“Darling you’ve got champagne taste on a beer budget.”

Oy.  The words no bride and groom want to hear during their planning process.  But unfortunately we live in an age of Pinterest boards, Say Yes to the Dress and #weddinginspo.  All of which adds up to one thing, unrealistic expectations when it comes to planning a wedding.

So what do you do when you’ve fallen in love with all these beautiful and amazing ideas but you just can’t spend $15,000 on a floral wall as your ceremony backdrop a la Kimye?  How do you bring yourself back down to reality without feeling like you have to change your entire vision?

25d6dda35f479e7aad73e8923c8456cc
If you haven’t seen this gorgeous piece of artwork, check out this amazing floral wall! (Source: Google Images)

Okay, so first things first.  If you don’t have a budget yet, make one!  It’s very easy to start overspending when you don’t have a budget mapped out, and no one wants to start off their marriage with a load of wedding debt!

Then comes the really tough part.  Get off Pinterest.

f11803282f29754290773bb25af2e81f
(Source: Pinterest…I believe we call that irony folks haha)

Woah woah woah!  DON’T PANIC!  Just for a few days so we can get some clarity.

It’s easy to hop on Pinterest when you get engaged and just go pin crazy.  Everything that’s remotely within your colour palette or reasonably fits with your theme gets pinned.  And even a few things that have nothing to do with your theme, colours or your combined interests as a couple!  It’s easy to pin things that are just so flipping pretty!

But in order to give yourself a realistic vision and a good handle on what you really want and can afford, you have to do some local research.  So step one to finding the sweet spot between your expensive tastes and reasonable budget is to make a list.  Grab a cup of something good (coffee or wine perhaps?) and sit down with your fiance.  Take a minute to list your three most important elements to the day.  Is it photography?  Is it the food?  Is it the dress?  Whatever it is, write it down.

Then together, take those and create a top five.  Maybe it’s photography, venue, food, attire and flowers.  Good job you two.  Now take a minute to think big.  When you picture your wedding day what do you see in those elements?  Do you want a big open barn wedding?  Do you want tall overflowing floral centerpieces?  Whatever it is, write it down.  (Still no Pinterest!)

Now turn to someone who is knowledgeable about vendors in your area.  Maybe your sister just got married or perhaps you’ve thought ahead and contacted a wedding planner.  (Ahem.)  Whoever you turn to, be sure to ask them for recommendations on vendors based on what you’re looking for.  (Asking your colleague about her ballroom wedding venue doesn’t make much sense if you know you want a farm soiree.)

And if all else fails, your friends are no help and you’ve not yet found the perfect planner to help you along yet (again I say…ahem.) then search sites like Wedding Wire, or my local favourite, YegWed to find vendor reviews and directories.

Contact the vendors that appeal to you and let them know what you’re dreaming of.  Many vendors would love to sit down for a no pressure consultation to get a handle on how they can help you create your perfect day.  Let them know your budget and see if your vision lines up with it.  If it doesn’t, ask them if there’s any alternatives they can think of to help you keep the vision, but tweak the details.  For example, are there less expensive flowers that will give the same vibe as the more expensive ones?  Or could there be a similar gown in a less expensive fabric?

01-cherry-blossom-cakes-w724

Example: the cake on the left is $15/slice while the cake on the right is $9/slice.
(Source: Glamour)

Okay, now that you’ve done some research and met with a few local vendors who have given you an idea of what you can afford without sacrificing your vision, it’s time to get back on Pinterest and edit that wedding board.  Fill it with pins that work with your budget, taste and dreams and then delete the ones that just don’t make the cut.  It can be super discouraging to see something on your Pinterest board that you know is just out of reach.  Just keep it out of sight, out of mind!

The one thing I always tell couples when they’re struggling over spending beyond their means for a certain element is this, no one else is going to be comparing these things like you are.  Your guests haven’t spent hours looking at dresses and analyzing each one.  They are only going to see the gorgeous one you walk down the aisle in.  And they won’t know (or care) if it cost $1500 or $7000.  Same goes for flowers, linens, favours and even the venue.

What’s important is making sure that your’s and your fiance’s personalities are evident in each element of the wedding.  That’s what your guests want to see, they’re there to celebrate your love!

So whether you’re working with a beer budget OR you’ve actually got a champagne budget, just remember that at the end of the day when the last toast has been made, the final guest has gone home and you finally kick off your shoes, all that matters is that person sitting next to you.

The rest of it is just cake.  <3