If you’re like me, you grew up with TLC’s “Say Yes! to the Dress” and “Four Weddings” aka the shows that told us that it was normal to spend $10k + on a wedding or just the dress itself…
Now we are grown up and getting married and realize that TV is far from reality. Real guests aren’t scoring your wedding on a scale of 1-10 and most people cannot get a custom made Pnina Tornai gown. And most bride’s do in fact have budget a lot less that 6 digits.
As a bride to be myself, I have made cuts on things to spend more on others. And I will preface in saying what is important to one may not mean much at all to another. And that is ok!
But don’t feel pressured to spend money on things based on others. It can be easy to get caught up in all of it and go overboard. Then you look back and wonder “Why did I do that?”
I hope this blog helps you prioritize your own wedding. Splurge on what is important to you, save on what’s not!
I feel like you already knew this one but to summarize:
Splurge because these are the people documenting your special life event.
I want to advise you to book a photo/video pro based on their style but, also how you vibe with them, their communication skills and recommendations from past couples.
You spend a lot of time with this person(or people) on your wedding day. So make sure it’s a good fit!
A DJ is so much more than a bomb playlist (sorry cousin Bobby with the new Macbook and Spotify Premium)
The DJ is also a day of coordinator in a way.
Especially when it comes to your reception. They are in charge of the flow as well as the party. And let’s face it, entertainment can make or break a party. Get a DJ that is organized, experienced at MC-ing events, reading and adapting to different groups of people, and most importantly can provide you and your guests with an unforgettable celebration!
Wedding Jewelry: Save
You are really only going to see these in the photographer’s detail shots. Some ways to save:
-Wear borrowed sentimental pieces from your family/friends
-Local Boutiques and Artists
Wedding Shoes: Save
I LOVE shoes. I love expensive shoes even more, so I understand the appeal of splurging on designer shoes.
However…. No one will see them under the dress and I guarantee you will not be tearing up the dance floor in your Jimmy Choo’s.
Look at beautiful, yet more cost effective brands like:
–Badgley Mischka (Sex and the City fans, these are for you!)
I linked some personal favorites from each brand just click;)
I feel like I always hear couples that are trying to save on decor by cutting back on florals….HOLD IT RIGHT THERE
Yes florals die, but you’re also never going to wear your wedding dress after this day and you aren’t sacrificing on that.
You should splurge on florals for 5 reasons:
-Florals are personal
-Florals are NOTICED and appreciated, as compared to table numbers and candle holders.
-Florals can now be preserved through photography and resin artists.
-Your centerpieces etc. can be passed along to a children’s hospitals or nursing homes. Flowers bring people joy and isn’t it awesome that you can share that with others?
-You can really see the return on your investment.
Talk with a florist to find a budget that makes sense for you. An experienced florist will know how to get you the most bang for your buck.
Bride and Groom Exit: Save… the planet
My tip on this is to just consider an exit that doesn’t leave garbage on the ground. Dried flower petals or leaves, lavender, and birdseed are all great alternatives. Please do not use confetti made from paper, plastic, etc. If you use sparklers or bubbles, have a designated spot to discard them afterwards.
Groom’s/Partner’s Outfit : SPLURGE
On average people pay between $185 to upwards of $300 to rent a suit/tuxedo for their wedding. That’s with the shirt, shoes, tie, etc. The problem with rentals is they never fit quite right and there is not a lot of room for error if you have to pick it up friday and then get married saturday.
The suit company had to overnight my stepdad tux pants because they made a mistake on his length resulting in capri pants….That suit was about $200 to rent.
My fiance and I splurged and chose a beautiful custom fitted suit from Jos. A Bank. We were recommended by my friend’s husband who literally wears suits everyday as a Meterologist.
The cost: about $400 for everything including alterations for the life of the suit. He also got to pick out custom details like fabrics, buttons, and had our wedding date stitched into the inside.
Everyone getting married should splurge on their outfit and feel like their most confident self!
Bridesmaids Gifts: Save
No, she doesn’t need another monogrammed cup or anything like that. The gift is being a part of your special day and having a special role in your celebration. That has always been my perspective as a bridesmaid.
If anything, offer to pay for your bridesmaids hair and/or makeup. The cost of that compared to a basket of unneeded knick knacks will probably be a bit more, but it will be so much more appreciated. Thank your friends by treating them to a luxury service.
Hair and Makeup: Splurge OBVS
This is the day to splurge on yourself. When choosing your beauty team who will be responsible for your LOOK, aka one of the key elements in a wedding, don’t be a Scrooge.
How we look greatly impacts how we feel. Real beauty comes from within. When you feel confident and comfortable on the outside, you shine from the inside out.
Save the Dates: Save
I’m so sorry but I have always hated these. It is a waste of paper and money. The reason I think that is because everyone you would consider sending a save the date to, should already have your date saved….If someone needs a magnet or postcard to remember your wedding then they probably shouldn’t be invited haha.
Save on resources and just send one invitation. For the love of the trees.
And try looking for artists and small businesses to create your stationary!
Wedding Signage: Save
Ask yourself “Am I going to use this again?” If the answer is no then don’t get it. The wedding industry is full of so much waste. And it just keeps growing with social media.
If you want signage and personalized decor, I challenge you to thrift it. Antique stores and thrift shops have so many mirrors and tray type items that you can repurpose for wedding signage.
And guess what. I did get a sign for my own wedding. I found a wonderful calligrapher in Charleston, SC through a styled shoot I did and just had to have her work for my own wedding. I adapted my sign to where I can hang it in our home after the big day.
Don’t buy a Cricut. Those things are expensive and require an engineering degree to operate.
Alcohol: Save or Splurge (here’s how to do both)
If you want to serve alcohol but don’t want to break the bank:
Do canned or bottle beer/hard seltzers or cider and bottled wine. Aldi and Trader Joes are great places to pick up tasty wine in bulk for as low as $3/ bottle.
When you purchase it yourself, you can take home any that is leftover.
I love signature cocktails. They are just so cute and personal. Rather than go for an open bar which is basically the most expensive route for alcohol, do a mobile bar that will serve your bottled beer and wine but also will make 2 signature cocktails!
A local favorite of mine is Ginseng Mobile Bar. They have a camper converted into the cutest mobile bar set up. They are known for their delicious craft cocktails!
You can also contact local breweries/distilleries. Many of them have event trailer set ups where they can serve 3-4 brews on tap. These places are insured and experienced! Back in my event planning days for a nonprofit, Bays Mountain Brewery served at an event and they were fantastic!
There are so many ways to save on wedding spending when you list your priorities first!
If having a bomb ass party for your reception is important, hire GREAT entertainment.
If you are a shoe person, get your designer kicks.
Do what makes you and your partner happy and makes sense for your budget.
Whatever you do, choose vendors that are professional, experienced, and will help bring your vision to life!
Featured photographers: Taylor Meo, Danielle Defayette, Tara Hodges