Truly Engaged: Avoiding Wedding Budget Blindness

Submitted by Heidi on Friday - March 16, 2012

I’m getting married! Now what? Truly Engaged is a new blog series written by Rachel, our *newly engaged* staff writer. As she wades her way through the wedding planning process, she’ll be sharing some of the emotions, inspiration, and insight she uncovers along the way. ——- Pretty soon after getting engaged (and actually, even before I was engaged, since I write for MagnetStreet Weddings), I found myself being slowly submerged in a beautiful sea of all things "wedding": wedding blogs, glossy magazines, and TV shows like "Say Yes to the Dress" and "My Fair Wedding". Of course, I can't forget the newest (and most addictive) species in the wedding sea: Pinterest! Don't get me wrong: I love Pinterest and find it incredibly helpful for capturing inspiration and ideas. However, while pinning pretty pictures of custom cake toppers and sparkling Jimmy Choo wedding heels, I often forget to picture the actual price tag behind all these glittery items. I've realized how easy it could be to go temporarily "budget blind" while planning a wedding. I knew that I needed to get a firm grasp on values--not only monetary values, but personal values, too. I knew I needed to clearly define what was most important to me and my fiance on my wedding day. After sitting down with my fiance, we nailed down our top priorities. Now, just because an item is a top priority doesn't mean we have to spend "X amount" of dollars on it. If I can snag a great deal on a top priority item, then wonderful! (I'm a bride who loves a bargain.) However, these items are important enough that we are willing to spend more money on---if need be. That said, we do have money set aside for the top items, and any surplus will go toward the items farther down on the list. (After all, I'd hate to get distracted by a couture gown, only to realize I ran out of money to hire, or pay, my talented and reputable photographer---something that is much more valuable to me when I don't have my "wedding budget blinders" on.)      

Our Top Wedding Values : 

The Big Three (Must Have)

1. Venue: Booking a venue that matches our personalities, passions, and life as a couple. The overall vibe is very important to us, and that begins with the location and venue.

2. Officiant: Hiring an officiant that is open-minded, OK with interfaith weddings, and allows us to create a highly personalized ceremony. We come from different backgrounds and want to have a ceremony that is meaningful, unique, and honors our beliefs and backgrounds.

3. Photographer: Hiring a photographer that can produce beautiful, vibrant photography---especially candid shots that capture emotion. I don't want to stress about whether the photos come out great or not--I want to enjoy my wedding day with the full confidence and comfort in my choice of photographer.

The Middle Three (Prefer to Have) 1. Attire: We don't need our wedding apparel to be couture or trendy, but we do value quality clothing that captures our creativity and culture. 2. Food: As Indo-Caribbeans, Tim's family loves spicy, flavorful dishes. We hope to find a caterer that specializes in these dishes. 3. Stationery: As a writer for MagnetStreet, I've come to really value high quality, personalized stationery that I can infuse with my own creativity and personality.  

The Final Two (Good to Have) 1. Music: I love music, and come from a musical family. Since I already know some good musicians for the ceremony and/or reception, I put this farther down on my list. But, if I didn't know any, then I would've put this item higher up. 2. Decor: My fiance and I want vibrant colors and a cozy, yet eclectic ambiance. But, we're willing to accomplish this through DIY and browsing thrift stores and wedding consignment shops. For us, the general mood/tone is more important than the types of materials used to achieve it. --------------- I'd love to hear from my fellow brides and grooms out there: What are your top priorities? Or what methods have you used to help prioritize your wedding budget?