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)

2 Responses to “The Runaway Wedding Budget”

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  1. I’d keep shopping for a photographer! 3k sounds like a lot to me. It is amazing how those wedding budgets can get away from you. Ruffled has an online marketplace on their site where you can save on those little details…people used them for one day and are trying to sell them usually at a deeply cut price rather than just toss them. Oh, and CONGRATS!

    • Will says:

      Great recommendation on RuffledBlog. I’d never been there but there’s some good stuff. I’ll have to follow it and see what I can find. $3k seems to be in a mid-range for the type of photos we’re looking for. We want photos that are creative/artsy. There are only a few photographers in the area who we have found that can do what we want, so it makes it a lot more difficult to save here. We’ve managed to find the most affordable of them without sacrificing on what we want from the photographer. We definitely have considered ditching the “type” of photos we want in order to save $1-1.5k, but it’s still a discussion in progress. The photos (and memories) are what will last us a lifetime. I think we’d rather compromise on food or other items that are “consumed” and never used again after the wedding rather than something we expect to keep/use in the future.

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