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Planning

How I Set My Wedding Budget

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Photo by Maya Visnyei. Styling by Catherine Doherty. Flowers by Henna Florist. Stationery by Minted. Plates, square candle holders and flatware from Hopson Grace. Round candle holders and glassware from Crate & Barrel.

Planning a wedding is all fun and games until you need to start putting down cold hard cash. The truth is when I began planning my wedding, I really had no idea how much everything cost. Let’s just say the process was eye-opening.

We started the budget planning process by talking to our wedding planner. She advised us that it’s easier to set on a number you and your fiancée (or you and your families) are comfortable with as a first step. From there, we worked our way backwards trying to fit everything into our final dollar amount.

If I just made it sound easy, let me assure you—it’s not. It’s really a fine balancing act. Unless your budget is unlimited, you have to prioritize. According to my wedding planner, there are two things people remember most about any wedding: the food and music. Naturally, those are the two categories she recommends spending on.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a bit of a self-proclaimed foodie and I do care about the music, but when I dream about my wedding, I’ve always envisioned more about my dress and the design of the room. Did I mention it’s also about the guy I’m about to spend my life with too? Okay, good. Now, back to the big day. I also want an amazing photographer to capture it all since they’re the kind of pictures we’ll have forever.

So, what’s a girl supposed to do? Well, there are a few things I found helpful. Doing your research is important. Reach out to multiple vendors you’re interested in working with to get quotes and compare them. You might find some fit better in your budget than others. If some that are just beyond what you want to spend, don’t be shy to go back and ask if there’s any way things can be adjusted to fit your budget. Hey, you might be pleasantly surprised.

After I somehow ended up in $16,000 gown at one bridal store, I learned the hard way that it’s best to talk budget upfront. Otherwise, you put yourself at risk of falling in love with something that’s more money than you’re comfortable with. But seriously, if you saw the dress I’m talking about, it really was something special. So, to my point, to stay within your budget, be vocal from the get-go. You might not get everything you want, but you might get more than you think.

Even though it’s super easy to get caught up in acrylic invites, designer dresses and annual salary type floral arches, the most important thing is the person beside you. And in that department, I feel like I won the lottery.

*Carly Ostroff was married in August 2020 in a beautiful mircro-wedding in Toronto. She and her husband plan to have a larger, rescheduled celebration in August 2021.

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