Photo Courtesy of Flickr
Story by Timirra Gaither / Contributing Writer
From tests to papers to having a full-time job, students have a lot on their plates while attending college. Planning a dream wedding at the same time might seem impossible to some, but many students are taking on this challenge every day.
“It’s been a learning process figuring out how to schedule everything into my week,” says Caleb Luketic.
Luketic, 20, a junior at Middle Tennessee State University, and fiancee Murphy Giard, 21, are doing just that. Luketic is a full-time student with a part-time job serving, and his fiancee has a full-time job in the Newk’s corporate office.
A lot of things go into planning a wedding: creating a guest list, securing the venue, making a budget, finding photographers, hiring officiants, choosing caterers, sending invitations, picking colors, choosing a wedding dress … the list goes on and on.
“I have taken in account a lot of things when it comes to planning my wedding,” says Savarion White, junior at MTSU who got engaged to her fiance her freshman year. “But specifically, I have thought about the amount of people I’m going to invite and how much everything would cost. Those have been my biggest struggles so far.”
Making those big decisions can also be time-consuming, especially when in the back of your head you’re thinking about school assignments and job responsibilities.
“Planning a wedding is a time-consuming, multi-tasking job,” says Dawn Schenkel, owner of Premiere W.E.D wedding planning in Nashville, Tennessee. “It takes patience, organization, tenacity and hard work.”
According to a 2013 Huffington Post story, 40 percent of engaged people say that they spend on average 10-15 hours out of the week planning their wedding. Sixty-eight percent said that they planned their own wedding instead of hiring help.
“We have spent a good amount of time planning thus far,” said Luketic, who’s planning a June wedding. “If I had to guess, we have spent close to 30 or 40 hours brainstorming, planning and anything else we have needed to get done.”
On top of having to plan a wedding and attending school, some couples run into financial frustrations.
“Our budget for our wedding is between $10,000-$15,000,” says Luketic. ”It’s been a little hard trying to stay within budget with the amount of guests we want, which is 250, but we have just had to downsize and compromise on some things.”
The national average wedding cost in 2015 was $32,641. Weddings can be one of the most expensive events in a couple’s life. The average wedding cost has increased around $5,500 in the past five years.
“Remembering the average Nashville wedding will be at minimum $37,000 this year is important, says Dawn. “However, it’s more important to know that the $37,000 is maybe a 100-125 person wedding. Guest lists equal budget.”
Eighty-nine percent of couples report using smartphones to help plan their wedding or look for inspiration. This causes some trouble, because it can be difficult to really know how much what they see on the internet is going to cost.
“Clients’ unrealistic expectations versus their budget is the most stressful aspect of my job,” says Schenkel. “Pinterest and other online magazines are the death of a planner at times. The client is uneducated on the work and costs of most of the photos they bring into our office as inspiration.”
With this generation being so caught up with the social media aspects of our time, many millennials blindly turn to the internet to find what they like and dislike when it comes to something like planning a wedding.
“When we were planning our wedding, spring of 2016, we did get a lot of inspirations off apps like Pinterest and Twitter, but it was hard not to,” says Ashley Burton, 22, a senior at Middle Tennessee State University, who is now married to Todd Burton, also 22.
Having a wedding on a budget comes with the No. 1 rule: compromise. Having a dream wedding shouldn’t cause financial stress, and many young millennials are realizing that sooner than later.
“Of course I always dreamed of having a big, fancy wedding,” says Burton. “But that wasn’t quite possible with having only a little money saved up, both of us having part-time jobs at the time and still being full-time students.”
Planning a wedding and adding the weight of being a full-time student and paying for it on a small budget can be stressful, but ultimately, many students find a way to make it work.
“I don’t think our busy schedule, or anything really, will keep my fiancee from having her dream wedding, and that’s the only thing that matters,” says Luketic.
Timirra Gaither is a junior in journalism at Middle Tennessee State University. Follow her on Twitter @tgaithh.