Wedding $$ Woes

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Pam Williams Pam Williams

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Wedding $$ Woes
By: Pam ~ 2/23/2018

The plans for your “forever after” event are now beginning. The people, location, budget, expectations and ceremony aspects are under planning. Because there are many websites and blogs that discuss how to plan for this event to go smoothly, let us take another aisle to walk down. When good things go bad.

I have found through my own experiences and those of others, the pitfalls are never given a serious thought because “what could go wrong”?! This is not a doom approach, but rather a common sense, approach to issues not even on the radar screen until……

In actuality, the planning and budgeting of a wedding gives a good view of how the two parties view their finances and plans. How the discussions go regarding this one event will most likely create a template on the attitudes and behaviors of the couple’s future views and expectations of future events and planning. Later into the marriage, the cake gets stale, the flowers wilt, and the glaze is removed from the eyes of the two. How, why, when and with what emotion, can the two parties plan their event, monies and expectations? The wedding is just a litmus test.

The People
How much dependency will be put on the couple’s family and friends? Does mummy and daddy have an endless wallet that is open to you for this event? They want the very best for their child. However, is it open knowledge that this is a onetime “finance” event? Is there a payback involved? Does this create an unexpected expectation to think the parents should or will be there for the future? Remember you are marrying into a different person’s values, ethics, mores and expectations! You may be loved now, but after the first disagreement…….

This can even be applied to who you will invite. Is there pressure to keep adding to the list, or is there a set number based on a budget? Are guests being asked for gifts of money and that is the source of funding the event? What if they pull out at the last minute? Do you know if you have large food appetites coming, in which you need to price additional food? How about the bar? No alcohol, wine and beer only, or a full bar?

Are you able to stay pleasant but firm to deny the “extra” friends and family that want to come? Along that line, the troublemakers? Your budget needs to stop swinging from end to end, like a pendulum as you get closer to preparing for services. On the up side, that affords you the default answer of “I’m sorry but we have already made our budget”. That only works if one side is not prone to caving in.

The Place
This topic has greatly changed through the years. It is no longer a choice limited to “home” or “church”.

This is also called the venue. The venue can take on a life of its own. Unless it is the simple setting, most venues require that you either tie into or meet the requirements of the particular venue. It is important to qualify the venue’s requirements because it could influence any personalized efforts you are trying to make. Again, this allows you to take your time and shop for the best, most convenient, or best-timed venue.

Public facilities definitely have restrictions and liabilities. Reception halls, destination weddings as well as private settings all have their own quirks to safety and liability. Need to check this out. It is not their first rodeo! Ever think you would need an insurance policy rider for your wedding? Well…

So destination weddings. Here is a popular trend. The “judge shows” are full with this topic on their show. Are guests to pick up a portion of this cost? Airfare, lodging, amenities, liquor license? What is the refund policy to them or you for “no shows”? Do you get dinged for this? Is it to all go through one credit card? How and when can you get refunds? Full or partial, for what reason or method? There is such a big trend in DIY (do it yourself) weddings. I think that is a great trend. It allows the two parties to express themselves and their wishes.  In doing so, in any event, its participants, providers and activities still need to be looked at as a business event when it comes to money.

Let us talk Money
So, how do you fund a DIY responsibly or realistically?

Who pays for what? In what proportion? Since the two parties are not yet usually not a legal union, who puts their name on what portion? Who has the better credit rating or access to funds? In what proportion should there be an agreement?

Refunds – How to obtain? Under what circumstances and conditions? This will involve a good review of your contract (or expectations with another party).


  • If the weather changes, adversely
  • If the guest list changes from the inception of the contract
  • If the vendor goes out of business
  • If the wedding has an urgent need to be postponed
  • Can the rings be returned
  • Under what conditions can the dresses or tuxedos be returned
  • Does the budget include tax and gratuities
  • If elopement turns out to be the best option after plans are set

To turn a deaf ear to the “what ifs” can cause compounded problems. However, all of this begins a reality based discussions and forecasting for the two, to see how they view things. The wedding is only the beginning. A marriage needs a good, healthy and realistic basis for the two to come to some basis in which they start the communication process.

That’s the Good Stuff!!