When buying a car, we think about what purpose it will fill for us. Does it have good mileage? Does it fit 3 carseats and my dog? Do I vacation a lot and need a roomy trunk? Do I want something that looks really sleek? How about the details? Do I want an awesome navigation system or maybe T.V.'s in the back? It all depends on my purpose. How about if I'm buying a home? What matters most? Maybe it's a big back yard, or good school district. Maybe the kitchen is great for hosting, or it has a lot of storage. Is it move in ready, or does it need a lot of DIY projects? Again, this all comes back to my purpose and what I value most. This is where I inevitably will spend my money.
The average wedding ends up being about the same cost as purchasing a new car, or even a downpayment on a house. Most people I know don't go out and buy a car on a whim, or purchase a house without giving it some thought. So why do we start throwing money at vendors without having a purpose and knowing our values for our wedding?
I find that brides-to-be pick a date, reserve a venue and then don't know where to begin. There is often a vision or a dream of the esthetic (rustic chic? princess fairytale?), but that's where it ends. We can see what it looks like, but not necessarily what we want it to be about. Money reflects what we value and what we care about. So does our time. Weddings take money and time, so I want to encourage you to think about what you care about and what you value most when it comes to your wedding.
So let's get started-no matter where you are at in your wedding planning. Get a notebook out or fresh piece of paper. Spend some time with your fiancee brainstorming what matters most to you. Is it a uniquely planned ceremony? Is it an awesome dance party? Maybe its having an incredible dinner, or really amazing music. Whatever it is, write down the things that you care about the most when it comes to your marriage.
For my wedding, my husband and I each cared deeply about two different things. I cared about the ceremony being really intentional and special, and he really wanted a fun reception with lots of dancing. We kept that at the forefront of our minds, and that not only helped with the time we spent planning, but also where we spent our money. Less money was spent on decor and flowers and more on an open bar. I spent more time with my officiants and musicians than I did with bridesmaids dresses and flowers.
Once you and your fiancee have narrowed it down, write down one or two purpose statements for your wedding. Keep these posted somewhere, or in your wedding planner or google doc. Refer back to it when making decisions. This way, when you are faced with a budgeting choice you can pick the option that most aligns with your purpose. When you are trying to figure out where to put your time, you can focus on what matters most to you and delegate the things that are secondary.
Treat your wedding planning with the same care you would with any other big purchase that you make in your life. Weddings are an accumulation of so many small investments, it's easy to get lost. Set your purpose, list what is important, then budget and allot your time accordingly. Planning doesn't just meaning creating a pinterest board and gathering card after card at wedding fairs!
When your wedding is all said and done, you can look back and see that you accomplished your wedding goals, and know that it was money well spent. After our wedding, I heard such great feedback from friends about how beautiful the ceremony was and how much fun they had dancing. That is what we cared about, and that is what we accomplished!
A purposeful wedding equals more joy and less stress for you in the engagement season. What are you waiting for? Make a date with your fiancee today and get started!