When my fiancé and I started planning our wedding, we heard “create a budget” so much that it became our chorus. We were warned that, in a marriage, the majority of fights are caused by sex and money: not enough of either. So we used a previous lesson of compromise and created a budget. I thought it would be simple but, like the rest of wedding planning, it became a process.
First, we researched and listed all of our expenses. We were brutal. Every facial, waxing and decoration had to be included. Together, we set an overall budget and then began to fill in the numbers. We used percentages we found watching wedding planning t.v. shows (mostly on WETV) and visiting The Knot’s website. We had our numbers, but our budget was far from complete.
Second, we made cuts. We found a friend who was starting her own photography business and another acquaintance to make the cake. We decided we didn’t need a videographer and opted for a d.j. over a live band. When we went over our home budget with a similar ax, we found we could halve our cable bill, decrease our cell plan, and easily save by making our favorite dinners rather than eating out. (For more tips on a household budget, click here.) But we still weren’t done.
Third, we negotiated. We both wanted more room for décor, neither of us are too picky about transportation, I really wanted nice flowers and he wanted good music. So we discussed and compromised. To ease the compromise, we gave ourselves each a separate “no reason” fund. This is a specific amount we can spend on whatever we want, no questions asked.
Fourth, we united. Together, we decided on vendors who would work within our budget. Skeffington’s Formal Wear off Sawmill offered my groom great looks with great discounts. (It’s the first location in Columbus and they’re currently running grand opening promotions). Hilliard Floral Design and Robin’s Nest both were conscious of our flower budget and what we wanted to do with it. My fiancé and I interviewed venders as a team with a similar goal. But, even to this point, our work wasn’t complete.
Fifth (finally!), we agreed our budget is set. In other words, if we save money on one item, we will not increase the budget for another. We’ve decided that money saved is just that: money saved. We now have our spreadsheet to refer to when we don’t remember what we discussed, and we can track our progress together.
As we see where we’re saving and where we’re sticking to our plan (and sticking together), we feel as though we’re succeeding as a team. Very importantly, money isn’t coming between us. Instead, we’re working together to make it work for us, and I believe this lesson will help us into marital bliss.