Everyone’s priorities are different and it’s up to you and your fiancé to really do some soul searching when it comes to working within a wedding budget, especially when the budget is a modest one. When considering your wedding budget, ask yourselves what matters most to you and then ask yourselves what you think matters most to your guests. While it is of course, your wedding, you don’t want to get carried away with your obsession with something that may not matter in the scheme of things and may have little to no impact whatsoever on the overall experience that you or your guests will have. If an eight-tier wedding cake like Kate Middleton had sounds glamorous to you, but it means that you have to settle for a less- than amazing DJ, then maybe a three-tier cake will do just as nicely.
Or if buying the gown that came straight off the runway just days before will mean that you can’t get pick the venue that offers the best food and service, maybe you need to rethink how much that matters to you, or if last season’s gown will do just as nicely. You get to call the shots. But be sure to use rational and logical thinking when making those decisions, despite what your impulses might otherwise guide you to choose. There are a few things that I would recommend you pay closer attention to than others and allocate a bigger piece of the wedding budget towards to insure that both you and you guests have a great time.
Here are the top five things a couple shouldn't scrimp on when divvying up where their wedding budget will go and why.
The Venue. The biggest decision of the bunch.
Ambiance and quality is everything when it comes to choosing a wedding venue. Great food and great service should be your number one priority. How are your guest treated when they walk through the door? How do you hope to be treated throughout the planning process? How quickly will you get responses to your questions and how much faith do you have in the venue manager and their team? Is the venue known for serving great good and do you feel great in that environment? I can’t stress enough how important it is to pick the right venue for your needs that offers quality service and food, as well as an environment that you love. The experience you will have with the venue is likely to be the same experience that your guest will have, good or bad and the selection is the most important decision you will make.
Great entertainment is crucial.
Nothing is a bigger buzz kill then a lousy band or a personality-less DJ. You need an MC with high energy who knows how to read the crowd, knows what they want to hear and can keep them going strong throughout the evening. If you're going to do it, do it right. A band is a fairly large wedding expense but if you're going to have a band, splurge and make sure you get one that makes the party great. If a good band is not within your wedding budget, choose a DJ instead, but splurge on one that has lots of experience, a great personality and outstanding energy.
Ambient lighting makes all the difference.
Lighting can be one of the most expensive elements at a wedding. But a well-lit space can make all the difference in the world to the overall aesthetics of the wedding. Lighting budgets run the gamut depending upon what the venue already has in place and what time of day the ceremony and reception will take place, but putting the proper amount of the wedding budget towards lighting based upon what is needed should be a top priority. At the top of my favorites-list are pinspots for the tables. This is a focused beam of light that illuminates your table centerpiece. Even with lots of candle light, the centerpieces remain dark until you get close to the tables. Pinspots add drama to the entire room the instant the doors are opened. They allow guests to admire the floral both from a distance and close up. Next priority is wash lighting for the stage and dance floor, as well as was lighting for the ceremony at the alter or chuppah and down the aisle, especially when outdoors. If your wedding budget also allows for uplights or patterned washes on the perimeter walls or ceiling at the reception, the end result is fabulous and worth every penny. The key here is not skimping on the number of lights used for this component, since doing too few can actually look worse than doing none at all, in my opinion. With too few uplights you get a striped effect on perimeter walls that would look better if they were bare. While these examples of decorative lighting are not the same as functional lighting, the take-away is that a world of difference will be made if you do what is needed and enhances your space dramatically.
Pick a Photographer that you adore.
Not only does the photographer capture all of the special moments from your wedding day, but it's well worth the extra money to be able to witness things those things that still-photography just can't capture. How else would each of you be able to see the other getting ready for the big day? Or the anticipation on his or her face before you walk down the aisle? Today's wedding video is far more creative it was in years past and is like having a mini-movie created especially for you of this very important day in your lives.
A Wedding Coordinator will save your sanity.
It’s impossible to know what you don’t know. And it’s impossible to be a bride or a groom and a wedding coordinator simultaneously. The last thing you should be doing is worrying about the comings and goings of the vendors, electrical issues or how many groomsmen disappeared to get a last-minute haircut. Your family and bridal party also want to enjoy their day, and rightfully so. Leave the stress to the professionals and take out the best insurance policy money can buy… a qualified wedding coordinator to handle the logistics for the day so you can relax and enjoy.
When it comes to budgeting it’s a simple as crunching the numbers. This involves finding out what your venue and vendor costs will be before you sign any of your contracts and are locked in. Once you have all those numbers in front of you, you will have the info you need to make an informed decision as to whether or not you'll be over budget as a whole. It’s not uncommon to spend more than you originally anticipated so make sure you start with a realistic number and allocate wisely to avoid going over. If you need help from a professional wedding planner to truly know what your costs will be, consider consulting with one before making any moves you might later regret.
Also, keep in mind that many of the small details may go unnoticed by the majority of the guests. Decide how important those are in the scheme of things and if they are worth allocating a big chunk of the wedding budget toward.
Be truly cognizant about what matters most on your wedding day, which is finding your soulmate and committing to a lifetime together. Even if it isn’t the biggest or fanciest affair that wedding guests have attended, it doesn't change the significance of the day and will likely matter even less years from now. Guests are there to celebrate your love and wish you luck in the years come. While the fancy items are lovely, memorable and fun, they only make sense when the budget adequately allows for them and are something that gives you and your guests much deserved joy.