“Just a simple wedding” – sometimes it can start like this. That is the plan; Get married, spend only on what is necessary, and then work on the little living things together, spend your life together, work, save, plan a family, and enjoy time together.
“It has to be my dream wedding” – and that’s how it can begin. The bride and groom can be optimistic about costs and plan ahead of time as to whether they can afford a beautifully designed wedding that is unique and perfect for them.
However, in either scenario, the final cost of the wedding can be a huge shock.
Small things add up to big things
The problem often arises when “little extras” are added – often without the cost of those extras factored into the running total. Brides and grooms can say yes to these extras because they seem so affordable, just a few dollars more than the grand total (especially when it comes to the grand total!).
But many of these little extras need to be factored in to multiply by the total number of guests.
Then another little extra is added because it looks so gorgeous or adds just the right touch.
And then a little extra, because the bridesmaids and groomsmen really have to be really thanked.
Then an extra, because it goes so well with this or that.
And then another, and then another – and before you know it, those little extras have exploded the original expenses so much that it has become financially difficult to manage.
Looking good – the personal expenses that can get out of hand
Tradition has it that the bride’s family (although nowadays it is usually the bride herself) pays for the wedding dress. While some brides choose the cheapest options, many don’t – and of course every bride wants to feel the most beautiful on her wedding day.
If the wedding dress is to be a big expense, the bride needs to sit down and calmly think about all the costs associated with her appearance. Will she wear a veil? What jewelry will she wear? (Will this be an extra expense or will she be wearing jewelry that she already owns?) What shoes? What underwear? Which makeup? (Is this done professionally?) What hairstyle? (Is this being done professionally again?)
What about the headdress and makeup of her companions? (It is common for either the bride or the bride’s family to pay for it, although the bridesmaids are traditionally expected to buy their own dresses.) What about gifts to the bridesmaids and gifts to the groom?
The bride should decide on the budget before spending a dime on it. It is absolutely deadly on the budget to “buy” anything related to the wedding.
Carding costs, photography, reception and more
Not even the stationery (cards – engagement party invitations, wedding invitations, thank you letters, business cards, order of ceremony or order of service), newspaper announcements, trousseau, bouquets for the bridesmaids, hen night or equivalent, musician fees, additional ones Entertainment fees, cost of decorating the wedding venue, renting the wedding venue, the photos (and video if also selected), a wedding ring for the groom if he wears one, wedding transportation (to and from the ceremony and reception) and the big one – the reception (venue, food and drink). These are traditionally paid for by the bride’s family or the bride herself.
This does not mean that the groom has no costs – on the contrary.
From bouquets to honeymoons
The groom or the groom’s family is traditionally expected to provide the groom’s clothes, accessories for the best men (boutonnieres, ties, gloves, etc.), gifts for the best men (and also for the ushers), as well as the fee for the registered men paid wedding party, gifts for the parents of the bride and groom, flowers for the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom, flowers for the bride (corsage, bouquet, etc.), the engagement ring (of course), the bride’s wedding ring, the cost of the engagement party and the cost of the honeymoon.
Decide what is necessary
It makes sense to stop and think before spending any money – what is really necessary? And who will pay for what?
Remember that the above costs are traditional: it is not uncommon for both families of the bride and groom to agree to split the cost in the middle, or for one family to be better able to bear the costs than the other family. Also, if both the bride and groom have worked for long periods of time, it is not uncommon for both of them to be able to afford the expenses between them instead of having their families pay.
However, the costs are to be borne, nothing – not even a single invitation card – should be bought without first planning the budget. Some things can be dispensed with. Some things can be done rather than bought. Some things can be spoiled; Some things can be saved. Some things, while nice, are just not necessary when it comes to getting to grips with other more important things.
What is the most important thing in a wedding?
As a wedding celebration, it should come as no surprise that I firmly believe that by far the most important thing is the ceremony itself – its structure, the vows, the wording of the ceremony, the creation and sculpture of the various elements (music, readings, other ceremonial Aspects) of the ceremony to create something unique and perfect for the couple. Anyone who is a celebrant can just show up, smile, say the necessary legal words, and then pronounce the husband and wife couple. For a simple ceremony that primarily focuses on just getting married, there are inexpensive options such as “Standard Simple Ceremonies” – the basic ceremony booked at the wedding celebrant’s office with short but meaningful vows.
For a ceremony that is intended to illustrate the importance and beauty of the vows through image and sound, as well as legality, a first class wedding reception is more important than any other aspect.
No two celebrants will ever hold the same ceremony, perform it in the same way, and leave the same memories for the couple. Because of this, it is important for couples having this type of ceremony to do research with registered spouses – to find the quality, style, and creativity that will best suit them.
The venue is also important – the dress is important – the performers or the music that has been chosen … all important. But how everything is intertwined regarding the vows is by far the most important thing.
When you think back to your wedding ten years from now, will you remember the color of the bridesmaid’s bouquets most vividly? Or the taste of the dessert at the reception? Or the style of the invitations? Will the memory of the horse and carriage that will take you to the wedding venue be what keeps this day alive in your hearts?
Of course it won’t be … It will be the vows, how you looked each other in the eyes and made those promises to each other, how the vows were part of a ceremony presented with warmth, suppleness and meaningfulness, like every word that added to the semblance of that day’s promise as it all – from the music to the poetry to the moment you heard the words “You may kiss the bride” – were woven into a wonderful reminder of love and commitment.
Where can you cut corners?
When your overall budget for your dream wedding makes you moan in despair, start with the things that you really want but don’t necessarily need. It may be most helpful to first identify what is NOT optional and see if you can justify reducing the essential cost. If you do, will it affect what’s most important or not? Circle the five things that matter most to you and work your way down from there.
You will find that keeping your wedding ceremony on a reasonable, workable budget will work wonders so that you don’t start your marriage with an unmanageable debt that weighs on your relationship. Remember, if you spend too much on making it look pretty, you risk forgetting that the heart of a wedding has nothing to do with what ribbons adorn the aisles or chairs – it’s all about the words and the promise and the love.