We ask the WedEclectic team a question, and post their answers each week…providing some advice, inspiration and insight into the person behind our shops. We hope you enjoy them!
Please reply with your own answer! : )
How did you (or would you) personally prioritize the following aspects of the wedding on where to put most of your budget: reception venue, your dress, the flowers, the photographer, honeymoon locale, and food?
Looking back over twenty years, I still have my photographs, so the photographer is #1!
#2 Food is a close second – a good meal with family & friends makes the memories and photographs worth remembering and treasuring!
#3 Honeymoon – We didn’t get to go on a honeymoon. 😦 Be sure to do this. Your family will understand!
#4 The Wedding Dress is often a large percentage of the budget, however, I was lucky and found a vintage Victorian dress with a cathedral length veil for about $400. It barely needed any alterations! Since then, I’ve helped many friends find great deals. The latest great find is a brand new dress, but it is the floor sample so it’s $350!
#5 Reception Venues are a great place to minimize the budget. We were married in a gorgeous botanical garden, which was free! However, we did rent white tents, tables, and chairs for our reception. This location gave our guests the time to stole around together after the ceremony and catch up. Lots of great casual pictures and memories were made there!
#6 Flowers are great, but many brides are DYI geniuses and creating great alternatives from vintage papers, like music or book pages. The venue can really determine the need for flowers, again our wedding was in a garden, so all I needed were wedding party corsages.
For us we wanted a venue that would provide the food as well. So I would lump those two together as our number one. Luckily we found the Cliff House in San Francisco that was not only a venue with an amazing view and history but also an amazing restaurant.
I would say number two on the budget was the photographer, they are not cheap! These are photos you are going to keep forever so be sure to choose someone you really want.
Third on the budget list was my dress. I did end up spending a little more budgeted but I saved in other places.
Honeymoon budget was number four. My husband and I had racked up a bunch of frequent flyer miles so our flights were free! All we had to pay for was the actual cruise, and sure we splurged and got a balcony suite. You only get married once!
Last on the budget list were the flowers. My aunt was a florist for many years so did all our flower arrangements for free. We just had to pay for the actual flowers which saved us LOTS of money.
Coming from a Chinese family the most important thing was the reception and food! I think half of the money spent went to reception and food which looking back is a lot but the food was amazing!
Then it was the dress and suits because my husband and I had to look our best.
After that the photographer, table decoration and other miscellaneous stuff gets lumped together as third.
How did you (or would you) prioritize your wedding budget?
Doing it yourself seems the obvious choice when trying to cut back on expenses. BE WARNED, though, that sometimes going “DIY” doesn’t save you enough money to be worth the extra headache! Jennifer, from ClayBouquetShop, wrote a fantastic article about this very topic. She offers some great tips if you are planning to take some elements of your wedding day into your own hands! That being said, if you are artistic or good with your hands or just already know your own talents and limitations well enough, it can be a great way to save some money! So go ahead and ponder the possibilities, just know that you personally won’t have the time to do everything. Pick and choose wisely.
My real-life example, Julianna, wanted her bouquet to last beyond the wedding day. She also wanted something that was uniquely her. With a little craft-store savvy, she rounded up the elements that fit her vision, and came up with this gorgeously unique bouquet for around $20.
Looking for some more DIY inspiration? Check out these fabulous posts right here on the Wed Eclectic blog!
DIY Photo Booth (with Props)
I know, I know. Tip number THREE, is setting a budget? Most people want to jump right in and start here. But, trust me, this vital step will be so much easier if you’ve already taken the time to prioritize your wedding preferences and talk over money with the involved parties!
Let’s start by taking a look over your list of who is paying for what and figure out what you and your fiancé have to cover. Now draw up a quick list of those things and be realistic about what you think you can spend on each item, keeping in mind the priorities you’ve set! If you really can’t face setting it all down on paper from scratch, here are two budget planners I found through a quick online search:
Here is one which is a little “detail” lacking, but a good start. I do like that they’ve given you a column for “anticipated” cash flow, as well as “actual” cash flow. If you use those columns as you go along, you can make slight adjustments here and there, and will hopefully know if you have enough extra to cover any unexpected expenses.
Here’s another drafted budget. This one looks good, but I would highly recommend changing those percentages to better reflect what you decided your priorities would be! You may also want to break down those large categories into smaller, more manageable shopping lists.
I am almost certain there isn’t a bride-to-be out there who hasn’t heard the advice of setting and sticking to a realistic budget. And yet, isn’t it strange how many attempt to ignore that advice? Ignoring your budget not only encourages you to stop hunting for better deals, but it often causes greater financial stress among families, including the one you’re about to start! Having the budget written down and keeping it with the things you are using to plan the wedding will help you visualize the process and help you stick to it!
As I mentioned in my second post, my parents gave me cash to cover our reception costs. This worked out as a great budgeting tool for me, because I could quickly see just how much we spent, and how much we had left, as we went along. I also pulled certain amounts aside for specific, more expensive, things on our shopping list (like my dress and the rings) ahead of time, so that I knew I’d have that money when I needed it.