I am a firm believer that you can have the wedding day of your dreams- no matter what your budget is. I’m serious! No matter what your budget is, you can have a gorgeous wedding that your friends are envious of. (I need that hand clapping emoji in between each word there- YOU. CAN. HAVE. THAT. WEDDING.) And it’s not about how much money you have, it’s about how you prioritize the money you do have. I’ll teach you how to spend your wedding budget in my favorite way that brings your vision to life.
What jumped to your mind? Did you immediately picture lavish wedding invitations? Or did you not even think about invites? We’re you picturing seared salmon with real silverware? Or did catering not even enter into your mind? Maybe you always wanted that beautiful archway at the end of the aisle ever since you were young. Or instead, maybe you dreamed more about a stunning ball gown with lace.
There was something you imagined just now when you saw your perfect wedding day. When I thought about my perfect wedding day, I saw walking in beautiful gardens with a cascading bouquet and flowers overflowing from every corner. I imagined looking back at photos that looked like they could be on a magazine and printing stunning shots in our home afterwards so I could show off my wedding to everyone. These things that jumped to your mind are what you’re going to want to take care of first- everything else we will fill in the cracks. There are a couple of exceptions, which I’ll get into below, but keep in mind those things that you first dreamed of. They’ll be important.
Look at the scene you just painted in your mind. What are the three most important things that would make that vision come to life? What are the three things you would absolutely need to pull that off?
Those are the three things you want to take care of first, before anything else! If you’re working on a tight budget, you don’t want to accidentally blow your funds on something that doesn’t even contribute to your dream, only to find out that there’s no longer enough money for what was most important to you.
This is the biggest trap I see so many brides fall into. And it’s tragic every time. If the first thing you buy is wedding favors, which you didn’t even care about that much, you might not have enough for your gorgeous 4 tier wedding cake you’ve planning for by the end of it. Buy your top three priorities first. This ensures they’re taken care of- and they’re taken care of right away. Keep the price for these high priority items as low as you can while still achieving the look you’re going for.
After you’ve taken care of your top 3 priorities, you can decide on your next 3 priorities. (Having a hard time remembering everything you should be remembering? You can check out my comprehensive Wedding Planning Checklist here to make it easy to choose.) Go through your list with the rule of 3s, taking care of only 3 things at a time, and in order of what’s most important to you. The Rule of 3s is the number one most helpful mindset to keep when learning how to spend your wedding budget.
It’s also incredibly helpful at saving you stress in the long run. Breaking it down this way makes everything easier to tackle. Try not to focus on too many items at once. Just the 3 you’re currently working on. If you’re trying to juggle 12 different things at once, you’re gonna get overwhelmed real quick.
Some vendors are more expensive than others. Some vendors get booked way in advance. I’m not saying you should push these vendors to the top of your list if you don’t care about the products they offer, but I am saying to maybe bump them up a notch or two to be sure you’re not blind sighted by their price or availability.
Once a venue is booked, they’re booked. There’s no wiggle room unless you want to move your wedding date around. Your venue also determines a lot of other factors on your list (like decor, delivery fees from other vendors, etc.) Make sure your venue is decided fairly early on in the process.
Photographers book up quick! And just like venues, there’s only one of them. Your photographer is there with you on your wedding day more than any other vendor. Not only that, but your photos are one of the only things that actually last past your wedding day (besides your marriage of course!) A good photographer can make you guys look stunning no matter what the rest of the wedding day looks like. That’s why I recommend putting your photographer as one of the top priorities. (Shameless plug: You can check out all of the details about hiring me here.)
Flowers are expensive. And if you haven’t planned a wedding before, they’re probably more expensive than you might think. Fake flowers are about the same price as real ones as well. So if flowers are important to you, make sure you’ve got room in the budget for them by placing them a bit higher up on your list.
If you’re wanting a full dinner at your wedding, catering is going to be a big expense. I mean, think about it. Even a fast food meal for one person is about $10, much less a fancy catered dinner. How many guests are you planning to have? That can add up quick! Alcohol can be another big expense, but make sure you check with your venue first as they may have alcohol restrictions.
The hard part. If you’ve followed the Rule of 3s, hopefully the only items you have to compromise on are lower down on the list. Sometimes though, you need to change your vision to ensure similar levels of gorgeousness on your wedding day.
You have to realize, you can find beauty in all sizes and budgets of weddings. I’m sure you’ve seen it yourself during your late night Pinterest scrolling! From tiny elopements in the woods with 3 people present, to a huge ball room filled with guests, there’s a certain type of beauty to each one. If your budget doesn’t allow for the giant mansion beauty, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have the small, intimate beauty.
The most important part of your wedding day is marrying your best friend. Don’t get so caught up in making your dream wedding happen that you lose sight of your real dream- a happy marriage with the love of your life.
Now that you know how to spend your wedding budget wisely, you can craft the wedding of your dreams no matter how much money is in the bank. I’ve seen some truly amazing things happen when prioritizing is done right. I’ve even used this method on my own wedding with great success!
Are you in the middle of planning a wedding right now? Tell me what your top 3 priorities are in the comments down below!
A stunning elopement on enchanted grounds.