Wedding Question: How to Help a Friend Budget

One of my friends is getting married in about six months, though she just got engaged. She hasn’t booked anything yet but she keeps talking about how she wants the perfect dress, amazing flowers, and a ton of food and alcohol. And she wants to have 500 people! I just don’t get how she can do that given that she doesn’t have money and neither does her family. How can I help her budget this in a way that makes sense?

a bride shares her big moment with her close friends! photo from The Wedding Lens!

Good question! Wedding budgeting is a bit overwhelming and it’s easy to just skip that part and get on to the fun planning parts! But budgeting is key!

Explain to your friend that you really need to work out a budget for everything. Some people think this means sitting down and deciding how much they have to spend on each thing. And that’s fine! But it’s a good idea to know what may be expected. So start by checking out our guide to create a wedding budget.

Help your friend by taking a look at the average cost of weddings in the locale where she’s getting married. The average cost of a wedding in the US is probably around $30,000, but it depends on where you are. Some regions it will be higher, some lower. If you can help her see that her idealistic dream is going to cost her a pretty penny, maybe she’ll either change what she wants OR she’ll find a way to afford it all.

Get an idea of what the expenses will be and how many things there are to plan and pay for. This will also help shed some light on a realistic budget.

The most important thing that you should do is help support your friend. When she realizes that she wont be able to afford what she’s dreamed of, she’s going to be pretty upset and sad. It may sound ridiculous, but it’s not and how she feels about her wedding is real. Be sure you make her feel good about the positive things — the friends and family who will be there to love her and share in the joyful occasion.

Hope that helps! And if she’s needs some good cost-cutting tips, check out our cheap wedding tips.

Got other wedding planning questions, just ask! Email natasha@theweddinglens.com.

~ Natasha

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Taking in the Moments of Your Wedding Day

A close friend of mine had nightmares in the weeks before his wedding. Not because he was getting married, but because he was scared of missing the wedding. And he didn’t mean “missing” as in “not showing up” so much as that he was afraid the day would pass by so fast that he would wake up married, without remembering the entire wedding day.

A couple enjoys the moment of their wedding day! Photo from The Wedding Lens

A lot of people have this fear. It comes up on big days when a lot of times the day passes so fast that the details are soon forgotten. What oh what can you do about this?

Set an alarm. My friend (with the nightmares) had a really great idea. During his reception (not during the actual ceremony!), he set his phone alarm to vibrate every 10 minutes. It would buzz in his pocket, and he’d silence it. Then he would take a deep breath and look around the room — and take in the moment. Obviously you dont have to do this every 10 minutes if you think that’s too much, but the idea is the same: remind yourself to take a moment to breathe and enjoy.

Prepare. One article recommends preparing to be in the moment. In other words, while you’re planning, take a minute and take in that moment. It will mentally help you get used to staying in the moment at your wedding.

Be prepared! Also, be prepared! If you have taken care of everything in advance, you won’t have as much on your mind and you can just be a guest at your own wedding! You’ll be able to enjoy so much that when your alarm goes off to remind you to take in the moment, you’ll be able to just breathe and do that.

Do you have other ideas? Share ’em!

~ Natasha

Exchanging Gifts on Your Wedding Day

After doing the poll the other day about whether you will exchange gifts, I decided to look into the tradition myself.

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Do we have to exchange gifts?

It turns out, gift exchange on the day of your wedding is not a required tradition; it’s completely optional.

When do we exchange gifts?

You can exchange gifts the night before the wedding, the morning of the wedding, or after the festivities are over. But really, it’s your call — it’s your wedding and your gift exchange!

What kinds of gifts should we give?

Anything! Some people like to give something that the other can wear on the wedding day — such as cuff links or jewelry. Other people like to give gifts that are applicable to the honeymoon — swim or snow gear, sunglasses, etc. But you should give whatever you like!

One person suggested exchanging letters with the gifts and having the MOH or BM deliver them on the day of the wedding. Sweet, right?

Or how about an online photo album filled with ALL of the guests photos? (I had to!)

~ Natasha

Using Your Wedding Day to Create a New Anniversary

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

One of my friends was recently complaining about her and her boyfriend’s anniversary. Her anniversary, Christmas, sometimes Hanukkah, her boyfriend’s birthday, and New Years are all within a 10 day period. She hates that almost everything happens within 10 days — and then silence (except for her birthday) for the rest of the year.

She was trying to come up with alternate days of the year that they could celebrate, but she didn’t feel like giving up their anniversary was really a solution. So we started discussing, along with another friend: how to fix an anniversary?!

One way to fix the anniversary is to pick a different wedding day (assuming, of course, that they decide to get hitched!). People tend to pick their wedding days for different reasons – most prefer to pick a day that’s either close to their anniversary of dating date or their engagement date. But for the vast majority, I suspect that the wedding day happens to be the day that fits schedules (yours, the venue, etc).

Even though there are a number of other factors involved, the wedding is an opportunity to at least pick the time of the year that you want your anniversary to be. So, for someone like my friend, she would probably be open to an anniverary in any other time of the year — which makes it flexible AND easy for her to pick a non-conflicting date.

AND, once you pick your wedding day, you can start getting excited about all the photos you can put into your online wedding photo album. Right? Right.

Will you use your wedding day to “fix” your anniversary??

Top Five Things Most People Forget On Their Wedding Day

You think you’ve remembered everything… you’ve even consulted my previous list of things to do when planning your own wedding. But you’re still going to forget some things. Here are the top 5 things you might forget (until now!)

photo from The Wedding Lens

photo from The Wedding Lens

  1. Things to remember: Safety pins, hair pins, tissues, matches (for a candle lighting, if you have one), bandaids for your feet (and/or a change of shoes)
  2.  Before the wedding, get your money together. You’ll need to pay the caterer, florist, DJ — and maybe others. Make sure you get those payments together (along with any tips) and give it to someone who will be in charge of paying everyone that day.
  3. During the wedding, get someone you trust to take care of your personals — ID, camera, makeup, etc.
  4. During the wedding, be sure to EAT.  I know you won’t, even with this warning, so ask the caterer to pack a box for after the wedding so that you & your new husband/wife can eat!
  5. After the wedding, you’ll need help! Get someone to take the flowers home or donate them to a local hospital. Ask a friend to take your dress to the cleaners. Have a groomsman return your tux/suit or take it to the cleaners. Tell the caterer what to do with leftover food (hint: donate!)

Good luck!

~ Natasha

Don’t forget you’ll want to see your guests photos too!

Tips for Staying Calm on the Big Day

First of all, stop calling it your “big day.” It is, after all, just a wedding. And no, it does not need to be perfect. What is perfect, anyway?

Let me guess: You’re afraid you’ll trip while walking down the aisle, that the florist will fall through or the flowers will look wilted, that the photographer wont get “the perfect moment” on film, that your wedding party will be late, that the makeup or hair wont be exactly what the magazine says it should be, that the DJ plays the wrong song….

Keep it in perspective.  The most important part of a wedding is not the wedding. The most important part is that you and your significant other are gathering your friends and family together to celebrate your love for each other.  It is nothing more, nothing less.  Your friends and family could care less that you trip while walking down the aisle.  They do care, however, that you are happy.

Mrs. Pineapple on the Wedding Bee describes how she felt super duper calm right before the wedding.  She kept things in perspective and knew she’d get stuff done.  But unlike Mrs. Pineapple, don’t resign yourself to the idea that you will freak out.

Be happy! Plan ahead, delegate, and make sure that your loved ones are with you to keep you calm. The good news is that the one you love the most will be there ’cause you’re getting hitched! And that’s the most important part of the whole day.

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~Natasha