Your Wedding, Your Budget


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Ok, off you go. Time to read East Side’s little rant about how judging people because you think they spent too much on their wedding is just as bad as judging them because you think they spent too little. She says exactly what I think, and clearly. Best post I’ve read quite awhile.

People often take the title of this blog (which was, for the record, a happy accident,* not a manifesto) as some sort of statement that you have to have a “budget” wedding (whatever that means) or else. But your budget is different from my budget. It’s based on a million factors: what you make, what you have saved, what your jobs are, if your family is contributing, how many people you’re inviting, your free time, your location, your and your family’s health, and just what you feel like spending, all of which are NO ONE ELSE’S BUSINESS. Period.

Because here is what this blog is really about: being grounded, being sensible, being thoughtful. And you cannot put a price tag on that.

Now GO. East Side says it better than I do.

*David had a political blog called Practical Progress. And I was starting to think much of the wedding stuff I had access to was capital C Crazy.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16188994551748661706 redwhitebride

    i'm a newbie and i got intimidated by the "budget war" on the blogosphere: 10K (what?), 2K (what?!?!?). but i'm sane (thanks to your blog). there's no need to "label" our wedding anyway (no "budget" or "intimate" or "DIY").

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06206689296805893265 east side bride

    <3

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00174894872050076618 Marie-Ève

    For sure no one needs to judge! And yeah, labels are evil, and part of why people go crazy when it comes to weddings. Can't we just get along? In the big world of weddings, I don't think the "frugal" brides are the ones you need to "fear" anyway… :-)

    And I completely understand your point. But I still think that whether you like it or not, there is a certain correlation between being practical and having a "smaller" budget (even if the definition of smaller can widely vary from people to people). I think that's why a lot of people come to your blog associating the two.

    Yes, being grounded it's what it's all about, but the two will never be completely apart.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13587382445025430711 Evelyn

    yes yes YES that post rules! Thank you so much for linking it…I may have missed it and I really needed to read it.

    And, with no offense to anyone, I think practicality in general has eff. all to do with being budgeted. Keep rocking the name because you are one practical, keeping perspective kind of woman. Much respect!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10441798371617926431 kaitlin

    It's completely hypocritical, but I think that the WIC has us caught up in a)comparing our weddings (see OBB's post on the wedding "contest") and b)comparing our budgets.

    I love Martha, don't get me wrong, but I wonder if her summer issue, dedicated to recession weddings and DIY-style will only foster a new challenge for the WIC, and I'm quite afraid that it will.

    Lord knows that as much as I hate being judged on my budget, I've been told its okay to judge others (which, it's sooooo obviously not.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06939935590766216936 Bridechka

    Hooray for ESB. I loved that post, its nice to get affirmation when there is so much judgment and criticism out there. The worst part is that we start to turn it inwards, on ourselves .. sometimes I start to find that I am beating myself up and feeling guilty just for wanting to have a wedding! That is madness! I shouldnt have to feel bad about wanting to marry the man I love and to share that day with the people who matter to us!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09197008991622181061 PrincessMax

    Thank you for posting this link. I have to tell you that I read the post on Liz and Alex's CSA wedding before I read this one and for the first time since I began reading your blog several months ago, I noticed that one of your questions is, "What made your wedding thrifty?" I deflated a little when I realized that I don't really have an answer for that so thought I couldn't be part of the club. I DIYed the hell out of my first wedding 10 years ago and my life (and partner) is so much different this time around that what is more practical is to spend money and save sanity.

    I reinflated again to read this link. But how funny is it that I didn't have that feeling until today when you offered a cure?

    Thanks.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    The question in full is actually "Waht made your wedding Thrifty, whatever that meant to you?" Thrifty is as thrifty does. We're paying what feels like a hefty sum for our wedding, but there are still areas where we are being very thrifty – doing our own flowers or making the dress or just getting a super discount on the luxury hotel room we splurged on the day of. Being smart about money dosen't mean not spending any, it means spending what you can afford. And I guess my point is "what you can afford" totally DEPENDS. 10 years ago, on your first go round, I would *bet* you were poorer than you are now (if my life is any indication).

    If all that makes sense…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    And there is no club. I'm against wedding clubs….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04137547398982007429 Mellyelle

    Thank you for this post! I feel like judgment can come from too many sources, and yeah, I'm probably spending a little more than a "budget" bride, but it's what works for me and my fiance. It's so hard too…I had to edit out about six disclaimers of why my budget is just…what it is for us. Why do I need to justify?

    I believe I'm being very practical about the choices I'm making, going about things in a rational way, and sometimes the more practical solution for me is to spend a little extra money and pay someone to do something.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17630812969476483227 Chic ‘n Cheap Living

    Foshizz. Your wedding is practical and it's yours. Extremities on either end are not good and we shouldn't lose ourselves in the process.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18322614204354706684 Amelia

    Meg, ESB, thank you both. Seriously. I've been feeling guilty, like a bad little feminist, because we're spending more on our wedding. But you know what? We're having a wedding we really, really love that's about who we are. Priceless, dammit.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09945813943336222370 Luis

    Meg, I think you should form a wedding club.

    Maybe out of wood.

    How you use it is completely up to you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    Louis,
    I think I will. Perhaps I will use it whenever people say things like, "but you CAN'T have XXX and have a practical wedding. You CAN'T." And I might even share it with ESB, though goodness knows that might be dangerous.

    Meg

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Thank you Thank you. I always feel badly about the budget of my wedding because it seems way too much compared to other "practical" ones. But the fact is, it would not be practical for us to have a cheap DIY wedding when we live 1200 miles from the venue and from our families and when I am working on my PhD and spending a third of my year in the field gathering data.

  • P.

    i very much enjoyed this and the post on ESB. can't we all just be happy and supportive of each other for finding LOVE and celebrating that fact, no matter what kind of party we decide to throw, or how much money we decide to spend?

    i started this wedding planning process wanting to have a "budget" wedding. after crunching our numbers recently, our final costs will probably tip us into what's considered an "average" wedding. but those terms mean jack to us because we are throwing a party that is immensely personal to us, true to what we love, planned in the most practical of ways to ensure that our money and our parents' generous contributions were used to the fullest, and that our friends, family, and guests would have a damn good time celebrating with us. because it's not just about US (though, yeah, it's kind of the reason we're having the wedding ;)), but it's about the happiness, love, and joy that's going to fill that room and you can't put a $ tag on that!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18209861350905135093 LPC

    All I can say is, wait until you all enter the world of having children. You think the WIC is oppressive. Try the cultural expectations for the continuation of the species…

  • April

    LOVE this. Loved ESB's comments too.

    I beat myself up because I feel I'm spending to much.

    Then I beat myself up again because I think, "Why NOT spend the $$? We've worked hard and saved, and this is gonna be a fantastic celebration to remember."

    *sigh*

    So, my mantra for the finance side of the wedding is, "More than some, less than the Royal Family's."

    And there ya go.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    Oh LPC,
    You think I don't spend time worrying about THAT? I might or might not already own a baby related domain name, because I *know* I'll need to vent then.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06421997839879080174 Accidental Housewife

    LPC: Oh, no worries there! Planning a wedding WITH children! Yep! Which makes trying to justify the expense of wedding planning that much more difficult. BUT, we want to be married. We want to have a wedding to make that happen. And that costs money. period. (true story: my man-friend proposed and I turned him down because, after ten years I thought it was "impractical". Thankfully, he's convinced me otherwise!)

  • Miss High Heels

    Whenever anyone tries to make me feel guilty over my supposed wedding spending I'm going to re-read this post and East Side Bride's post. Thank you for pointing out the obvious, that each couple's wedding budget is personal and should not be used to tear the happy couple apart.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04603937756401903984 Jeff

    Amen to you and ESB. The key at any budget is to balance what you can afford and what will make you happy. At the very beginning of our wedding planning, my partner and I had initially lowballed our budget, but after we priced out the things we really wanted — and experienced a little sticker shock — we looked at the things that would be meaningful to us (like our venue, which we have special memories of), and then looked at our finances, realized we were at a fortunate place in our lives to have some money that we were comfortable spending on this, and decided to go for it.

    Everyone's wedding is their own. It's easy to get caught up in comparing. Your title hits the nail on the head: your wedding, your budget.