The holidays are over and after some much needed R&R we are back at it in full swing and so are our 2016 couples! If your wedding is taking place this year you've probably had that "moment" where you realize just how close your wedding date is and you might be feeling like you still need to get so much done. One of the biggest mistakes we see couples make is splurging on the wrong things and skimping where they shouldn't. In the end many times the results are an unhappy Bride and Groom with regrets. Have no fear! We're here to be blatantly honest about areas where a splurge is a must and where a little budget savvy is ok.
Where to SPLURGE:
Photography - This is definitely my number one splurge. Now by "splurge" I don't mean go out and find the most expensive photographer but DO find someone that fits your style and whose photos really speak to you. The photos are the only thing you get to keep forever. Selecting a wedding photographer because they're inexpensive isn't the way to go. You will regret it! You should also make sure you're booking an 8 hour (or more) session. This ensures you are capturing all of those important moments from getting ready with the 'maids and groomsmen, putting on the dress or tux all the way to those twilight photos when the event is wrapping up. Lots of couples skimp on the time frame and then feel upset when they realize that they don't have any photos of them cutting the cake or their first dance because the photographer's time was up.
Venue - Don't pick a venue because it's cheap. Select the venue that is right for you. Many times venues that are inexpensive seem like a great buy only to find out that you have to spend thousands of dollars on renting tables and chairs, linens and pay additional fees to have it cleaned after the fact. When you're shopping for your venue keep these additional costs in mind and pick the venue that suits your style, needs and makes you feel excited about your wedding.
Staff - This is THE biggest item that gets overlooked and couples feel like they don't need to have staff working at the event. Of course I think you should hire a planner to set up and execute the event from start to finish. But even if you don't you need staffing that can adequately handle the wedding. Your caterer should be bringing extra servers and bartenders to make sure your event runs smooth. Don't haggle on this. If your venue charges a percentage to cover staffing costs it's because they need that many hands on the floor in order to make your event fabulous. I always tell people to imagine how many staff work at a restaurant and envision sitting down there for a dinner with 200 people with no one there to serve, clean or set up. This picture should become very clear!
Bride's Bouquet and Reception Flowers - Your bouquet and reception flowers are seen the most and photographed the most. (Some brides even opt to preserve their bouquet and keep it for the long term.) Your reception flowers have a huge impact on the overall look and really help to create that feeling that you want. Flowers can transform a setting in a way that is almost indescribable. Spend the bulk of your flower budget in the reception area as this is where you and your guests will be spending the majority of your time.
Music - Hire a professional! I know your friend has awesome taste in music and they have some speakers that they can plug in, but it's not the same. A good professional DJ knows how to set up music, that you can hear and sounds good, in all types of settings. Outdoors, wind, rain, large ballrooms, etc. They also act as an MC for the night and understand how to keep the event moving smoothly as well as assisting in handling any timing issues that might arise. Example, something went wrong in the kitchen and dinner needs to be held off for a half an hour. The DJ can step in and help keep guests entertained even thought they're hungry.
Where to SAVE:
Stationary - Invitations, menu cards and place cards. This is a great option for couples who feel confident and artsy enough to do it themselves. You can design and make your own invitations and print them at home. Or if you're not that savvy, you can order your invitation designs from a professional and then print, stuff and address all of your own and add touches, like tied ribbon or twine, to make them unique to you. There are a lot of resources online for free templates for place cards, menu cards and just about anything. Be prepared that this is very time consuming and a large portion of the cost of invitations is due to the labor it takes to produce them.
Ceremony Flowers - I love a beautiful ceremony that is adorned with gorgeous flowers! Doesn't everybody? But maybe you're like most couples who have a strict budget and can't afford to create that uber expensive wedding you've favorited on Pinterest. Don't worry. You're the norm. Typically unless the ceremony is religious, it's about 15 to 30 minutes. That's about as much time as guests spend in that area of your event and then they move on to the reception. Scaling back on your ceremony flowers can make a huge impact on your bottom line.
Wedding Favors - Wedding favors are this funny phenomenon that someone dreamt up. If you ask me, I would rather leave them than take them. I tell my couples to think about whether or not they are giving guests something useful, like honey that was locally grown by a family member, or if they really feel that spending hundreds of dollars on match boxes that guests will take home a throw in a corner somewhere is necessary. If the favors are meaningful, economical and useful then this is a good place where you can do it yourself. If not, then skip them all together.
Linen - If you have tables at your event then you need linens. Specialty linens in different fabrics, textures and colors can make a huge impact on an event but it's ok to tone it down too. Plain solid color fabrics that are professionally pressed can look just as beautiful as anything. And you can play these up by using colorful and creative centerpieces. You can also fold, tie and form linen napkins in a variety of ways to help spruce up your table. Don't feel pressured to spend fifty dollars per linen because you're afraid your event won't look good without it.
As you're moving into the next phase of planning your wedding keep these tips in mind. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it suits you as a couple and you feel good about what you decide to spend your money on.
Photos - Relic Photograpic
Floral - Bloomsbury Blooms