As a wedding and event planner, I work within my client’s budgets every day. Whether they have an unlimited budget or are looking for more budget-friendly options, there are some of the areas I tell them to consider investing in, as well as areas where they can save money without sacrificing quality. Here’s my advice for six places you can splurge and save when planning your wedding.
WHERE TO SPLURGE
Wedding Day Photographer. This is arguably the most important item in your wedding budget. You’re going to show these photos to your grandchildren one day so you want to make sure you get a quality product. Ask your venue or wedding planner for recommendations and check out the photographer’s website to make sure their portfolio is a good fit with your style and venue location. You’ll also be spending a lot of time together on your wedding day so I recommend meeting in person before hiring them.
Lighting. This always catches my clients off guard. As a bride, it caught me off guard too. Whether you are having an outdoor garden wedding or getting married in a hotel ballroom, lighting is so important. It can completely transform the look and feel of the venue and greatly impact the quality of your photos. You don’t want to be disappointed with the end result from your photographer because you skimped on lighting.
Wedding Planner. You know that saying “You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce”? Yeah, well, Beyonce has help. She has assistants, a nanny and probably a personal chef. Leave the details of your wedding to a professional whose job is to make your life easier. If you’re on a tight budget, many planners offer partial planning services or even hourly rates for wedding day assistance.
Catering. The food is one of the first things guests experience and can set the tone for your wedding. You don’t need a five-course meal to make an impact, either. Maybe there’s a restaurant in your hometown that is special to your family and is available to cater your event. Just make sure there is enough food, that it’s served at the right temperature, that there are choices for guests with dietary restrictions and that you hire waitstaff and bartenders if your venue doesn’t provide them.
WHERE TO SAVE
Save the Dates. Thanks to websites like Minted and Shutterfly, the options for your save the dates are endless! Add gold foil or choose a heavier paperweight to make it feel more custom. Add a picture from your engagement session to make it personal. Many of these retailers offer promotions like free recipient addressing or free shipping if you sign up for their emails.
Engagement Photographer. Since you’ll be investing in your wedding day photographer, there are other ways to save on your overall photography budget. If you live in a different state than where you’re getting married, hire a local photographer to do your engagement pictures instead of paying your wedding day photographer’s travel costs for this session. Engagement pictures are also a great time to call on a friend or family member who loves photography as a hobby but doesn’t do it full time. They’ll probably charge you less, if at all, and it will be a fun afternoon for everyone.
Unique Desserts. I am getting more and more requests for non-traditional wedding cakes. From donut bars from your local donut shop to a collection of smaller cakes or even cupcakes, this is a great place to save without sacrificing quality.
The good news is the wedding industry has really evolved over the last few years. With more venues popping up and more vendors opening up shop, there are great options at every price point that will allow you to have the wedding you’ve always dreamt of, even on a budget.
Style Me Pretty Contributor – Kristen Lauck is the owner and lead planner at Marie Rose Events based in Oklahoma City. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her spending time outside or enjoying a glass of wine and cooking dinner at home with her fiancé.
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