I’m trying a 5-part daily series this week, as a challenge to myself to blog more on here. 🙂 The sole reason? To help me sort over my budget…
As many brides are, I’m on a strict budget. Before Joey proposed to me, I knew that we would be paying for the majority of this wedding. In my head, being a Disney nerd, I always imagined the perfect princess wedding in Cinderella’s castle with fireworks, beautiful cake, my guests having a wonderful time, etc.
Being rational, however, I knew that being from New Orleans, there was NO WAY a destination wedding, much less a Disney wedding would happen on our paychecks. Joey and I make great salaries for our age, but we are avid savers and don’t want to break the bank for our big day.
Needless to say, being from New Orleans, there is a lot of character in the city that we could incorporate into our wedding. I decided, based on my yearly wages and spending, that I was able to easily save $800/month. The budget would be strict, and my days at Target were numbered. Given that I had 13 months to save for this (since most places require the money a month before the day started), I had $10,400 to potentially work with. I made it an even $10,000 for the sole reason that I could have wiggle room in my savings to go towards furniture, house stuff, etc.
The first thing I did was book my church, the church I grew up in. Being a parishioner, we booked this place for a cool $250. The church is beautiful…long aisle, tons of seating and it’s not modern by any means (I wanted an old fashioned, woodsy, beautiful stained glass windows church), so it just adds some great character to the wedding. Not many churches look like this anymore! I’d post interior pics but they aren’t online…I don’t blame the church…churches aren’t meant to be advertised…
With my potential $10,000, I then purchased my first wedding planner binder off Amazon. I love this little planner, but after a month of being engaged, the binder was too small, so I went to Office Depot with empty ink cartridges from work (to get $3 off coupons). Yes, I’m THAT frugal. I bought a 2″ binder for 72 cents total and transferred everything to it. My planning binder is now a nice arm weight. It’s great but HEAVY and full of every magazine clipping, DIY inspiration, budget tips, etc. that I could FIND. It also holds the contracts and the not-so-fun reminders of the cost of our wedding.
After getting a planner, I went to various websites on how to divide the money best. Most places said the reception venue should be 40-50% of the budget. Easy enough…I have $5000 at the most to work with. This was scary…New Orleans area weddings were proving to be on average $35pp and up (plus tax and grat, which would be another $1500). So essentially we could invite 100 people. What a SQUEEZE that would be…both of our sides of the IMMEDIATE family (talking parent’s siblings and their kids) would be all we could invite, if even that. It was a sad reality. My mom (thank GOD!) mentioned her old reception hall the morning we were supposed to see 3 halls. We had an impromptu appointment, and their prices were $29pp INCLUDING grat and tax! (and cake, dj, duty officer…extras that weren’t included in other halls) We had to book…and we are so glad we did. We can invite 150 guests (kids under 10 counting really as 1/2 guest) for $4800 TOTAL. Beautiful!
We had the biggest chunk of our day figured out…the PLACE(s)!!
Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow