Planning your wedding is one of the most enjoyable things you'll do in life. Every detail, big and small, is up to you to decide. As you dive into decision making, you'll likely discover how easy it is to go over your wedding budget. But, don't worry. Wedding planning is about prioritizing. It’s also about compromises: splurging in one area means you might have to cut back in another.
So, where can you splurge? Where can you save? Here are some tips to help you plan the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.
What’s Important to You?
First and foremost, you'll want to establish priorities. These will help keep your wedding within budget. Talk with your fiancé and identify two or three areas where you want to splurge. This will help you identify other areas where you can save. Some brides may want to splurge on a designer dress or lots of floral arrangements while another may focus on photos and videos to remember the special day. There's no right or wrong answer when planning and paying for your wedding. Do what makes you comfortable and happy.
Frugal or Fancy Floral Arrangements
It’s easy to spend on wedding flowers, especially if you want a large bouquet and cascading centerpieces. Also, the more elaborate your mix of blooms, the more you'll probably spend. Some flowers are rarer with shorter growing seasons. If they have to be flown in, you’ll probably pay to transport them.
To save, choose a smaller variety of flowers. Your florist could buy in bulk, possibly meaning more savings for you. Make sure the flowers in your arrangements are also locally sourced and in-season. That means they’ll also be fresher.
Designer or Discount Dress
Many brides choose to splurge on their wedding dress. While there are many factors that contribute to the cost of a wedding dress from fabric type, amount of embellishment, and even whose name is printed on the label, there are ways you can find the dress of your dreams at the right price.
We recommend visiting a variety of bridal dress stores. The stock of dresses and price points will vary from shop to shop. Or consider updating a family heirloom dress, which will help you incorporate your "something borrowed" into the day, while still achieving a look that is you.
If you have dreamed of a lace gown, the type of lace you want could dictate huge variations in the price of the gown. There are beautiful laces at every price point, so feel free to ask your bridal consultant for less expensive options. Remember when putting together your budget to consider that many dresses also require tailoring costs to achieve the perfect fit.
Practical or Pricey Photographer
You’ll cherish your wedding photos forever, so the photographer might be one of your top splurges. Find a highly-rated photographer with lots of experience, perhaps someone featured in a magazine. Also, consider one with an assistant to ensure every moment of the celebration is captured.
A cheaper option is a less experienced photographer. You could also shave off a couple hours from your wedding package by forgoing the “getting ready” photos. Have the photographer take fun pics of you and your bridesmaids before the ceremony instead.
Intricate or Inexpensive Invitations
The cost of invitations depends on how they are printed. Letterpress is great if you’re looking to spend more. It’s a custom process and involves more labor.
A more inexpensive option is to flat print your invitations. It’s a digital technique and is usually cheaper.
Bonus tip: Save on postage by not overstuffing the envelopes. Avoid additional sheets by referring guests to your wedding website with directions, accommodations, and other information.
Cheap or Costly Cake
You’ll pay for the baker’s time and by the slice for your wedding cake. The more guests, the more it will cost. To splurge, select a wider cake with multiple tiers and lots of detail like authentic-looking sugar flowers.
To save, choose a smaller cake with fewer tiers and a simpler design. Instead of sugar flowers, consider using flower cutouts or even real ones. Then, ask your baker about serving slices from a cheaper sheet cake in the back. Chances are guests won’t even notice.
Bonus tip: If you're not set on having a traditional wedding cake, cupcakes, donuts, or an assortment of baked goods could be a deliciously less expensive alternative.
Extravagant or Economical Experience
Don’t cut corners on the guest experience. It’s important. So, make sure your venue is comfortable and there’s plenty of appetizing food. Splurge by offering butlered champagne and appetizers during the social hour, an open bar throughout the night, or late-night snacks like pizza or sliders. Your guests will love feeling pampered.
If you're looking to save money in this area without compromising your guests' experience, skip the open bar and offer only wine and beer to your guests, and provide appetizers or late-night snacks but not both.
Now that you've identified your areas of importance and drafted a budget, be sure to communicate with your fiancé throughout the planning process and refer back to your budget often. Regardless of where you splurge or save, you can still have the amazing wedding you’ve always dreamed of.
Photo courtesy: Olivia Wagner Photography