It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby

Now tell me:

What y’all wanna do? Wanna be ballers? Shot-callers? Brawlers?
Who be dippin’ in the Benz with the spoilers?

(Look, I know that ‘Benjamins’ Is a Puff Daddy song, but I couldn’t find any good 90s-nostalgia-trip pics of Puffy. But mostly, I just really love this pic if Fiddy, and I’d be loath to do a post about money and *not* use this spectacular image. Please take a moment to really observe the look on this man’s face. He’s got a fistfulof dollars and is trying to look hard, but he’s just not pulling it off. I haven’t seen a more benign visage since Alan Thicke as the patriarch of the Seaver clan on Growing Pains. Really, it looks like Fiddy is giving his son a scolding. “Now boy, I may have a panty on my head, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to listen to what I say.” )

The average American wedding costs $25,000. Think about that for a second. My entire college career cost, like, 10 thousand less than that. Over the course of five years (shut up, OK?), whereas the average couple blows all that cash on ONE DAY. It’s kind of a mindfuck, isn’t it?

And then think, pop culture offers up shows like Rich Bride, Poor Bride, Platinum Weddings, and My Big, Fat Fabulous Wedding as a kind of consumer porn spending-orgy. Uh, needless to say, I’ve seen pretty much every episode of these shows. Yeeeeeah. I like to think these shows keep me grounded and stop me from spending insane sums on bullshit like hologram-monograms and cinematic lighting concepts. But the fact remains, until today, I had no idea how much I was actually spending on this wedding…


 My original budget is $10,000. Which, in the grand scheme of wedding shit, is not much at all. If I’m gonna host a party for 300 of my closest boozehound freeloaders, I’m gonna have to watch every single cent as they slide out from between my fingertips into oblivion. Keeping on track is so hard, in fact, that I’ve been burying my head in the sand about tallying the shit up until this morning.

The stuff in green is stuff we’ve already paid for, and the stuff in blue is the known costs of things we need, but haven’t booked yet.
Invitations: $413
Decor (so far): $60
Photographer: $1,300 (deposit paid)
Rings: $400
Venue: $3,700. (deposit paid)
Flowers: $400
PA Rental: $230
Marriage Lisence: $50
Tux Rental: $125
OK, so tallying up the above known costs, we’re at: $6678. – That’s not that bad!
Here are the things we’ll need to pay for, but the costs are as-of-yet unknown, my guesses are in red:
Cake:  $300
Food: $3,000
Officiant Fee: $50
Mailing of Invitations: $150
Favors, Tables, Chairs, Linens, More Decor, and other misc.: $800

Which brings us to a grand total of: $10,978. – Only $978 over our original budget.

Now, to be fair, I’m not including the cost of my dress & bridal accessories, b/c I consider that an all me expense, whereas the rest of the wedding costs will be split equally between me & Mr. Panda. But that’s for another post entirely. So yeah, I went from white-knuckle apprehension to feeling really good about my powers of budgeteering. I’ll keep you guys posted on how it actually pans out come wedding day. But, for now, I gloat!



8 responses to “It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby

  1. Wait – why is the tux rental included in the total if your dress isn’t? Shouldn’t Mr. P have to handle that one himself?

    Congrats on sticking pretty close to your budget, though, and best of luck with everything!

  2. Mr. Panda should totally have to pay his tux rental fee himself!

  3. That’s not bad at all, SuperPanda! I agree with Cate re: tux; at the very least, you should be able to match his $125 or split all wedding-related get-ups equally!

  4. myrtlebeachbum

    Panda, That is AMAZING. I blew my (dad’s) budget through the roof almost 10 YEARS ago. You are doing really well.

    -Boozehound Freeloader #299

  5. Hi there,

    I’m writing an article for Asianweek on unique weddings. I’m wondering if I could quote some of your thoughts on your Chinoiserie, culture-clash wedding. I think that your experience of trying to combine wedding traditions (and forgoing some altogether) is actually typical of many Asian-American weddings.

    I am also getting married later this year (see my website for my Bridezilla mug). I’m going to combine a Korean paebek with a German polterabend, where dishes will be hurled against a wall.

    Anyway, please let me know if you’d like to contribute other thoughts to my story. Your blog, of course, would be linked from What city do you live in? Also, what is your name? (If you just want to remain anonymous as a blogger, that’s fine, but it would be good to identify the city.)

    Soyon Im

  6. Oh gosh, guys. You caught me.

    I meant to leave the tux rental part off, cuz that’s all him, but I totes copied the budget info from an email I sent to Mr. Panda. My bi-monthly State-of-the-Union email keeping him abreast of all the crazy wedding stuff I’m too exhausted to talk about when he gets home. So, I tend to email him all the stuff he needs to know, so he’ll have it concrete somewhere.. Y’all caught me being lazy. Oops! But yeah, that tux is allll him, baby! (he’s gonna look so gooood!)

  7. AGreenEyeDevil

    Bi-monthly state-of-the-union email…LMAO in a good way!! I’m content to observe the wedding industrial complex from afar at this point in life. Good luck and keep us posted/entertained!!

  8. Ahhhh, the wedding budget – good times!

    First off, I am so, so happy to see that you even have a budget and are actually making an attempt to stick to it. Just like all those evil and ridiculous reality shows you mentioned, the idiotic concept of blowing 40, 50, 100 grand on one fucking day is something I will never be able to understand. Even worse, financing that mess – what a fantastic way to start your new life as Mrs. and Mr., with an assload of debt that starts accruing interest before you even get the dress off!

    My budget was 10k as well, which I did end up going over by a few thou but seeing as how it was a destination wedding and everything was paid for up front, I considered it a success anyway. One area I could have budgeted more $$? Food and drank, specifically the drank – I had multiple receptions and wanted to do open bars at all of them which is what ended up costing me. I suppose I didn’t have to serve Top Shelf liquor and could have chosen Premium or even *ulp* Well, but I’m fancy like that, yo. I just wanted mah peeps to have the least soureyed hangovers the next day! Maybe I should have just put Alka Seltzers in the take-homes?

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