We refuse to go into debt for our wedding!
We refuse to go into debt for our wedding!

Once Vlad and I settled on our wedding location, it was time to tighten up the very loose budget we had in place. Weddings are big business – big as in BILLION dollars big and I was not ready! When we contemplated a destination Caribbean wedding, our eyes were opened to the infinite possibilities surrounding all things wedding, including the exorbitant price tag associated with all of that fabulousness! We received a few catering and venue proposals and keeping it completely 100 (do people still say that?) the names on my guest list may as well been replaced with $$$! I couldn’t believe the costs involved to feed and entertain people. I immediately started questioning all of my relationships, familial included! – Are we really that cool? Would I treat you to a $65 dinner? Alcohol is really overrated, right? Can’t folks just eat before they come? – Of course, I’m exaggerating, but everything was starting to become about the bottom line and not about what was important – love, family, friendship and celebration. Although I had started toying around with possible wedding colors, the only color on my mind was green – the green that I envisioned rapidly leaving our bank account.

I was exactly in the headspace that I didn’t want to be – overwhelmed and stressed. We definitely needed to strategize on how to set our budget and I knew that with proper planning and a realistic approach, we could still have the wedding we desired, without severely compromising our livelihood.  So, Vlad and I wrote down our non-negotiables. I figured if we determined up front the things that we did not want to compromise – our must haves, then we would at least have a starting point. For us, our non-negotiables included good food, open bar with premium liquor (no judgment), an outdoor setting – close to the beach, good music, and a few other necessaries.

Couple counting money --- Image by © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Image/Blend Images/Corbis
Setting a wedding budget is a necessary part of planning a stress-free wedding day.

From there, we came up with a “comfortable amount” and “maximum amount”. Yes, we want a beautiful ceremony and awesome reception, but we understand that we still need to live. We have children. We have bills.  Life still goes on. Grown up, adult ish is very much happening around here. We decided that financing our wedding would fit into our lifestyle – our lifestyle would not fit around our wedding.

Although, we still had a lot to work out, we identified our wedding must-haves and the maximum amount of dollars we would be willing to spend on our wedding. From my preliminary research, I was certain that based upon the coins that we were willing to spend, we would have a more intimate wedding– 300+ wedding guests would not be an option for us if we wanted to stay within our budget.

We both agreed that we were willing to sacrifice the big guest list, for the more intimate wedding in order to have our non-negotiables. However, I wasn’t quite sure exactly how intimate and small our guest list would need to be. Once I found my venue, I realized that intimate, small and affordable, would mean a wedding between 100-150 guests. Could we do it? Off to making that guest list and checking it twice…

What are your ideas regarding a wedding budget and number of guests? The bigger the better? Smaller budget, close friends and family only?

Read my past Road to Mrs. musings here! Be sure to download the Black Bridal Bliss Budget Wedding Planning Printable (click on the image to your right) for insider money-saving tips.