Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Budgets are all relative and relatively irrelevant.

I talk about my purchases all too frequently however I have never really alluded to our budget.  I have been brought up to understand the value of money.  Money was tight in my youth, we were not poor, but we were made fully aware of the sacrifices my parents were making to make our life comfortable.  (In comparison to my school friends I was positively broke).  So along with the "supposed" value of money and I have also been instilled with the pseudo-Victorian tenet that people should never talk about money in polite company (or really at all).  

So for me it is rather difficult to be completely honest about money whether it be in public to my friends or anonymously here.  I am not sure where this post will lead yet I would never ask for you to divulge your situation.  That's just not what I'm about.  I guess I want to review the budget.

Living in the UK, especially with such a poorly performing Pound, means that it very difficult to compare budgets with others across the world.  Indeed, comparing across the UK is just as difficult with the inflated prices London brings.  Yes, you can marry for less than £500 and indeed it is no more or less romantic than those who are able spend £500,000.  The wedding is important but at the same time the wedding (for me) is a means to an end, the end being marriage.  So why do we spend money on weddings at all?  

I went to a close friend's wedding this weekend.  Speaking to the somewhat inebriated groom (after the champagne reception) he revealed that whilst he enjoyed the whole wedding experience, to be married was the reason.  I could not agree more.  Yet, my inevitable secret criticisms did escape my on the long trip home from Wales with Bean.  It was not the wedding for me.  It was a beautiful traditional church wedding but it did feel a little impersonal.  Gosh, that sounds so awful.  It wasn't their fault.  It was the vicar.  A vicar who had obviously spent more time conducting funerals in recent years.  Whilst the detail was there, there was no passion or joy in his words or voice.  I always cry at weddings.  Yet no tear fell from my expectant eyes.  I guess, money cannot buy personality. The food was splendid, the wine flowed and there was dancing. They got what they wanted. They got married.  Isn't that the most important thing?

Now Bean and I are so called DINKYs (double income no kids, yet) so we have no real financial commitments. We I am happy to spend money on things others find trivial. Yet, I do not like to waste money.  My choice would be to invite people over for dinner than drop £100 on a night out. (I just need a little dancefloor at home!) I would rather spend money on random prettiness for my home than a weekend away in country. I am different from most of my older* friends. Indeed you may disagree with me entirely. I adore the details and trawling the internet for wonderfulness (much to the detriment of my sanity).  So when it came to the wedding I knew where my priorities would lie. 

We are spending an obscene amount on our wedding.  (However I have now reconciled my worries.)  Our hooplow is going to be relaxed, decadent fun. We have a budget. Budget. The scary word. A loaded word. It is a difficult concept with which to compare with others. We have a number but this number has been an organic beast.  It has shrunk and grown over the months but now I believe we have reached our plateau. It is still scary but at the same time I see it as exciting.  The money could be spent on umpteen different things, a car we don't need, a flat which we may have to sell due to relocation or maybe even children for which we are not ready.  However, whilst the wedding is a means to an end (and I guess I am at heart a utilitarian) I am slowly realising that I do want to celebrate the next stage of my life.  Apart from my abject fear of being the centre of attention I am actually rather looking forward to "wasting" some money on our celebration.  

The thing is I don't know what you earn, what your family circumstances are and how you value your money.  This works both ways.  For me that's the whole point.  I won't lie and say we have spent next to nothing.  To me it is the equivalent of saying you have done no work for an exam when you have done nothing but revise.  It is counter-productive. We are spending more than ten thousand dollars. We don't have to but we do want to. I realise that you do not need to spend money to make people happy but sometimes you really do have to throw money at a situation. Before starting this blog I had very few physically creative friends and knew I would probably have to shell out to get what I wanted.  I have to pay for my dress, my flowers and my venue.  However, this wedding world has shown me I can be creative and fabulous.  Our wedding will be nothing like the "perfection" you see on inspiration blogs mainly because we are not time rich, super crafty, Russian oligarchs.  It will, however, be a fun and personal weekend of wonderfulness and I will not regret spending a single penny.

Weddings are what you make of them.  Despite the intrinsic link with marriage they actually have very little to do with the next 5, 10, 100 years of your life.  Whether you share your wedding with just your two witnesses or two thousand close friends you will share your marriage with everyone you meet.  That is the important part but you have to get to marriage through a wedding.  How you choose to do this is no-one's business but your own.  Embrace the fact you are spending money on yourselves.  Embrace your decisions.  Stand by your decisions and remember....

....it is for this moment.  
My beautiful friend marrying her fabulous boy this past weekend. 
I love that you can see her smile as a white flash.  

*By older I mean in terms of relationship rather than age.


  1. Hear hear! We've werstled with our organic beast and purpose and desires too. And we all have some sort of budget, defined by circumstance, values, and (hopefully) well-considered desires for the wedding ephemera. You're right, it's not about our marriage 10 years from now, but it's an important ritual about marriage. So happy you made you peace with your budget and wedding and have crafted a weekend that feels right to you. Because that's all that matters.

  2. a lovely post. I too don't feel comfortable talking about money all the time on the blog, rather as a slightly oblique thing, partly because it is primarily my parents money I am spending.

  3. What a wonderful post! It is definitely going into my "read again as needed" folder. And that photo is a fantastic representation of weddings as a supremely happy blur.

  4. A great post and very true. I think the problem with discussing figures in relation to weddings is that they are often not comparable. We paid for stuff to be done so we didn't have to worry about it and that worked for us but that's not the right way for others. I agree too about the idea of a wedding, yes it is so you can be married but it's also a huge celebration of your love and your relationship and your loved ones sharing that with you. Plus an excuse for a big piss up and lots of fun :)

  5. I love this. very well articulated. I was raised in a similar household. I was definitely not as well off as most of my friends but my parents still provided enough for us to be comfortable and instilled a hard work ethic. I agree that money and budgets are entirely subjective. But that I also am really excited to celebrate this new stage of life.

  6. I am so glad you wrote the bit about the wedding you went to this weekend because ME TOO. I didn't cry a single tear at the wedding I was in this weekend and I. Always. Cry. Maybe it was because of the whole catholic thing (which is decidedly not me)? But I felt so bad about it all weekend long.

    We're spending a lot of money too. More than a lot of people, less than our local average, and I'm finally OK with it. Like you, we're DINKs, we can afford it, and we really do want to celebrate this transition in our lives.

  7. Abso-feckin'-lutely :D That line about Russian Oligarchs will stay with me, hehee, <3 it :D

  8. So well said! And, as someone who also spent what felt like an obscene amount of money, I can say almost a year later that I don't regret it at all. The amount we spent, while far more gigantic than any sum of money we'd ever spent before, was one we could comfortably afford. We spent it on things that were important to us, things that made our wedding a great party for our family and friends.

  9. My budget issue right now is that I just want to find another £500 to squeeze out of it and throw behind the bar so for a while at least, our guests can enjoy a free bar. Do I think they need to be drunk to have a good time at our wedding? No. But do I want them to enjoy being drunk at our wedding (which has extortionate bar prices thanks to being a relatively remote hotel)? HELL to the YES.

  10. Fab post!

    We spent an obscene amount of money on our wedding; it prob didnt help that we just chose what we wanted to have for our day and didnt really have a completely set budget.

    I do not regret any of what we spent as it made the wedding ours.

    I have yet to decide whether to reveal what we spent in total tho; we spent more than $10k but as you say, its all relative on what you can spend, what you want to spend, what you choose to spend and where you live / choose to marry too!

    and you are so right; at the moment we turned around and could see everyone smiling, clapping & crying with & for us; the whole day was worth it.

    Sorry your friends wedding didnt make you cry tho; our minister is someone we have known for years which made it even more special; and allowed for our family to add their surprises for us!

  11. Love this post.

    We are having two weddings, and will probably end up spending around the average spent on one. Which is actually an obscene amount.

    But, this is what happens when you marry a boy from across the world and you want to involve everyone :)

  12. great post! love to hear awesome ladies talk so openly and honestly (especially about money and budgets)

    keep it up! woot woot

  13. Very nice post. I grew up in a blue collar household where money was tight up until high school, and the boy and I are pretty broke ourselves but are excited to be putting our savings toward this huge party. It'll be lovely.

  14. We had a budget of sorts. Both sets of parents put money in - one set spent it on specific things and the other set gave a sum to M & I to do with as we wished. We paid the rest.

    Or, that was the plan. Then I found out I had been made redundant. So I ended up paying for stuff on my credit card. But it was worth it. We paid for the entire wine, champagne, beer and soft drinks bill that way. I wouldn't have done it any other way. I always find it really strange when I have to pay for drinks at a wedding.

    Anyway. I was happy with our choice even though I cannot tell you precisely how much we spent (or even, how much we have to pay still). Weddings do not have to be done on precisely accounted budgets if you are not that sort of people. All ways are ok.

    Also, no wedding will ever be perfect. Just like life isn't.

    Ps. This is no reflection on your choices, just my little rant about budgets or lack of them.

  15. Thank you so much for this. The online wedding community can be so brutal, it's refreshing to hear a "just be" post! New to the blog, but love what I see - and for "time rich, super crafty, Russian oligarchs" alone, I add you to my Favourites list on Google Reader!

  16. This is a great post Anna, thank you for writing it and putting into words what many brides will be battling with.

    We do have a budget, it's fairly average and I frequently feel guilty about it. And others make me feel absolutely terrible about it, but really, they are the ones with the problem.

  17. Fabulous post Anna! It's nice and refreshing to hear an honest take on it all.

    Hope you are well sweetie. I saw the lovely Chic 'n Cheap last nite at a Coach soiree and we spoke fondly of u :) xoxo

  18. Thank you ladies.

    It really is your own choice.

    @Emma On one hand £500 is a lot of money. Yet on the very close other hand it really isn't in the grand scheme of life. Whilst I'm not going to advocate spending far beyond your means I would say that that whether you beg, borrow or "steal" that extra money it would be worth it (for piece of mind if nothing else.)

  19. You make so many good points throughout this whole post. Talking about money is difficult. You don't want anything to turn into a competition and you never want to make anyone feel bad. I think you handled it well.

    I've been thinking a lot of the budget and how ours is more than I really want to spend on any one event. But this is something I need to come to terms with, and it sounds like you are well on your way to do such too.

  20. As ever Anna you are wonderfully eloquent. However I would like to insist you have a proper budget sheet and fill it in daily. In fact I am going to email you one immediately (well after I've made a cup of tea).

  21. I/we have a fabulously detailed spreadsheet which is up to date. However it only has the big things on. Shoes and other such frivolities seem not to have made it! Mainly so Bean is unaware of my naughtiness!

  22. hmmn Anna, you are supposed to put naughty things in it too. This is how you don't accidentally spend an extra couple of thousand you can't afford. Still, I think you are capable of being sensible so I shall cease nagging and let you continue your very capable planning...

  23. Oh Savoir, I see. I probably do need your help. Can I have two? One for Bean to see and one real one?

  24. We spend our whole lives saving money to spend it. Might as well spend it on the important things!


So, I really love all the sweet and/or informative comments that you lovelies leave. Yet if you feel the need to be unnecessarily rude or offensive I will delete your comment and not feel bad about it. So just be constructive alright! Hugs to all you wondrous others.


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