These days it seems like nothing comes for free. This statement couldn’t be more true when it comes to planning your wedding. With the 2015 average cost of a wedding in the United States being upwards of $25,000.00 budget cuts, unfortunately, are a necessary evil.
So the adrenaline rush from your proposal has worn off and its time to sit down and budget out your wedding. The obvious first step is to figure out the total amount you are able to and willing to spend on the big day. This first step, in my opinion is the easiest. The harder part is deciding how to divide it up amongst the services and products needed. Some products can be downgraded or services you can cut corners on but there are some services that truly end up being worth every penny. Below is a list of things you may want to think twice about skimping on.
Photography/Videography (averages 10% of total budget)
Big surprise right? A photographer’s blog says “Don’t skip out on the service he provides” ☺ The fact of the matter is you are spending an incredible amount of time, money and effort to plan a huge celebration. You will be seeing family members and friends you may not see all the time, all of which will be dressed to impress. To top it off these people will be surrounded by a beautiful venue you guys decorated. Times like this are very hard to come by and are well worth documenting. Sure everyone in attendance will be wielding an iPhone, ready to upload to Instagram, but do you really want to trust your visual memories to the same device you play angry birds on? No way. Weddings are one the hardest events to photograph in terms of lighting, anticipating moments and time restraints. Professionals are well worth the money to create beautiful imagery with professional equipment and lighting. More importantly they are equipped with the knowledge to do so without being intrusive. Be sure to meet with photographers you would like to have work with you and get a good feel for them as a person and professional. Keep in mind you will be spending a ton of time with them on wedding day and a lot of his/her suggestions on locations and creative direction can make your event even more memorable.
Your Wedding Venue (averages 44.5% of total budget)
This may be the single most important choice you make for your wedding. If you are spending almost 50% of your budget on it it better be right?!. Your venue can say a lot about you two as a couple and sets the entire tone of the evening. Whether you are looking to do a rustic barn themed wedding or an elegant ballroom style celebration where you are speaks volumes on how the night is perceived to be by your guests. Aside from aesthetics, some big things to keep in mind are climate control, guest parking, and size. If you plan on having an outdoor wedding and/or ceremony a “Plan B” location for guests to stay dry and safe from the elements takes a high priority as well. I can’t say that I have ever seen a coupon for a venue however there are still ways to save money on you venue. Most venues offer discounted rates for events held on Fridays and Sundays. The same sometimes holds true for other vendors as well.
Entertainment (averages 5% of total budget)
Most wedding receptions are between 4 and 6 hours with dinner taking up about an hour and a half to two hours. Without any kind of entertainment that amounts to a ton of people sitting in a room waiting for something to happen. People want to dance and celebrate! Whether that is facilitated by a DJ, band, or combination of the two, their job for the evening directly effects everyone in attendance. The ability of your entertainment is carry the night through while keeping people engaged is key. Skimping out here can be the difference between an ordinary and an EXTRAordinary reception.
Hair and Makeup (averages 1% of total budget)
You want to look and feel your best on your wedding day. Professional hair stylists and makeup artists are experts in creating long-lasting looks that will look amazing in photographs Most stylists will suggest a pre-wedding hair and makeup trial. This is one thing you definitely don’t want to skip out on. Come wedding day, the last thing you will want to do is start your day worried about time because the same style Kim Kardashian used for her wedding doesn’t look the same on your head ☺. It’s very important to work with your hair and makeup vendors to ensure you get the exact look you’ve dreamed of. On a side note for the guys, get your hair cut a week before the wedding. That way your hair will grow in a little bit and give you the perfect balance of looking good without having a high school picture day fresh cut.
Uplighting (cost may vary or be included with some venues)
Should I really spend extra money on these things? ABSOLUTELY! Uplighting is easily one of the most overlooked and under rated wedding décor items. More and more venues are offering uplights but a majority of uplighting services are provided my DJ/Entertainment companies. Whether you are splashing a bit of color on the walls or completely washing a room to your favorite color, these lights play a huge roll in your overall wow factor for your guests and your reception photos.
Food (cost may vary or be included with some venues)
I would like to think this one is a no brainer. Mentally and Physically wedding day can be exhausting. When dinner time rolls around the last thing you are want to bite into is sub par food. Quality of food always seems to be a topic of discussion for your guests as well so you might as well give them something good to talk about right?
Whatever is Important to you!!!
Ultimately this day is about you and your significant other. For some people photos are more important and for others entertainment is more important. Some ladies need to have that show stopper exclusive dress and some guys need to have that designer tux. If there is something that is a must have for you get it! Just keep in mind splurging on one thing usually means sacrificing somewhere else. Regardless of your budget keep in mind the most important part is the people you are with and not the items around you.