(Closed) How did you decide your budget? (considering other uses of the money) (long)

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 3
1902 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I still can’t justify the expense of a wedding, and that’s been hanging over my head for about 6 months!! When we got engaged and had our first ‘wedding talk,’ fiance said “I don’t want to spend more than $20-25,000 on the wedding, which just blew my mind. My ideal wedding would be about $5,000 – not a deposit on a house!

Like you, we’re both pretty money savvy and could pay for a 20K wedding tomorrow if we had to, but while fiance wants to have a proper traditional wedding, I feel physically sick at the thought of spending that much in one day.
Guess I’m not really much help with advice on how to help justify it, or how to allocate money, but I will say I can relate! 

Post # 5
6124 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Fiance and I are doing quite well for ourselves I would say. 

But when it comes to weddings, my limit is $5,000!  We could go all out and do a huge shebang, but morally/ethically for ourselves, we just cannot do that.

I had a wedding with guests planned and it was hitting near $10,000 and making me very woozy.  I was loosing sleep about having to pay $400+ for flowers (and that was just wildflowers in a mason jars) that will be thrown out after 5 hours use!  Yes, I was loosing sleep.  After looking at the expenses, it just didn’t feel right to take a honeymoon either.  So all the money was going into a party for the guests really.

In the end we cancelled the wedding with 4 months to go (more so due to my father’s terminal illness), but we got a second chance to think about where are we going with this wedding thing.  Thankfully we got our money back as well.

We dicded to just elope (well, by default we are eloping, people decided they cannot travel now), and we’re going to get married while on our honeymoon – that trip we weren’t going to take originally.  So the wedding, photographer, lodging, 11 day road trip is going to be around $5,000 now total.

Ultimatly I would have liked a very intimate wdding with just immediate family, but since that was not possible, this second option is actually a very nice option and we are thrilled about it.  It’s coming up in less than 2 weeks!


Originally we set our priorities as 1) beautiful location, 2) intimate and 3) in a place that is special to us.  However, #3 has been modified as we have never been to the location we are going (so it will be special eventually), but going somewhere that wasn’t a normal day’s drive for us was the new #3.  Also, I had to have a good photograher.

Post # 6
2401 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Well, we decided on the low side of averages for Chicago (which is 35K, so we decided on 25K). This is a lot of money for us and we weren’t even sure if we would be able to cover all the expenses. And as time has gone on, we’ve added things like a DJ and now possibly an officiant. So even having our budget hasn’t helped us keep it under. 

Our priorities in life are travel and family time. So, we are going to use all the money we get from the wedding on our European honeymoon and to go visit his family in Ireland. 

As for other things we could be saving for instead of the wedding, well, we are still saving for our retirement through our 403bs and we are not wanting to buy a house until we move overseas. But there are days where saving about a quarter of our income for one day is REALLY hard to justify. 

Post # 7
8042 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@seree:  We’re in a similar boat and we decided to elope. We have enough money for a nice wedding, but for many reasons we decided to elope.

He’s been married before and hated his first (big) wedding. I never dreamed of a big wedding. My e-ring will be expensive (but I’ll wear it forever, so more worth it to me than spending the $$ on one day). His parents are old and live far away and wouldn’t come. My family doesn’t care about weddings. Neither of us like to be the center of attention. Neither of us has a lot of close friends or family nearby.. etc. etc.

Personally I can’t justify spending a huge amount on a wedding. We plan to elope and spend about $1,000 on the wedding part (marriage officiant, dress, bouquet, etc.), and stay at our favorite hotel in the Canadian Rockies for a few days. Paying more for the trip (which we do every year or so anyway) than the ceremony.

It’s ok to not want a big wedding. Don’t let anyone pressure you into it. Yeah you should set a budget amount, I think $15K is reasonable, but yes it would be a nice trip to Europe. I guess it’s all about priorities. My bf and I budget together and discuss what sorts of things are important to us, and what we want to do in the year trips-wise, etc. A trip would always come ahead of a wedding for us.

Post # 8
14445 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

@seree:  Are you my twin?   We just bought a house with about 20% down, was planning a trip to Austrailia a few months before the wedding that rang up about 12k, and had an original budget of 15k.  Unfortunately, we couldnt set a concrete budget to work with cause I couldnt handle the restrictions.  I went the ‘whats the best price i can get for xxx’ and just never added it up.  And I went pretty cheap on most stuff – <500 for my dress, shoes and accessoies, 50 for invites, 800 for fresh florals (bouquets and 18 centerpieces).  The bulk of the money went to the food, dj and photographer which I couldnt find a better price for.  I’d say start with the big things first that you would find a hard time negotiating, then cut out litle things if necessary.. like favors, if that cant fit in to the budget, no big deal.   I think either way you do it, corners will be cut though.  We ended up totalling about 22k for 140 people, which I dont think is too bad.

Post # 9
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

It’s hard to justify, isn’t it?

I still can’t believe how much it all cost us- and we’re lucky it was all paid off in the end by our guests generosity! (we anticipated to be carrying some debt after, but that wasn’t the case)

We tried to stick to our 10K budget, but we went a bit over. Including rings and honeymoon we spent 13K in total. We made a few key decisions that kept our costs down: sale dress, ally’s and desserts only, some hosted wine but mainly cash bar, and a weekday evening which got us a 50% discount on our venue rental. Our catering cost ended up being $40 a head.

You sound like you are very practical and good with money. Not a typical bride who is acting out her wedding fantasies at long last! Ha ha…

I don’t know, if I was you I’d be considering the Europe vacation as maybe a honeymoon- have a city hall ceremony and fancy dinner with your immediate families and besties and then jet off! Sounds like fun to me.

Even though I loved our wedding, it went by so quickly and I barely had a chance to visit with everyone ( we had 100 guests). What really made us stick to it was the fact that my partners family lives across the country, so this was the one opportunity for our families to meet. For that, I am glad.

But you are far enough in advance to make some serious changes to your plans. Whatever you decide together is the right choice!

Post # 10
923 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

Ugh…I can’t.  I had the “big” wedding the first time around (about $10k in 2005) but he went to the courthouse the first time (his ex needed insurance).  I would have been happy meeting somewhere in the middle and eloping this time.  However, he really wants a wedding.  I have to admit that I’m having way more fun planning this one than I had planning the last one even though my budget is half of what the last one was. 

Post # 11
7311 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

I can’t necessarily relate, because I didn’t blink at the money we spent on the wedding. If I want something, I have no issue paying for it. And I REALLY wanted our wedding.

But if you don’t really want the wedding, then don’t spend the money on it. There is nothing wrong with deciding that your priorities do not include a shindig. You don’t have to have a “Wedding” in order to be married. You could do a courthouse ceremony with dinner for 2 at your favorite local restaurant. you could even invite a few precious people to join you. you could elope somewhere meaningful or somewhere you’ve always dreamed of visiting. You could have a small backyard ceremony with a potluck lunch. Getting married only requires the 2 of you, the officiant, the license, and 2 witnesses. That’s it. All the rest if fluff, and you can take it or leave it as you please.

Post # 12
7293 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

While our marriage (vows said/ceremony) was very important to us, the “wedding” ( the food, colors, entertainment, flowers, etc) was not. 

I think its important to look to the future. Most people after the wedding are itching to buy a house, start a family, pay off debts or travel, and you don’t want to get to that point where you wish you wouldn’t have spent 10-40 k on one day, since they could of used it much better elsewhere.

In your case since you like travel- how bout a destination wedding or elopment in Europe or whatever awesome place you would like to travel to ?!

Post # 13
202 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I think it all depends on what you want for your wedding.  I could have easily planned a $30K gigantic affair, but my parents gave me $10K so that’s what we’re spending.

I could have also planned a wedding for less than $5,000, but there were several things that I wasn’t willing to give up.  For instance, I have always always always wanted a band at my reception.  So we got a band.  I could have saved about $2,500 if we’d hired a DJ instead, but for ME, hiring a band is money well-spent.

On the flip side, I don’t care at all about the food.  We’re having a 6pm ceremony, so I felt like we should serve dinner.  But I found a beautiful venue where we can bring in our own alcohol and the dinner catering starts at $15 per person.  Some people spend more than $100 per person on dinner and drinks.  We’re saving a TON of money by doing cheap catering.

I’m also not having any flowers.  I’m going to DIY some button bouquets, and the decorations will just be of the non-floral variety. That will also save us about $1500!  (Flowers are expensive!)

Ultimately, I think it’s about what you want.  Of course there are trade-offs.  If you have a big wedding, you can’t go on that vacation.  But will you have earned enough money over the next few years to take another vacation anyway?  Is it even possible to get that many days off of work so often so that you can take all those vacations? (Not a serious question. Just a hypothetical.)  If you’ve got a solid job, and you can afford the wedding you want, then have the wedding you want.  

Post # 14
790 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@seree: “Did any other bees have trouble justifying to themselves the expense of a wedding day? How did you decide what the allocation of money and priorities would be?”

Yes definitely. I was on the fence about having a Wedding-with-a-capital-W. I wouldn’t have minded having a very small and low-key affair but almost all our guests would have to travel and stay in a hotel to come to our wedding and that kind of made me feel like I had to go bigger to “justify” everyone’s expense and time for coming. Then we decided that since almost everyone would have to travel anyway, we’d have it in a more fun place (New Orleans) than where we live, and now it’s turned into a lot of hoopla. But I look at it as, this is the one time in my life where I’ll have everyone I love, from all sides of my family, from his family, old friends, etc in the same place at the same time and I just really want us all to have fun together. I’m big on creating memories and experiences with people and I’m hoping this will be a nice one. 🙂 I’m going cheap on stuff that doesn’t contribute to fun (invitations, flowers/decor, etc.) and focusing on entertainment, food and alcohol. 

I love to travel, and at first I did think, why not spend all the money on the honeymoon instead, but I’ve already done some great traveling and I have the rest of my life to travel. Also when I travel it tends to be with my Fiance, and this experience will be different because it will include all our nearest and dearest. We don’t get to see our families as much as we should because of distance so that factors into it.

The mortgage thing, yeah, I hear you. That is certainly a more practical use of a large chunk of money. But I know (as we all do) people whose equity disappeared when the market crashed so I guess I console myself by thinking that the investment in one’s house is not always the most stable or predictable thing and that the value of that money can also disappear.

Anyway, it’s entirely a personal decision. My only advice is that it’s easy to get sucked into the wedding vortex, and when your budget is kind of fuzzy, and you’re hoping to stick to $xx but know that you could go to $xxx, it’s VERY easy to make a lot of little decisions that end up pushing you to $xxx! 


Post # 15
403 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@rainbowglitterbride:  +1

While I have worried extensively about how the money could be “better spent” (a house, our future kids’ college educations, etc.), my FH calms me down by reminding me how wonderful our wedding is going to be – because it’s going to be everything we’ve ever wanted. I’m not willing to skimp on photography or food. I want to buy my dream dress. These things are too important for me to give them up, just for the sake of saving money. I’ve done enough research to budget everything accordingly. Hopefully, at the end of the wedding day, every penny will have been well spent. 🙂

Post # 16
2023 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Just make sure your budget is realistic!!! I had a modest budget in mind… and was perfectly content with it.  Then, I started adding up the actual costs of everything and was I shocked!!!  Weddings can be pretty pricey.  I would focus on getting what you want, within reason, and try to cut corners where you can.

Flowers can be uber expensive.

Food and drinks = lots of money.

The topic ‘How did you decide your budget? (considering other uses of the money) (long)’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors