Research other people’s wedding budgets
Know what you’re getting into by doing your research. Wedding planning websites and the bloggers who chronicle their journey — from proposal to walking down the aisle — sometimes include a breakdown of expenditures.
Conducting this preliminary research even before you’ve locked down your venue will help you come up with a ballpark figure for a wedding that’s aligned with your fantasies as well as the size of the joint bank account that you and your partner-to-be share.
“Having an expectation and a reality check is important,” says Bryan Lim, a wedding planner and founder of Beautiful Gatherings. “A lot of conflicts happen because couples don’t do their research, are not in communication with each other, and don’t set goals.” He points to A Practical Wedding as a good resource for couples intending to get married.
Determine the essentials
Looking at the expenses other couples have forked out gives you an idea of how much you ought to set aside. “Say you want to spend $30,000 and you find a couple online that have spent the same amount or even $40,000. See what they spent on that you could spend less on,” recommends Lim.
One step in this direction is to separate items into two lists: the Essentials list contains your non-negotiable, absolute necessities; items on the Nice To Have list can be tentatively included in your budget, but are easily removed where required.
“Free templates found online are a good way to save money on customised invites because you only pay for printing. Or you can do e-invites, which are zero-cost,” suggests Lim.
Decide on a centrepiece
If your partner insists on including that beautiful but exorbitant floral arch, there’s a way to get around the brewing conflict. “I always tell my couples, ‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars,” quotes Lim. “Know what your A-plus wedding is like, but be willing to sacrifice some items on the list to make it within your budget.”
Lim advises couples to move the amount they have allocated for small-ticket items to the desired element they really would like to have. Make that the focus of the wedding instead of checking off every item on the list.
For instance, shooting a short film chronicling your romance may rack up substantial costs, but if it is critical to preserve the romance in moving images, don’t scrimp on it. Have a blast with it and screen it at an opportune moment to make it memorable for you and your guests.
Choose a good manager
One way to make your loved ones remember your big day is as easy as asking them for assistance. However, do note that not everyone in your coterie of bridesmaids and groomsmen would make the cut. “Choose one person who has done a wedding before to manage everyone else, rather than 10 people coming to you when things go wrong,” says Lim. A seasoned bridesmaid or groomsman will also be able to give you some guidance on what you’re splurging too much on; they may even have lobangs for you to tap on.
Focus on the big picture
“People think they need to follow a hidden script to weddings,” says Lim. Many couples design their nuptials based on conventions and weddings they have attended, but it’s okay to deviate from this “script” that other people before you have followed.
“Always look back at the big picture. Why do you even want a wedding? A lot of people don’t think about it. Do you need to do it as a banquet? Do you even need to have a real cake?” poses Lim. “In fact, you don’t need to do a lot of those things; save money and make the wedding your very own.”
It may be necessary to make some compromises to keep within budget and yet retain some semblance of your dream wedding. But when this leads to spats, it’s important to bear in mind that the two of you are in this together for the long haul. That means that the both of you will also be able to continue saving and earn more again in the future.
A special wedding isn’t always about fountains of champagne and other aesthetic elements. It’s already unique at the root of its occurrence — the promise of a legal and lasting commitment that the two of you are making to each other.