The Big Splurge

Continued (page 2 of 3)

Jennifer provides a blueprint for how a splurge can be worked successfully into a wedding budget. But Robbi Ernst, founder and president of June Wedding, Inc. (junewedding.com) and author of Great Wedding Tips From the Experts (Lowell House), says once you've decided on a splurge, you have to be vigilant. "It isn't that splurging is bad," he says. "But I've found that when brides splurge on one thing, they'll splurge on others. They figure, 'Well, I've already gone over budget, so what's a little more?' " Sounds a bit like dieting: You may feel that if you slip and have one cookie, you might as well eat the whole bag. But you needn't fall into that trap. Experts advise to set your priorities when you first set your wedding budget. Include the splurge in your budget, and juggle the figures. Resolve to stick to your numbers as closely as you can; otherwise, you could end up being in debt from the get-go. "That's not the right foot to start out on," says Pybrum. "If going overboard in any way means taking on debt, it's just not worth it in the long run. You don't want to start your marriage with your finances in the minus column."

There's another pitfall to be aware of, Ernst says: "Sometimes when brides splurge in one area, they try to make up for it by working cheaply in another. They'll hire a nonprofessional, with often disastrous results." One bride had a friend do the wedding photography, so that she and her husband-to-be could use what they saved to enjoy a luxurious honeymoon in Italy. Unfortunately, the friend didn't expose the film properly, and all the pictures taken in the church were too dark. "We don't have one decent picture of our wedding!" the bride says. You also want to steer clear of using a substandard vendor in the interest of cutting corners. Consider this scenario: If everything else in your wedding is wonderful but your food is just so-so, you'll feel disappointed. If you want to economize on food, you could do so by arranging to have a cocktail reception instead of an elaborate sit-down dinner or forgo a dessert table and just serve cake. There are lots of creative ways to save money that don't involve compromising quality.

Naturally, every bride wants her wedding day to be fabulous. Just keep in mind that logical thinking doesn't always prevail at this point in your life. That's why, while it's important to follow your heart, you should be sure to use your head, too. That way, you'll get what you really want above all - a joyous day and beautiful memories for you and your husband to share.

Favorite Splurges

According to our informal sources, the top three splurges are:

  • Photography: "These pictures will be passed down to our grandkids," one bride says, "so they'd better be good!"

  • Food: "Guests will definitely notice if the food is bad," says another.

  • Engagement rings and wedding bands: "I spent $2,000 on his wedding band," a bride says. And nowadays a lot of brides are choosing larger stones for their rings,

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