Wedding Planning

Relationships, Weddings

And just like that… You’re Engaged! Congratulations! As an engagement gift, we’d like to introduce you to our friends Heather Fier, The Wedding Hacker, and Joe Rogers, founder of Contagious Events, who are helping couples get the wedding of their dreams without breaking their budget.

  1. Identify the investors. Who is paying for the day? Are you paying for the entire wedding? Is family contributing? If so, how much? Before you start to create a budget, you need to have the money conversations with any potential ‘investors’ in the day. Also, are there any strings attached to the investments? Does that money go toward something specific? Do they want a say in the day if they are paying? These can be complicated conversations to have with family right but it’s better to have these conversations at the start of the planning process rather than battle it out throughout the planning process.

2. Set expectations: Pinterest is great for getting ideas on trends and themes but it should not be a cut and paste exercise. Beware of trying to exactly replicate what you see on Pinterest. Many wedding photos on Pinterest are sets and photoshoots of models. Set expectations of what you want vs. what is actually achievable.

3. Prioritize: What are the top 3 things that you care about on your wedding day? Is it the food? The music? The people? The dress? The flowers? Now, what are your partner’s top priorities? These priorities are where you will find value in the day. Put your money where your values are. These are the must-haves. Everything else you can cut corners on. When you feel the stress or budget getting you worked up, return to your priorities and remember that these are what you care about.

4. Create a realistic budget: One of the best methods to avoid wedding planning stress is to establish a realistic budget early in the planning process so that you can avoid surprises and anxiety as you get further into the planning process. Joe Rogers and his team created a Wedding Budget Calculator to help get the conversation started around wedding budgets. Note: One of the biggest contributors to the cost are the number of people in the bridal party and attending the event!

5. Negotiate everything: As you begin to work with vendors, remember that the price they offer is just the first offer. Understand the value behind the number and work with them to add value (extra hour of service, free signature cocktail, or hotel room) or decrease the price (20% discount for off-season date or waived ceremony fee)

6. Be thrifty and frugal: The Wedding Hacker has so many ways to be thrifty while planning your wedding. Check out Buy Nothing groups in your local area or Facebook Marketplace for used wedding decor. Poshmark has used dresses or you can rent them on Rent the Runway! You can even DIY flowers from Trader Joes! It comes down to time or money. Make the best choice for you!

Wedding Guest Budgets

Relationships, Weddings

We are so happy to see our friends get engaged and we are honored to be invited to celebrate their special day! It’s even better when we can do so without going into debt to do so. Therefore, we need to get a little more clear one what to budget for.

How much are we talking about?

In 2014, an American Express survey found that the average guest spent approximately $592 per wedding and in 2016, the average increased to $888 per wedding. This is obviously dependent on a number of factors. According to The Knot, guests attending a local wedding spent approximately $185, guests who drove out of town spent approximately $600, and guests who flew to a wedding reported an average spend of $1,440.  The average total spent also varies whether you are in the bridal party! If you are in the wedding, the average is well over $1,000. Now imagine getting invited to 3-5 weddings in one year all across the country…

Wait seriously? Yep, that checked out. In 2018, Katie attended two weddings as a guest. Between bachelorettes, bridal showers, travel, hotels, food, dresses, and gifts, Katie spent $681 and $746 on each wedding. Then in 2021, Katie was a bridesmaid in two weddings which added up to over $1,135 each. But these are just examples.

How can I keep costs down?

  1. Talk to your friends and ask them about their expectations. Do they expect you to travel for every event with a top of the line registry gift? Are they requiring hair and makeup for everyone? Are they flexible with the dress costs? What costs are they paying for?

2. Use travel points, miles and cash back available to you to cover expenses. I love saving my credit card points to get gift cards as wedding gifts for friends. Travel can be something that really gets pricey so if that means not staying in the room block to say a couple hundred dollars, that might be worth it!

3. Be thrifty! Don’t be afraid to shop used dresses or re-sell your dress on Poshmark or any other resale market.

4. Start a sinking fund! Set a budget and start planning for it early. If you know that the wedding next year is going to cost you $1,100, start putting $100 away each month now.

5. Be honest with yourself and your friends! Don’t lie to yourself. You might not be able to fit 5 weddings into your budget. So be honest with yourself and your friends about what you can and can not commit to. Maybe you can only really commit to the wedding day but will not be able to travel for the engagement party, bachelorette and shower.

5. Say ‘No.’ This is the hardest of them all but it’s okay to say no to a wedding invitation or any other event. Don’t go broke trying to keep up with someone else. Send a nice gift to the bachelorette if you can’t attend or ask to contribute in other ways to the wedding or shower. A nice gesture will save face and money in your bank. If they are a real friend, they will understand. Some times this is a secret blessing to the bride and groom who are trying to keep their own costs down.

052. Career Power Moves

Podcast

Lauren McGoodwin, founder of Career Contessa, joins us to discuss her book Power Moves: How Women Can Pivot, Reboot and Build a Career of Purpose. Through her work at Career Contessa, Lauren shares development resources for women who might be job searching, soul searching, leading and managing, or trying to find new ways to advance their careers. In this episode, we talk about how to set expectations in your job and how a career with purpose is different than a “dream job.”