We all want to cut wedding costs where we can and believe me, I have quite a few tips on how to efficiently do that. But there are some things that you just should not sacrifice for your wedding.
Absolutely do not sacrifice your wedding dress if it is important to you. Wedding dresses range vastly in pricing and costs can reach astronomical numbers. But if there is a dress you have dreamt about since the engagement or since childhood, do not sacrifice that to cut costs, it will absolutely remain a regret long after the wedding. Know that there is a difference between sacrifice and compromise. If you find your dream dress and it is out of your price range, I recommend visiting multiple shops to find a similar dress by another designer. Few dress designs are absolutely one of a kind and odds are another designer or shop has one very similar at a lower cost. Also, be sure you aren’t falling in love with a picture. Don’t have your heart dead set on a dress you saw on social media or in a magazine. You never know how you will feel about it once you actually try it on. Allow yourself to have the complete dress shopping experience and try multiple styles before deciding on one. If in the end your dress is still outside of your budget, talk with your partner and see if you can rearrange costs elsewhere and adjust your budget in other wedding areas such as favors, hotel, entertainment, etc.
Do not settle for a venue you do not love or one that does not fit your vision. If you envisioned an elegant modern wedding, don’t settle for having your wedding at a park because it’s cheaper. The venue is your guests first impression of the wedding and is the foundation of your wedding style and overall look and feel. Depending on your budget, you may not be able to book your absolute dream venue, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find one you love within your budget. Spend a lot of time researching venues, maybe even some in neighboring cities, and schedule as many tours as you need to in order to find the perfect one.
Photography and videography are vendors you should not sacrifice and every person I know who has is still regretting it. Believe me when I say no matter how good your uncle or friend is with a camera, it will not compare to professionally done photos. Your wedding is a once in a lifetime experience and you only have that one day to capture all the beautiful moments. Always, always book a good professional photographer and, if you can, also book a videographer. Having a mini movie of your special day is so magical and gives you a way to relive the day over and over again. Often times, companies will have a photography and videography bundle package but if you have a little more spending room, I recommend booking a videographer through a company where all they do is videography because then you know they have a team that works endlessly on editing and movie magic. While I do provide tips on saving wedding costs and some vendors or items to possibly cut or save money on, photography and videography are definitely not in that category. You don’t have to book the most expensive ones in your area, but you definitely do not want to go for the cheapest. A good wedding photographer and videographer charge somewhat hefty prices because of the high cost of the quality equipment used as well as the high number of hours spent meticulously editing, splicing, and making the images and videos perfect. Research what the average cost of a wedding photographer or videographer is in your area and don’t book anyone that is significantly below that number. I recommend booking an engagement photo shoot with vendors you are highly considering in order to help you see their shooting style, editing skills, and overall product quality before the big day. That way, if you aren’t satisfied you have time to switch vendors for the wedding. Often times, vendors will offer a free or discounted engagement shoot at wedding expos so definitely take advantage!
Good food should never be sacrificed. With most wedding receptions taking place during dinner time, your guests will be hungry. While hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour are a nice touch the reception dinner is definitely a must. You don’t have to go fancy or really expensive like steak or scallops, but you definitely want to consider options other than dry lasagna. Food is a very memorable aspect of any event; guests will always remember how good or bad the food was. And in addition to that, if the food is not good, you will likely have a few guests leave early because they’re still hungry. Research caterers in your area and schedule as many menu tastings as you need to. You will find someone offering good food at a reasonable price. I recommend asking your other vendors for recommendations. Also, if there was a wedding you went to recently where you really enjoyed the food, ask the couple who their caterer was.
To a lot of people, having an open bar is a must for any wedding. It is definitely expected and not offering it can cause annoyance with your guests, decrease the amount of drinking, and possibly reduce how loose and fun everyone gets. If you are unfamiliar, open bar is when the host (you) pays for all of your guests’ drinks with no limitations. You can of course work with your venue or bartending service company to decide what brands of liquor, beer, and/or wine you will offer as that likely plays a role in determining pricing. If your venue has a built-in bar, chances are their wedding package includes an open bar. If your venue does not have a built-in bar, you will likely need to hire a bartending service company equipped with a mobile bar. Not providing an open bar and forcing guests to pay for their own drinks may be perceived as a bit cheap and be met with some annoyance from your guests especially if they flew in from out-of-town, took time off work, booked a hotel and rental car, and splurged on a nice wedding present. This is one area I wouldn’t sacrifice to save money.
Opting out of hiring a professional DJ may seem like an easy way to save money but it’s actually not something I recommend. A good DJ does more than just push play, they are essential in controlling and maintaining the atmosphere and vibe at the wedding. They are also essential in assisting in direction and keeping the day on schedule. The DJ is largely responsible for guiding the guests and making sure everyone’s attention is where it should be. If there is no DJ, there is no one to announce the first dance, cake cutting, last call for bar, etc.