Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Finalizing the Budget


Good morning, dear readers!  Do you know what today is?  We're one month out exactly from our wedding!  The time can't go fast enough - the past 14 months since Jon proposed have, in some ways, flown by, but in others they've simple crawled.  I just want to get married and celebrate with our families and friends!

I have a few more fun Wedding Wednesday posts for you all between now and August 24 and I'm sure there will be lots to share afterwards, but today I want to wrap up a more serious part of the wedding planning process: the budget.  (Feel absolutely free to stop reading now if you don't care about this - I won't be offended!)  As I wrote in a post about this back in February, Jon and I would have loved to see a breakdown of other couples' budgets when we started figuring everything out; everyone has different priorities, of course, and how much things cost depends greatly on where you're getting married, but I felt like we started out a bit blind.  Due to some serious learning experiences, how we allocated our budget has shifted around a bit over the past year!


You might want to see the posts I wrote about this a year ago and six months ago to see our mindsets then, but let me explain some of the changes that have let us to this final spreadsheet:

- Our catering cost went up from July 2012 to February 2013 because we decided to be more inclusive with our guest list, but we received more regrets than we expected so it went back down.
- My estimate for the cost of our cake was low, so the budget line for that went up when we chose Michelle from Vanilla Patisserie in September.
- Because we used an independent designer for all of our paper goods, I had no idea how much to allocate for this part, so the cost rose as Caroline and I talked through everything we wanted.  Also, we originally weren't going to use a calligrapher, but we decided to invest in a professional for our invitations after some Save the Date stress which is how a line was added for Beflourish!  Stationery was always in our top three budgetary priorities, though, so that was okay.
- When we finalized everything with our wonderful florist, Clare, in April, her quote ended up being slightly less than we'd budgeted for!  Our venue is gorgeous on its own and Clare knows it really well, so she helped us figure out the best way to be strategic with the decor.
- We recently decided to add a second photographer on Tarah's advice, so the budget line for photography went up a little bit.
- I'm mortified that the amount we've set aside for "clothes and beauty for bride and maids" has gone up so much over the past year!  But, honestly, it's just because I totally didn't think about all of the extras that have to be included in that.  Next week's Wedding Wednesday post will be all about the beauty aspect so I'll share everything then - for now, let's just say I didn't really think through everything that goes into looking like a bride when we first made the spreadsheet.  Oops.
- Without doing much research, we gave ourselves an amount we were comfortable spending on all of the music for our wedding; we knew we wanted a string quartet for the ceremony and a DJ for the reception, but we sort of pulled a number out of thin air for both of them.  In November, a very generous relative booked the Gainsborough Quartet for us as a wedding gift, so we picked a new figure for just the DJ without actually knowing how much they charge.  When we found our fab DJ, we realized that we'd been a bit naive and so that line went back up.
- We totally forgot about wedding rings when we first made our spreadsheet.  Oops!  The amount there from the February budget is at retail prices, but we were able to get them wholesale a few months ago, which brought the cost down.
- Also, because of my concern over all the visa nonsense, we added in a line for an immigration lawyer in the spring.  Money well spent, I'd say!

The most complicated parts of my spreadsheet are the MISC DECOR and CUSHION lines.  We actually took out everything from MISC DECOR for a few months in the middle when I was on a minimalist anti-Pinterest kick, but thank goodness I got over that.  The money in that category hasn't all been allocated and I doubt it will all be spent, but it's going towards things like my little DIY projects and some other slightly frivolous Etsy commissions.  The cushion will cover incidentals - for instance, Bruisyard Hall sleeps 24 for the whole weekend and we need food for everyone for the non-wedding meals over the two and a half days we'll be there - and tips and things.  Best case scenario, of course, is that we don't spend our entire budget, and I'm optimistic about having some extra left over!


Now, the last thing to address for all you readers out there who might be planning (or planning to plan - I know there are a few of you out there!) a transatlantic wedding is the exchange rate.  We were at $1.55/£1 in July 2012 and in February 2013 it was $1.52/£1.  At the moment, the exchange rate is $1.53/£1.  However, I've kept my budget spreadsheet at $1.60/£1 the whole way through.  About two thirds of the items up there are being paid for in pounds sterling, but my budget is in dollars; my worst nightmare was that I'd overestimate how much money we have in pounds and then go over budget because the exchange rate skyrocketed.  Based on trends from the past two years - the graph above shows only the past year - I didn't think we'd go much over $1.60/£1 for long, so that seemed like a safe maximum to assume.  As we've stayed quite a bit below that and have paid off deposits and fees at opportune times, I do think we will come in below budget when all is said and done!

If you have any questions about wedding budgets at all, please do feel free to email me or, better yet, leave a comment.  I bet my readers will have great answers based on their own experiences, too!  I know it can be a bit uncomfortable to talk about money, but this is complicated stuff and it can get quite emotional, so we're definitely here to help!

linking up with a little bit of class, a little bit of sass for Wedding Wednesday

23 comments:

  1. Ahh one month how exciting!!! So happy for you two!

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  2. One month... eek!

    I love that you share these details with your readers as I think it'll be quite helpful for those beginning the process. Our wedding planner provided us with budgeting assistance and gave us a pretty good idea as to how things would naturally be allocated and then we made slight shifts depending on our priorities. We stayed fairly close to budget though when all was said and done.

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  3. Absolutely genius to have a line earmarked "Cushion." We didn't do this, and even though we knew things would inevitably go over, it would've been so much more mentally healthy to have that included in the initial estimate. Way to be. Please go back in time and plan my wedding. Thanks!!

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  4. haha - but notice that the % allocated for the cushion has snuck ever further down over the past year...

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  5. I hope so! I'm thinking of submitting this to a couple of wedding blogs - I would have LOVED to read a post like this a year ago. (why yes, that is my own horn you hear me tooting! haha)

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  6. I love how detailed you've been with your wedding budget. When I was planning mine I just sort of guesstimated a lot of things and then ended up going over. It would have been so much more helpful to have a detailed budget like yours!

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  7. Georgia ChristakisJuly 24, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Betsy, you are absurdly organized. and I kind of love it.

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  8. I may have gone a little overboard with it all, but I was SO nervous about doing it in two currencies!

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  9. that "planning to plan a transatlantic wedding" was for you :P

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  10. I should have kept better track of everything. I was so bad about it! For someone who is as organized as I am, I can't believe that I didn't do something like this!

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  11. Georgia ChristakisJuly 25, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    all I can say is thank you for not judging the not-even-engaged-girl-who-is-clearly-getting-ahead-of-herself. (:

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  12. You're very organized. I certainly went over budget with my wedding planning. Way to stay on top of everything. :)

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  13. Can't wait to read your beauty post next week! Thank you for including your budget and how it shifts. We are starting to experience that a bit, too.

    Please consider joining our link-up! I know this would be helpful to the other brides on the link-up! :) http://www.littlebitofclasslittlebitofsass.com/2013/07/wedding-wednesday_24.html

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  14. THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME! sorry for the ditz moment - I've linked up and put the link at the bottom of this post :)

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  15. haha I don't know what to tell you - but you can go spreadsheet crazy when you have kids and/or buy a house?

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  16. YAY!!! Thanks lady! PS you're absolutely not a ditz! :)

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  17. This is some great info! There are things that I know we are forgetting on our spreadsheet too but I don't have that lovely cushion that you have. I'm a little jealous of that. Oh well! I know your wedding will be gorgeous!



    Thanks so much for linking up with us!

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  18. Our budget changed SO much throughout the wedding process simply because I didn't think about all the extras we were going to include - either things we just wanted for the fun of it or things we were picking up as traditions. I also discovered that the estimates most places give you are for the basic/standard offering...and I am always drawn to the most expensive thing in the room, whether it's a dress, piece of jewelry, refrigerator, etc. Even a compromise resulted in spending more on items than I'd originally planned for. That said, I wouldn't have changed any of it! The only thing I would have done differently would be to add in videography.

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  19. it was hard to keep the cushion all the way through - I kept thinking of ways to spend it!

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  20. there was definitely a moment when I was adding up all the little things in that "clothes and beauty" column - you know, the dress, obviously, but then also the shoes and the bra and the veil and the and the - where I thought HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THIS WILL NEVER END.


    p.s. I'm ignoring your last sentence. we don't have a videographer!

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  21. My aunt took video snippets which were great! I honestly don't think I'd go back and watch the full video, but watching her video clips makes me nostalgic :)

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