There are lots of wedding blogs and magazines out there, but only a select few make it onto our must read list. Southern Weddings Magazine is definitely one of them (along with the equally fantastic website and blog). If you’re in need of inspiration you can search real weddings filtered by state and even color scheme! Their “honey list” will help you narrow down your honeymoon destination possibilities with their editor approved sites. In the wedding shop you can purchase the most adorable stationery, beautifully designed with letterpress, foil stamp and printed details.
The “expert advice” series on the Southern Weddings blog contains useful information and helpful hints in all aspects of wedding planning. From tipping vendors, choosing your registry, designing invitations, even advice for a happy marriage, these gals have you covered! One of the editors, Emily Thomas may be a Southern bride at heart, but she was one of our clients for her own wedding last summer in Connecticut! Her most recent post concerns budgeting for your wedding, probably not the most glamorous topic, but definitely one of the most important. As a newlywed herself, and an expert in the industry, Emily’s advice is so good we just had to share! Below are a few of our favorites, but visit the Southern Weddings blog for the full article. Thank you Emily!
Set your budget. Thankfully, even though it’s nearly impossible to know how much the wedding in your head will cost before getting engaged and talking to vendors, it’s still possible to set your budget, because your budget should be based on the amount of money you have, not the amount of money you want to spend. In addition to tallying whatever you and your fiance will contribute, check in with both sets of parents (if they haven’t made the first move). I would recommend going into the conversation with a grateful heart and without expectations, and being thankful for any contribution they might want to make.
Prioritize your budget. Once you’ve determined the pool of money available to spend, it’s time to begin slicing it up. Start to talk with your fiance about what’s most important to you both, and start to reach out to vendors and venues with whom you’re interested in working. As quotes come in, you’ll start to see how your money might need to be allocated.
Wedding quotes can be eye-popping and confusing at first, but there are lots of articles out there that will help you understand them better (two I recommend on flowers: here and here). It also might be helpful to look at how other couples have split their budget — mine is right here, and Ruffled also runs a great series on real budgets. Also: don’t forget to calculate tips into the cost of each vendor. You can find our tips for tipping here.
Take care of your guests. We like details as much as y’all, but at some point (especially when you’re on a limited budget), it’s time to stop worrying about what your wedding will look like in photos, and start thinking about how it will FEEL to you and your guests. Sometimes, $15 worth of bug spray at a cocktail hour can be worth more than all the fancy linens and candles in the world. People will remember when you made them feel comfortable and included and welcomed, and they will also remember when they had to wait in a line or ate cold food or trek a mile to the bathroom because you didn’t want to pay for a port-a-potty. They will almost certainly forgive you for those things, because they are your dearest friends and family and they love you, but wouldn’t it be better to avoid them altogether? For us, gracious hospitality is always a budget “do.”
Remember it’s not the only party you’ll throw in your lifetime. As I was planning our wedding, every so often I’d see an idea that I really, really wanted to include… except that it didn’t fit in our budget, or it didn’t fit with the aesthetic of our day. Whenever this happened, I sat myself down and issued a reminder: this party was not the last one I would throw in my lifetime. It might be the biggest, and it might be the most expensive, but I had years of dinner parties, birthday parties, and anniversary parties ahead of me, and there would more than likely be a place to incorporate my idea of the day into one of those future bashes. This almost always talked me down from the ledge.
It’s possible to have a wedding on any budget, but it’s not possible to have any wedding on any budget. Your wedding will be gorgeous and meaningful and memorable because you two are at the center of it — blissfully happy and in love — no matter how much you spend or don’t spend. Years from now, that love and happiness is what you and your guests will remember above all else. It’s true.