That’s right, the final accounting is in! I went $484 over budget, but am well under the $5,000 mark. Now, that total doesn’t include the rehearsal dinner, the husband’s suit, our rings, or my trousseau (fodder for another post), but the husband will wear his suit again, his parents paid for the dinner, I paid for my ring out of a separate budget line, and the trousseau came from my contracting money. There should be enough left in that check for the $484 overage and some extra debt-reduction. We’ll see at the end of the month. For what I budgeted, I feel completely happy about that extra $484. It was well spent!!
The best thing that I did was be super-frugal up to the two final weeks. By then, I cut myself some slack and bought a few extras, but until then, I stayed under budget for each category. If I had cut myself some slack on wedding expenses all year long, we could have easily gone $4,000 over budget. This way, I was only able to overspend a bit at the end, on the caterer and decorations. I actually overspent $970, but my prior thriftiness had added up to $486, thus the difference was $484.
Here are the details:
- Ceremony: $300 budget. I spent: $277. $23 UNDER BUDGET
- Dress: $750 budget. I spent: $519. $231 UNDER BUDGET
- Photography: $200 budget. Will spend: $200 on prints
- Stationery: $280 budget. I spent: $257. $23 UNDER BUDGET
- Music: $300 budget. I spent: $162. $138 UNDER BUDGET
- Flowers: $200 budget. I spent: $220. $20 OVER BUDGET
- Catering: $1050 budget. I spent: $1274. $224 OVER BUDGET
- License: $50 budget. I spent: $50.
- Gifts: $400 budget. I spent: $332. $68 UNDER BUDGET
- Parties: $250 budget. I spent: $247. $3 UNDER BUDGET
- Favors: $70 budget. I spent: $170. $100 OVER BUDGET
- Decorations: $100 budget. I spent: $494. $394 OVER BUDGET
- Misc. $100 budget. I spent: $332 (pre- and post-wedding hotel). $232 OVER BUDGET
In retrospect, the places where I really went over budget certainly related to my pre-wedding anxieties. I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough food, so I increased the catering order at the last minute. Of course, there was too much food on the actual day. I was worried it would be really hot and unpleasant at the lodge, so I overspent on hand fans and decorations (including some cool games for the kids). They day turned out perfectly, but the fans and games were a big hit.
All in all, I feel quite happy about the wedding expenses. I’m still basking in how lovely it all was, and it’s a very nice feeling to know that we can afford what I overspent.
Having just gone through everything, it’s a little too early to give advice, but if you’re planning a wedding, I’d say be as frugal as possible when spending money far in advance. I know for me, that extra cushion helped me splurge during the final days without stressing out over money. In the end, I didn’t really need the extra food or all the decorations. The people who attended were what made the day special. However, I’m happy to have spent a little extra to make the day more enjoyable for everyone. Here’s to weddings!