Prior to getting engaged, my then-boyfriend and I were completely on the same page when it came to what we valued about our future wedding. There of course, were a few minor exceptions–like my firm belief that a “pretty dress” was a high priority while he was lacking interest on that subject, but in short, we were both 100% dedicated to keeping our list of wedding wants/needs simple. We knew we wanted something small. We were in definite agreement that we wanted our nuptials to be fun for us and all of our guests, and we were firm in our desire not to spend a small fortune.
Something strange happens when you get engaged…people start asking you questions TONS and TONS of questions. And in my case, people started asking me before I started asking myself…which sent me into a two week period of coo-coo-ka-choo during which I kept wondering…what have I gotten myself into? And if my fiancé would have started to think the same thing when the overwhelming questions took me to a place I had so recently promised I’d never go to, I wouldn’t have been able to blame him.
In less than two weeks the expectations that society has for a “wedding” today took my recently engaged mantra from “Yipeee look at my ring! We are going to get murrrrrried!” to “Oh my beezus, I have to plan this wedding that includes a, b, c, d, x, y, and z and cost me what?!?!” But it was a simple comment from my fiancé that helped me flip the switch back to sanity:
“You didn’t care about this stuff at all before. Why would you care about it now? I didn’t think that was what we wanted.”
Zing! That statement made me remember that all of these things people were asking me about that were stressing me out, didn’t matter to me at all. I had completely lost myself in the concerns of others, and I think that is very disconcerting. But this is what I see happen over and over in the wedding industry. I see it when I’m reading blogs or articles online, when I encounter other couples at pre-wedding events, and when I’m talking to my friends/family about wedding planning experiences of each other and others we know—past, present and future.
In addition to a loss of perspective on what’s truly important, one of the biggest downfalls of planning your wedding based on the values of others rather than what is valuable to you as a couple, is that you will spend more money…on a bunch of crap you don’t even care about.
Shifting your perspective from “We must do X because that is what is always done” to “We are going to skip X and focus on A,B, and C because that is what is important for us” will decrease your budget because you simply won’t spend money on things that are unimportant(ahem—no floral centerpieces at my wedding), and it will also increase the amount of fun you have while planning. My fiancé and I have been shocked by how much we’ve enjoyed the planning process so far, but part of that enjoyment comes from the fact that we simply don’t mess with things that don’t matter.
Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize – If you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed, ask yourself if what you are worried about even matters to you. If it doesn’t carry much weight in the value of your wedding, just nix it from your to-do list and your budget.
Common Sense – Use it or lose it. If you tend to get sucked in to the crazy wedding hoopla, make sure you have a close friend or family member that can reality check you fast so you can start using your common sense again.
Listen to your Fiancé – Yes, I realize that if my wedding was 100% planned by my fiancé it would probably take place in a courthouse with a reception at a water park to follow; however, men tend to be more realistic than us ladies, and their rational is rarely affected by wedding magazines, pinterest, instagram, and countless chick flicks. I’m guessing if you are marrying him, he can be trusted to help you when you are losing perspective
Stay True to You – Create a wedding that is true to you and your relationship. If certain “fancies” aren’t your style, you don’t need to force it. As a matter of fact, you can simply cut it out of your wedding day and your budget.
Attitude is Everything – Just like any other event in your life, your attitude plays a huge role in your wedding experience. View that food tasting as an opportunity not a chore, and it will definitely be a more enjoyable experience.
Invest in What’s Important – Every wedding situation is unique. For example, if you are getting married and holding your reception at an outdoor venue you might not have to spend much on décor but may need to invest in space heaters to keep guests warm in the evening hours. If you don’t care much about wowing your guests with beautiful invitations—DON’T INVEST IN THEM! If it’s not important to you, you should not be spending your money on it.
Spend Time, but Don’t Waste It – Whenever you are planning an event, you will have to dedicate time to your cause. If you eliminate aspects/costs that you don’t place much value on from the get-go, you won’t have to waste time thinking about them or adding them to your list of wedding decisions and expenses.
You can also read our posts about Wedding Budgeting 101: A Guide for Beginners and Finding the Perfect Wedding Venue within your Budget. For information about gaining control over your finances check out our Getting Started section at the top of our page.