Friday, June 12, 2009

B is for Budget

I realize the last couple of posts have been long and I apologize...for this will be another.

{rant}Can I be honest? I hate the word budget right now!

Before getting engaged and before beginning the planning of our wedding, I had no earthly idea what weddings generally cost. You read everywhere that now a days the average wedding costs upwards of $25,000! What, seriously!? I never understood how the cost could be so high. Now that I'm in the thick of planning our wedding I can totally see why that $25k was chosen as the "golden number". Stuff adds up realllllyyyy fast.

I am trying to be as conservative and budget friendly as possible and still make our big day magical and unforgettable. That is proving to be a tremendous challenge! In the begging of all this planning, it was my hope to be able to stick to a budget of $6,000.

I'm covering the cost of the wedding almost entirely myself. My mom is not in a financial position that will allow her to help a whole lot. She's going to when she can and that is perfectly fine. I've told her multiple times not to feel pressured. She's helping in so many other ways that will save me money in the long run. And my dad hasn't had an active role in my life in over 6 I'm not going to him to ask for money. Plus, I don't think he could help anyways because of his financial situation.

As you've read, I've known for a long time that I would spend the most amount of money on wedding photography. I would NEVER consider changing this. Yes it's a lot of money ($4,500), but the results and rewards we will have will be worth far more than any amount of money.

Subtract $4,500 from $6,000 and you have $1,500 left. I thought that would be enough. After all, the only other big things I'd need are the rental items and the food. Seeing as I've never been married before, I was completely clueless as to what the cost of the rental items would be. We need a tent, chairs, tables, linens and a small PA/Sound System. Shouldn't be to bad right....maybe $1,000-$1,500? Oh how wrong and naive I was.

I have a contact (because of the company I work for) with a local party rental company. He's a great guy and I knew he would be able to work with my and my "little" budget. A number of weeks ago, I called him to let him know I would be needing his help in determining what rental items I would be needing. More specifically, what kind and size of tent I would need. After discussing some details, he told me what he would suggest for the tent. When he told me the cost, I about hit the floor. The tent quote was $1,080.00!!! OMG....really? Then we talked tables and chairs and linens briefly. He told me he would get a quote together and send it my way.

The total for the tent (30'x60'), round tables (60"), chairs (white Samsonite) and linens (basic white) totaled to $1,799.60 after fees and tax! And that price was after he discounted the rental price on everything. The total without the discounts would be $2,021.23! And that was just a basic list, it didn't include everything we will be needing!

Now, this is all stuff we NEED....not stuff we want.
1) We need a tent because the weather here is unpredictable and we need a backup plan in case of rain (heaven forbid).
2) We also need the tent to shade our guests so they don't fry and burn up in the afternoon sun during the reception.
3) We have to have chairs for the guests to sit in during the ceremony and reception. I've already skimped on the chairs as you might have read here.
4) We have to have tables for the guests to sit at during the reception and for the food. We have a few tables that we own that we can use for the food, cake table and sweetheart table but that only eliminates 3 tables...which doesn't add up to much savings. But it's something and it all adds up in the end.
5) Linens are needed because the quality of rental tables is often poor because they are used and abused so much. I've looked into purchasing the linens myself in an effort to save money but it's cheaper to rent them. I did however pickup some rectangular table cloths at the dollar store (that look amazingly nice, they're white lace) for $5 a piece. Which is considerably cheaper than the rental price, that way I at least eliminate the need for some linens. And I can try and sell them after the wedding to gain back some of the cost. If the dollar store had the same lace table cloths in round sizes I would have snatched them up in a heart beat! However, they didn't.

What was I to do? I can't get rid of any of these things. I was already choosing the most basic and low cost items available in an effort to save money. I can't eliminate any of these things. Thus, my budget of $6,000 was out the window...and fast. I figure that once I go and meet with Jeff (aka the rental guy) and we get everything that we will be needing on the list it will come to around $2,500. There is another rental company in town that has a lower price on the same size tent I'll be needing and a lower price on the round tables. So, I'm going to ask Jeff if he can at least match the prices for me. Otherwise....I'll most likely have to go with the other company as much as I would rather not.{/rant}

Have you had any big shocks in the planning process? How did you deal with them?

Up next, our idea of a reception.


  1. Does the 6k not include the cost of feeding your guests? That's where the bulk of our costs is going.

  2. I hear you. I'm about $4000 over what I had hoped to pay for our wedding. That amount is basically the cost of things that I way UNDERestimated. For instance, I had no idea photographers cost what they do. We've also had a few "surprises" mostly from my fiance and his inability to communicate financial issues to me so I could plug them into the budget! We too are paying for this on our own and it's rough. I can't wait to hear how you plan to solve the problems! I know you can do it!

  3. Sarah, in my original hope to have a budget of 6k, that did include the food. We aren't having a sit down meal for the reception. That enables us to save lots of money. My mom and I estimate that the food costs for the reception will be $500-600.