Figuring out your wedding budget can be a extremely emotional experience. Figuring out what you and your fiancé really want and then navigating your family's and your future in-laws' expectations can bring about denial, anger, bargaining, and depression -- you know, the same stages associated with major grief. Here is the Lover.ly guide to getting through each of these stages and making it all the way to the final phase: acceptance.
Phase 1: "A wedding costs how much?"
Even though you've been a wedding guest multiple times and have read wedding blogs since before you were engaged, you may have lost all sense of what a not-lavish-but-still-including-most-of-the-"traditional"-trappings wedding actually costs. As you start to do your research, there will be some sticker shock. "There must be some mistake," you'll think. "There is no way that they mean to charge us $5,000 for the venue before we've even paid for the food." Right? Wrong.
Phase 2: "Screw the wedding industry...and screw you for even wanting a wedding!"
Once you've moved past denial, you head into phase two: anger. Anger at the wedding industry for charging so much money to feed 75 people, anger at your mom for insisting you need the Chiavari chairs, and anger at your fiancé for wanting anything for the wedding that costs any sort of money. Suddenly, his or her desire for that $2.50-per-slice wedding cake seems like the end of the world. "Why am I even marrying this person, anyway?" you'll ask yourself as you stare at your spreadsheet trying to figure out how on earth you'll afford the live band your fiancé can't live without.
Phase 3: "Do you offer any sort of discounts? Maybe we could just get a friend to do the pictures..."
During the bargaining phase, you may start attempting to haggle with wedding vendors or trying to find someone who is less experienced to do your wedding on the cheap. This is also the point at which you start thinking you can DIY everything. "Who cares if I don't own a sewing machine? I can totally make my own dress!"
Phase 4: "I don't even want a wedding anymore...let's just elope."
The smallest thing will set off the depression phase...a fight with your mom about the favors, the realization that you forgot to budget for postage for the invites. Wedding planning? It's for rich people, which you certainly are not. "I don't even care," you'll tell your fiancé as you stare out the window despondently. "Let's just go to Vegas."
Phase 5: "Even though our budget isn't huge, this wedding is going to be amazing."
Ah, acceptance! Eventually you'll realize that, like it or not, you're stuck with the budget you have and you're going to have to make the best of it. You'll start focusing on the things that really matter (you're marrying the love of your life!) and think less about the things you can't afford (no one is going to remember that you didn't serve steak). Once you hit this phase, it's time to put on your fancy clothes, have a glass of champagne, and remember that if you end the day married, your wedding will have been a success.
The Lover.ly team