Embracing Your Budget

I’m a planner. I love making lists and spreadsheets, to see how everything adds up and fits together. I am not even remotely spontaneous. Therefore, when Mr. Wellies and I first started talking about getting married, I began to research how much our wedding would cost. Since I had absolutely no experience with wedding planning, I pulled a number out of thin air, and thought $10,000 sounded reasonable. We could definitely afford it, as I had been saving up money since I was 16. (My dad always joked I had money hidden under my mattress. Actually, it was in my sock drawer.) Once I received prices from potential vendors, however, $10,000 seemed unrealistic. Our backyard wedding required rentals, food, yard maintenance, and generators. I bumped the budget up to $14,000 and hoped that it would be enough.

After we decided to elope, most of those extra expenses fell away. We’re not having any guests, so we don’t need to worry about invitations, favors, or gifts for our parents and the bridal party. The number of meals has been reduced by 80%. Still, I worry that our current budget of $11,000 is too much to spend on one day. We’re eloping, I think. Shouldn’t we cancel everything and just run off to the nearest courthouse?

Unfortunately, that’s not the wedding we want. The wedding we want costs $11,000. Although running off to the courthouse would be cheaper, it wouldn’t be right for us. Thankfully, none of the money will be wasted, as this post at A Practical Wedding points out:

[Y]ou’re not just paying for twelve hours [on your wedding day]. Even apart from…the food, the dancing, the place to do it all—you’re paying for even more than that. You’re also paying for that week before when you don’t have to spend all of your time bent over a hot stove. For not needing to run around during your wedding, picking up discarded napkins and plates. You’re paying for avoiding a fight with your mom over the etiquette of e-invites. Saying you’re paying all of this money for just twelve hours is akin to my being flabbergasted at paying $3,000 just for a ride to work [after buying a car]. It’s like saying, “I spent $100 on just one hour?!” after an expensive haircut. You’ve got to count in all of the convenience, the expertise, the luxury that comes with that price tag. How do you normally rationalize spending—whether on a car or a haircut or anything else? Sometimes you’re avoiding stress. Sometimes you’re storing up memories. Sometimes you’re, let’s be honest, just spoiling yourself. And you know, all of those things can cost a lot of money, but not always because you’re necessarily being frivolous or decadent (though sometimes you are, which is just fine, too). In this case, it’s because your priorities and abilities are slightly different than someone who will risk that fight with mom or will spend those hours in the kitchen.

Whenever I cringe at our budget, thinking it’s too expensive for an elopement, Mr. Wellies reminds me that almost 70% of it is photography and videography. We’re shelling out mucho dinero so we can have evidence—for the rest of our lives—of the day we got married. That’s not worth 70% of our budget. That’s priceless.


Image via Green Wedding Shoes / Photo by Max Wanger

Does your budget ever make you feel conflicted?


Miss Wellies

Wedding Date:
February 2014
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  1. Member
    wellies 1425 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:18 pm

    @laura: I’m sorry you got the impression that “money is no object” to us. As I stated in this post, I have been carefully saving up since I was 16. We spent a long time discussing how to spend our budget and decided that photography and videography were the most important. I deliberately shied away from spending $1000 on a dress, because it wasn’t as important to me. Luckily, I found a dress I love. Wearing it makes me feel beautiful and I know I will look beautiful in my wedding photos and video. :)
    @graciej: Thank you for commenting! :D

  2. Member
    soontobemrsd921 481 posts, Helper bee @ 9:07 pm

    Kudos to you!!! Don’t let the haters rain on your parade. It’s YOUR wedding, YOUR way.

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    rachel, Guest @ 11:40 pm

    @ThePinkSuperhero: ahhm are you kidding? pretty sure there generally is a massive difference between a $100 photographer and a photographer that has years of experience thats charges a couple of grand. I think miss wellies is wise to invest in photography and videography on the day so they will forever have beautiful imagery of their wedding.
    And if you think 11k is alot, try planning a wedding in australia!

  4. Member
    wellies 1425 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:32 am

    @SoonToBeMrsD921: Thank you so much! :D

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Diana, Guest @ 6:55 am

    I see peoples budgets for weddings and can only imagine having that kind of money. I am doing my daughter’s entire wedding for $1500 (including her dress already purchased here!). I am on disability am paying for one thing for the wedding each month until the wedding. I have everything planned up until 6/14/2014. And YES…..it can be done!!!!!!!

  6. Member
    wellies 1425 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:28 pm

    @Diana: Wow! Congrats on having everything planned out in advance! :)

  7. Member
    melonseeds 835 posts, Busy bee @ 9:16 pm

    I am appalled at seeing some people’s reactions – who are you to judge what Miss Wellies plans on spending on her special day? She has considered many factors and this is the decision that makes the most sense for her.

    And depending on metropolitan area – she may very well be in a very expensive city where a professional and talented photog and videographer together would easily comprise most of that budget. Miss Wellies, kudos to you for being so honest and brave and I wish you and FI all the best!

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    catiedidit, Guest @ 9:10 am

    I am surprised at all of the people that are “appalled at seeing some people’s reactions.” I don’t think anyone has been out of line by saying that they wouldn’t spend the money the way the blogger is – people can say whatever they want. What’s the point of having a comments section if not to have a discussion – of both dissension and agreement. Nobody is being rude! Since when do we have to agree with what everyone else is doing? Weddingbee isn’t supposed to only be about rainbows and butterflies, we don’t all have to like the same things…right?

  9. Member
    cateyes 333 posts, Helper bee @ 1:20 pm

    i’m in the same camp as those who wouldn’t make the same choice as you…but who completely recognize that it’s your choice to make! if i were eloping, i would absolutely incorporate travel and a beautiful dress and a great photographer…bc those are 3 of my loves…and then i’d get takeout and eat it on the side of the road in greece, or something equally incongruous.

    weddings are such high emotion things, and everyone is so invested in their own choices…often having to fight for them…and it’s super easy to lose sight of the fact that someone else’s choice being different is not a reflection on your own choice.

    all that to say, “do your thing, girl!”

  10. Member
    jrzygurl 1865 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:59 pm

    I actually don’t think $11,000 is bad. At all! Go you! I think where the “confusion” comes from is you calling it an elopement. It’s not really an elopement. You aren’t running off to a courthouse (or Vegas). What you are doing is having a very small and intimate wedding. If I were you, I would stop using the term elopement as it makes people imagine it’s just the two of you, as opposed to what you are doing, which is planning and hosting a beautiful ceremony and reception (which from your posts – I know it will be!).

  11. Member
    justjade 767 posts, Busy bee @ 5:30 am

    @Miss Wellies: @Miss Wellies:
    I love the idea of an elopement like yours!
    I must ask- are you using Max Wanger (you posted his picture)? I am IN LOVE with his work!
    I would not hesitate to spend that proportion of your budget on photography. It is perhaps the most tangible token of your wedding day!
    Best wishes!

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    TiffanyS, Guest @ 2:20 pm

    Wow, your wedding sounds lovely. I think you’re spending your money just right: on the things that matter to you. I agree that videography and photography will give you a lifetime of memories that you will love looking back on. Those are things you will never be able to repeat or recapture if you don’t get them at the time. I also personally place huge value on pictures. I love looking back at them years later, and they help me to remember. I also agree that if you have it to spend, and you’re doing what you want to do, it’s silly to listen to anyone who’s telling you that what you are doing isn’t “smart” because they wouldn’t make the same decision. You go girl, and you rock your wedding. I’m sure it will be incredibly special for both of you.

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