Today’s heartfelt guest post, brought to us by author and freelance writer Troy Lambert, offers some important food for thought when it comes to preparing for the unexpected. Enjoy:
“Wake up Troy. There’ something wrong.”
They were the words that started one of the toughest days of my life. My fiancée has a rare disease. So rare there isn’t even a name for it. It’s a chronic disease, but although one in two women will develop heart disease, one in three will develop cancer, and over 8% of the population has diabetes, only six other people in the world have ever been diagnosed with Abigail’s condition.
While usually there are warning signs, things that let us know an episode is coming, this time things happened really fast. The ambulance came, and three days later, we left the hospital. She felt better, but a specialist in Seattle wanted to see her as soon as possible. In the middle of wedding planning, when things were really coming together, we had each lost three days of work, and the upcoming trip meant we would each lose at least a few more, not to mention the cost of the trip.
Read the full post after the cut!
It’s rough. But unexpected things happen, you can almost count on it. I’ve always tried to think of wedding planning like starting a business, one with huge startup costs which you never expect to turn a profit, and that won’t last. It’s not an investment but an expense, yet you have to apply the same principles you would as an entrepreneur: think things through, collaborate, and manage your money well.
A matter of weeks out, we’d done that. What was a vague plan and outline of the day was starting to solidify. Linens were ordered, food and entertainment planned, guest list finalized, photographer and videographer selected. Our budget was tight, but on track. As long as nothing went wrong.
But it did. We aren’t the first couple it has happened to. So what’s the best way to react when the plan goes off the rails? Here are some suggestions that worked for us, and some we should have had in place.
Have a cushion in your budget.
This is a good idea no matter what kind of budget you are talking about. Sometimes, wedding budgets are tight, and this is a difficult rule to follow. In theory, you should have an extra 10-20% of your budget in your disaster fund.
Disasters in wedding planning come in many forms: vendors get sick, or accidentally double book, and cancel at the last minute. Venues change wedding planners, caterers change what menu items they offer, and prices of things you plan to pay for at the last minute fluctuate. Having a healthy cushion in your budget means you are prepared for and can handle these changes, or even a last minute health or family issue.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Crowdfund the difference.
There are debates about whether you should crowdfund your wedding, but with more and more couples getting married later in life, or for the second time, whose parents are not contributing or are unable to cover all the costs, funding campaigns are a viable option.
Being blunt, explaining the situation, and letting those who contribute know where the money they give will go enables them to help you with confidence, especially in extenuating circumstances. Remember, people are not mind readers and can’t know your needs unless you tell them, or help you unless you provide them with a means to do so.
Let’s say the cushion is gone, and you can only raise so much from crowdfunding. You may have to cut things out of your day. How do you choose what to keep, and what goes?
- It’s your wedding. Keep the things that are for you: photography, videography, and other tangible keepsakes you will look at again and again. Things that will help you remember your day are the most important.
- Cut costs or eliminate the extras. Do you need linen napkins? Do you need to serve a meal, or are appetizers or dessert enough? Do things like a no-host bar, inexpensive bar snacks, and less elaborate food. You and your guests will remember the experience rather than what they ate.
- Borrow or rent what you might otherwise buy. Decorations, linens, clothing, centerpieces and other decorations can be borrowed (ideal) or rented for a fraction of the cost of buying them. Look for sales, specials, and coupons for things you need, and ask friends, family, and the venue for help. Remember, people cannot know what you need unless you tell them, and the worst someone can say is no when you ask to borrow something.
When we got out of the hospital, we went to work. Abby had to figure out how to bounce back after falling behind in her courses, and then get ahead for the upcoming trip.
We had to re-examine our reception, and see where we might be able to save even more money. We set up a crowdfund through my blog and hers to raise money to pay for the trip, and people gave, allowing us to preserve much of our wedding fund. We trimmed the food budget, and looked into borrowing some decorations.
So don’t worry. Even if a crisis strikes in the middle of your wedding planning, you can get through it with a little cushion in your budget, perhaps even crowdfunding, and prioritizing what’s truly important on your big day.
Great advice Troy; thank you for sharing your insight and your story! To learn more about Troy Lambert and his writing projects, please visit his website.
Other posts by Troy:
- Guest Post: On Choosing a Wedding Photographer
- Making the Cut: Shortening the Guest List Without Offending Anyone
- Mistaken for my Fiance’s Dad and other Venue Shopping Woes
Do you have any questions or comments for Troy? Add them to the comments below!