Creating a Wedding Budget: Where to Spend, Where to Save
Prioritize Your Wedding Budget
One of the first things I do with my clients is discuss priorities. I will ask the couple where do they want to spend money and where do they want to save money. I will also have them rank spending categories. This means you may want to spend more in a category that I say you could save. Ultimately it is your decision! Below I have some guidelines regarding where to spend your money, and how to save in certain areas.
Paper goods are the first impression guests will have of your wedding. An invitation is not just to give them information; it sets the tone for the formality of the event. Below are some MINIMUMS for spending on you wedding invitations.
Do not print them at home. I have seen this go so wrong! They will be low quality compared to a professional print job.
Look up etiquette guidelines. This can be done through your wedding planner, your stationery designer, a book, or even a Google search. Wedding etiquette is still important in 2019!
Ceremony + Reception Venue
Your venue will determine many other factors that will impact spending. Here are some questions to ask when looking at venues:
Does the venue include chairs, tables, linens, decor, etc? Some do, some do not. If they include tables and chairs, make sure you know how many!
If it is an outdoor venue make sure you ask what options you have in case of inclement weather. Tents can be an added expense, so take this into consideration!
Parking availability is also something to consider. If guests cannot all park at your venue, you may have to provide a shuttle, which is another expense.
Hiring a wedding planner or coordinator SHOULD be a priority for every couple getting married. I know some couples think they can handle it all themselves, or with a family member or friend’s help. Ultimately, your mom, sister, cousin, or friend is not a professional, and wants to enjoy your wedding—not work it! Hiring a coordinator is the minimum you should allot funds for.
In Louisiana, catering companies must be licensed and insured. This means if someone gets sick from food, there is accountability. If you hire an amateur caterer, you run a huge risk. If someone gets sick from their food, and they have no license or insurance, you are ultimately at fault by having booked them. The risk is NOT worth it—hire a professional caterer.
Similar with bartenders—hire a professional company! They need $1,000,000 liability insurance policy as a MINIMUM due to their line of work. Serving alcohol is a liability that you should not take lightly. If someone drinks at your wedding and is hurt, or hurts someone else, that insurance is essential to have.
I know these are worst case scenarios, but part of my job is to prevent these scenarios, so that there are no adverse affects on the couple. As a general rule of thumb, only hire professional vendors who have liability insurance!
Photography + Videography
Photographs of your wedding is one of the memoirs of your big day. It will be over quickly, and you will want good photographs to remember it by. You can hire students or amateurs for photography, but you will get what you pay for (lower quality).
Videography is similar, but for most couples it is the first line item cut in the budget. If you can invest in a videographer, it is something you will not regret. Personally, I regret that I did not hire one.
Wedding flowers are so beautiful, but ultimately they are a fresh good that will not last. Some brides consider silk or other options. I am always a proponent of fresh, even if you can only afford personal flowers (bouquets, boutonnieres, etc). Table and reception decor can be done in a multitude of ways. Here are two ways to save on flowers:
Decorate tables with items OTHER than flowers. Candles, especially for an evening reception, can be very beautiful table decor. If you really want flowers, only do half of your tables with flowers, and the other half with candles.
Use bridesmaid bouquets after the ceremony for table centerpieces. This will reduce the number of table arrangements you need. Just make sure you have enough vases with water!
I hope this helped give you a starting point for your wedding budget. Let me know in the comments what your wedding budget questions or concerns are—I would love to help!