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$8,000 in 8 Months for a Dream Ceremony in Paris

How one couple budgeted to celebrate their tenth anniversary to the nines!

Veronica and Drew, of Chandler, Arizona, were married in 2007. She’s a customer support manager at YNAB, and he’s an audio engineer. Although they felt that their wedding day was, ultimately, “perfect,” they skimped on a few details to stretch their dollars:

Veronica said, “My family gave us a budget of $5,000 for the wedding which was out-of-state and had about 45 guests … we spent only on the things that mattered to us and cut down, big-time, on the rest. I bought my second-option dress because it was cheaper, we had the ceremony in Drew’s home church, and we had a friend take our pictures.”

Sensible, but it was a bit funny that Veronica and Drew were actually wedding photographers, themselves—for the first nine years of their marriage! They know the importance of capturing precious wedding memories, which made cutting back on their own photos an interesting choice. Veronica said, “ … ours just didn’t amount to what we wanted. There were no pictures from our wedding hung on the walls in our house. It was a pain point.”

So, it was a doubly-good thing that, early in their marriage, they agreed to renew their vows every five years …

Go Big or Stay Home?

In 2017, with their tenth anniversary approaching, Veronica and Drew decided that it was about time that they had some beautiful wedding photos. Veronica said, “We had been using YNAB for about a year, and we made a category for [the ceremony]—we ended up using that category to cover overspending a lot in the beginning.”

Their plans for the money? A vow renewal ceremony in Paris, including two professional photographers, a gorgeous new dress and updated wedding bands! In a word: fancy. These would be the kind of photos that Veronica and Drew would cherish for years to come.

But they were conflicted. Veronica said, “We wondered if maybe there was more we could do with this money.”

So she and Drew talked it out, and Veronica said, “We realized that the trip was important, so we eventually set it as a real priority and [the money] grew!”

Saving for the Date

Over the next eight months, Veronica and Drew saved up. They cut way back on extracurriculars and dining out which, for their family of five, added up fast. Veronica said, “2017 was the year that we really committed to spending our money on things we care about. We canceled expenses that weren’t bringing all five of us joy.”

With that savings, they took a couple of family trips, made a down payment on their first house and they managed to save $8,000 to put towards their vow renewal ceremony.

To get the most for their money, they scheduled the trip to Paris during the off-season and opted for simple food and accommodations. But they splurged where it mattered—paying for two photographers’ fees, flights and food to capture the day and scoring the dress of Veronica’s dreams.

She said, “Two weeks before we left, one of our local wedding dress shops announced that they were having a sample sale. I popped in and, without hesitation, was able to walk out with the dress I had dreamt of, paid in cash.”

The Ultimate Photo Do-Over

The trip to Paris was a whirlwind—five days!—and so, so worth it. Veronica and Drew finally had photos that they could proudly display and reflect on. See for yourself:

Veronica said, “We got all the photos we could dream of … and we’re thrilled with the results. Our budget made it possible … ”

The Key to a Happy Life

Reflecting back to the beginning of their budgeting journey, Veronica said, “Within months of using YNAB, we made more financial progress than in the four years of our marriage, prior. Since our priorities were clear, we found that we had a lifestyle upgrade right away—we no longer spent money on things that didn’t matter to us and, instead, saved them for the things we wanted. We never looked back.”

She went on, “By nature of my job, I’ve talked to countless people who are struggling or overwhelmed. All you can do, at first, is start. Take that 34-day trial, and throw away all of your preconceived ideas about how you should handle your money. Commit to diving into the YNAB Method. It’s different from what you’re used to, but it’s really powerful.“

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$8,000 in 8 Months for a Dream Ceremony in Paris