The wedding process can be overwhelming. Especially the monetary part of it! There are so many choices to make over the course of the planning phase and unfortunately most of them cost money. Once you’ve set your budget you can begin to make these choices both large and small. I’m sharing my opinion as a past bride on what to splurge on vs. what to save on!
WHERE TO SPLURGE:
- The dress, duh! I know this contradicts my past post but I do think if spending a little more (as long as it’s in your budget) for your dream dress is well worth it.
- The robe you get ready in the day of the wedding! I still wear mine and think it was worth every penny. It came from Nordstrom where they have a ton of great ones!
- A special piece of jewelry, shoes etc. to wear the day of your wedding. But in my opinion, I’d only choose one of these things since you’re already going to be wearing a stunning dress! I only chose a pair of earrings as my splurge piece since I wanted my dress to shine.
- The music for the wedding and reception. I had a violinist for our ceremony and it was worth every penny! She let me choose all the songs which was great since I didn’t use traditional wedding songs. I thought our violinist was the perfect musical backdrop to our beach wedding! For the reception had a band that played lots of 70s music which is what we both really like as a couple. The music can make or break a wedding so definitely splurge here!
- Save the dates and invitations were worth using premium printing and paper. My best friend is a graphic designer and customized all of our stuff but if I hadn’t known one I would’ve hired one for sure! She also hand lettered all our envelopes which also worth the money to me as well.
- Drink ware which probably just depends on the couple but we did neoprene koozies and frost flex cups with our logo on them both of which are more expensive but that was something we felt like was worth it!
- Food is a huge one to me! Wedding dinners per head are more expensive than you could ever imagine even just for a buffet. This has been one thing I’ve known forever but still didn’t want to skimp on. We did a couple different types of fish, chicken, and sides from a local caterer. It was all delicious! I just feel like if people take the time to come celebrate you they should at least be able to enjoy a nice meal.
- If you are having alcohol at your wedding I think it’s worth it to do the open bar. That’s what we did and we were happy with our choice. I will mention that because of county beach curfew our reception could only be until 10 pm so you probably would have to take into account how long your reception will last.
- Photography and videography. The first one I feel like most people know but the second one I really didn’t. I was not going to have a videographer until like a month before my wedding. I just didn’t understand the need in the age of cellphones! I’m so glad I had one. I love watching our wedding video. Photos are wonderful but they still can’t capture everything! If you take one thing away from this post it should be: book the videographer!!
- Your sendoff and whatever that entails. I knew I wanted a sparkler exit so we found the nicest sparklers that burned the longest for that. We also rented a vintage bentley and driver for our getaway car which I loved! This all made for awesome photos.
- Transportation for your wedding party to and from the wedding location(s). This will ensure everyone is safe and on time to everything!
WHAT TO SAVE ON:
- Flowers because you can do it yourself with a little help! I’m going to do a whole post on this but basically you can order them wholesale from Sam’s Club and arrange them. We did all of our flowers except my bouquet which was professionally arranged.
- Cake and sweets since neither my husband or I care about either much. We had a smaller cake and added a topper from ETSY. I noticed that a lot of times at weddings I’ve been to they have way too many sweets period and no one is eating them.
- Decor in general because I can promise people barely notice this stuff. I had a few hand lettered signs done by my best friend which I loved but other than that we had table runners, small flower arrangements, and a few pictures. Since we got married on the beach we wanted to let that shine through!
- Programs because I can promise no one cares about them. We had double sided ones printed at Office Depot for less than $30. They doubled as a fan for people if needed and I’m sure most were thrown away which is totally fine because we saved here!
- Favors which we didn’t do at all. Personally, I can’t recall one favor I got from a wedding ever. I’m sure I did but they’re just not memorable. I love a nice koozie so we had those and the cups.
- Wedding planner because you can definitely do it on your own if you do some research! It definitely takes some organization but it can be done and is worth the money you save.
- The venue itself which is what we did in deciding to do both the wedding and reception on the beach at a public access area that had parking and restrooms. Having everything at one location will help you save on everything in general and be easier for you and your guests.
Overall, when it comes to what to splurge on and what to save on when planning a wedding it truly depends on your personal budget and preferences. If you put your mind to it you can save on anything! Make sure to keep open communication with your partner, parents, in-laws and whoever is involved in the wedding planning process. Have questions? Leave them in the comments below!
So you just got engaged… congratulations! Such an exciting time full of happiness and lots of planning. I’m going to be breaking down the wedding planning process week by week every Wednesday. We planned a wedding in less than 6 months without a wedding planner. Oh, and did I mention it was a destination wedding? It can be done! I won’t be giving you a timeline or anything of that nature so these steps can take place as needed depending on the length of your engagement and planning schedule!
You’re probably overwhelmed right now. There are so many decisions to be made! The first thing you need to do is decide where you’re going to get married. I don’t even mean the venue but your hometown, another destination etc. This is a discussion you need to have with your partner and your families. Definitely take into account travel time for both sides.
Once you’ve agreed on where the wedding will take place you need to talk budget. This may involve both sets of parents or just yourself and partner if you are paying for everything. Once a budget has been set begin researching venues. Look at them online and read reviews if possible. Taking a tour would be wonderful if you’re close enough to do so! You’re also deciding if you will get married in a church and then move to another venue for a reception or if your whole wedding and reception will be at one location. If you choose two separate locations then make sure you take into account distance between them and traffic. This is one of the reasons we chose one location because the traffic where we got married on Highway 30A is awful. It would’ve taken people another hour to travel elsewhere for the reception.
Once you’ve chosen a venue you will need to decide on a date. This will depend on when the venue is available and making sure both sides are free for this time. In my opinion, setting the date is the most stressful part. It’s hard to find dates that work for everyone but can be done! We chose an unconventional day to get married, a Thursday, because it would allow people to travel home that weekend and only take off 2-3 days from work if needed. It also gave my husband and I three days after the wedding to travel back before he had to return to work that Monday.
Once your venue has been reserved and you’ve paid the deposit to secure it the next thing you need to do is choose a photographer. This is where your budget comes into play again. A lot of people don’t realize that wedding photography is a huge expense but it’s worth it. You know the saying: you get what you pay for? It’s true. If you want quality images then you need to make sure you’re choosing an experienced professional photographer. You will obviously need to make sure the photographer you choose is available on the date you want to get married. If you have your heart set on one specific photographer then you might need to work with them when choosing a date before you set it. We actually did this because we knew who we wanted to use. I highly suggest reading reviews and asking around! Stalk photography instagrams and websites.
We got lucky and had the same photographer for our proposal, engagement photos and wedding! If you’re looking for a wedding photographer I can recommend ours: Kendal Dockery-Thompson.
Once you’ve gotten both of these huge steps accomplished give yourself a pat on the back and maybe even have a glass of vino if that’s your thing! I’ll be back next Wednesday will your next wedding planning steps. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments! I’ll be glad to try and help.
Being engaged is one of the most exciting and happiest times in your life but what no one tells you is how many decisions you will have to make between now and getting married. I remember I was so overwhelmed with what to choose to wear for our engagement photos since these would be around forever. You know when you look back on photos from your past and cringe about your hair, make-up, outfit? I did not want that to happen with these photos.
Our photos were taken at the end of January but we got blessed with unseasonable warm and beautiful day. When preparing for our photos my photographer advised me not to wear anything white. I was kind of unsure about that advice at first but now I am so glad I took her advice! Her reasoning is that you wear white all day on your wedding day so save something special for that day.
I did two outfit changes. I am such a dress girl that I decided to make both outfits involve one of those. Both of my outfits were from Show Me Your Mumu. The first was the bell sleeve dress with the print. I loved the colors of this dress and actually already owned it prior to getting engaged which I paired with Tory Burch riding boots.
The second outfit was also from Show Me Your Mumu. It was the black lace dress that I paired with my red cowboy boots. I loved the classic look of this dress and chose it in hopes that when I look at these pictures in a decade or two I will still be happy with my choice to wear it.
As far as jewelry I wore my rings, a watch, small dainty Kendra Scott necklace and earrings. The funniest part of the whole day is we get out to the farm my husband’s family has and I am missing one of my earrings. Thinking it has fallen us we are all searching frantically for it. We never find it so we did the whole engagement shoot with my only having one earring on but you can never tell in any of the pictures. Got home later and found it in the hallway on the floor!
I had my hair and makeup done professionally prior to the photos because it really is not something that I am great at. Definitely splurge for those things if you think it would help you look your best!
My husband also made two outfit changes. He wore dark jeans for the first with checkered button-up. He wore a plaid button up and khaki Wranglers for the second outfit. My advice for dressing your significant other is make sure they wear something that is within their usual style. We wanted a more casual look for our photos so he selected clothing according to that.
My only regrets from our engagement photos are that I had barbie pink nail polish on. I wish I had chosen a more neutral shade or a french manicure. I also wish I had worn a more neutral lipstick instead of pink but at the time that was my go to shade. Overall I am very pleased with how they turned out even almost 3 years later.
And of course do not hesitate to have your fur children in your photos. We only had Reese at the time and she ended up in a photo with us that we chose for our save-the-date that was sent out to our guests! Questions about what to wear for your engagement shoot? I would love to help! Looking for a photographer in the Texas/Arkansas/Oklahoma area? I have your girl! She’s amazing to work with and also did our wedding. She can be reached via her website: Kendal Dockery Photography