So if you read the last post in this How to Plan Your Wedding Series you’ll hopefully have made a start at setting your wedding budget. Chances are you’ve also therefore realised that weddings are pretty expensive. No matter the size of their budget most couples will at some point discover the that they can’t have everything on their big day wishlist.
So which parts of a wedding should you splurge on and where is it ok to spend more cautiously? In this post I’ll be suggesting where invest most of your wedding cash and areas where cost cutting won’t be so obvious. Before we begin I should add that these are only my views and every couple will differ in what is important to them so please don’t panic if my areas to save are super important to you.
WHERE TO SPLURGE //
I won’t labour this point too much as there are a
zillion lot of articles out there advocating the importance of hiring the best photographer you can afford. It’s a no brainer really; your photos will be what helps keep your memories of the day alive long after your honeymoon tan has faded, so this is definitely not an area of your wedding that you want to scrimp on. Invest in a printed album if you can too, photographs are made to be looked at not hidden away on a neglected USB stick.
Food & Drink
Food is a focal point of your wedding reception so it’s unwise to cut corners on catering. You don’t need to fork out on a 7-course menu of caviar and Chateaubriand if it doesn’t suit you or your wedding style, but whatever food you do go for make sure it’s flavoursome and that there’s plenty of it. Even casual wedding catering can seem expensive but bear in mind that cooking on a large scale is difficult; it needs special equipment and experienced chefs with top-notch time management skills.
Guests expect to be able to dance the night away at a wedding so make sure you provide great music for them to cut some shapes to. Nothing kills the party atmosphere more than a band who are off key, too loud or don’t engage with their audience. Wedding bands are ten a penny too so I’d advise getting real-life recommendations or making sure that you see them play live before booking.
WHERE TO SAVE //
Hot Evening Food
Hot evening food definitely has it place especially if you are starting your wedding very early, or have a large number of evening only guests. If that’s not the case though consider whether you really need to serve your guests yet more hot grub. More cost effective options could include a savoury cheese cake or cute packets of popcorn or nuts for guests to nibble on.
Most bands will happily play your smartphone playlist through their professional kit in-between their live sets, whilst many offer a bolt-on DJ service for a smaller fee than it would cost to hire an entirely separate supplier. Managing your non-live music this way also gives you full control over what is played and when. Just make sure you allow for more music than you think you’d need, have at least one back-up device and plenty of chargers to hand.
If you have a wonderfully unique idea that guests can actually treasure as a meaningful reminder of your day then favours can be fab, but having spent many an evening tidying leftover sweets or chocolate away this is one area I think it’s totally acceptable to skip. The best favours I’ve come across actually cost the couple next to nothing; they wrote a short personal thank you message for each guest to find as they took their seat.
Before I go I also want to share a few tips on what ‘saving’ actually means.
Cheap isn’t always cheerful
There are always bargains to be had, usually in the form of up-and-coming superstar suppliers who haven’t quite realised their true worth yet, but generally if a price seems too good to be true then it probably is. You should seek out testimonials for every supplier you book but it’s even more critical that cheaper quotes are backed up with several positive references.
Don’t expect something for nothing
Be aware that directly asking a supplier for money off usually doesn’t get you very far and will probably offend them in the process. Wedding professionals like everyone else have mortgages or rent to pay and families to feed and they charge what the do in order to live their lives. You wouldn’t be too impressed if your boss asked you to do the same job for a lower salary, so if you want to pay less then you need to get less. Instead try asking if the supplier in question can offer a bespoke package to fit the budget you do have.
Don’t assume that going down the DIY route will definitely save you a huge amount of money. You won’t have access to the trade prices or buying power that a supplier would so the price of raw materials can easily stack up. Unless its a skill you’re experienced in you’ll probably mess the the first few up too so be prepared to re-buy said materials!
Wedding Band: Jose Villa
Wedding Album: Artifact Uprising
Cocktails: Jacquelyn Clark
Canapes: Camilla Arnhold Photography
Couple Portrait: India Earl Photography
Dancefloor Rules Sign: Dominique Bader Photography
Popcorn: Sara Remington
Thank You Note: Bobbi Photo
Nut Snacks: Martha Stewart
Portait Placecards: Josh Strauss
About the Author
She loves epic checklists, heartfelt wedding details and country walks (as long as they end at the pub.)
Her dislikes include all flying insects, bad timekeeping and most wedding chair covers.