Sunday, March 16, 2014

Funding the Wedding

It’s wedding season once again and I think it’s high time I discuss about wedding related expenses and how you can fund them.

Less than a year ago, Paul and I got married in a small church in Baguio City (Philippines) surrounded by selected family members and friends. The wedding was so small that everybody can fit in a single snapshot. J

The wedding was paid in full before the day of the event. Except for the photographers since I told them that full payment will be made after the event. Mind you, weddings should be paid in full before the wedding itself. That’s how it is in the wedding business.

I personally like the idea of a small wedding. I only want the most important people in our lives surrounding us when we say our vows. I don’t fancy large crowds because it seems so chaotic. I want a peaceful and meaningful wedding and I don’t think inviting a few hundred people will fulfill that dream.

When Paul popped “the question” we didn't talk about the wedding budget or how many guests we are going to invite. We just enjoyed our engagement and saved for the wedding. It was few months after the engagement when we decided to finally settle things. We both wanted a church wedding in Baguio so we decided to book a church and a reception area there.

After booking the church and the restaurant in Baguio City preparations were put on hold because we were both busy with our jobs. It was February 2013 when we decided to carry on and finish everything.
During this time we were giving out money to suppliers. I myself controlled my expenses just so everything will be funded.

 It is a well-known cliche that “Wedding is just a day while marriage is a lifetime commitment.” Well we probably went on that train for the wedding expenses. We don’t really like spending too much on a single day event so we put all our best efforts to minimize cost but still have a wonderful banquet. Here’s how we did it.

First quantify your expenses.
The one and only golden rule we followed: Get local suppliers!
Church – Look for a church that suits you and book it early. We booked ours 9 months before our wedding day.
Reception Venue – I showed Paul this nice restaurant along upper Session Road and I had him approve the idea. After his approval we booked the date and gave 50% advance. We booked the restaurant 9 months before our wedding day.
Wedding dress (Includes my gown and my entourage’s dresses) – I have a schoolmate way back in high school who is into dress making nowadays. I contacted her and she gave me a fair price. We contacted her few months before the wedding. And she pulled it off. J
Photographer – We have a classmate in college who is now one of the best wedding photographers in Baguio City. We contacted him several months before the wedding and we were lucky his schedule was okay with our date. J
Make-up artist – The person who made my dress was the one who suggested my make-up artist. He is one of the finest I suppose. I was with Paul when I did the trial and he loved the look. So we booked him 2 weeks before the wedding. :D
Other wedding effects – Who needs professionals if you have friends who are willing to help? J I am forever indebted to my friends. J

Second, set your expectations.
Setting our expectations mean that we should be realistic with respect to our budget. We need to tell ourselves that we are going to have a small gathering and only the most important people can attend. Although we would like to invite more, we were bound by our wedding budget and we should only spend according to our spending plan.

Third, set your budget.
One thing I realized while preparing a wedding on a budget is not exposing me to the sellers out there. I did not attend any wedding expo for my own wedding. I just sorted out my own list and focused with my local suppliers. That way I controlled the wedding expenses and kept my wedding preparation from scrutiny.  

Fourth, fund the wedding.
It was a blessing that we had ample time to fund the wedding. We saved most of our salaries to create a wedding fund in order to avoid borrowing for wedding-related expenses. We disciplined ourselves to save more and spend less. We made sure that there is ample amount saved for some extras and surprises along the way. An extra 20% of the total amount will be enough to cover.

Paul and I are disciplined savers. We have lots of friends who are willing to extend help (as in labor) and we really appreciate what they did to us. We really saved up for our wedding because we like to have it our way. I think the most important lessons I got before, during and after the wedding were the following
1. Spend only what you can afford to lose. Do not expect so much from the wedding so treat it as an expense.
2. Give importance to people who are dear to you.
3. Borrowing for wedding related expenses is not an option. If it’s not in the budget then don’t.
4. Spend money on more important things. For us it’s the food that we serve during the reception.
5. Prepare for the married life.

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