Weddings Are Expensive

by clumsylawyer

Yeah, I know, big news eh?  The expense of weddings is something which bothers me and that perhaps I think about too much.  In order to understand my obsession about costs, you might like to know a little more about me.

As a kid, my parents taught me to be frugal.  When they were first married and when I was very small my dad’s income was fairly pitiful but they always managed by being canny budgeteers.  They passed this onto me from an early age.  If there was something in particular I wanted, I’d save up my pocket money for a few weeks in order to be able to afford it.  For more expensive items and school trips, I would have a chart attached to the fridge door, each £1 to be crossed off when I finished my chores.  I wasn’t just given the cash; I had to earn it.

The change jars we have in the house: silvers in the Bells bottle, coppers in the Coke bottle (it’s &$^%ing heavy!), £1 and £2 coins in the terramundi pot (given to A Man for his 18th birthday, hence the ’18’ on the front)

Once I turned 13 I started a paper round.  My dad and aunts had always delivered papers as young teenagers, and I continued that tradition by carting round my sack full of news and cycling up to 6 miles every morning before school to earn some money.  My dad agreed that if I saved half of my paper round money every week, he’d double it.  My savings grew and I had set myself up as a saver.

Not all of this is my parents’ doing – all of my brothers also delivered (in one case still delivers) papers and had the same savings discussions, but none of them have ever been as careful as I am with money – so I guess some of it must be down to my (over-cautious?) personality.  Before A Man and I travelled around Europe, we saved up to go, and then didn’t even spend everything we’d put away (3 months in Europe only cost us around £4,500 including everything from food to accommodation to petrol).  Even in university, when my peers were constantly in their overdrafts, I would squirrel away every spare pound for once I moved into the big wide world and had to really fend for myself.

So A Man and I are saving to have this wedding.  I refuse to go into debt for what is essentially a big party.  But that just reinforces my other concern; do I want to spend so much of my hard-earned cash on what is essentially a big party?

One of the best ways to save money on a wedding is to cut the guest list.  But eloping or having an intimate affair aren’t really any good for us – as I’ve said before, friends and family are hugely important to us and having them there to celebrate our day wasn’t negotiable.  Alternatively, we could have simply hired the village hall or used my parents’ back garden and self-catered our reception.  Again, this wasn’t what I wanted to do.  We’ve been engaged for such a long time, I feel like we deserve a slightly more lavish affair than a simple village-hall do and I wouldn’t want to cause my parents (particularly my mum) the stress of hosting a huge party at their home.  So the big cost-cutting measures are out.

Essentially it all comes down to the question of prioritising.  The venue is important to us.  Our guests are important to us.  The food is incredibly important to us!  Many other things can be cut back on or forgotten about altogether.  We probably aren’t having favours, my mum is going to make our cake, neither of us are that bothered about over the top floral arrangements, we aren’t going to hire a videographer.  There are lots of other things which we may cut out, but they’ll probably come up later in the planning process.

For the time being, the best thing we can do is to save like demons.  At the end of the month, spare money goes into the savings accounts and loose change is thrown into our saving jars to add a few extra pounds here and there.  I’ve already bought our postage stamps even though the invitations aren’t close to being ready to send, because the price was about to go up.  I keep a fastidious record of everything we’ve spent on wedding-related paraphernalia, whether deposits, samples, insurance or shoes.

Screen capture of my own spreadsheet. This is everything we’ve paid for so far!

How are you saving for your wedding?  Do you feel like you have to justify spending all that money to yourself or anyone else?

I’m going to be away for a week or so, visiting friends and family and going on Friend C’s hen do!  But don’t worry – I will be back. 🙂