5 tips for setting and sticking to your budget: It’s tougher than you think
by Stephanie

Hello all!  I’m Laicie from  A Thousand Threads, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to share a little advice from my recent trip down the aisle here today.  While I’m by no means an expert, I did learn a ton through experience – the hard way – and I hope that by sharing, it can help you in planning your own big day.  Thanks for having me! When my now-husband proposed, I didn’t have to think twice.  He’s my favorite person in the world.  He picks me up when I’m lazy, brings me soup when I’m sick, and doesn’t judge when I feel the need to eat a pizza and an entire pint of ice cream… with a glass of wine.  He loves me unconditionally and takes the dog out in the mornings.

The day he proposed, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to marry him.

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The Weaver House

No… the doubt didn’t come until I considered when, where, and how we were going to get the whole thing done.  You see, up until that point I had been sure I’d want to elope… but once we were engaged, I knew I couldn’t experience such an important moment without my family by my side.  I was happy, and suddenly, I kind of wanted to shout it from the rooftops.

I wanted a celebration.

So I set to work planning the perfect day… and somewhere between the words “yes” and “I do,” that other -- “perfect” -- word started to work its way in. At first, I didn’t need much, just my guy and my closest family and friends by my side.  Then I hit the blogs, the magazines… and oh, Martha… she had me at hello.

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Tec Petaja Photo

The $20,000 budget (max) I had set soon ballooned to $30, $40, $50,000… and I fell apart.

After a ton of soul searching (i.e.: crying) I eventually decided to break the whole thing down and start over.  But even after a complete redo, I still landed at nearly twice my original budget.  Clearly I was doing something wrong.

Looking back, I realize that I made a lot of mistakes, but the worst part is that every one of my mistakes was avoidable.  No one guide can give you all the answers, but here are just a few things that I wish I’d known going in…

1. Prioritize – and don’t think it’s going to be easy.

What is the #1 most important thing to you?  For us, it was photography.  We spent a full third of our budget on photography and videography, and in our opinion, it was truly one of the best decisions we could have made.  But you might not agree – maybe you want to prioritize food or a fantastic band.

Decide this first, and build the rest of your budget around that choice.  But don’t go overboard.  If you have a $10,000 budget, you’re probably not going to be able to afford a $6,000 photographer without some serious creativity.  Be realistic.

2. Consider your location.

Are you getting married in rural Indiana, or southern California?  It’s going to make a difference in your budget.  Some locations cost much more than others, and you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

DO NOT Google the average wedding budget and assume that yours will fall in the same range.  Unless you’re getting married in a place that gels with the national average or the exact location of the bride sharing her budget, yours will be different.

3. Get all of your quotes first.  Then decide.

Let’s just get this straight right now: Unless you are superhuman and unbelievably prepared, every single one of your vendor quotes will come in more than you expected.  You will need the flexibility to shift your priorities and resources, and if you’ve already signed a contract and put down a non-refundable $1,000 deposit, that’s going to be a whole lot tougher.

So ignore that nagging voice in your head that tells you that you have to sign right this second or you might miss out.  If you let your vendor know to contact you before they give away your date, they’ll respect your request.  Take your time.

4. Get Creative

Think outside the box – as in way outside the box.  Have you thought of hiring a food truck for dinner?  How about going retro with an afternoon social?  Don’t get bogged down in what you think the “perfect” wedding should be.  Unique details are always better than cookie-cutter copies… let your personality shine through and save a few pennies in the process!

5. Don’t forget – this thing is about love.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the pretty of it all… but in the end, I’m going to tell you the truth: at least 75 percent of the tiny little details I spent hours and hours poring over didn’t even make it into the pictures.  And I didn’t care…

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The Weaver House

Because I’m married to the guy I love… and that was the whole point from the start.

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