When it comes to planning your wedding day, no fantasy is off limits...until your budget begins busting at the seams. Weddings can quickly become expensive affairs if you're not careful, from never-ending guest lists to unforeseen catering costs. However, the key to creating a beautiful and under-budget wedding is anticipating potential financial pitfalls and addressing them before you're presented with a swoon-inducing bill. Luckily, event designer Ara Farnam of Rock Paper Scissors Events has seen it all when it comes to budgetary snafus, and has some words of wisdom for brides who want a fairytale affair without accidentally emptying their savings account.
1. Setting Your Budget Far Too Low
Though exceeding an initial wedding budget is the primary financial concern of many couples, Farnam suggests that brides often set too small a budget and overcompensate once they realize the price of their fantasy nuptials. “People tend to fall into a pretty typical arc for the wedding budget, initially budgeting too little for what they want, then experiencing sticker shock and reevaluating their budget and generally allocating more to certain areas or shifting their ideas,” Farnam explains.
2. Making Emotional Splurges
Emotions run high during the wedding planning process, and Farnam relates that brides tend to succumb to emotional impulse buys when the anxiety sets in. “At this point, the client is generally stressed and fatigued and starts making emotional decisions and throwing money out the window,” says Farnam. Instead of channeling your anger or excitement into choosing over-budget flower arrangements, try detoxing with an exercise class, spa treatment, or staycation with your fiancé.
3. Funneling Too Many Funds Towards Fun Extras
As enjoyable as purchasing amusing favors or jewelry to complement your bridesmaids' gowns may be, Farnam advises brides that these small "extra" expenditures can easily add up to a sizable sum. “Month of the wedding decisions tend to include wedding programs, wedding party gifts, bridal attire accessories, and final contract evaluations which can lead to upgrading items,” Farnam warns.
4. Investing in Your Appearance
If you choose to pay for your own gown, the cost should factor into your bridal budget — as should any other adornments you choose for the ensemble. Refrain from scooping up luxury items you'll have no use for after your nuptials, Farnam suggests. Case in point? “Buying Manolo Blahnik wedding shoes that are so pretty, but that you'll wear for two hours max.”