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Prioritizing your Wedding Budget | Gretchen Wakeman Photography

 

Prioritizing Your Wedding Budget

When you’re getting married, it’s perfectly normal to want to pull out all the stops and throw the most extravagant celebration you possibly can, but casting the budget aside and spending carelessly can cause things to get out of hand very quickly. Once you’ve established where the funding for your wedding is coming from– whether it’s out of pocket, with the help of family members, or through a personal loan— it’s important to sit down with your significant other and determine where your priorities lie as far as planning out your ceremony and reception is concerned. To help you keep things on track and under control, here are a few suggestions for areas where you can reduce costs and areas where it might be worth it to spend a little more.

 

WHERE TO SAVE:

Event Date

Is it truly imperative that you hold your wedding on a Saturday during prime wedding season? If not, it might be worth considering booking the event for a date, time, and season that is less busy (and therefore less expensive). While having a wedding on a Friday night in March might present some complications for guests needing to travel or take time off of work to be there, your most important guests will find a way to attend, and it will likely save you a significant amount of money on one of the pricier aspects of wedding planning.

The Dress

Paradise Valley Private Residence Wedding, Backyard Wedding Phoenix

No one loves a designer dress more than me. Of course, you want to find the perfect look for your wedding day, but “perfect” does not
necessarily have to equate to a big price tag or a designer label. There plenty of ways to find your dream dress without breaking the bank or feeling like you’re restricting yourself. Research upcoming bridal shows in your area, and look to see which vendors will be offering show promotions and discounts. Expand your search outside of bridal salons; don’t rule out wholesale shops, regular department stores, or even vintage outlets as potential places to find your match. If you’re less of a traditionalist, consider renting your dress or going with cheaper, more unconventional alternatives to the usual long white gown. It’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of shopping for dresses at a high-end boutique with an air of exclusivity, but your main criteria should simply be to find something that makes you feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful.

Decorations

This is probably going to be the easiest area to cut back on when it comes to planning out your budget. Sure, you want the event to be beautiful and reflective of your style, but there are a number of ways to do so without putting a ton of excess cash into it. Seek out venues with a lot of natural beauty or artistic appeal and limited need for additional decor, or recruit a team of loved ones to help you make some DIY decorations for the ceremony and reception.

WHERE TO INVEST:

Photographer

Honestly, my advice on choosing a photographer would be a whole separate post. However,  when focusing strictly on a budget It might be tempting to hire a photographer with a lower price point, a friend who is a photographer, or someone just starting out.  I strongly believe this is an area where the differences in service can’t compare.  It’s very likely you will be sacrificing the quality of the pictures.  Your wedding photos are something you will want to look back on fondly for the rest of your life.  It’s important to hire someone you trust to make sure the shots are beautiful and well-composed.  It’s equally important to hire a professional that is confident in ALL lighting situations.  Your reception photos are just as important as the photos of you taken outdoors with ideal lighting.  Hire someone whose job it is to make sure the shots are beautiful and well-composed, and if you still want to get your friends involved in the day’s picture-taking, create a hashtag for the event so they can share their candids on social media.

 

 

Venue

The venue is the backbone of your wedding day.  It’s a big deal.  The ambiance, the backdrops, and the decor all play a huge role in your wedding day.  Choosing a venue that fits with your wedding style allows you to extend that theme into your wedding maximizing your budget.   Also, take into consideration if you’re more of an all-inclusive couple or looking for a la carte options.   All resorts and venues are different.   Some venues provide extras facilities that play into your overall budget.  For example: valet or parking for guests, A/V equipment, chairs, tables, linens, etc.

Your Future

 

Keep in mind what your wedding is ultimately about: the love that you share with your partner, celebrating that love with the people you hold dearest, and beginning the process of building a life together. When you’re deciding how much money you’re going to put toward your wedding, be sure to take into consideration where that budget will leave you standing financially after the festivities are over. If you and your spouse have goals for your future that you’d like to work toward (travel, a new house, or starting a family), try to avoid putting those goals completely on hold for the sake of this one day. Your wallets will thank you, and your marriage will be better off for it.

Best wishes, and happy planning!