Blogs » The Grapevine » Switching gears: Wedding planning

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I'm switching it up a little this week as I have no pithy advice about wine for you. I do, however, have some wedding planning advice - don't buy into the crap.

My husband-to-be and I finally sat down over the weekend to set a budget for our November beach wedding and the honeymoon to follow. $3,600, if we can save about $200 per paycheck between the two of us from now until then (18 paychecks away).

At first I looked at that in near panic mode. How can I host a ceremony, reception and honeymoon on that much money?! After some careful consideration of each component, I realize that it can be done mostly by not getting wrapped up in the hype of the wedding industry.

Here's my initial breakdown:

Ceremony: Site fee - $0 (just one of the perks of a beach wedding); Decorations and chair rentals (for 40 people) - $300; Photography and video - $200 (we expect to have family and friends willing to help with this); Bouquet/flowers - $200 (E-bay will be instrumental in this since I'm planning to buy silk flowers in bulk and make my own); Officiant - $150

Reception: Site fee - $550 (no parking fees, includes dance floor, buffet table, tables and chairs set up); Decor - $240; Catering and food costs - $300 (because it is the day after Thanksgiving, we'll be hosting a Thanksgiving buffet for the reception); Music - $150 for equipment rental (we expect to have family help with this by pushing a button on our iPod at appropriate moments); Cake - $180 (a small round cake plus cupcakes we will make ourselves);

Attire: Dress and accessories - $400; Suit - $50 (we're going for simple, so all he'll need is a new white collared shirt);

Honeymoon: Cruise and activities - $600; Gas to get to Galveston and cheap hotel room - $130

Misc: In case I'm forgetting something or go over budget - $150

No need to tell me that I'm dreaming if I think we'll stay under this budget because I've heard it already. Wedding stuff is extremely expensive, a fact I know because this is my second go-around.

I don't need special cake-cutting utensils or champagne flutes because I'm not big on keeping crap I'll never use again (nor am I sentimental as you can see). Pictures will do just fine, and not even high-quality pictures at that!

Also, I'm not trying to impress anyone but myself. I've tried that before and people will always find something to complain about. This time, I'm thinking simple. That's not to say it won't be stressful; I'm already waking up in the middle of the night worrying about the minute details of this shin-dig.

So wish me luck. I'm going to need it along with a whole case of wine before the affair is finished!