Image | Weddings by Zoë
Hello everyone! Long time, no update—a lot has been going on in my life over the past month, and I fear I’ve lost my wedding planning mojo. But I did force myself to send a couple wedding-related emails this week, and Ben very kindly called his local registry office to clear up some questions about giving notice under our somewhat unusual circumstances, so I think we’re back on the planning path. Today, though, I want to talk about one of the major roadblocks I—and, I think, many other brides and grooms—have encountered: money. Not just the fact that weddings tend to be monstrously expensive, but also the taboo against talking about wedding spending in anything but the vaguest of terms.
While I’ve found SYGM’s Under 10K and Under 15K tags really helpful, on the whole there’s not much information about money on the blogs. There’s the occasional “Why are weddings so expensive?” post (certainly a question worth addressing), and often you’ll see tips on ways to save. But it’s rare to see a blogged wedding with a price tag attached, let alone an itemized breakdown. And I wish that weren’t the case.
Between blogs and Pinterest, there are so many unrealistic wedding expectations out there—not least my own—and I can’t help but feel like a lot of wedding disappointment could be avoided if it were easier to figure out upfront what kind of money you might need to afford a certain sort of wedding. I’m sure I can’t be the only one looking at gorgeous receptions I see online and wondering why my own isn’t shaping up to look quite so stunning. I suspect the answer often lies in the fact that that wedding in question cost upward of £50,000, while my own budget—while still generous—is significantly smaller. To be sure, there are tons of beautiful weddings done on a budget, and sometimes the most handcrafted weddings make far more of an impact than the spendier ones. But I wish we could all be more upfront about the fact that your average bride most likely can’t afford to be married at a majestic stately home in the latest Jenny Packham with a big name photographer to capture the day. And, just as important, about what you can expect on a range of more modest budgets.
I guess this is my plea for couples—and maybe bloggers too—to consider opening up a little more about wedding spending. I’m mostly thinking of real wedding features when I say this, but it applies to all kinds of wedding discussions, online and off. I know there’s a lot of judgment around spending extravagantly (whatever one’s personal definition of extravagant may be), and I totally get that not everyone wants to open her wedding up to this kind of scrutiny. But I think we’d all be a little better off if wedding budgets weren’t, more often than not, such tightly guarded secrets.
In the spirit of openness, I hereby pledge to put my money where my mouth is and blog my wedding budget—to the best I can, at least; I fear Ben and I are in danger of becoming one of those “We don’t even know how much we spent!” couples, as we’re not big into tracking spreadsheets and whatnot. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll also say both sets of parents are providing generous financial backing—we’re hoping it’ll be enough to cover the whole wedding, though that’s still TBD. I’ll also say that, in addition to wedding costs, we’ll have a lot of expenses relating to my immigration and move to the UK in the coming months, so if I seem a little stingy on some of the wedding stuff this is one reason why.
I’ve already told you how much I’m spending on my wedding dress, and it looks like all told we’ll probably spend around (gulp) £10,000 on venue, food, and alcohol—by far our biggest expenses. When we first started thinking about the wedding, that was how much I’d envisioned spending on the whole thing. I can’t say I feel great about having already exceeded it even with so much still unbooked. But we’re expecting about 100 guests, and it’s important for us to provide a full meal with plentiful alcohol. We want our guests to have a good time, and especially since more than a few of them will be coming from overseas we didn’t feel that a cake and punch sort of thing would be appropriate. We’ll be spending about £1000 on photography, though we would’ve been willing to spend more if we’d needed to find someone we liked. I’ll do an update on our spending (and cost-cutting measures) in a few months, once we’ve gotten further with booking things.
What do you think, readers? Do you wish open discussions of wedding spending were more the rule than the exception? Or am I just being a crass American? I’d love to hear your thoughts, either way.