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the renegade bride

the wild, wacky adventures of a bridal industry insider +newlywed + new homeowner and (in practice)renovation-maven. Whee!

Tag Archives: wedding budget

When it comes to our budget, one thing I failed to really mention is how painful it is work on. It’s not that I don’t value the cost of every single little nuance of our budget, I do, but it doesn’t make the heft of it hurt any less. I think the main reason that I find it most painful is that we refuse to go into debt over our wedding. I think that may be a lofty goal, but we’re determined to actually do that– as in not go into debt.

Being in the industry, we kind of know how much stuff costs. And while everybody says “weddings are expensive,” we also know that our friends & colleagues are charging prices that they need to charge to pay their bills, feed their families, and keep their lights on, etc– because it’s what we do for a living.  So, to clarify: we’re not balking over the cost of things, it’s just the bottom line that’s making us a bit…well, feeling the burn. The budget burn.

Like yesterday, I just wrote our prospective photographer (whoo-hoo, I danced around the room when I found out that he was available–will wait to post a tribute to my/our love for him once it’s a done deal), and I was looking over packages and I was like, we’ll I’d be crazy not to go with this package (even though I know that FFI is going to shoot me for wanting this package). This package is MORE than a year of car payments.  But it’s worth it. When I rate my priorities, this is how they fall:

– Photographer (gotta be awesome)

– Food & bev (uh, notice the above awesome theme…)

– Decor & Personalization (also, awesome)

– awesome entertainment & fun!

Everything else is kind of secondary. I want it to be a spectacular, wonderful, thrilling party that will go down as a wonderful, thrilling night. A night to remember, so to speak. What’s so wrong with that?

What’s wrong with it is the freaking budget. FFI is probably going to kill me (or break up with me, or not really ask me to marry him) because I’m putting him through hell over this wedding. I want to see statistics on how many people break up because of the stress of the wedding planning process. It’s all well and good when you’re theorizing about getting married. Everything is idealized and wonderful and sweet. It’s a ” one day, when we’re getting married…” and everything is rose colored glasses and  hypothetically great. And then, then you really start planning and you see that it’s really pricey, and you have to have discussions about guest counts, alcohol consumption, and prioritizing figures. Last night, my friend offered some really good advice– she said to look at each person as a figure. Each guest is costing XX dollars. Right now that number is kinda scary. Mostly because our guest list has gotten (somehow) to 211 people. That’s a lot of people.

So, readers, what do you think? Should I go ahead and embrace FFI’s cover charge idea or just deal with the fact that our nuptials are going to be epically expensive and that’s just how it is. OR, should I just go ahead and start whoring myself on the street. FFI could whore too, he’s pretty good looking…


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So, remember the whole thing about mouths to feed? Yeah, I have them. While our guests may not be fancy, we are a bit on the fancy side. Our favorite food: french fusion/contemporary American gourmet food. Key to our heart: TOP CHEF. We love the Food Network and all it stands for. I believe that we could be classified as “foodies,” and we proudly admit that we like fresh, delicious, beautiful food. I also happen to like Taco Bell, but whatevs, we all have our weaknesses. Taco Bell is not going to cater our wedding, but imagine, if you will, that Taco Bell was catering a wedding. Righteous, right? I mean, that might be a great idea…

Anyway, our venue has recommended vendors for catering. You are required to use these vendors, and while they are delightful, we’re a bit bummed because we can’t use the vendor we wanted to use for our catering. But that’s cool, we have moved past that — especially since in the past 24 hours we’ve had to deal with the fact that our guest list is having babies and multiplying; that like, we are waiting on  photographers to write us back (I’m the epitome of the impatient bride), and our first choice church is already booked. Dudes, it’s over a year (438 days, but who’s counting)  in advance and everything is getting snatched up all crazy like. Sigh. Cry. Fit being thrown right here, in the privacy of my own couch, because I’m a baby.

Well, since TB is not an option and we’re into the fancy food, looks like we’re going to be opting for a fancy caterer. We kind of know who that would be, but we are still working through the reality of our PP guest price. We aren’t doing a sit down/plated & served meal (that, unfortunately, is way out of the budget), but we would like to do action stations and a lovely meal for guests that isn’t generic and boring. Ah, imagine what you could do with $20 pp and have Taco Bell cater…

When i think of an awesome reception, I think of great drinks, good fun, and good food. I think of cute little innovative cocktail munchies and delicious gastro-pleasant entrees. But now I’m worried about being able to have a wonderful meal on a very fixed budget. Arg. Maybe we will end up having crackers with spray on cheese as our appetizers, and then just a whole lot of mashed potatoes. Potatoes are cheap. We could make them fancy by having an assortment of potato accouterments, including but not limited to: artificial bacon bits, dried scallions, and more spray on cheese. Delicious! I can tell that you, dear reader, is already so excited about attending this wedding. If you are a potential guest, then I apologize. We will not have spray cheese and assorted mashed potatoes. Maybe. 😀

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Ok, so we are working on our budget this week. Reason why: we have to start booking more things. We just got the tragic news that the photog we were really, really wanting is not available. We have a top three that are like, our favorites ever, but Mr. H was at the very tip top of the list. Now, we are looking at the other awesome people on our list, and they are all awesome, I’ll let you know what we decide. It’s very exciting.

Anyway, so all this week I’m going to talk about the budget. The budget is a suck part of planning any event. I will share with you the insights from other people that we get as we share our plans with them (we were strongly encourage to elope already) and how people don’t get that we take weddings kinda, well, seriously. It’s our biz, we love what we do, and we love a good wedding. Thus, we want to have a nice day. One that is lovely and personal and cool.  We also have a bazillion guests.FFI has a sprawling (and lovely) family that we love very much but that are expensive. They are, as the  charmingly fitting colloquialism goes,  “mouths to feed.”

Last night our first bone of contention arrived on the budgetary table: the bar. Specifically: cash versus limited or full bar. I’ll not leave things up in the air: I’m a fan of offering guests a bar, and that in offering it, I mean we pay for it. We want for our  guests to have fun and enjoy our infused cocktails and whatnot, right?  I assumed FFI was with me on this, but apparently– not as much. He thinks that alcohol is expensive (it is) and that we can cut down on reception costs by not having an open bar. I am not even sure if he’s keen on the limited bar– somehow we got the idea that we could offer cocktails during the cocktail hour and then cut everyone off and make them pay for drinks (I think that’s rude) or that we can have beer & wine and then make people buy their own alcohol (I think that is rude too).  Notice, here, that I am saying RUDE, not COST EFFECTIVE. I understand saving money, but many of our guests are OOT and I think it’s rude to say “friends and family, thanks for spending your hard earned post-recession dollars on coming to our little celebration of love, now please shell out some money for a vodka tonic.”

Exasperated, I joked that we should include alcohol choices on the RSVP. Like, have a section that offers food choices and the other side says “beer & wine” or “liquor drinks” or “both” or “none” and then have people let us know. He thought this was great. Better still, he suggested that we tell people it’s a $20 cover for their alcohol drinks, so come prepared with their cash at the door.

I was less than amused.

I know this is an oft-debated topic for brides– so, I’m asking both as a bride & as a guest– what are your thoughts on alcohol at weddings, cash bars, etc etc. Would you rather have a free but limited variety of cocktails, or have to pay for whatever you like, or think that a nice bride and groom will provide you with your choice of cocktail-y choices,  no charge. I eagerly await your responses.

More budgety- stuff tomorrow. Feel free to share your biggest money gripe in the comments.

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