Getting Creative while Creating your Wedding Budget

Dear Thriving Bride,

It is 44 days before my wedding and I seem to be finding everyday inspirations for this blog.  Today I want to talk about your wedding budget.  I know it is a hard pill to swallow, especially if you are absolutely convinced that your budget is directly tied to manifesting the essence of your wedding.  I’m here to tell you that it’s just not true!

I absolutely love recycling, and I definitely love FreeCycling.  If you don’t know the Freecycle site,  and you are intent on throwing a bad ass wedding without stressing,  you should check it out immediately.  Today I was browsing my local site and searching for the word “wedding.”  After all, it serves the community by allowing individuals to post items that they either want to give away or receive.  No money is involved!  As I searched, I thought of my friend JG.  We’ve talked about the challenges of wedding planning, especially when it comes to the budget, but I was amazed to find a wedding photographer who wants to gift her skills for free in order to build her portfolio.  Now, ain’t that something!

So, first things first.  Did your read my  Top 10 Tips for Having a Low Stress Wedding Planning Process?  If you didn’t, you should!  But you can proceed with this information and catch up with that post later.  Basically, one of my tips was encouraging couples to make a wedding budget.  While this is very important, the most important thing you need to do is to decide what is important for you to have as the essence of your wedding first and foremost, and then you can start crunching numbers.

Let me explain a bit further.  When I was shopping for my wedding gown, I focused on how I wanted to feel while wearing the dress.  Of course every woman wants to feel beautiful, but I’m talking about something else here.  I knew that I wanted a dress made of natural materials that was also strapless and ivory colored instead of the traditional white wedding dress.  I also knew that I wanted the dress to be in line with  the essence of my wedding: simplicity and elegance.  So, this is what I thought about and took notes about first.

Then, I went dress shopping.  My guide was not the name of a particular store or the price tag on a dress.  My guide came from the notes that I had scribbled down about how I wanted to feel while wearing that dress.

Now you’ve taken those notes, what if you make a budget and decide you can spend 300 dollars on a dress?  Yes, I know some people may cringe here because most modern day wedding dresses range in price from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.  Again, remember that this is not about comparing yourself to your friends and how much their dresses cost.  It’s about what you want!

So, here are a few things to think about after you make your list:
1. Can you use the internet as a resource?  Who says you have to go to a formal bridal shop?  Okay, maybe your mother says so but THIS IS YOUR WEDDING AND YOU HAVE AGENCY!
2. Can you buy a used or vintage dress? Why not look to sites like Ebay, or Recycled Bride for inspiration.  They both have some pretty amazing options and you never know what you will find!
3. Are you open and/or willing to receive your dress as a gift from someone else.  Maybe your girlfriend has hers in the closet and doesn’t know what to do with it after wearing it once and dry cleaning it.  I understand the sentiment behind saving it, but there are tons of women out there who want to pass their dresses on.  You may be able to find a dress on FreeCycle as well.

So, the point is to make your list of what you want your day to feel like, then to think about what that would look like and then you can put together a budget.  Unless you do that, you may end up basing your budget on other people’s ideas of what a wedding should cost.  And who wants to do that?