As with all things in life, a wedding requires sacrifice. You have this vision of what you want, but nine times out of ten it’s just not possible to make that exact vision come to life. And more often than not, it comes to down money.
Every little aspect of a wedding costs money, from the photography to each stamp on the invitations, and pretty soon it all starts to add up. Few brides and grooms can splurge on everything, so they have to make sacrifices. Sometimes these are easy because it’s something you don’t really care about, but sometimes these sacrifices are really, really hard.
Mr. Parasol and I are no exception, and we have made quite a few wedding sacrifices along the way.
Image via Chris van Stone
When I heard about floral centerpieces and bouquets that run upwards of $100 each, I knew that we couldn’t afford a florist. Thankfully, this isn’t a terribly difficult DIY project, especially considering that our floral needs are pretty small (two bouquets, two boutonnieres, and some arrangements for our Mason-jar vases). The most challenging part has definitely been researching and deciding which flowers to use, but this is how I discovered billy balls.
Image via Studio Stems
I am seriously loving these cute yellow flowers right now, and I’m excited to incorporate them into our wedding day!
I’m also thankful that doing my own flowers means I’ll get exactly what I want. I’m shocked by how many friends have told me that their florists got their flowers wrong. I couldn’t imagine this happening to me, especially if I paid hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars for professional flowers, so I’m glad I don’t have to worry about getting the “wrong” flowers.
Image via Tommy’s Advice
Ideally, it would be great to have a professional video of our wedding, but a videographer was never a top priority for us Parasols. The idea of watching a video of a wedding actually sounds kind of boring, so we knew we wouldn’t get much use out of a video anyway. And considering how expensive videographers can be, we weren’t inclined to make room for one in our budget. Although it would be nice to have a wedding video “just because,” I guess we’ll just have to rely on our awesome photographers to capture our special day.
No DJ or live music
Image via DJ Professionals & Video
This one was’t a huge sacrifice for us. While we both love good music, especially the kind you can dance to, we live in the era of iTunes playlists, and putting together a good mix isn’t that difficult. Plus, Mr. Parasol still has a lot of good friends from his band days who are very musically talented, and one of them will be putting together our wedding playlist. Mr. Parasol already saw his handiwork at another friend’s wedding, and he said it was absolutely amazing. Now our music will be more personal, and we know that it will be good.
No candy bar
When I started seeing pictures like these, I fell in love with the idea of having a candy bar at our wedding. Doesn’t this look so deliciously fun and sweet? It’s just too darling! And who wouldn’t want to leave a wedding with a bag full of tasty candy?
But, as I soon learned, candy bars can be really expensive. Between the candy itself, the pretty glass jars and plates, and the decorations, the cost of a candy bar quickly adds up. While Mr. Parasol and I could have potentially found a way to work this into our wedding budget, we decided to let this idea go. A candy bar isn’t a wedding necessity and, as much as I wanted a candy bar, we decided to save our budget for those things that we actually need, like good food and amazing photographers.
Image via Life123
OK, this is a huge sacrifice, and one that is not totally money related. Mr. Parasol will be about a month into law school when we get married, so going on a honeymoon right away is absolutely out of the question. He still doesn’t know if he’ll even be able to fly up the day before the wedding—he may have to arrive the day of!
But even if Mr. Parasol weren’t in school, we probably still wouldn’t go on a honeymoon right after the wedding anyway. For the past two years, Mr. Parasol and I have both been working graduate students, and we’ve paid (and will continue to pay) for our entire graduate education ourselves. This, coupled with the fact that Mr. Parasol is heading straight into law school this fall, means that after all of the wedding expenses there just won’t be a lot of extra money left over for the honeymoon. We’ll still have quite a bit of savings (thankfully), but we decided that holding onto this money and using it to help us start our life together is a wiser financial decision than taking an expensive vacation right now. But even though I know this is the best decision for us, I’m still a little sad that Mr. Parasol and I have to sacrifice our honeymoon for now.
(Don’t worry, though! We are hoping to take a belated honeymoon to an undisclosed location in Europe when Mr. Parasol is on winter break and we’ve had more time to “recover” from wedding expenses! More details on that later!)
No engagement pictures
Image via Jerry Yoon Photographers
This one still breaks my heart. Mr. Parasol and I love photography, especially good photography, and we have the most amazing wedding photographers on the planet. I’m not even joking; they are that amazing. Just look at that stunning picture. If you have an hour (or two or three) and feel like getting some serious wedding inspiration, I highly recommend browsing Jerry Yoon’s blog.
But photographers that good come at a price, and we knew that if we wanted them for our wedding we would have to sacrifice engagement pictures. There was just no way that we could afford both. We had been looking forward to taking engagement pictures for forever, and sometimes I still can’t believe we don’t have any professional pictures of Mr. Parasol and me as a happily engaged couple. As I said, it still breaks my heart. This is a sacrifice neither one of us wanted to make, but it’s one that had to be made.
And I know that many of you will suggest that we find an amateur photographer who will do e-pics for really cheap. And this is a great idea. But unfortunately, because Mr. Parasol and I are now long distance, this isn’t an option for us. I wish we had taken this route sooner, but while we were still together we were desperately trying to move the budget around so that we could get engagement pictures taken by our photographers. Yes, we wanted good pictures, but we also wanted the opportunity to build a rapport with the people who will be capturing our special day. In the end, though, we just couldn’t fit engagement pictures into the budget and, by that time, I was on a plane headed back to California, while Mr. Parasol stayed behind in New York.
One day, we’re hoping that we can do a post-wedding “engagement” shoot. No wedding dress, no gray suit. Just us in our everyday clothes, happy and in love.
OK, I hope all this talk about wedding sacrifices hasn’t been too depressing. We all have to make these kinds of sacrifices and, for me at least, it’s cathartic to talk about them. And don’t worry– -there will be a companion post on wedding splurges, so get excited for that!
What wedding sacrifices have you had to make? How did you decide what aspects of your wedding you needed to save money on or cut entirely?
- San Ramon, California
- Non-profit writer, editor, and blogger
- Wedding Date:
- September 2011
- Bent Creek Winery (Livermore, California); Reception: Family Residence (San Ramon, California)