Wedding Budget Breakdown: Part 1


As of this coming weekend, Matthew Darling and I have been husband and wife for 6 months!
It's been great and it's been hard.
All relationships bring challenges to the table and one of the hardest things we have done as a couple is plan our wedding.
So. Many. Decisions.
That's why I thought it may be helpful to share our experience for any soon-to-be-married couples out there who are feeling overwhelmed by the process.
We made multiple spreadsheets and kept very close track of each step of the process.
Now I am able share it, so I can help YOU have the best day too!

Before I say anything else, let me just say, I love weddings.
Did you ever watch the rom-com flick The Wedding Planner?
It was that movie that helped me realize my love for weddings.
I didn't grow up planning my own wedding so much as thinking about weddings in general.
So many themes, flowers, colors, patterns, seasons, fabrics, songs, and I can't forget all the love!
The romantic artist in me got attached to weddings and never let go.

I love them all.
The formal weddings, where dinner is served over several courses and the rustic receptions, where you eat BBQ at picnic tables.
The elaborate weddings, where guests take home bottles of French champagne as their favors and the thrifty weddings, where everyone gets a packet of seeds to plant wildflowers at home.
The high energy weddings, where the bridal party breaks out into a choreographed routine before the groomsmen start chanting "U-S-A" and the low-key weddings, where everyone hangs out in a backyard late into the night, catching up with old friends.
If I've been to your wedding, I've loved it! Every minute of it.

So I hope as I write this post, I don't come across as "my way is the only way". Because it isn't.
It was however, the only way for us and my hope is that another couple like us may benefit one day from the information shared here.
I hope you'll find it helpful and if you're getting married I hope you'll invite me!

Matthew and I got engaged in November of 2015 and were married in April 2016.
We could hardly wait those 5 short months before tying the knot.
In all honesty, my love for weddings didn't carry over to my own.
I just wanted to be his wife and all the planning for it wore me out!
In fact, I asked Matthew daily if we could just elope.
No exaggeration. Brought it up every day.
But we did have a wedding and I'm really glad we did!

The very first thing we did when we sat down to  begin planning was pray over our engagement, wedding day, and marriage.
We didn't want to take a single step in the process without including Christ.
Next, we made a list, ranked by priority of what we wanted in our wedding day.
Before I give you the Budget Breakdown, you'll need to see that list so you know why we made the decisions we did.
Here were the 5 most important things concerning our wedding day.
We wanted it to be:

  1. Christ Centered
  2. Intentional
  3. Personal
  4. Comfortable
  5. Budget Friendly

Christ Centered: It was most important to us that our wedding glorified our Maker more than ourselves, so we asked Him to be in our planning and in our wedding day. After all, He created and ordained marriage! It was our goal to have the Gospel shared with everyone in attendance. If we didn't get that done, we would've really missed the mark. Thankfully, Scott McMinn was marrying us and he shares the Gospel for a living! We talked in detail with him about the ceremony and he did a remarkable job! 

Intentional: No decision was made "willy-nilly". Everything we did was well thought out and discussed. Matthew and I planned the wedding together with plenty of help from various people. It made sense to us that he and I plan it together instead of me planning it with my mom and including him on some stuff. It wasn't my mom and I committing the rest of our lives to another was it?! We recommend planning your wedding with your fiance. It really helped us work out disagreements and we learned more about how we each tick.

Personal: From my friend Erin who did my hair and makeup, to our photographer who was my YL leader in high school, to Scott who married us, to the family jewelry that I wore, we tried to keep as many details as personal as possible. It was very important to us that we honor our loved ones who got us to this point in life. I also wrote each bridesmaid a personal letter letting them know how they had impacted my life and taught me more about Christ. Other dear friends sliced and served the cake and one friend volunteered her time as Day-Of Coordinator. Just like real life, we couldn't have had the wedding without these special folks.

Comfortable: It was our hope that everyone who attended our wedding would feel at ease. One of my favorite things about weddings is that they serve as reunions! Friends and family come in from all over and you get to spend time with those you don't see on a regular basis. We wanted our wedding, mostly the reception, to feel like a good hangout, a time for people to slow down and just enjoy each other's company. That's why we picked the student center at the church for the reception. It was cozy and comfortable. It actually kind of had the feel of a coffee shop which is always pretty inviting to me!

Budget Friendly: Our budget for the wedding was $10,000 and we were confident we could create the wedding we wanted, based off the characteristics listed above, within that budget. We did have a few surprises and it was definitely hard work, but in the end, it all worked out. 


Keeping our costs low meant that we had to let go of a few things. 
Was it the wedding I had planned on Pinterest? Nope.
Was it the absolute most perfect day? Yes!
Perfect because I got to commit my life to the man Christ gave me in front of the people that love us most. 

Check back next week for a total Budget Breakdown so I can help you avoid any financial wedding stress!