No one has limitless money, as nice as that would be.  Regardless if your wedding budget is $50,000 or $5,000, you are doing your very best to stick to it, and it isn’t always easy.  The bride magazines all give you advice on cutting out one thing or another, and some of that advice you just aren’t willing to take.  So, here are some of the points I used when planning my own wedding in order to have a fabulous event within the limits of my wedding budget.

I couldn’t afford to spend a lot of money on my wedding.  We were still in college and broke when we tied the knot.  We were paying for the wedding ourselves, so we didn’t have much to throw around.  This is how I chose to allocate my limited resources, and the one regret I had in doing it.

1. Decide what is most important.  Choose the one thing that is the most important aspect to you and budget for that first.  Choose THE photographer, location, planner, DJ, caterer that you WANT (not one you must settle with), even if you need to spend a little bit more to do so.  You know that you will regret it if you don’t.

For many of my brides, photography is the most important consideration they have (of course).  They see it as the one thing other than their marriage that survives the wedding day.  I, however, made that mistake.  My priority was food!  This, of course, was before I became a wedding photographer.  I let a photography student friend of mine shoot my wedding for her portfolio and was left with overexposed, blurry images of my wedding.  Certainly a lesson learned.

Since my priority was food, my meal was phenomenal.   We had a beef carving station, two pasta stations, six passed hors d’oeuvres and a chocolate fountain (those need to come back, for real!!!).  Over a decade later and my dad still talks about that food as the best meal he has ever had.

2. Set aside 10% of your budget for additional costs.  If your wedding budget is $20,000, set aside $2,000 of it.  Plan your wedding for $18,000.  This way, when (not if) you go a little over budget for something, it cuts into your reserves and doesn’t put you over budget.

3. Choose your date.  Assess what you have left to spend and choose a date accordingly.  Saturdays, especially in the spring and fall, are by far the most expensive days to get married.  Even if the vendors don’t charge a premium, they most certainly do not discount much for Saturday weddings during busy season.  If you need to get married on a weekend, yet need to watch your dollars and cents, choose a Friday or Sunday.  Those dates can save you a ton of money in your wedding budget.  And if you aren’t bound by the weekend, weekday weddings are a steal!  For Texas, the busiest months are March-May and September-November.  Dates in the slower months of January, July, and August usually get rewarded with nice discounts.

My husband and I got married on a Sunday and our money went twice as far as it would have on a Saturday.  That wasn’t necessarily our intention, as we had no knowledge of this perk.  We were just presently surprised when we were getting lower room minimums and discounts from our vendors.

4.  Choose a location. Your venue(s) can take up almost all of your budget, so plan accordingly.  If the location is the most important aspect to you, then you know that you may be cutting corners elsewhere.  Some locations include everything or require certain vendors whereas others require you to bring in all of the vendors of your choice.  There are positives and negatives to both.

My husband and I went with a hotel that supplied everything we needed from linens, to decor, catering and even included a wedding cake.  Other vendors, such as photography, video, and florist we were able to bring in on our own.  This cut down the cost significantly for us.

5. Get referrals from your vendors.  After deciding the most important aspect of your wedding budget and your venue location(s), ask those vendors for recommendations on others you may need.  Many times, vendors that work together well will offer discounts and incentives if you book them both.  Additionally, vendors that work together already have a relationship and that can help you out tremendously. They can communicate details with each other, so you are free to do other things.

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The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is not how much you spend but the memories that you are creating together.  This is the first most happiest day of your lives together.  Enjoy it and don’t get lost in the details.  Things will go unexpectedly.  Something wont be quite right, but that is OK.  It makes for good stories later on.  What is most important is that you and your fiance are professing your love and commitment to each other.  So, celebrate and be in the moment.

Let’s chat about your wedding.  Please email me at christina@christinatruelove.com or call 469-432-2245, and I will do what I can to create a custom package that works for you!