Ahh yes my wedding day. One of the best days of my life and not simply because of the amount of money we spent on it. 12k for a day is a lot of money but 12k in debt plus all the cash we also paid is just insanity when it was never our original plan.
Originally our plan, or my plan really, was to keep costs as low as possible. Back then before the madness overtook me we were trying to save for a house. Not much has changed really! Still trying to save for a home of our own.
Well the plan was to keep costs down. The vibe was a comfy cozy winter wedding. Think woolly jumpers and soft scarves.
The early stages
I spent days upon days googling how to make my own wedding cake. I even started baking in the hopes that said cake would be edible and taste decent. Yup, I was planning to bake my own wedding cake with no baking experience.
It gets better! I have some skill at knitting, nothing to write home about but I can manage basic stitches and if I’m following a tutorial I can hold my own. So that naturally led to me googling knitted wedding dresses. Which in all honesty are really beautiful and unique but way above my abilities. An example of what I was thinking of can be found here. Beautiful right?
Don’t think it stopped there, oh no my dear reader it went so much further! I was googling bouquets and how close to the day they needed to be assembled. If only I could find the link! In a nutshell they need to be kept alive (obviously) but you don’t want the flowers to open until the very last second. I would have to assemble the bouquets the day before. So there I am planning on assembling bouquets the day before my wedding while simultaneously icing a wedding cake for however many people.
A deep dive of google taught me that flowers bought at wholesale are substantially cheaper but if memory serves me correctly a vat number is needed. So that was the nail in the coffin of that idea.
But wait! Theres more..
Surely that’s as bad as it got? Ha! I wish. I found a beautiful venue that was very reasonably priced. Off season and midweek. All was going well. Then I tried to convince my then fiancé that stew and mash was a solid main meal option. He doesn’t even like stew or mash!
Bridesmaids dresses? Yeah I had 5 bridesmaids. I wanted all of sisters standing with me. So hi-ho hi-ho it was off to Ebay I went. I found some lovely dresses that were really well priced and well made. My bridesmaids hated them. Back to the drawing board I went.
How it actually went?
That beautiful venue got the axe when we walked around the area and found a used contraceptive on the ground and a used sharp near it. Really didn’t suit the family friendly atmosphere we wanted.
The cake I was going to make was made by someone who knows what they’re doing. It cost a lot. It was worth it. Cake is always worth it.
Sorry I got carried away thinking about chocolate sponge with a chocolate buttercream filling.
The wedding dress went through many stages. At first I bought a dress off Ebay. It was atrocious on me. So rather than waste any more on dresses I hated we went dress shopping. I found a beautiful dress that made me feel not like a mammy. That was the main criteria. I wanted to feel like me but not look like a mammy.
It goes without saying at this stage I paid a florist to do the flowers. However I had my talented mammy make the bouquets out of broaches and artificial flowers. They were raved about and with good reason!
Bridesmaids dresses drove me insane. I changed them so many times to try please all 5 girls. In the end I went with multiway dresses and broaches to personalize them.
Was it worth 12k for a day?
Indecision, competitiveness, comparison and the date we settled on all had a part to play in our 12k debt. Once again I made the decision to go with the most expensive option and picked New Years Eve.
The date drove the price up with all of our vendors. Its a peak date during a peak season.
That date drastically upped the cost and inevitably led to our “12k for a day” debt. Our wedding cost substantially more than twelve thousand euro but I didn’t mind the cash price. It’s the debt that annoyed me. It took a full year to pay that back.
Was it worth it? Maybe. I loved my wedding day. It was elegant and beautiful. If we had paid cash for everything I would say it was worth every last cent. My only regret is the debt had a massive affect on our ability to buy a home.
Pay for things that matter to you. If they’re not something essential or that you actually care about they don’t need to be in your budget.
Better still, actually write a budget! Don’t just wing it and assume it will all work out for the best.
Vendors charge money. They’re not a charity and are running a business. Choose vendors that offer the service that matches your needs and your budget. If photography is important to you then it should be reflected in your budget. Cut back an area that isn’t important to allow for the larger photography cost or you could find yourself also looking at “12k for a day” debt.
If cake isn’t important to you then go without. Alternatively consider a dummy cake for photos and a sheet cake in the kitchen to serve from.
Dresses are big money because weddings are a multimillion if not billion euro industry. Think of it this way, all that material and hours that goes into making a dress has to be paid for some how. If a dress isn’t a priority for you but you’d still like a wedding day feel then maybe look at preloved dresses. Maybe a suit or a simple white dress is more your style. Go with what makes you feel beautiful and confident.
The biggest lesson I can share is DIY is not always cheaper. Mistakes cost money. Indecision costs money. Materials and equipment cost money. Simply put DIY can save money if its already a hobby you are interested in. It does not always save money. Trust me.