Beware the Wedding Planning Zone

As you get closer to your wedding date it sometimes seems that you drop into a state of wedding zombie-ness…

In the run up to the day, as you’re taking care of those last minute somethings, in stores where other brides and grooms are shopping, it’s easy to look across the aisle at something that isn’t on your list and think wow… wouldn’t that be a nice addition to what we’ve got going on.


  1. It’s not in your budget. And those last minute adds are the budget breakers, even $30 at a time!
  2. It’s not in your plan. You very carefully considered what was going to make  your wedding wonderful. You’ve got the elements. No need to gild the lily!
  3. It’s just stuff. Stuff you’re going to have to take home. Stuff you’re going to have to dispose of or recycle. Stuff isn’t going to make your wedding sing, the love you share with your community: your love for one another and your love for them is what’s going to make your wedding remarkable.

Antidote: Call a partner and make a date for romance. Go out, share a drink and stare into one another’s eyes. Go home and practice your kiss and see where that leads. Either or both of these are a lot more fun than stress shopping. (And cheaper!)

Movies, Money, Wedding Budgets

Money and Marriage Advocate, Dr. Taffy Wagner is a personal finances educator. When she goes to the movies she always looks at movies from the perspective of what more could have been shared in the area of finances or what was shared that couples or individuals can use.

There will be regular posts on new and old movies that talk about the money implication. Go check it out here!

Tip: She’s doing the work to show you where you might want to be doing some work about finances in your marriage. Well worth the gander!

What’s wrong with a wedding you can afford?

On Sunday, my friend and colleague, Elizabeth Oakes, wrote an article in which decried soliciting donations for a wedding. It described wedding couples who are getting deals from vendors in exchange for notices on the tables or in the program. huh?

It’s no surprise to anyone here that I charge, and quite handsomely, for my services in crafting and performing wedding ceremonies and helping you create the promises you will keep. It’s also true that I offer DIY options in the forms of books and products. (Please visit my shop for products that can help you craft the wedding ceremony of your dreams!) I have a good track record and my clients tend to have higher rates of marital success because they’ve carefully thought through their promises. I would argue that the one thing you need at a wedding ceremony is a celebrant. It’s my opinion that the right celebrant can make a difference not only in your wedding but also in your relationship going forward.

But favors? You don’t need favors to be married. If you can’t afford to feed 350 people you need either to feed them cake only or to invite fewer people. People are not entitled to expensive weddings, nor do they need them. Most of us aren’t celebrities, we don’t have to have a celebrity wedding.

We will all prosper from having supportive friends at our wedding. But we shouldn’t be buying them nor should they be buying us.

Am I a hypocrite because I had a pot-luck wedding? I don’t think so. Pot-luck weddings are a family tradition. Our community was looking for a party and happy to play wedding. Incredible bonds were created by that wedding among all sorts of unlikely parties. While Steve and I had a wedding we really wanted, our community participated in a community event that was also our wedding. Somehow I’m always happy to make a gift of love and food as part of a celebration, but I’m drawing the line at cold cash. I hope you’ll think about how you want your community to participate in your celebration and what you want to offer them, rather than what they can offer you.

I don’t know, Elizabeth, am I wrong? Is there a difference between pot-luck and cash?

Tip: If you’re not following Elizabeth’s column, you should be. Sign up when you go read her article.

Should Women Marry Money: The Marriage

Back with the Newsweek article discussing why women want to consider bottom line in making marriage choices:

The principal argument that Ford and Drake make in Smart Girls Marry Money has to do with the fact that women’s salaries have not yet caught up to men’s. And that should influence our marriage choices, we ask incredulously?

Well, if you’re planning to have children, “yes,” they say. “We gals just haven’t come far enough or fast enough,” they say. “We know it’s important to take the long view of things, but as we’ve heard said, in the long view, we’ll all be dead.”

Tip: Well, planning for your future is important. And certainly any bride who’s able to pull off the wedding you’re looking at is capable of planning. But if you’re not going to marry rich, you might to at least want to consider, planning your finances. Go check out Dr. Taffy who helps couples clear up their money issues before they marry (now there’s a concept!). She’s here to help you plan for your marriage with the guy you’re already in love with. (You still might want to read Drake and Ford’s book, however, I think it will make you think about the way you make choices.)

budget weddings, what are they good for?

I’ve been writing a series over on about planning your wedding cheaply. The thing I keep stressing in that series is that you can change what you do and how you think about your budget when you focus on meaning rather than money.

In today’s great article, Elizabeth Oakes rues the mass purchasing weddings. She asks whether you really save money and reminds us that these weddings require a far greater time commitment of brides and grooms. Always amusing, (really, read her, follow her over there.) she points out that you often get exactly what you paid for. Another thing I never have understood about weddings is why everyone wants their weddings to be exactly like the next one. Warehouse weddings offer way too many possibilities for that.

Tip: There are lots of good ways to cut costs at weddings. Some of them include not doing some of the “musts” at weddings. (Never saw a reception that wasn’t impoved by skipping the expensive garter toss!) But here are a couple things to consider.

  1. Make a wedding budget, figure out where you want to spend your money and stick to it. So much of wedding cost is over-run.
  2. Simplify your wedding notions. What are you really trying to accomplish here? And you know what, there’s nothing that says you can’t have a great party at some other point in your life. Gather your friends on a frequent basis, it’ll make your marriage better and it’ll be a lot of fun.
  3. Shift from money to meaning. Create a fabulous wedding ceremony and great wedding vows. Now people are there for the celebration and not the party and that’s a good thing.

Money, financial intimacy, wedding planning and marriage. Wow!

Nothing is harder to deal with in marriage than money. Giving it your full attention at the beginning, figuring out what is real for both of you and then how you’re going to deal with it is important. This can be a hard place for honesty, if money was never talked about where you grew up, you’re going to have to learn new skills. And if there’s debt or bankruptcy, it may feel excruciating to reveal what may feel like failures. But you’re getting married and getting intimate. So, get going!

  1. How much money do you make a pay period?
  2. Does the money taken out of your check cover your taxes at the end of the year?
  3. How much money do you spend a pay period. Yep, keep one of those little books for at least 2 weeks.
  4. How often do you look honestly at your money?
  5. Do you have a budget and do you keep to it?
  6. What did you learn at home about money? What was said, what was unsaid but implied? Was it talked about easily and openly? Was there enough? Was it hoarded or squandered? Was there panic, or calm about money?
  7. What has been your reaction to what you learned at home? Do you do it the same way?
  8. Are you an impulse shopper? What’s the last thing you bought on impulse? Do you use it? What’s the last BIG thing you bought on impulse? Do you use it?
  9. Do you buy on credit or do you wait until you have the cash?
  10. What’s your debt level? Credit Card, Student Loan, Mortgage?
  11. How much of your paycheck goes to finance debt?
  12. What’s your saving level?
  13. Do you have money if you become unemployed?
  14. Do you have a lot of things you don’t need?
  15. Do you have a lot of things you don’t use?
  16. How were you planning to pay for your wedding?

Tip: Compare them with your beloved’s. Is this too hard? Find a counselor or a financial planner to work with. Then once you’ve got your personal stuff laid out, you need to look at what you’re taking on with the marriage. It’s now one relationship. No more his or her debt; it’s your debt. You want to get it cleared up and out of the way. You want to clarify your financial goals. You want to design a budget that works. You want to put someone in charge of it. You both want to agree to how it will be administered, and by whom and what the exceptions are. You want to be trustworthy about your money stuff. Knowing and trusting one another in this area will cement your marriage together. The rewards are extraordinary.

Wedding Planning Series: Fabulous Under $5000 Wedding

I’ve started a series on Ezine Articles about how to have the wedding of your dreams for under $5000, based on my fabu wedding for 300 guests. First one came out today. More after the weekend. You don’t know how much fun you can have for how little money! And what a great start you can give your marriage.

Tip: go subscribe at You’ll be glad you did.

Parents Helping Pay for Your Wedding? Talk Marriage Goals First

It’s fairly mixed these days as to whether parents are helping to pay for your wedding. In many cases, however, both of sets of parents contribute to the cost of the wedding. This is extraordinarily generous and not a responsibility, so extreme gratitude is your first responsibility!

In all probability they will have an idea what kind of money and planning support they can share with you. The sad reality is that this year that might be greatly diminished given the economy. One way you can thank them for their gift is to let them know about the marriage you are planning, not just the wedding you’re dying to have. Knowing that you have solid marital goals as well as plans for your wedding extravaganza will make them feel even better about your decision to marry and have a wedding. Even more than their financial commitment to your wedding, you want their support of your marriage!

Tip: Before you talk to your parents about wedding planning and their ability to help you financially and emotionally as you plan for your wedding, sit down and plan for your marriage. This is going to focus your wedding planning and help your parents support your wedding with their time, energy and money.

Set Your Wedding Budget with Your Marriage Goals

Let your marriage plans set the parameters for your wedding planning. By that I mean, you don’t want to figure out your budget before you figure out what kind of marriage you want to have.

  • How do you envision your future together?
  • What kind of life and lifestyle do you want to build?
  • What brought you together and what will keep you together?
  • What are the values that you’re going to base that future on?
  • What are the promises that you know you can keep to one another?

Only once those questions are answered should you begin to consider your budget: because you want a budget that reflects your values and a wedding that reflects your marriage dreams. You want to keep focusing your wedding: ceremony, vows and receptions on the marriage ahead.

Tip: Wedding planning should start with marriage planning. Sit together and dream of your future. Only then should you begin to build a budget.