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.
Does your budget ever make you feel conflicted?