What I Learned Planning and Saving for a Wedding During Uncertain Times
This is a sponsored post from BECU member and guest blogger Maddy Duggan of madcrayy.com
Planning and budgeting for a wedding during a pandemic was certainly not a challenge my husband and I foresaw when we got engaged in October 2018. We considered what we thought to be every possibility when it came to potential wedding catastrophes. We would have been startled and overwhelmed - especially when it comes to saving and spending for wedding costs - had we known that we would have to change our plans two months before our big day due to COVID-19. When we realized everything would have to change so quickly and suddenly, we knew we had to make a decision on what to do, and fast.
The Big Change
After reviewing our options, we decided to move forward with a socially-distanced elopement ceremony with just our immediate family and the bridal party, as long as state rules would allow. Getting married was on the top of our priority list for this year, and we were fortunate enough to have been prepared financially to cover unforeseen costs and restructure our plans to fit our budget. We ended up having to find all new vendors, issue new deposits and purchase some of our own decor items to save on other vendor expenses.
For couples who may be in similar situations, it can be stressful to know exactly where to start when planning during financial uncertainty. From cancelling venues to connecting with family and friends to let them know the news, it's natural to feel overwhelmed and start to assess the possible burdens of financial strain. While everyone's financial journeys and ceremony plans look different, it's important to remember that you're not alone and resources like ones provided by BECU can help you properly navigate possible challenges along the way.
Managing Lost Deposits
Shifting wedding plans can bring about a variety of unforeseen costs that were likely not built into your original budget. As businesses felt the impact of our current economic downturn, many vendors were unable to return our deposits. Other financial barriers we ran into were our flights. We had originally intended to fly to Ireland (where my husband is from) to have a destination wedding and to honeymoon in Portugal shortly after. Although we've struggled to get flight refunds, fortunately we saved enough to cover our budget should the refund not come through.
My husband and I had been adding to our savings account labeled “wedding“ for quite some time, and we thankfully also had extra funds set aside to help us manage unforseen costs associated with shifting our plans. We ended up with a lot of sunk costs from lost deposits and had to use part of our emergency savings to cover the cost of new vendors for our elopement ceremony.
Assessing Financial Impact
We wanted an elopement that was just as magical as we had originally imagined our wedding would be, but also wanted to ensure we were set up for financial success even after the big day. Our solution: consult with financial experts.
I've been a member of BECU since high school, and every time I've consulted with a BECU financial expert, I've gained more knowledge that I could apply immediately. My husband and I started our wedding journey with BECU shortly after we got engaged. We went into our nearest Neighborhood Financial Center and consulted with a Member Consultant on how to start saving for not only our wedding, but for our future! Our Member Consultant recommended we create two joint checking accounts to manage our combined expenses (groceries, rent, etc.) and Savings. This was incredibly helpful when we started saving for our dream wedding!
My husband and I also took self-paced budgeting courses online in the beginning of our wedding planning journey, which helped set us up for financial success. I highly recommend BECU's Better Budgeting course to help make your financial life easier and help you reach your short- and long-term monetary goals! And even better, these courses are virtual, so there is no need for in-person communication.
The Final Steps
When our plans shifted, I was able to contact BECU with a quick message through the BECU Mobile app. They answered my questions through the in-app messenger, and even offered budgeting advice, such as automatically setting aside a portion of our paychecks directly dedicated to our wedding savings. This helped my husband and I shift our plans on time and made us feel secure in our decision to elope.
Since many businesses have been closed throughout the pandemic, my husband and I were unable to obtain a marriage license in person. We had to print our marriage license online, get it notarized and then send it in with a cashiers check. BECU helped us get everything sorted out in a matter of minutes so we could be on our way to the altar! Not only were we able to get a BECU notary on the spot, but our BECU Member Consultant also helped set us up with a cashiers check so we could send in our marriage license application that same day.
Planning for the Future
We ended up eloping at a Leavenworth, Washington campsite with an absolutely gorgeous view of the mountains. Surrounded by only our closest family and friends, my husband and I exchanged vows in a stunning setting. Unfortunately, my husband's immediate family lives in Ireland so they were unable to make the journey. We are excited to celebrate with them once we are able to safely travel again! At that time we will likely go on our honeymoon, which is a trip we are so excited to plan and save for.
We are grateful to have joined BECU and are thankful for their assistance during our financial wedding planning journey. We cannot wait to start planning for our future (hopefully, soon, saving for a house)! I hope these insights were helpful as you work toward your own wedding planning process.
Maddy Duggan is a Seattle creative and blogger behind madcrayy.com. She is passionate about creating beautiful content for her platforms, and her background in photography has built a strong foundation for the images she generates. Maddy operated her own photography business throughout college, and has since turned her creative eye towards documenting what makes life exciting for her - from travel, lifestyle, and balancing blogging amidst her professional career. When she's not blogging, you can find Maddy spending her time adventuring with her husband.