Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Q & A: The Budget Explained

Reader Question: I don't mean to throw a wrench in it but I didn't notice the cost of the rings in the budget breakdown. Did they turn out to be completely free because of the gold donations? Or did you forget them?

Matt and I decided at the very beginning of this process that our rings would not be included in our $2,000 budget. We felt like rings--unlike nearly everything else associated with a wedding--were something we would have for a lifetime (sure, you could have that $2,000 dress for a lifetime, but do you really want to store it for that long?).

However, to be true to our ideals and philosophy (i.e., save money for a house, do good for the environment, don't get wrapped up in the Wedding Industrial Complex or our consumeristic/materialistic society), we only spent $157 on our rings combined because greenKarat recycled and reused the donations of old gold from our friends and family. (Editor's Note: This is the price for two wedding bands. We decided against engagement rings, since we really only want to wear one ring for the rest of our lives.)

The budget also does not include our honeymoon. That's a relief because the Penske rental truck and the hotel in Oklahoma City (between Denver and Houston) were quite expensive! In all seriousness, we had to spend our savings on a house before a vacation. We're in the process of saving up for a honeymoon in the spring!

The +$60 for lodging could seem sketchy, so let me explain. Originally, our guests had two options for where to stay: 1) at Sunshine Mountain Lodge, the rustic B&B where the reception was held 2) at Meeker Park Lodge, another rustic B&B where the ceremony was held. Forty of our friends picked Sunshine Mountain Lodge, my family picked Meeker Park Lodge, and Matt's family wanted something a little more upscale, so they found their own resort called Marys Lake Lodge.

At the time, the price was $750 per night to rent out the entire Sunshine Mountain Lodge. We then set our own price for lodging. We decided on $35 per person/per night in the cabins and $25 per person/per night in the main lodge (which was more like a dorm). We felt like these were really reasonable prices (especially compared to what people usually pay for lodging at a wedding!).

We knew we would have money left over, but we weren't sure how much. We were uncertain about how many people would elect to stay at Sunshine Mountain Lodge. We were going to use the extra money to pay Cathy and Cory, the innkeepers, for their help during the reception. We hired them for six hours (at $50/hour) to set up the area, heat up the food, set it out, refill it, and clean it up. We wanted to be able to fully enjoy our reception and not worry about a thing. We also used the extra money to pay for our own lodging for the three nights we stayed at Sunshine (the other two nights we stayed with Matt's family). Finally, we used the money to cover the cost of lodging for two people who took on extraordinarily big jobs for the wedding (i.e., letting us borrow the sound system from his band and setting it up for us and picking up the kegs in Boulder and setting them up at the reception site).

When that was all said and done, we still had $60 left, which went back into the budget.

We also included thank-you cards and stamps in our wedding budget. We had lots of food & drink left (entire containers of vodka from the margaritas, unopened brownie mix boxes from the Welcome Picnic, unopened graham cracker boxes from the s'mores, etc.). One of our friends volunteered to take a lot of the unopened food boxes to a homeless shelter for us. But all of it is still included in our expenditures, since we bought this stuff specifically for the wedding.

The budget should include everything else that's typically associated with a wedding. If not, let me know! I tried to double, triple, quadruple check the thing, but there could still be a mistake.

E-mail your questions to: saracotner@yahoo.com

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