Wedding budgets: What counts and what doesn’t?

wedding budgets - what counts and what doesn't?Image found here

When you have a two year engagement, you also have a two year planning period. Meaning that when you purchase items for your wedding, you actually end up using them beforehand (and quite possibly, will use them in the future). This has caused us a little desire to sort of fudge the numbers when it comes to our wedding budget.

Some things are clearly wedding expenses; invitations, photography, and venue. But what about the expenses that aren’t so cut and dry? For example, my favorite gentleman and I bought Chuck Taylor sneakers to wear to our wedding, but after that, we’ll be wearing them like regular shoes. And we bought these two metal buckets to hold non-alcoholic beverages, but we have been using them to hold our own snacks until then, and will probably use them in future parties as well. We have exactly 90 five-ounce glass tumblers that we plan on using for our champagne toast, and enough silverware to last us through this lifetime.

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We’ve been putting them all, every last item that we intend on using for this wedding, in a carefully documented excel spreadsheet, and we’re currently at exactly $3,848, around 77% of our ideal budget. We still need to buy a cake, choose a DJ, rent a bounce house and other assorted carnival fun, find a caricature artist, and lastly, get enough alcohol for the open bar!

I got flustered, $1,152 to get all that done? But then I started looking at other budget breakdowns, and I noticed how many items are sometimes omitted, and how some folks view an item as a wedding expense and others don’t. Is the engagement ring part of the budget? What about smaller, seemingly inconsequential items, like stamps for the Save the Dates or the spur of the moment “This would look awesome at our wedding!” purchase of a clearance $2 wooden sign that says “Forever and a Day”; items that seem to get overlooked.

Then I started thinking about why we were so carefully tracking our expenses, and was reminded of the fact that we wanted to make sure that no expenses caught us by surprise. So we will be counting every penny spent on this wedding, and will try our hardest to make it below our ideal budget!

What about you all? Which items are you counting towards your budget?

Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here

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