Most would agree that it takes a while to plan the wedding of your dreams. From the moment you propose or say “yes”, your mind starts running with different ideas and things you want to be included in your big day.
From securing a venue to hiring a caterer, and from booking a musician or DJ to ordering dresses and suits, there are a lot of boxes to check off when it comes to wedding planning. Sometimes, it can feel like a full-time job.
If you’re at University, you might think it’s impossible to plan a wedding while tending to your other responsibilities.
It might be a bit stressful at times, but it certainly isn’t impossible. Whether you want to get married before you graduate or soon after, you can find time to plan your wedding and stay on top of your studies all at once.
Feeling overwhelmed? Take a deep breath, and let’s cover a few planning tips that will help you through.
Graduate students aren’t readily known for having large sums of money saved up. The average cost of University tuition in Australia is AU$20,000-$37,000. Plus, most students have to either pay for room and board on campus or find their own housing. When you’re in school full-time, or even part-time, it’s hard to find a steady job that brings in enough to pay for many wedding expenses.
So, creating a budget for yourself is one of the first things you should do in your wedding planning process. Start by building a budget based on your current lifestyle. Your essential fixed and non-fixed expenses should include things like:
Once you have your essential expenses figured out, take a look at the non-essentials. That might include money for restaurants and bars, subscription services, movies, concerts, or other entertainment avenues.
The best thing to do is consider where you can start making cuts. For example, instead of dining out or ordering food three nights a week, try to cut back to one. You can use the money you save toward your wedding budget. Cut out any subscription services you aren’t actively using, and you’ll be able to bank even more money.
In addition to building a better budget, you can also use some of the money you’re saving to invest. Alternative investments like real estate or collectibles are easy to get into, and with a little bit of research and intuition, you could end up making a hefty profit to pay off your loans, your wedding, or both!
Even if you have a solid budget in place, you might not be able to justify spending thousands of dollars on certain aspects of your wedding. Thankfully, there are ways to pull off your big day that won’t break the bank.
Start by being smart about your venue choice. Nowadays, many couples are opting for more natural weddings. Places like barns, wooded areas, and gardens are popular locations. If you have a family member or friend with a big backyard or farm, you might be able to use it as a venue for free.
Once you have your venue in place, think about the details that are really important to you. For example, you and your partner might be big foodies, so splurging on catering would be a priority. But, if you’re not as crazy about flowers, you might be able to pick your own or use native flowers instead of expensive arrangements.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember it’s your wedding, not anyone else’s. Think about what you want most, and don’t worry about what other people might say or think about what you’ve prioritized.
Focusing on your own needs and wants will help to reduce your stress levels – an important practice for graduate students! You’ll also be able to stay more focused and strike a better balance between wedding planning and your studies.
In addition to managing your money, the other challenge you might face is managing your time. But, the practice remains the same. Consider setting a “time budget” to allow yourself the hours you need to study and the hours you need to plan your special day. Some helpful strategies that can make it easier to stay on top of things include:
Striking a balance between your personal life and school might be a struggle at first. But, you don’t have to compromise either of those areas.
As a grad student, you have the benefit of knowing how to organize and stay on a schedule. Use that to your advantage to find a healthy balance, keep your wedding planning moving forward, and stay ahead in your studies. Imagine how accomplished and relieved you’ll feel when you graduate and get married, knowing all of that work paid off in every way possible.