Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Budget Breakdown - Attire

Decisions, decisions. You people totally want me to show you the money. And I will - on some things, but not everything. That's what I've decided. If you're really looking for budget breakdowns and help in doing it, convo me privately and I'll give you the lowdown. I created a very detailed spreadsheet with links and formulas and equations - oh my!

So let's get started, shall we? Let's talk about the dress, OK? It's really the best part of any wedding planning process, right? Y'all know that finding my dress was definitely a pain in the ass. I talk about it here. And here. And here. And even here. The original budget for my dress was $800. Uh huh. That's right.

Early on in the game, my Mom gave me a little monetary sumpin'-sumpin' to supplement the dress fund (thank you, Mom!). I basically just took that money and added it on top of my budget because I quickly realized that $800 wasn't going to cut it. Keeping that in mind, I only went $142.50 over budget on the dress. See how I rationalized that? Instead of being $642.50 over budget, my creative math skills keep it all good. Right? Right?

Here's my final break down of all things fashion related.

The budget column is where I really wanted to be. I was a little over on few things but way under on others. Since I made my own veil, all I had to purchase was the tulle (which is super cheap) and the comb. I already had the lace and thread and all that. I went a little over on the lingerie only because I counted in the multiple pairs of panties I bought at VS during tax-free weekend that I wrote about here. If I take out the cost of all the stuff I bought and just what I wore on the day of The Big Show, then that price would go down. However, I left it all in 'cuz it was money spent.

I don't believe in wearing stockings unless they are cotton tights in the dead of winter, so I knew I wouldn't need any budget there. We didn't do a garter or bouquet toss so I didn't need any cash allotted there either.

The thing that killed my budget was the gown preservation thing. I took it to the best place in town for gown preservation, Oakwood Cleaners. Their reputation is really good and I was just so nervous to take it anywhere else. I didn't call ahead of time. I didn't ask for the price. I just took my dress and veil there. I dropped it off. I walked out and then was like, "Hey, I wonder how much that's gonna cost." I walked back in and asked. The very nice lady went into the system and pulled up some pricing and then her computer locked up. Seriously, I saw it happen. I was running errands, getting ready for the honeymoon and didn't want to wait, so I just asked around how much it would be. She said around two-something for just the dress. I'm thinking it was going to be around $250 total and I was OK with that and went bouncing out of the store. They called me to tell me the dress was ready and informed me that the total was $359 and I almost had a coronary. STARTING prices on any wedding dress is $279. "Two-something" was actually closer to three. I have no one to blame but myself for not inquiring into specifics. I was still floating about 3 feet above the ground, so didn't quite have my senses about me.

WEDDING TIP #1 - Don't even think about thinking about things that are of any importance whatsoever until a week or so after the wedding. You're head is still up your ass.

There are lots of wedding budget calculators out there. I've seen some that say "attire" should be 5% of your budget. I've seen others that say 12% and others that say 18%. The difference between 5% and 12% and 18% is HUGE. Let's say you're planning a $20K wedding. You're dress can be $1000 or $1666 or $3600 based on those "average" percentages. That's the difference between trotting on down to your local David's Bridal versus Monique freakin' Lhuillier. Big dif. Huge.

What you've got to do is look at your budget break down areas and decide what is most important to you (oh yeah, and the groom). Is it the dress? Or is the food? Must you have Lily of the Valley dripping from every pew, chair, centerpiece and bouquet for your December wedding? Then you need to be putting all your cash into flowers child, because that's going to be one costly decision.

In the end, I was happy. I felt like I looked like a million bucks. You guys saw my dad's face when he saw me, clearly I shocked the hell out of him. The Candyman said he's never seen me look so beautiful. I loved my dress. It was totally comfortable (although I did have some boob issues, more on that later) and I seriously felt stunning. It was worth every damn penny. All 213,201 of them!

What area are you dumping all your cash into?


  1. Thanks for this installment, Louise! I would have had no idea you made your veil if you hadn't said so, it was beautiful!

    We are dumping the majority of our funds into catering and photography.

  2. You DID look stunning and no I don't always say that to brides. The wedding budget is made to be flexible and you did a great job on the attire section!

  3. I agree you looked stunning too. Good to see your spends too.

    Although we aren't entirely sure how much the total will be yet, we have spent quite a lot on the reception venue including food & drink (42%) and my dress (13% eeek)! Our total doensnt include my e-ring or the honeymoon either!

  4. If it makes you feel any better, gown preservation in DC was $579. Considering I had bought a Vera Wang wedding dress (lower priced one, not the $5K or higher ones) it seemed like something I needed to do in case I had a daughter who might want to wear it. (And thankfully at 5 years old now, she thinks I look like a princess in it ... maybe she will wear it?) But ouch nonetheless!

    p.s. You looked fantastic!

  5. Thanks for sharing your budget. I love your veil so good on ya for totally staying within your budget on that one!! That dress was stunning on you.