Friday, April 29, 2011

On Wedding Budgets

When you say "we're on a budget" the first thing that comes to our mind is "oh, they don't have money". That's wrong, it doesn't necessarily always mean cheap wedding or very limited finances. Sometimes it just means both of you are very practical people. Sometimes it just means you are free to shop for anything you want but in your agreed price range.

We're working on a "price range" and these are some of the things I have learned that I want to share my fellow soon-to-wed couples. By the way, I used "price-range" instead of "budget" because price range sounds more friendly and workable unlike with the word "budget" that sounds really limiting. Plus we always say something like "we're looking for a dress for x amount to y amount range". So I really think price range is the more appropriate word. Anyway, I digress.

1. Set a Price Range and Stick to It!
Let me tell you this. Before you start anything and I mean right before you sit infront of your computer and google wedding suppliers you need to set a budget or a price range and then stick to it! There are lots of things happening all at the same time during wedding preparation that if you didn't set a budget firmly in place you're wedding expenses will just balloon uncontrollably.

Somewhere on the web I saw this percentage thingie. What percentage of the wedding budget goes to food, what percentage goes to flowers, etcetera, etcetera. While that can also be helpful, we didn't follow that. There isn't any wedding rule about what-percentage-goes-to-what. This would really be up to the couple. So you really need to sit down. List down all the things you need for the wedding and prioritize which is important and which ones are nice-to-haves and adjust your budget accordingly.
In our case, we have our list of "To Splurge" and "Negotiables"  and "Nice-to-haves".

Here's our list.

To Splurge:

1. Venue - we want an elegant unique venue
2. Food - because it's our way of sharing our blessings and our reward to people we invited who took time, cancelled other appointments and what-nots to attend our wedding. Plus this is what usually what the guests remembers and not your 200,000 dress or that you have the famous videographer.
3. Photography - because we're both photography-hobbyist and we want our photos to be perfect. But there's a catch here (see Wallet Quotient blog). Oh, and we must have a back up photographer.
4. Video - because this, together with the photos are the only things that will last, unlike flowers or the food , etc. But, like Photograpy there's a catch here too (see Wallet Quotient blog).
5. HMUA  - i'm not splurging for my gown but this i have to... i want the best one out there so it would be less photoshopping for my photographers, lol
6. Honeymoon - need I say more? LOL


1. Gown - I'm seriously considering a Divisoria gown. I don't want to buy something that I'll just wear once and would just gather dust on my closet and will just be an extra closet space. I'd rather use the money for something else.
2. Flowers
3. Cake
4. Favors
5. Invitations
6. Entourage dresses - we're thinking of requesting our entourage to pay for their gowns or we can just provide them with fabric and have them look for cheaper couturier or we could just shoulder half of the price.
7. String Quartet
8. Ambient/mood lights


1. Sky Lanterns - my h2b is insisting on this because he claims they don't have this in the U.S.
2. Travel-themed cake

2. Sit down and decide on a theme      
p.s. and Stick to It!

What? Theme? C'mon girl, we're just a very simple couple we don't need a theme.

Relax. You don't need to think of a fancy theme like, Titanic theme or Movies theme or whatever it is that's in-style now. What I meant by theme is how do you want your wedding to look, to feel. What impression do you want to leave your guests after they walk away after the end of the wedding day. If you want a simple wedding, how simple is simple. Based on the price range you both have agreed on keribels ba (is it doable) to have that theme?   I had to sit down with my fiance and when we agreed on the theme it was easier for me to filter my suppliers.

Oh, and why did I mention "stick to it"? Because it would be less headaches if you stick to your theme. Changing themes every 2 days will make you rethink your budget, rethink or worst change or cancel suppliers which can be really costly specially if you have made your deposits already.  I had  a few bouts of fickle-mindness about themes and it drove me nuts. So I decided to just stick with what my fiance and I have agreed on and I never look back. I try not to get jealous over other couple's wedding theme and I just convince myself  that our theme is better because my fiance and i put so much thought into it and it represents US.

Who cares if the other couple you know has a Circus theme, it does sounds pretty cool but that's not you, that's not both of you. Concentrate on the originality of the idea you and your fiance had so meticulously brainstormed and formulated. Fine, a hundred other couples had already done your theme but it would still be different because both of you are adding your own touch to it and most of all it would still be unique because both of you will be the main character of that theme.

3. Do not rush into anything

 "I need to book that make-up artist fast or she might not be available for my wedding and that would be a disaster!".

Sounds familiar? How about this:

"Ma'am we have a 10% promo going on right now and in two days we'll roll back to our regular
price. You better act quickly. When's your wedding? Ah. We only have 2 slots left for that month

C'mon, admit it. We tend to panic sometimes. I guess that's normal. That's our survival instinct kicking in. But here's the deal, if the suppliers are rushing you into making a decision then don't do business with them. Rushing people into buying or booking is the all famous marketing strategy. Don't fall for it. Make sure you have atleast slept on it before deciding on anything. You have to take your time to compare suppliers, read reviews and ask what they can offer that others can't. Ask for freebies. Negotiate. If you rush into booking them you'll kick yourself in the butt (or whichever part of your body that your foot can reach) if two days later a better deal comes along but it would be too late since you paid for the deposit already.

But! There's a tiny disclaimer.

While I did say not to rush this doesn't mean you'll take your sweet time dilly-dallying. Specially, most specially, if you're wedding falls in the peak season. In the Philippines that means December and January. Or if you're date is unique, like, 10-10-10 or 12-12-12. There are some suppliers that you need to book first and well in advance (ie: venue, church) because you don't want to lose them if you wait too long.

Are you scratching your head now and screaming "so what is it really missy? you're contradicting yourself and you're confusing me". It's this.There has to be some balance, don't be an impulsive buyer but at the same time do not procrastinate.

My next blog would be  Wallet Quotient . It's about how I rewired my brain to control splurging.
Here's a teaser:

Wallet Quotient.

I'm sure you've heard of  IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotianal Quotient). Here we'll talk about WQ.


How not to splurge. How to wisely choose suppliers. How to differentiate want and need.

But f
irst forget about wedding expenses for a while. Imagine you can use your wedding money on anything. On any BIG purchase. What would that BIG purchase be? <to be continued>

Also see: on being a Budgetzilla

photo credits:  and


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