A while back, sera at broken*saucer wrote a great post about budgets, and the sharing of them online. In the comments, I said that I wasn't planning to share any budget information on my blog. The last thing I want to do is second-guess myself, or make someone else second-guess their own budget choices. In addition, it's incredibly difficult to compare costs across regions -- my budget would really only be useful to a fellow Denver bride. And on top of that, people tend to get a bit judgy when it comes to money, and I wasn't really in the mood for reading comments like "I can't believe you spent so much on your wedding, it's only one day!" or, "only $X? Wow, it must have been pretty rustic/casual/other pseudonym for 'cheap' or 'awful.'"
Then earlier this week, I was adjusting our budget spreadsheet to reflect some new costs, and I was delighted to realize that we're within $100 of our original estimate. I was also interested to see that there were very few individual items where our original and final budgets matched up -- we either ended up way under or way over on most things. So after thinking about it for a while, I decided to share a percentage-based breakdown of where we saved, and where we went over budget. I thought this kind of breakdown might be helpful for anyone who's in the early stages of planning their own wedding, both as tips for saving some money and as a heads up about places where costs might take you by surprise. Plus, as a numbers geek, I'm really fascinated by how it all evened out in the end!
Ready? OK, let's get started!
BiE's Budget, Part 1: Where we saved
* Photography. Initially I budgeted a lot for photography because I wanted a pro album. But as other estimates started rolling in, Econo Boy and I decided to DIY the albums on iPhoto (for parents and grandparents) and SomersetAlbums.com (for us, and one day, to embarass our children). This enabled us to hire an amazing photographer while still coming in substantially under our original budget. And I have to admit, I'm completely psyched to design our own album! Savings: 20%
* Cake. Econo Boy and I aren't huge fans of large, elaborate wedding cakes, so we chose to buy a small, very simply decorated 3-tier square cake for the cake-cutting ceremony. Meanwhile, the caterers will be cutting up a sheet cake (from the same bakery as the tiered cake, with the same flavors, icing, decorating, and fillings) so dessert can be served as soon as the cake-cutting ceremony is over. We went with the sheet cake option because we didn't want people to have to sit around and wait while a giant cake got cut up, but it ended up being a cost-cutting move as well. Savings: 30%
* Ceremony musicians. My dad has connections in the Colorado classical music world, and through them, he found out about a terrific group of music students just graduated from the University of Denver, who charged *way* less than the numbers we'd seen for other string quartets. Savings: 45%
* Dress. My initial guess on the dress was just that -- a guess, based on several hours of online photo surfing, estimated dress costs from TheKnot.com, and little else. But after trying on some gowns, I couldn't quite reconcile myself to spending that much on something I would only wear once, and I mentally slashed my budget. Once I finally chose a dress, my alterations came in way under my estimate -- I was lucky enough to only need a bustle and a little taken in up top. Total savings: 25%
* Rings. Our initial budget reflected the cost of platinum in June 2008, which was astronomical. One economic crash later, and platinum fell down to much more reasonable prices. Plus, we scored my ring on a clearance sale. Savings: 20%.
So that was our savings. Where did all that saved money go? Find out tomorrow! :-)