As I’d imagine, for most people, the cost of the wedding is a big consideration when deciding to have one in the first place. But when we decided to have a larger wedding, which was among other options–nice dinner out with immediate family or something small at a winery–the next thing we did was try to figure out how much money we could save before the wedding. After our headache subsided from doing so much difficult math—adding is hard, okay!–we had a rough idea of how much we can save in a year. First, we were kind of shocked and second, we thought….frig a wedding, let’s go to Spain for two weeks!! Then after we spent just enough time dreaming of siestas (like that, dreaming about sleeping) and walks on the beaches of Barcelona, we got to the next part of the process: The Budget.
This was kind of hard, because we really had no idea what things cost, beyond the food/alcohol and venue, all the other stuff was a bit of mystery. So we just started to list things, photographer, DJ, flowers, etc. etc. and just made guesstimates about what each item would cost. Thankfully we were not too off, as we started to line up vendors. So after we knew what we could save, subtracted that from the estimated total cost, we knew how much we would probably have to put on credit, which was not as much as we thought. Then we both opened 12 month 0% interest credit cards to float whatever bills we can’t pay with cash before the wedding. Another thing we did was open a dedicated savings account for the wedding. And we put whatever extra money we get into that account, beyond direct deposits from our pay checks. A funny side effect of this dedicated saving, is how we think of money. Now when we get some extra money, we say, “oh,nice, that is another person who can eat at our wedding!” It is rewarding, to see our saving, and cutting corners, pay off. It makes the idea of saving to buy a house more obtainable.
The other part of our strategy was to try and go out to dinner less. While we did not go out a lot, we did go to a nice place about once a month. We knew we would have to cut back on that, but one thing we did, so as to not take all the fun out of our lives, is to make nice dinners for ourselves at home. This would either be dinners made from products we brought at our local farmers market, or something inspired by Ina Garten, as if there is anyone else to be inspired by. (Not to make you too jealous, but for my 30th birthday our friends Jackie and Sue bought me an autographed copy of one of her cook books…every time I open the book, it is like Ina is saying “Hello Michael, welcome back! Enjoy! How easy is that!”). And truth be told, I am sure there are times that we have spent when we could have saved, like on the MacBook that I am presently typing on. But, we will use it at the wedding, so it is like we bought it for the wedding!! And now we have arrived at the other hard part of saving money: the many ways to rationalize spending. Thankfully Dave is good at cutting through my double speak when I want to spend money. It is important for one of the two people to be the reality check person in the room. But on the other end, life cannot stop while you are saving for a wedding, so you have to find a balance between austerity and gluttony. I think we have found that place…we still treat ourselves but we also cut corners where we can. Saving money is like following a healthy diet…it needs to be measured and results will not be noticed over night; it really is a lifestyle change.
And while there have been many arguments over money, I think we are both getting to the place where our priorities are paired. I do have to say that this has been one of the best –and very much welcomed–learning experiences thus far.
So to sum it up, here are some key points:
- Open up a separate “wedding” (or, out of sight out of mind) account
- Still do fun stuff, but just do less, or at least less that cost money
- Set up a budget
- Project how much you can realisticly save
- Remember that it is ALL for a good cause !
- Oh, and Dave is pretty