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A few weeks ago, with our shop relaunch, I mentioned that we had added a whole new category to the Southern Weddings Shop: our e-book library! This was a natural next step for us, gals who have always been equally devoted to the pretty AND the practical. It’s my joy to give you a more extended peek into one of our first two digital offerings today: the Ultimate Guide to Budgeting for Your Wedding!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am extremely passionate about personal finance. Since I am also passionate about weddings, this new e-book is pretty much the culmination of my life’s work! :) The good news is that you do not have to be passionate about either to get the most out of our guide — in fact, it’s meant for people who want to cover their ears when they hear the word budget!

In this 26-page digital download, we equip you with everything you need to know to spend, save, and celebrate your wedding with money smarts. Topics covered include:

— How to set your wedding budget
— Ways to supplement your hired professionals (and save money!)
— How to negotiate while hiring vendors
— Our favorite ways to cut costs
— Creative ways to stretch your budget
— Setting your budget priorities
— How to talk to your parents about money
— When and how much to tip wedding vendors
— Industry standard percentages for your budget
— 11 line-item budgets from real weddings (ranging from $12,500 to $100,000+)

…plus a budget spreadsheet, a payment tracker, and plenty of encouragement along the way!

We believe that if you can do your budget well, the rest of wedding planning will be so much more joyful – and that’s our greatest wish for you! Get more info and purchase your Ultimate Guide to Budgeting for Your Wedding.

P.S. Curious about the intersection of our e-book library and the Joyful Wedding Planner? Our e-books can be used alongside our planner (since we go into more detail on each topic than we were able to in the planner) or in tandem with another planner. We’ve heard from so many brides who were sad to have purchased another planner before finding ours, so this is a way that all of y’all can still get our perspective on individual topics without purchasing a second planner!

emily Written with love by Emily
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    Did you feel a little shiver run down your spine just reading this post’s title? If so, you’re not alone! For many brides, talking to their parents about paying for their wedding is one of the most squirm-inducing parts of wedding planning, period. Not many of us love talking about money, anyway, and when you add in all of the emotions, hopes, and expectations around an event as significant as a wedding, well, things can get complicated fast!

    The good news? As with most things in life, a grateful heart, a kind demeanor, and an insistence on believing the best about everyone involved will go a long way. Unless you’re set on paying for your wedding yourself or your parents have already told you they’re not able to contribute, this conversation is a must-do, so let’s get to our tips!

    Photo by Sawyer Baird with styling and flowers by Blue Ribbon Vendor Jacin Fitzgerald from our ninth issue

    First, unless they’ve told you otherwise, it’s helpful to start with the mindset that your families may or may not be willing or able to contribute, but that you are asking because it’s better to ask than to miss out! Here’s how you might start the conversation:

    “Hi Mama! Now that we’ve been engaged for a few weeks, we’re excited to begin planning our wedding! We are really hoping to have a memorable celebration for all the people we love most. I’m not sure if you’ve given it any thought, so no need to answer today, but I was wondering if you and Dad are planning to contribute in some monetary way to our plans? We would be so grateful for whatever you’re able to offer!”

    It could also be helpful to lead with what y’all are planning to pay for, so they understand you two are also invested in this experience.

    Repeat this conversation with both your parents and your fiance’s parents – more than once if anyone is divorced – as well as grandparents, if applicable.

    If your parents are looking for further direction or aren’t comfortable giving a lump sum, suggest they pay for a specific item or portion of the wedding (bonus points if you know it’s one that will be meaningful to them!). Try this: “Would it be possible for you to pay for the florist? We haven’t chosen a vendor yet, but the quotes we’ve gotten range from $1,500-$2,000.”

    One final tip: It’s best to leave comparison out of this conversation – either with your siblings’ weddings, or your friends’. Trust that your parents will do their best to make things as fair as possible!

    As you speak with each supporting party, make a note of their commitments (we have a handy worksheet for this in our wedding planner!). Once you’ve spoken with everyone and noted how much you and your groom will be contributing, you’ve got the beginnings of a budget!

    I’d love to hear: if your parents helped pay for your wedding, did you initiate this conversation, or did they?

    P.S. Looking for more wedding budget advice? I wrote our wedding budgeting e-book just for you!

    emily Written with love by Emily
    2 Comments
    1. avatar liam smith reply

      This is an interesting article is it is seldom discussed.

      My now wife and I had the same discussion with our parents, however we decided to approach it differently. We put together what we could afford and culled our guest list to just close family and friends. We then told our parents that any guests that they wanted to add they would have to pay for. It removed the awkward discussion of ‘how much can you give us’ and also placed the politics of who to invite in their hands.

    2. avatar Kirsti Cook reply

      My sweet mama initiated the conversation with my fiancé and I about two weeks after we got engaged and started looking at venues. The funny part during this process is that we are trying to stick as close as we can to our budget and my mama, bless her heart, always says “If it will make your day perfect, then just do it!” While we want to be gracious hosts to our guests, we also know that spending an arm and a leg on our wedding won’t effect our marriage so we are trying to keep it from spreading like kudzu!

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    The full title of this post is “3 Creative Ways to Cut Your Wedding Budget Without Sacrificing Style” — and though that was a little long for our formatting, the second half is equally as important as the first! I firmly believe that the most beautiful weddings don’t have to cost a fortune, and that they are ways to trim your wedding budget that not only don’t detract from your day, but actually add beauty and meaning. Read on for three of my favorites!

    From Emily and Matt’s wedding by Clark Brewer

    Supplement your professionals. While some things should ALWAYS be left to professionals, I think there are some amazing ways to cut costs while working hand-in-hand with the pros you’ve hired! For example, I provided the centerpiece containers and ribbon to my florist, knowing I’d be charged a mark-up for those items if I didn’t. We also hired a live band for our reception, but worked with them to play a CD my uncle mixed for us over their sound system at cocktail hour. Our calligrapher, Moya, hand-lettered our first names for our invitation, and we were able to use that digital file several places in our wedding instead of, say, paying her to letter each one of our favors individually. A few more examples: order a professional wedding cake but ask family friends to bake additional sweets for your dessert table; hire a fabulous photographer but design your own wedding album with a company like Artifact Uprising or Milk Books; rent larger lounge furniture items like couches but add in pillows, ottomans, or side tables from your own home.

    Elaine Palladino

    Borrow! Not everything has to be bought new (or even old) for your wedding! Borrowed pieces can lend a beautiful air of family and heritage to your wedding day, and, in my experience, guests love having a hand in the magic! I borrowed my clutch, my bracelet, my earrings, lots of our centerpiece containers, our communion cups, easels from my artist friend, pillows and blankets for our lounge area, cake plates, and probably many other things I can’t remember. Replacing expense with meaning = always a win in my book.

    From Darcee and Hunter’s wedding by Jen Dillender

    Share! I was lucky enough to be marrying just two months after my now sister-in-law, so we purchased several things to use at both of our weddings, including our veil and four boxwood garlands. We were also able to split some bulk supplies (like out-of-town bags) and therefore get a lower cost. I’ve long loved the idea of brides getting married on the same weekend at the same venue sharing major costs, like a tent or draping, and was thrilled to get a press release from a company the other day that’s making this more plausible! Bouquet for a Day is a site that matches brides together that are getting married at the same location and within a day of each other. Not sponsored, just thought it was a super cool idea after my own heart :)

    I would LOVE to hear: are you using or did you use any of these budget-slashing tactics at your wedding? They really can make a huge difference!!

    P.S. More budget advice.

    Jen Dillender and Elaine Palladino are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    emily Written with love by Emily
    1 Comment
    1. avatar 4 Ways To Save On Your Wedding Venue – Affordable Wedding Resources reply

      […] SouthernWeddings.com gave some off-beat tips on 3 Creative Ways to Cut Your Wedding Budget […]

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