How to deal with wedding budget stress
Between choosing wedding vendors, dealing with pushy relatives, and spending lots of money, there are many reasons planning a wedding is stressful. In spite of the whirlwind that the months leading up to the big day can become, there are ways to get through it in one piece. One of the most crucial ways in which you can bring your blood pressure back to normal is by controlling your budget. Pinch some pennies and you will reduce your stress level, making it much easier to enjoy the wedding process!
Here are tips to keep your wedding budget stress in control
Make a List and Check it Twice
First things first, make an Excel spreadsheet list of everything you need, from a cake vendor to your groomsmen’s boutonnieres. List the most important items at the top, with things that you could do without if necessary at the bottom (a photo booth for the reception, and extra flower petals for the aisle might go here). Once you have your list, assign a maximum budget to each item and where that money is coming from, such as your parents or your own savings. Work with your partner to build a realistic budget, compare your visions for the wedding, and reach a compromise on what you need and can do without. If you must spend more on something, cross off one of the items from the bottom of the list that are more a “want” than a “need.”
If you know what you’ll spend on each item, and have time to come to terms with the expenses, it will hopefully be less stressful to write the checks. Be realistic and STICK to your budget for this list to relieve stress and not cause more!
Don’t Invite Your Entire Address Book
One of the quickest ways to pinch pennies at your wedding is by cutting down on your guest list. At some point, you need to draw the line, even though you may get some pressure from family to invite every 5th cousin in the family tree. Think about a realistic cut-off, like immediate family and aunt, uncles, and 1st cousins. When it comes to friends, if you haven’t spoken to or seen someone in the last year or so, consider leaving them off your guest list. If someone is hurt that they are not invited, provide them a diplomatic answer, explain that while you would love for everyone to attend, space and finances did not allow it. Talk with your partner to make sure that you both have your closest and most important loved ones there — don’t sacrifice your fiance’s immediate family just so you can invite everyone in your own family tree. Decide together where you will draw the line for invitations.
Avoid Vendors When You Can
Some wedding vendors cannot be avoided – you most likely want a professional to make your dress and a DJ with the right equipment. However, when it comes to things like your flowers and place cards, you have more lee-way to go handmade and save some cash. If you have a smallish wedding, consider having someone pick up fresh flowers from a farmer’s market the day before your wedding, and making the center pieces and bouquets on the morning of. Purchase card stock and print off your own place cards – even save the date cards, if you can get your hands on decorative stationary. Ask your venue if you can bring in some of your own alcohol – this will save you a considerable amount of money.
Forgo a Wedding Planner
If you have a limitless budget, a paid wedding planner can be a tremendous asset. If you are pinching pennies, however, paying someone to help you plan shouldn’t be your first priority. Instead, choose reliable and helpful bridesmaids and enlist family to help you make decisions. Your loved ones will probably feel honored to be called upon, and it will save you money. Consider getting a day-of wedding planner who will help you execute what you have already planned on your own.
Remember to focus on your relationship above all else. Reducing wedding stress makes it easier to focus on building a strong foundation for your relationship and stop bickering over small wedding-related issues. Need a little extra help? Contact me about premarital counseling!
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653