Nicole, 29, and her fiancé, 31, are high school sweethearts who are finally making things official with a big New York-style wedding! They currently live in a one-bedroom apartment in New York City but spend most weekends on Long Island in their hometown, especially while planning their wedding. They split most living expenses evenly. Nicole is currently a freelance marketing and social media consultant and is looking for her next full-time job while wedding planning. Luckily, she is covered under her fiancé’s health insurance while freelancing.
While wedding planning, Nicole and her fiancé have tried to cut back on unnecessary expenses which has been a challenge, but they each know it will be worth it in the end. After the wedding, they plan to focus on saving as much as possible to buy a house later in 2019 in the ‘burbs.
Here, Nicole chronicles her spending in the week leading up to her wedding day.
Income: ~ $80,000
Electric: ~ $50, depending on the season
Cable and internet: $160
Gym membership: $45
Student loans: $115
12 pm, $150 — Mom’s gift
I’m going to pack in as many wedding tasks as possible today while I am on Long Island and have access to my mom’s car. There’s so much left to do! First up is picking up my mom’s gift. I hired a local portrait artist to draw us walking down the aisle, and it’s crazy cool. I sent the artist pictures of us and our dresses a few weeks ago, and she has perfectly imagined us walking down the aisle. My mom will love this!
1 pm, $8.64 — Lunch
There’s a deli nearby the artist’s place that I love–they make my I favorite potato salad. I get a half pound of potato salad and a small soup and start eating in the parking lot before I drive away. All this running around is distracting; I didn’t realize how hungry I was!
Day total: $158.64
2 pm, $5 — Tip for bartender
We spend most of the day finishing up guest welcome bags and other wedding day decor so that we can bring as much to the venue as possible. Each time we bring a payment or drop things off at the venue, they invite us up to the bar for a complimentary drink. How can we say no?! I have a glass of wine and my fiancé has a beer. We chat with the bartenders a bit and realize that they will also be working the night of our wedding. This wasn’t something I was worried about, but I’m relieved that they are incredibly friendly and seem to be on their A-game. We leave a $5 tip for the bartender and we agree that it was great to wind down if even for just a few minutes.
7 pm, $11.19 — Photo printing
I used an app to order a bunch of different sized prints from our engagement shoot, and they are ready for pick up. We’ll have these displayed in frames throughout the venue when guests arrive for the ceremony. I always appreciate seeing personal touches from the couple at weddings, so I’ve tried to do the same with ours, I love our photographer and the way our engagement photos turned out, and I’m looking forward to having these on display.
Day total: $16.19
9 am, $7.48 – Breakfast
Breakfast is a fruit smoothie from Tropical Smoothie Café. My favorite is the ‘Pomegranate Plunge’ and I add a scoop of yogurt to make it more filling. I’ve been trying hard to make healthier choices in the weeks leading up to the wedding and I like to think this is a better than a croissant or bagel.
10 am, $48.88 — Wedding programs
One of my closest friends has graciously offered to design wedding stationery and signage as part of our gift. She really gets my aesthetic so this was a huge relief for me. However, I waited too long to give her the content for our programs, knowing that she was just a text message away — eek! She put the finishing touches on the programs yesterday and I brought the file to a local printer this morning. I’m so thankful to have this local print shop in our hometown, as they are friendly and knowledgeable and will have all 180 programs ready by 3 pm! Plus, I always prefer to spend money at a locally owned business.
11:30 am, $32.36 — Wedding day decor
I head over to HomeGoods in hopes that they’ve refreshed their selection of gold frames since my last visit. I already have several frames to display photos of us ‘throughout the years’ at the entryway to the ceremony, but I’d like for them to be slightly mismatched and want to make sure I’ve exhausted all my options. The store is packed, but I take a deep breath and remind myself, you only get married once. Braving the crowds yields a few more unique frames that I love, so it was worth the trip in the end.
4 pm, $35 — Wedding decor
I hired a local vendor to print vinyl lettering on a mirror to be displayed at the entrance of our ceremony. It is a simple mirror with a gold border, and says “Welcome To Our Wedding” with our names and wedding date. I’m hoping guests will take photos and use it as a ‘selfie mirror’ of sorts. It came out beautiful!
Day total: $123.72
12 pm, $40 — Last dress fitting
Today is my last dress fitting, and I can finally take it home! My mom and grandma accompany me to make sure everything is perfect. We’re cutting it a bit close — this appointment was set for Thursday of last week but there was a freak snowstorm that prevented us from driving the thirty minutes to the salon. I really, really love my wedding gown and can’t help but smile every time I put it on. The seamstress at the salon listened to what I wanted in terms of fit and did a great job. I leave $40 for her as a tip.
1:30 pm, $114.06 — Perfume
There’s a department store across the street from the bridal salon. I run in to buy a new bottle of perfume that I’ll use as a ‘prop’ for day-of wedding pictures. I blame my professional background in editorial… there aren’t many people that would have ‘photo shoot props’ on their to-do list for wedding shopping, but here we are. We’ll also use extra flowers from the florist and some ribbon and fancy paper left over from our invitations as props. I recognize that perfume is a really unnecessary pre-wedding expense, but I wear it pretty regularly and will use it eventually.
4 pm, $23.98 — More wedding decor
We’re having a cupcake tower instead of a traditional wedding cake, and a cake topper has fallen off my radar completely. I also realize I don’t have a small frame to use as a bouquet charm to hold a small photo of my dad. He passed away when I was young and I want to have him as close as possible when my mom walks me down the aisle. Both items are available on Amazon Prime and will be here Friday morning.
5:30 pm, $0 — Dinner
It’s burger night at a restaurant in our hometown. My grandparents go every Tuesday and ask us to join since we aren’t usually around on weeknights. We can’t say yes fast enough! I love spending time with my grandparents and I know I’m lucky to have them around. They can’t stop talking about how excited they are for the wedding!
Day total: $178.04
10 am, $9.75 — Train into NYC
I’m heading back into the city for tonight to get some last minute things from our apartment and to run a few errands. The ride is just about an hour, and gives me some time to read a book and decompress without anyone asking me wedding questions. It is so peaceful, I almost wish the ride was longer.
11:30 am, $8.81 — Wedding day groom card
I’m the biggest sucker for fancy stationery! I really shouldn’t be spending almost $10 on a card for my fiancé for the day of the wedding. However, I know it will end up being somewhat of a ‘prop’ in some getting ready pictures, so that’s how I justify the purchase.
1 pm, $4.50 — Ribbon
I am covering hair and makeup for my bridesmaids on the day of the wedding. At the rehearsal dinner I’ll be giving them each a monogrammed oxford shirt and a small gift set of hand lotions and perfumes. I’m trying to give myself less work this week, so instead of getting boxes and wrapping paper, I bought decorative ribbon to tie around the gifts. Easy and cheap!
5:30 pm, $13.37 — Dinner
My fiancé is working overtime tonight so I order out for dinner. I get a grilled chicken wrap with a side of french fries because, balance. I spend the rest of the night packing up last minute things I might need for the wedding that I’ll bring back to Long Island tomorrow.
Day total: $36.43
8 am, $75 — Monthly IRA contribution
I make peanut butter toast for breakfast while I catch up on emails and enjoy some silence. Then, I log on to my bank account to check balances and my credit card statement. I completely forgot that my monthly IRA contribution gets taken out of my checking account this week so the balance is lower than I was expecting. My contribution is minimal right now, but I plan to make it higher once the wedding is over.
1 pm, $10 — Eyebrow and lip wax
I head out for some beautification before I travel back to Long Island. Pretty essential before the big day! The salon is owned by a family friend that I’ve known forever. I often help out by working at the front desk if she is short-staffed in the evenings, and since I’m a semi-employee, the ladies are so generous and don’t charge me. I sneak a tip in the jar of the aesthetician who worked on my brows. Everyone is so excited that I will be a ‘married lady’ the next time they see me. I love coming to the salon whether its for a quick visit or covering a shift. Everyone here has such positive energy.
4 pm, free — Train back to Long Island
I head to the train station to meet up with my fiancé and we catch a train back to Long Island together. My fiancé rides the train for free as part of his job, and that courtesy is extended to me when I am with him, so there’s no charge for this ride.
Day total: $85.00
9:30 am, $62 — Manicure and pedicure (including tip)
It’s just about go-time and I’m really starting to get excited! My mom, my sister, my best friend, and I have appointments for manicures and pedicures.
11:30 am, $16.89 — Breakfast
I make a quick stop at a bagel store to get late breakfast. I treat my sister and best friend to egg sandwiches and coffee. They have been angels during this process — and they aren’t done yet!
1 pm, $40 — Hair Salon (including tip)
I decide to treat myself to a blowout the day before the wedding because, why not? It always looks better when the hairdresser does it, and she’ll have hair that she styled for the wedding look tomorrow. I’ve been seeing my hairdresser for about 12 years now, and we’ve become good friends. I always enjoy spending time with her and catching up. It’s relaxing to chat for a bit and vent about silly wedding planning stresses.
3 pm, $2,200 — Florist
We’re using a local florist for all of our wedding flowers, centerpieces, and ceremony arch. They have been so easy to work with and gave us an incredibly reasonable price. We left a deposit over the summer, and are paying the balance today in cash. While we are there, the florist shows us a sample of what our arch will look like tomorrow, and I love it. I’m so happy we chose to use this shop.
6 pm, $160 — Groom’s cupcakes (including tip)
I had been tossing around the idea of a surprise groom’s cake for my fiancé at our rehearsal dinner but didn’t pull the trigger for a while. Two weeks before the wedding, a former colleague announced on her Instagram page that she is making her side-hustle official and taking orders for specialty baked goods. I couldn’t have been happier to have an excuse to reconnect with her and support her new venture. My fiancé is a huge sports nut, so I ordered 145 New York sports team-themed cupcakes. She drops off and assembles the cupcakes at the rehearsal dinner venue. I pay her in cash, with a bit extra included since she didn’t charge me to deliver! The cupcakes were a big hit and my fiancé really appreciated the personal touch. I’m so glad I sprung for this last minute add-on.
Day total: $2,478.89
Total weekly spend: 3,076.91