I'm an avid player of all tabletop roleplaying games. But my favorite, the one I keep coming back to, is good ol' Dungeons and Dragons. I have played characters at all levels, from a 1st-level rogue who could get knocked out if a goblin sneezed on her the wrong way to a 27th-level bard who ultimately became the avatar of a god, and everything in between. I've scoured books and websites looking for just the right prestige class, feat, or special ability to make my characters the very best they could be. But what does this have to do with wedding planning? Or budgeting? Turns out, quite a lot…
This is Offbeat Bride's archive of Budgeting Advice posts.
How to cope with your wedding budget
When I eventually got engaged, I had one venue at the top of my list; Brooklyn's reBar. We immediately put down a deposit and made monthly payments for 18 months. We had 17 days until our wedding, I was freaking out over whether or not my mantilla veil had been delivered, when I got a Facebook notification that reBar was closed.
In our area, an "average" wedding photographer charges about $1500. A "good" photographer, about $3000. A photography student from the university, about $800. So, we could either have the wedding we wanted, or a low to mid range photographer with absolutely nothing else. Put that way, the decision was easy. It's not that we lack appreciation for the art form of photography or don't think there's any skill involved. It's just not something we've personally made a priority.
In my more than seven years of publishing a wedding website (and then four years of running a parenting website) one of the things that came up time and time again the concept of a "gift grab." Maybe this logic used to make a little more sense during a time when most couples A) weren't paying for their own weddings or B) weren't living together before getting married. But back here in 2014, round these parts? 43% of us are paying for our own weddings. Why in the world would we spend money on a wedding (or even just a reception) just to get gifts?!
I've just started looking around at venue options, and I'm realizing that my dream venue (funky and yes, offbeat) is potentially going to cost us TWICE as much as this more traditional, kinda-boring venue that offers wedding packages. Thinking about this reminded me again that offbeat does NOT necessarily mean less expensive! Then it made me wonder how much other Offbeat Bride readers are willing to spend to pursue their nontraditional visions — versus going lower-budget for a more packaged wedding. Given that many corners of the wedding industry are set up with packages, how do you decide between an easy/low-budget package vs. a more expensive but more authentic offbeat vision?
So, in my crawls across the internet I came across the idea of "sponsored weddings" ie services that you either get discounted or free in exchange for promotions/advertisements at the wedding. On one hand, I think it's tacky… on the other, I think it's fabulous.
What are your thoughts on all of this?
My fiancé and I are totally excited about including some DIY elements in our wedding, but I am wondering if it makes sense financially. What are your experiences? Did your DIY projects save you money or cost more?
We are close to hitting the ceiling on our small-budget wedding, and I'd love to hear from Offbeat Bride readers who've finished their weddings…
What are things that you wish you spent more or less on?
I have been checking and re-checking my wedding budget spreadsheet weekly — especially the estimates vs actual money spent. I am not the first, nor will I be the last that spends a good deal of valid energy on a wedding. But something happened yesterday, thanks to an app, that helped remind me of the fun of wedding planning.