Your 2023 Guide: Wedding Planning, vendors, and Cost-saving tips
So you're getting married! Congratulations!
As you begin to plan your big day, it's important to keep in mind the various costs associated with a wedding. Here's a guide to wedding costs to help you budget and plan accordingly!
First and foremost, the venue is going to be one of the most significant expenses. You want to choose a venue that fits your budget and accommodates your guest list. Keep in mind that there may be additional fees for catering, service charges, and taxes, and they may have conditions regarding your other wedding pros so it's important to ask about these upfront.
Next up is catering. The cost will depend on the type of food you choose and how many guests you have. Be sure to let your caterer know if there are any dietary needs or restrictions.
Did you know - you can have a larger than life cake at a reasonable price point with fake layers! Styrofoam layers can be iced and decorated to blend perfectly with the rest of your cake, for that "wow" moment. (Or your whole cake can be fake except for one little cutout - you can still "cut the cake" and then serve your guests pre-sliced cake - nobody will be the wiser!)
Photography and Videography
Photography and videography services are crucial to capture your special day. Prices can vary - make sure to first find the wedding pro who captures moments in the style that resonates with you, and only then will you be ready to compare packages and pricing.
Some amazing photographers that I can personally recommend are:
Danielle Mullens Photography | Lauren Miles | Natalie Kysar
Your wedding attire is also an important part of your special day. Your wedding dress, tuxedo, or suit is something you'll want to look back on and cherish, but alterations and accessories can add up quickly, so it's important to budget accordingly.
Some unique ideas to consider are renting your attire (yes, even your dress! check this out), thrifting a dress and taking it to a tailor for alterations, or buying your dream designer gown second-hand at sites like Still White (I especially like this one because they contribute 1% of their revenue to carbon removal!)
Flowers and Décor
Flowers and décor add a beautiful touch to your wedding. Do your research and shop around to find trends and styles you may not have considered (like these amazing wood flowers).
Definitely want real flowers? Working with a skilled florist to reuse and repurpose ceremony installations for your reception is also a great way to cut costs. Consider using flower arches to frame the altar for your ceremony, and then moving them to frame your head table at your reception! Lush centerpieces can be elevated on pedestals for a grand feel down the aisle before being relocated to your guests tables!
Entertainment is also important, whether you choose a DJ or live musician. Consider the timeline of your celebration - starting the day with live music and transitioning to a DJ for dancing can be a great way to create personal touches and magical moments and still bring the party. Be sure to budget accordingly for any additional lighting or sound equipment (or check if your musician has their own equipment - most professional musicians will).
Interested in live music?
Invitations and stationery are often overlooked but can add up quickly. Consider using online options or designing your own. You can order beautiful envelopes, wax seals, ribbons and other design elements to create upscale designs without the price tag. Canva is a great option to check out for design, and they even save you time with thousands of templates that you can customize to your liking!
Planning and Coordination
Lastly, a wedding planner can help you with everything from finding vendors to creating a wedding timeline. Keep in mind that while a wedding planner can be a significant expense, their expertise and experience can be invaluable (at the very least, having someone else able to coordinate your big day can take a huge weight off, since you're already going to be pulled in so many directions on your wedding day!) I can personally recommend these fabulous pros:
Sage Event Co. | Pacific Events | Rose and Sparrow Floral Design
AE Events & Design | Flowing White Events | Pennies Events | KP Style Events
Tips and Miscellaneous
There will always be miscellaneous costs associated with a wedding, such as wedding favors or tips for vendors. Be sure to budget accordingly for any unexpected expenses (a good rule of thumb is to set aside approximately 10% of your overall budget).
Remember, planning a wedding can be expensive, but with careful budgeting and research, you can keep costs under control. Prioritize what's most important to you and don't be afraid to get creative and DIY some aspects of your special day (and check out this post for more insights!)