had underestimated costs, left out others, and aren’t willing to compromise others, we’re currently looking at spending between $20 and $25k total on the wedding. I will be posting a more detailed budget soon. In true Hacking the Bank fashion, you can expect me to be pretty transparent with it all. Hopefully there are others out there who will find the information useful when planning their own wedding. Over the next year you can probably expect a lot of wedding-related posts coming to HTB.

(Image courtesy of HereComesTheGuide)