The number one point of contention when it comes to issues with my clients always inevitably ends up being something cost related. My job as an event planner is making someones dream day happen on their budget. While most people have an idea of what they can get with the budget they have, most don't realize some incredible ways they can save money so they can allot more of their budget to things that they really can't skimp on. Of course, as a wedding professional, I will tell you hiring someone who can do the thinking and dirty work for you is the best option because I can save you money and get you more bang for the buck while doing so, but if I'm booked for a wedding and there is no one else that can help you, this is the article for you! I will give you some pointers on throwing an incredible soiree on limited dime!
Photography-splurge or save
When it comes to the memories you have of your special day, I absolutely believe spending the money on a professional photographer is best. However, the most expensive photographer doesn't always equate to the best! It's important to do your research and meet with the photographer you are interested in. When you meet, explain your vision and be sure the photographer agrees and is open to anything and everything you want to do. Some of the best photographers are ones that are up and coming and therefore have smaller portfolios of quality work. So the overall consensus is: splurge.
However, if you are dealing with a seriously small budget or will be having a casual party that you simply don't think requires professional photos, a photo booth and even a DIY photo booth can be a great alternative. Photobooths can range from $500-$1500 depending upon your region and how many hours you book. Compared to a photographer this is a medium budget alternative that can save you some cash and also allow for some fun (albeit entirely posed) memories.
A DIY Photo Booth is an even cheaper alternative for a super thrifty saving option. If you or someone you know (and trusts you) has a dslr camera, you can create your own photo booth with only a few simple items for less than $100. You'll need some fun props that can be purchased at the dollar store, party store or even crafted and DIYed yourself. You'll need a camera remoteYou'll also need to figure out what type of backdrop you want. The ladies of A Beautiful Mess have a lovely blog post about making your own home photo booth. But you can also do some incredibly beautiful things with tissue paper, ribbon or balloons.
Dress-splurge or save
I hate to have another wishy washy "it could go either way" topic, but this really depends upon who you are as a person. Are you considering making this a family heirloom that you will pass down to your grandchildren? Are you a professional stylist or fashion blogger? If you answered no to either of those questions, you could really save some money.
I know I've said this before, but I love the unique details that make a wedding really personal and true to the couple. A nontraditional wedding dress can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars and can really let your personality shine, especially if you are more of a casual person. The other great thing about the nontraditional dress is that if you aren't against the taboo nature of tradition, you can wear your wedding dress out on another occasion. If you aren't comfortable wearing it more often than special occasions, it can be a fun way to commemorate your wedding day by wearing it on your first anniversary. If you are still saying the traditional dress is for you, there are plenty of inexpensive options at most department stores, just find one that is true to your personality and flatters your body.
If it is at all possible, save money on your venue. If you are looking for an indoor venue, depending upon where you live, you have many options. The trick is flexibility. If you are flexible with the date, venues will discount for off season and everything else in your wedding will be cheaper as well. If you are flexible with the proximity or decor, your options are endless. Rustic themes were the best thing to happen to weddings in 2014 because barn-style venues are often cheaper than fancy dining halls. Outdoor weddings have even more options because...well the majority of the world is outdoors. Some often overlooked venues are parks, campgrounds, and farms. If you are lucky enough to live near the water, using the beach as a venue can be practically fee other than the permit you have to get for the ceremony. If you have had your heart set on a fairytale wedding at a specific venue since you were a little girl, splurge there and save elsewhere. Otherwise, find a place you love and that can accommodate all your guests and spend the leftover money on a wedding planner that can decorate the heck out of that place to make it your own!
I know every florist in the world is hating me right now, but hear me out! I'm not saying get rid of flowers all together, However, you would be amazed at how far you can stretch your dollar with less expensive flowers like carnations and baby's breath. My favorite way to stretch the floral arrangement and also add life is to add greenery to the bouquet and table settings. I'm talking go in the backyard and gather some ferns, caladium, spiraea, and even leaves from apple trees or other shorter accessible trees. It may seem a little weird at first, but done correctly I can guarantee that no one at your wedding will have any idea unless you tell them! If you have bad allergies or you're just not ready to become one with the squirrels in your backyard, here is another beautiful option:
This bouquet was done with a gorgeous succulent as a focal point, light and feathery branches and paper flowers. It's a stunning statement that is not only unique but can be done inexpensively. You could customize this bouquet for any season by changing out the colors or accent flowers you use.
The other alternative is to splurge a little bit and pay a professional florist for your bouquet and bridesmaids bouquets but put your own centerpiece, aisle and ceremony arrangements together. You wold be amazed at how inexpensively you can get certain flowers at certain places if you know what to look for!
Obviously these are just suggestions and whatever you find most important for your wedding will be where you spend the most money. However, if you are looking for some places to thin out the budget, explore some fun alternatives to the traditional and you never know where you may be able to allocate funds. Extended honeymoon, perhaps?