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Budgets | Manolo for the Brides - Part 2
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What’s It Worth? That’s Up To You


The HuffPo wedding page recently began a campaign entitled Take Back Your Wedding. It’s about how you don’t have to bow to the pressure to have a traditional wedding blowout your family and friends want.

Today they are running an infographic on what else you could spend that much money on.

Taking the average cost of a wedding in eleven major cities across the country, they tell you what else that money could buy. For instance, the $65,824 for a traditional wedding in New York City could get you two year’s rent on a one-bedroom apartment in the East Village. In Dallas the $28,717 could get you 164 pairs of cowboy boots, just in case it’s your ambition in life to be the Texan Imelda Marcos.

Now you all know that I’m foursquare in favor of bridal budget sanity. I believe strongly in not spending more money on a wedding than you have to spend. I’m big on making the day personal to you rather than a set of traditions followed for the purpose of not upsetting people who aren’t the ones getting married, and in favor of dumping the trappings that don’t matter much to you personally. So if you would truly rather buy 32,715 beignets from Cafe du Monde than hold a traditional wedding, I will be the first person to have your back… and help you dispose of your beignet surplus.

But really? If you’ve got the money and want to spend it on a wedding, I will also be the first person in your corner. Your money, your priorities. Your choice.

It is my firm belief that a wedding will cost precisely what you are willing to spend on it. Whether you have a potluck backyard gathering for ten or a million dollar extravaganza in an exotic location where you fly in four hundred of your nearest and dearest, if you can pay for it and it makes you happy, then that’s what you should do.

The value of your wedding isn’t something that can be measured entirely in cold dollars and cents or comparison of how many hands of blackjack the same money would buy.

Base your budget decisions on your value system. And don’t let anyone else tell you what that is.

Kid Week: Dressing Tiny Attendants

Welcome to day three of Kid Week here at Manolo for the Brides. Enjoy your stay!

When you’re the one getting married, you do have a certain amount of power. For instance, if you want to dress up small boys like this:

(via Pegeen)

… or small girls like this:

(via Landy Wedding Dress)

… well, that is your right and you can make them do it. But it behooves us to keep in mind that Frances Hodgeson Burnett’s son never, ever forgave his mother for making him dress like her fictional hero, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and that was nearly a hundred and thirty years ago. Imagine the horror of being an eight year old boy today and having the school bully find a picture of you in satin knickers!

Do you really want to do that to a child?

And I imagine that while many a little girl would be pretty swept away when that gown first arrived, they would quickly and painfully learn why it is that strapless is for girls who are old enough to have developed secondary sexual characteristics. I’ll just leave it at that.

The key to using the power you have is to exercise it in such a way that you are considered a benevolent despot rather than the jack-booted offspring of a raging bull and a weasel.

Dressing small children in ways that keep them comfortable and don’t entirely empty their parents’ pocketbooks is one of those smart ways of exercising power. I’ll show you some ideas for that.
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Practical Inspiration for Couples on a Budget


Imagine you have a seven thousand dollar wedding budget. Now imagine that you are holding your wedding in just seven months all the way across the country and that budget has to cover transportation and housing costs, too. Think you can’t have a pretty, meaningful wedding on that budget with those restrictions? Think again!

Chris C. Anderson shares his wedding plans and the finished results in a lovely slide show on HuffPo’s wedding page today, and it’s a delight. Of course not everyone has a family walnut ranch to use as a setting, and not everyone is willing to accept basic folding chairs to sit in. But then everyone knows someone who can do something free as a gift or at low cost, and everyone is willing to cut some generally acknowledged ‘necessity’ in order to have things they care more about.

There’s a nice break down of the expenses incurred, and some charmingly phrased prose, but most of all there are gorgeous photos of a wedding that looks like it was a lot of fun.

With most experts telling us every day that a wedding can’t be done for less than twenty grand – and that only if you’re willing to look shabby and pathetic to the world – it’s refreshing to see a couple demonstrate just how much wedding it’s possible to have for less than half that number.

Go take a look. You’ll be happy you did.

It’s More Expensive to Get Married Some Places Than Others


We all know that getting to the altar can be an expensive proposition. There are clothes and flowers and food and decorations and photography and music and a thousand other things to spend money on. But it’s useful to know that there are two things that affect your budget hugely: geography and culture.

The average wedding in the US has hovered roughly around the $20,000 mark for quite a while, give or take. One year it’s more like $22,000, another it’s more like $19,800. The fact remains, however, that in some areas of the country, that average is an insane amount of money to play with, while in others it’s a painfully tight squeeze to get a wedding on that little money.

According to Cost of Wedding.com, the average wedding in California’s most infamous zip code (90210) runs closer to $40,000. Not far away in El Centro, Ca, the average price of a wedding drops to roughly $26,000 and change. Still well above the national average, but a heck of a lot less than Beverly Hills! Up in Marysville, though, the average cost of a wedding drops very slightly below the national average.

If you look at statistics in parts of Alabama, Arkansas, and Idaho, you’ll find the average wedding runs well under the national average.

Then again, when your wedding starts feeling ridiculously expensive, you might want to thank your lucky stars you’re not trying to have a wedding in South Korea. According to this article from Reuters, the average wedding there runs in the neighborhood of $200,000 in US dollars. Many of these couples go into huge debt to hold their weddings.

Where does all that money go? Mostly to the huge guest lists and lavish gifts to one another’s families.

But the most important thing to remember about averages is that they’re just that: averages. Your wedding may or may not fit into the averages comfortably in either direction. And you know what? Whether your wedding is average in cost or not isn’t the most important thing about it. What matters is that you hold the wedding as close to your dreams as you can within the budget you have.

Saving Is Sometimes Counter-Intuitive

We all know that planning a wedding often runs to money. In fact, for many of us our wedding will be the largest, most complex party we ever throw.

We also all know there are ways of cutting the budget that make a lot of sense… but what about the ones that don’t seem that sensible on the surface? Every once in a while, it turns out the way that looked the most cost-effective isn’t.

Here are a couple ideas you may not think would save you money, but really can if applied thoughtfully as well as a couple cost-saving measures that may not really save you very much at all.
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What’s Up at the Huff Po Wedding Page


Sometimes it’s fun to take a gander at the weddings page at the Huffington Post just to see what’s being said there. The information and advice often ranges from the painfully trite to the downright deranged, but there’s also an occasional nugget of bridal goodness to be mined.

For instance, that photo at the top of this entry? That’s Len Kendall. When he decided to pop the big question, he went to Buzzfeed and posted this meme of himself asking Katie the Big Question… and invited his friends to create images in a similar vein to support him. The images include everything from Tim Tebow to Angelina Jolie’s right leg to… stuff I don’t recognize, but still find amusing. About the only one I didn’t see was Princess Beatrice’s hat from last spring’s royal wedding. Then again, I’m guessing the images at Huff Po don’t include every single effort.

BTW, the lady said yes.
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Is It Worth It?


Weddings are expensive, amiright? You know I am!

Flowers, dresses, food, rings, invitations, linens, transportation… it all adds up quickly. It’s not surprising that some people do begin to ask whether it’s all worth it.

In fact, a recent article on The Huffington Post Canada asked just that question. Is a wedding worth the expense?
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