Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Budget Business: When to Splurge

Savvy brides know there is more to planning a perfect wedding than selecting centerpieces and creating a menu. Weddings take work. In fact, some brides claim to have spent more than 500 hours planning their weddings.

That is a lot of time!

Although your newly married status might be reward enough, it would be nice if you could treat yourself to something special or offer yourself a bonus for all of your hard work.

That is where today's tip comes in.

Anyone who has created her wedding budget knows that unexpected expenses creep up and things often cost more than you anticipate. You may have started with a guest list of 200 but had to cut it in half. Maybe you wanted a limo, but have to settle for a friend's cool Vette. Or maybe you always dreamed of a fully-stocked open bar, but can only afford to serve beer and wine.

All of these compromises can get a bride down. I know. I was there.

My mother, in all of her mother-of-the-bride-wisdom, got tired of my compromises and asked me to make a wish list.

So I did ...

I made a list of all of my "dream" wedding components, things I'd always wanted or new ideas I wasn't sure I could afford. Items such as

- miniature individual wedding cake for each guest
- limo rental for the bride, groom and wedding party
- bridesmaid luncheon and spa day
- morning-after brunch
- old-time photo booth
- live musicians

These things could easily bust a budget and none of them is as important as say ... a wedding dress or, oh I don't know ... a marriage license.

However, they were important to me and I didn't want to give up on all of them. So I scrimped a bit and saved a little ... and then I splurged.

My list helped me focus my priorities and I ended up with 4 out of the 6 items I'd written down.

Let's see what items are on your splurge wish list and determine if they are worth your sacrifice.

1. Grab a pen and piece of paper and write "WISH LIST" across the top.

2. Fill in the next several lines with items you would love to have at your wedding, but aren't sure you can afford.

3. Get quotes, or at least an average cost, for each item and write it beside the item name.

4. Insert the list into your wedding planning binder.

Now you will always have access to your list and can easily keep track of your dream wedding goals. This will help you organize your priorities and will give you something to think about before you splurge for something that isn't on the list.
It works like this ...

If "video" is on your list and you know you can find someone for around $1,000, you can try to save that money on other items by choosing less-expensive options or cheaper alternatives.

For example, you can choose the least expensive baker knowing the $400 you save will go towards your video. Likewise, it will be easier for you to trim your guest list, shorten your cocktail hour or do your own make-up if you know the end result is an item off of your wish list.

So what do you think? Do you think a dream wish list will help you know when to splurge and when to save? Come on, I shared my dream wish list with you. What items are on your dream list and what are you willing to sacrifice to get them?

Photos courtesy of Quo Vadis and sparktography


Hannah Noel said...

My big thing I've wanted all along was a chocolate fountain. Doesn't sound that huge, right? lol
When you're on a super tight budget it can be a lot though!

Cherrye Moore said...

I hear you! When you are on a budget everything adds up. I hope you are able to save a few bucks here and there and get your fountain!!