This post is about a word that has been known to madden, frustrate, and have me running for the hills...BUDGET. Surely you weren't thinking of another "b" word, right?
Why, might you ask, do I care to write about such a boring and dull thing on my blog which is mostly filled with lovey-dovey couples and weddings? Because with every wedding comes a budget.
And every marriage comes with a budget. The first few months that Shawn and I were married we realized that neither of us had paid much more than a cell phone bill monthly. We were paying-the-bills virgins. We had several weeks where we were totally, completely broke...and several where we lived like kings. (These were usually after the paychecks came.) Then one day we realized, "Hey, we get these same bills every month- and they are due on the same day every month...what if we figured out the best order to pay them? And then set aside some money so that we made sure they all got paid?"
DUH. And so our monthly budget was born. We realized that we'd rather keep our lights on than go out to eat one more time. Of course we wanted to go out to eat, but keeping the lights on had much better long-term benefits. :)
I now embrace our monthly budget- and am empowered by it, in fact. Shawn and I sit down monthly to review our spending and set new goals for our future. Doing this has helped us achieve things financially that we never would have been able to without some intentional foresight.
Loose flowers in thrifted vases from Jeff + JoAnna's wedding earlier this spring.
I'm posting today because I realize just how important the same foresight is with a wedding budget. I have heard of (or spoken with) too many couples who have decided to cut or reduce their wedding photography budget in order to compensate for other items competing for those precious dollars. Please know that I am not writing out of spite or desperation- just a desire to see every bride and groom have the very best images they can afford!
Here are my tips on your wedding budget:
1. Sweat the small stuff.
The shoes, the favors, the monogrammed this-or-that...it's all small stuff. Every wedding-oriented magazine or website is littered with tiny reminders of things you "need" to buy. Do you already have some nice shoes that would work with your dress? Could you borrow your mother's earrings? Could you make your own bridesmaids' gifts? Each of these small items can really add up and end up demanding a huge portion of your budget. Before you make any decisions, sit down with your fiance and make a list of priorities- determine which items deserve a larger portion of your budget and which are not-so-necessary. Doing this will keep you grounded when you're confronted with additional "must-have" items like the disposable cameras on the reception tables...seems like a good idea until you spend 130.00 getting them all developed to realize your cousin's 5 year old stole them all and took pictures of the floor all evening. :)
2. Choose an artist.
I have always felt a little lucky to start out my career as a photographer in West Texas because, well, it's ugly. And flat. We have about 10 trees here, and they are surrounded by yellow grass. I feel that if I can make that scenery look great, I will have mastered my craft. :) It's a journey I embark on with each shoot, and it truly pushes me to be more creative.
Someone once told me that it is wiser to spend $10 on an ugly cake and $100 on a photographer that can make the cake look amazing, than it is to spend the $100 on an amazing cake and $10 on a photographer who will make it look ugly no matter how amazing it really is.
It's so important that the vendors you choose are artists- a talented florist can create a beautiful bouquet with the flowers picked from their backyard, and an experienced videographer knows to watch for your mother's face during your dance with your father. Whenever you are hiring someone with a skill, you will most definitely get what you pay for.
3. Go for impact.
There are so many things you and your guests will remember from your big day- the shape of your customized champagne glasses probably won't be at the forefront. When you're deciding on where to spend your budget, think backwards. What will have mattered the most? A beautiful location or a great band, perhaps the smell of your bouquet or the look on your groom's face when you see him for the first time. If you don't intentionally set aside funds to ensure that these elements will be part of your day, you may find they fall by the wayside. Your guests may have M&Ms with your name on them, but your bouquet is small and the flowers are the wrong kind. You may be wearing those "special" wedding undies, but the DJ was obnoxious and the photographer didn't know to capture your groom's expression as you approached.
Take some time to make sure your vision will come to fruition and invest in the elements that will make the most impact looking back.
Handmade paper airplanes on vintage maps from Hunter + Amanda's wedding in May.
As always, I am a BIG fan of DIY projects, and thankfully, the wedding blogosphere is full of ideas these days. Brides are really getting creative and filling their weddings with sentimental and beautiful touches that they've handmade. Here are a couple of blogs I love that are based on the bride who is on a budget and creating much of it herself:
OnceWed- popular for their used wedding dress boutique
Style Me Pretty
100 Layer Cake- they recently opened up a marketplace where brides can resell their wedding creations like these super cute table numbers:
Hope you enjoyed this post- the "b" word doesn't have to be a bad one!