Wedding Planning on a Budget: What NOT to Skimp On!

Wedding Planning on a Budget: What NOT to Skimp On!

August 17, 2020



Why You Need a Wedding Budget

If you’ve been around and listened to our previous episodes, you know how much we value clearly communicating about a budget and sticking to it! If you don’t set a wedding budget, you are only opening yourself up to a load of problems. You may end up spending more money than you have, and starting a marriage in deep debt isn’t ideal. Or you may end up creating relational problems when you both disagree on how much is a reasonable amount to spend on a vendor or wedding service. 

If you are unsure of how to plan a budget for your personal lives or for your wedding day, be sure to take a listen to Episode #8: Marriage and Money which will give you a general set of steps to follow in order to create a budget! 

In this episode, we wanted to focus on wedding budgeting specifically. We hear from so many of our couples about the stress of money during wedding planning- and we know, we lived it too! Pinterest gives you dreams of a picture perfect wedding day, and it can be daunting to realize how much money you might have to spend on this one day of your life. 

Everyone is different and everyone has different hopes and dreams for what their wedding day will be like. I absolutely understand the people who are solely focused on getting married, and who couldn’t care less what tablecloths are used or what their flowers look like. But I also completely understand the couples who have dreamed of this day for so long and who know what they want it to look like down to the last detail. Your wedding budget will look different than our wedding budget. You have to decide as a couple what is most valuable to you, and what you could live without. I find myself in the middle of the spectrum- yes, your wedding day is only one day of your life, but it is SUCH an important day. You want to be able to look back on it in years and know that you loved each part of it! 

What NOT to Skimp On

After photographing multiple weddings, and by being immersed in the wedding community, Cody and I do feel like we have an expertise on wedding planning and budgeting. We have found that even though the smaller details will vary from couple to couple, there are commonalities between ALL couples about what you should spend $$ on for your wedding day and what doesn’t matter as much. 

Today we are going to focus on three things NOT to skimp on when it comes to your wedding planning. These are suggestions we have experienced ourselves and ones we have heard over and over from our couples and other married friends. Everyone’s hopes for their wedding day are different, so it may be that one of these things is something you are willing to sacrifice on for your wedding day. However, you’ll want to take some time and really think through whether or not you are ok with that decision. Let’s dive in! 

#1: Photography and Videography Services

Ok, so we are photographers so you might be thinking we are a little biased…but let us tell you about our own experience and maybe You’ll see things differently. When Cody and I were planning our own wedding, we were not yet wedding photographers! When it came time to choose a photographer, I had to narrow down the search to a few photographers who I had followed on social media. However when we began to search through the websites of local photographers, we were stunned to see how much money we would have to budget for photography! We had already set aside a certain amount of money that we were comfortable spending on a photographer, and I was pretty confident that I could find a photographer for that amount of money. Yet when I was searching all of the photographers around, I could not find anyone who was under that amount. Like we’re talking thousands of dollars off! Cody and I definitely did not Google a general rate for wedding photographers when we are making our budget so learn from our mistakes!

We ended up video chatting with what would become our wedding photographers, and we were so incredibly excited about the possibility of having them as our photographers. But we had a serious case of sticker shock, and it actually took us multiple weeks to decide whether or not we are willing to pay that much money for one service on our wedding day.

Why to Splurge on Your Wedding Photographer

What it came down to for us was a mixture of a few things. Number one: we felt really comfortable with these photographers. They were excited for us, they were genuine, and they couldn’t wait for our wedding. Number two: their wedding photographs were consistently stunning. Number three: we realize that our wedding photographs would be one of the only things that we would have of our day once it was all over.

Let’s talk a little bit more about each of these issues and why it convinced us to spend the money on our wedding photographers. Firstly, having a good relationship with your wedding photographers is vital. Emily and I talked in depth about this in Episode 15: How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

Our second reason was about the consistency and quality of photos that are wedding photographers offered. This is probably one of the most important reasons why you should not skimp on a wedding photographer. Photographers who are charging much less than the typical rate in your area are likely either very inexperienced photographers or photographers who do not have much consistency/quality in their images. 

Now are there times When an unexperienced photographer can offer you incredible services at a low price? Yes, however it’s very important to remember that that is the exception and not the rule! If you are considering hiring a photographer just for their low price, I implore to to stop and think it through! Unless you know the photographer and you have seen examples of their work, it’s not a bet I would be willing to take! Cody and I have heard multiple horror stories about a Couples never receiving wedding in ages, receiving very poor images, or receiving only minimal wedding images when they worked with a wedding photographer who was ill equipped. 

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. If you are paying someone to capture it you will want to wholeheartedly trust that they have your back and they will provide you with photos that you absolutely love!  Before you eliminate a wedding photographer just based on their price point, we suggest searching their website, reading some of their previous blog posts, following them on social media, or reaching out to them for a client meeting. Once you get to know them better and understand what services are included in their wedding package and the quality of the images that they offer, you likely will have a different perspective on how much they charge.

Why to Splurge on Your Wedding Videographer

Now let’s talk about videography services. Because Cody and I spent more than we were expecting to on our wedding photographers, we decided that we would not spend money on a wedding videographer. I know we said that the only thing I regret about our wedding day was our DJ, haha, but this actually is another thing that I do regret. Since being wedding photographers, I’ve seen so many beautiful wedding videos. I get teary-eyed watching ones that are a couples that I don’t even know! I just think the video is such a beautiful way to capture the emotion of a wedding day in a way that is different than how photographs capture our wedding day. I think it would be really beautiful to have all of our guests’ reactions and enjoyment in our wedding day captured in video form.

While you won’t find many people who get married without having a wedding photographer, there are many couples who opt out of having a videographer. I don’t think that there is a right or wrong answer here, but don’t decide not to have a videographer without doing a little research first! I would suggest following some videographers from your area on social media so that you can see what type of work they create and how they capture wedding days. Additionally, I would talk to people who have chosen to have a wedding videographer. Ask them if it was worth it for them, and why they chose to have a wedding videographer. This will help you and your partner decide whether or not this is a service you’d like to include on your wedding day! 

#2: Venue 

Ok, it’s time for #2! The second thing we highly suggest not skimping on for your wedding day would be your wedding venue! Booking a wedding venue that you love can be a very stressful decision. One thing that Cody and I have found as we have worked with our couples and their various wedding venues is that no venue and their services are exactly the same! One wedding venue may include all the tables and chairs, while another venue only offers the structure. Another wedding venue may offer decorating services, while the other may require you and your family to decorate. 

For these reasons, it is super important that you contact wedding venues and get as much information as you can before you make your decision. Yes, there may be a wedding venue that you LOVE that only has a few dates available. This can cause you to jump on something and regret it later on. 

Cody and I lucked out with a gorgeous venue that had everything we needed. When we were looking at venues, we first looked around in the city where we expected to get married. However, what we found was that many of the venues in that area offered little to no services above and beyond the actual structure of the venue. We would literally be paying thousands for a roof over our heads and not much else, haha! While we don’t think you should skimp and choose a venue solely on it’s low price point, we do think there are ways to get the MOST bang for your buck when it comes to selecting a wedding venue. 

Here are some things to think of when you are considering a venue and their price point: are tables, chairs, linens, etc included? Is alcohol stocked by the bar or do you need to bring in your own beverages? Are all caterers allowed or do they only work with a limited selection? How long will you have the venue for? (think set-up and take down of decorations/florals) Do they have a selection of decorative pieces that are included in the rental fee? 

When you find the answers to those questions, you’ll find that it is way more worthwhile to go with a venue at a higher price point that includes multiple services than to choose a venue at a lower price point and then be stuck with coordinating all of the extra details. 

#3: Floral services

The third item you definitely should not under budget for is florals! I am a sucker for real flowers, I just think that they are ideal in so many ways for making your wedding day feel like a fairytale. Florals can absolutely transform a space, but you have to be willing to find a florist who is an expert! Once you have an idea of what you want your wedding day to look and feel like, I suggest going to florists with that overall vision and allowing them to tell you what they could provide you with! They are the true experts and know what flowers are in season during your wedding day, and exactly how to create something based on the vision that you share. You will want to find a florist that you can trust to create something unique, not just one that can copy a picture of a bouquet that you found on the internet. 

As photographers, we are working with flowers the entire day! We capture our bride’s details with her bouquet. We use extra flowers in order to capture flat lays of the invitation suite and rings. Cody takes photos of moms placing their son’s boutonnieres on their lapels, and I capture all of the bridesmaids giggling with their bouquets!  We take detailed photos of all of the ceremony florals, reception table centerpieces, and floral decorations. You don’t want poorly put together florals to take away attention from these gorgeous images. So make sure you find a florist that you can trust to not only execute a gorgeous arrangement, but one who can create something uniquely beautiful for your wedding day! 

Wise Wedding Spending

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. We hope you now know exactly what to budget extra money on for your wedding day. Cody and I are so excited to share with you ideas for how you can save money in a future episode, so be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss out on another episode! 


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