Wedding Budgeting | Do’s & Don’ts

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Sean Cook Photography

When working with couple’s one thing we frequently notice is that the biggest concern they have is their budget; how much it should be, when to save, when to splurge, etc. We can totally understand the hesitancy as weddings are not cheap! It can be stressful determining how much to spend, but even if your budget is on the lower side, you don’t have to settle for less than your perfect dream wedding. Having a smaller budget just means you need to be a little smarter with your funds. We’ve put together some of the biggest Wedding Budgeting Do’s & Don’ts and some tips on where you should save and where you should splurge when it comes to allocating your funds.

Do’s & Don’ts

DO: Talk about it

Before finalizing your budget, make sure that you communicate with everyone who will be contributing so that everyone is on the same page from the get go. This will save you (and your contributors) a lot of headaches later on.

DO: Break it down

After finalizing your overall wedding budget, it’s important to start thinking about how you will allocate all of your funds. Discussing what is important to you vs. what you could do without will help you determine what percentage of your budget should be put towards each vendor.

DON’T: Assume others will contribute

Assumptions can cause a lot of anxiety later down the line, especially when it comes to paying for your wedding. Be clear and direct with those who may be contributing to your budget and don’t put down any deposits or sign any contracts without knowing 100% what your overall budget will be, contributions and all!

DO: Ask lots of questions

When selecting your vendors be sure you ask them a lot of questions. Make sure you understand what is included in your package, if there are any hidden fees, or if there are any additional items that could tack on to the overall cost.

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Where to Splurge

Photography

Don’t skimp on the photographer! While you may not be able to afford your dream photographer, you shouldn’t settle for much less. After your wedding day is over, you’ll be looking at these photos for years to come and you want to really love your photographs. This is not to say that a “budget” photographer will bring you sub-par photos, but be realistic when determining your photography budget.

Venue

One of your biggest expenses will be your wedding venue. Save costs by having the ceremony and reception in the same location, but choose a place you love that will set the mood for your big day! By choosing the right venue, you could turn around and save costs on your decor and rentals depending on what is included in the package.

DJ

You’ll notice that most of our “splurge” items have to do with creating the perfect setting. Choosing a good DJ is crucial to creating the right atmosphere for your day. Read reviews before booking and make sure they come highly recommended. It’s hard to save a reception with a bad DJ, so go ahead and splurge!

Where to Save:

Skip the Saturday

Many venues charge a much lower price to have your wedding on a Friday or Sunday and we’ve been noticing a trend of Friday weddings recently. Always check with your immediate family and important guests before booking, but you can really save on your costs if you don’t nail yourself down to having a Saturday wedding.

Guest List

If all of your bills are starting to add up and you’re worried about accommodating all of your wedding expenses, consider lowering the guest count. This will not only save on food/beverage costs the day of, it will also shave off some money from Invitations, Favors, Save the Dates, etc.

Menu

Opt for a simpler menu to save on food costs. Try two courses instead of three, serve family style, or even go for a buffet-style if your event is more casual. Simplifying your menu will help your cost-per-guest decrease drastically!

 

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Gift Giving at Weddings | Do’s & Don’ts

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Attending a wedding soon and not sure what is appropriate or expected when it comes to a wedding gift? Not sure whether to give cash or stick the registry? What if you’re not attending the wedding? How much do you need to spend? Don’t stress, we’ve got you covered!  Here’s a list of our top do’s and don’ts when it comes to wedding gift etiquette.

Don’t: Be Afraid to Give Cash
When it comes to giving cash as a wedding gift some people feel it’s a bit too impersonal, but that is absolutely not true. In fact, a lot of couples prefer cash as it let’s them spend it on something they need that they may not be able to register for or something fun and unexpected, like a cooking class on their honeymoon!

Do: Ship the Gift
So you’ve bought your gift, now what? You could bring it to the wedding (and many do!), but consider shipping the gift directly to the couple instead. Not only is it simpler for you, but it’s less stress for the couple on their big day. Now they won’t have to worry about transporting it or have the risk of losing it during the shuffle. We’ve done our fair share of carting wedding gifts to and from venues and take it from us, it’s easier to ship direct!

Do: Stick to the Registry
If you decide to go with a physical gift, stick to the registry! While the couple may end up loving your rogue gift, it’s a risky move and unless you know the couple very well or are in the wedding party, keep it simple and stick to the registry. **If you just got engaged and are looking to start your registry soon, skip to the bottom for our quick tips and recommendations!

Don’t: Overspend
The average wedding gift these days is around $150, but before you pull the trigger take into consideration other factors. How well do you know the couple, what is your budget, are you traveling to the wedding? All of these answers will help determine what the appropriate amount to spend will be.

Don’t: Wait!
Always try to your best to send your gift before the wedding day, especially if you aren’t attending the actual celebration. The old belief is that you have up to a year after the wedding day to deliver you gift, but times have changed! A year is a long time and while ‘better late than never’ is definitely true in this case, try not to wait longer than 3 months after the wedding.

Building your Registry
Are you currently engaged and trying to create your wedding registry? There’s so much to consider when starting your registry and it can be really overwhelming. The most important things to remember are to build it together with your partner, take your time, and have a large variety of items. If you’re not sure where to start, try to find an all-in-one registry that has a wide variety of items. Zola is one of our faves and we’d highly recommend it! They have pre-built Gift Collections that are a great starting point to get an idea of what you’d to register for. And if you want to register for cash, there’s an option for guests to pay for your airfare or renovations or whatever you like, so tasteful!