Thursday, October 2, 2014

A real wedding budget

I have read a LOT of wedding blogs the past year, and one of the things I find really interesting to read about is the facts of wedding planning, including budgeting. So today I am writing about our budget, and maybe there are a few future brides/grooms that can benefit from it.

Planned budget: 50 000 kr
This number was very random, basically the highest amount I thought we could spend... I quickly realized it would be very difficult to keep to it. Earlier, I wrote about how to make a wedding budget, which might be helpful early in the process.

Actual budget: 77 500 kr
Was it really the "budget wedding" I wanted it to be? Comparatively, the average for weddings in Norway is around 100 000 kr, so maybe not. Being a part of a non-profit organization for 8 years has had a big impact on my view of finances, and it turns out that paying a professional for their service cost a lot more than I thought. PS. Our honeymoon and rings are excluded from the budget.

Where we splurged:
- As you can see from the chart, definitely the food and venue. Good food was a priority for us, and we are very happy with that decision. The venue was great as well, a really fun and special place.The price included cleaning and everything we needed to set the tables and we could use the barn for a whole week (!), so no stress about decorating the night before. Note: We did not serve alcohol, but sourced some delicious fresh pressed apple ciders, and had a coffee cart for dessert.
- Rehearsal dinner: Most of the cost was for the venue, Alnes lighthouse, but with so many visitors from abroad it was worth it to be at such a memorable place.
- Hotel: I never stay at hotels, but for our wedding weekend we did, and it was appropriately luxurious!

- Hair and makeup: It was such a treat to spend the morning with my maid of honor at a small hair salon with only the two of us and the hair dresser. I connected really well with her, which probably made it a lot more fun, so make sure your hair dresser is someone you like!
- Bridal bouquet: I love flowers and did not want to risk carrying a limp and sad looking bunch up the aisle, so this DIY was out of the question. Also, it is a project that needs to be done as close to the wedding as possible, and I would rather pay to have that peace of mind the hours before getting married.

Where we saved:
- Dress and accessories: I got my dress at a normal dress store and altered it myself. My jewelry was stuff I already owned, or borrowed. I also did my own nails with a simple no-fail glitter nail polish.
- Photography: We have some amazing friends who took our pictures. We are beyond grateful for that!
- Decor: Since we were planning a wedding from afar I was not up to transporting lots of homemade projects, and with the venue being picturesque in itself, not much decor was necessary. I only spent money on napkins, candles, paper table cloths, and about 50 vintage books. Some of the flowers were bought, others picked in a garden (elder flower/hylleblomst), and all of the vases and candle holders were borrowed or belonged to the venue.
- Stationary: I designed the invitation and the rest of the paper goods myself and printed it at the office. No fancy letterpress, but just the style I wanted.
- Cake: My region is known for lavish dessert buffets, so we opted out of a traditional wedding cake, but still had tons of desserts made and gifted by friends and family.
- Transportation: We crossed our fingers for good weather, and walked from the church to the venue! This will not work for everyone, but I am glad we could do it, and it was really fun!

Some helpful tips:

- If you have friends or family that have a certain skill, like cake baking, sewing, flower arranging, or photography, it might be worth it to ask them to help out. For example, I could have had a friend do my hair, but wanted to splurge on a professional hairdresser.
- Remember to budget for these things: table cloths (whether you rent or buy), gifts for your bridal party and people who help out, for Norwegians: renting a church if you get married outside your home town.
- This should be obvious: Stick to your budget! Little things add up, so learn from my mistakes and make sure there is room for that expensive lipstick in your budget before you buy it.

Pictures by Irene Lovund

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