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Wedding Planning Budget Considerations

Wendy LynchComment

When thinking of how to allocate funds for your wedding, there are certain things that should not be compromised.

Let’s dive right in because this is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart as we talk to brides day in and day out who have faced these struggles themselves.

First, photographs. These are with you for life. They are your permanent record of the wedding, the incredible celebration, and the union of two lives. The photos will forever be precious and cutting corners in this arena is not recommended. You’ll be glad you invested in a talented photographer who is adept at capturing both candid and posed photos.

The second area you think you might be able to save money is when shopping for attire. There are many many many articles out there warning brides about the dangers of buying wedding attire online. From bridal gowns to bridesmaids dresses, there are thousands of sites luring unsuspecting brides with the temptation that they’ll save money (some even use photos of designer's gowns only to send you a cheap knock-off -- Danger Batman! Danger!). Here’s the reality from that cheap online temptation we hear about in our salons every day:

1) Dresses ordered online don’t come in on time as promised. We've had more than our fair share of frantic brides in our store who ordered their dresses months in advance only to be panicked that they don't arrive when promised. Talk about stress!

2) Quality has not been validated in person. When you think of what you ‘can live with’ when it comes to quality, you think a crooked hem here, threadbare areas there, beading in the wrong place over there — you wonder if all of that might be worth it. What you don’t know is that most often we see those dresses come in to our store where they’re swiftly turned over to our seamstresses for rescue. They pour over them trying to get them to look ‘nice’ or ‘consistent’ but most of the time they're not worth the savings. The brides and bridesmaids who wanted nothing more than to save money end up paying more because they had to make so many alterations to their dress. These aren’t basic alterations like shortening a hem – they usually require full on resuscitation.

3) Colors look ‘off’. What you see online may look great. What you see when it arrives in person might look dramatically different. All of the sudden you’ve got girls in different colors, albeit slightly that do not make for very pretty photos.

The bottom line – be careful. If you truly are someone who can fly by the seat of your pants and take the cards as they’re dealt, then don’t give it another thought and forge ahead. I send you white light and positive thoughts that you’re one of the lucky ones.

Regardless, strongly consider the other elements of your wedding and force rank them according to priority. This will help sort through what matters most to you when thinking of how to allocate your budget accordingly.

1. Food

  • This is usually a high priority but there are ways to reduce cost. From hosting a rustic BBQ to ensuring the main offering is hearty, you’ll fill up your guest’s tummies without breaking the bank. Just remember that the food, setting, attire, and style should all jive (i.e., don't serve BBQ and require your guests to come in black tie). 

2. Favors

  • This is a great area to seek out creative, low-cost ideas. Tuck a lottery ticket into an elegant envelope or buy items in bulk to reduce your cost. Pinterest is a great resource for diy ideas.

3. Ceremony Venue

  • Changing the wedding date / time of year can dramatically reduce this cost.

4. Reception Venue

  • Ditto! Also, hosting your ceremony & reception at the same location helps with cost as well.

5. Music

  • More often than not, you can get an awesome live band for the same cost as a DJ – it’s all up to preference. If you want to hear the original artist rendition, a DJ is the way to go.

6. Flowers

  • This is an incredibly important element for your wedding, but the overall cost can be reduced slightly by finding a venue that has tremendous natural beauty and doesn't need additional decor. This is my #1 secret for ensuring awesome photos and beautiful scenery for your wedding that your guests will talk about for years to come.

7. Hair & Make-up

  • While hair is hard to pull off yourself – especially if you’re going for an updo – make up is something you can learn at a local department store or your hair stylist if she has skills in this area too. Head down and get a lesson from a pro, and learn tips and tricks that you can take with you on your honeymoon. You’ll need to plan to spend a little bit of money on product, but that will be worth it in the long run.

8. Honeymoon

  • The honeymoon is sometimes regarded as the unimportant cost of a wedding. If you can, take at least a few days to revel in the new world of marriage. You owe it to yourselves to take time to celebrate, let the Mr. & Mrs. titles sink in, and be happy and excited about your future before life's demands sneak back in.

9. Cake

  • Food for thought (no pun intended): cake is not remembered half as much as the food at a wedding. That being said, there are terrifically creative cake artists out there that will get you to your vision by partnering with you to help stay within budget. It's important - like everything else - to have a budget in mind and go in with firm expectations of what you want to pay. Let them determine a solution of how to make it happen.

10. Transportation

  • Everyone has a relative who wants nothing more than to help. Key: they must forgo the libations and remain sober if they are to help with transporting guests.

The bottom line is: be cautious as you plan your wedding budget. Seek advice from friends, family and professionals. They’re on this journey with you and can lend sage advice as you navigate the waters. The goal: have a happy, joyous wedding. ‘Nuff said.

And if you want to talk or toss around ideas, email me. I’m more than happy to help.