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3 Wedding Details You Can't Afford To Scrimp

How To Budget A Wedding

By Jeffrey House Photography


43% of couples go over budget when planning their wedding!

Most couples start off with the best of intentions, but quickly discover how easy it is to overspend.  It's only natural - This is your wedding and you want every detail to be as perfect as possible.  

But most brides will tell you, 3 months after your wedding, the luster of having expensive calla lillies everywhere will be a somber reminder of how you could have better spent your money.  

In this article, we are going to help you with how to budget a wedding!  There are plenty of ways to substitute more affordable options without sacrificing the beauty and elegance of your special day.  One of the details that best exemplifies this point is your wedding dress.  You can spend $20,000 on a wedding dress designed by a top designer or you can find a dress you adore for a fraction of the price.  There are a lot of options when it comes to wedding dresses and many brides have found their dream dress for less than $1,000! While you may not experience the same fortune, it's very reasonable to find a dress you love for less than $2,000.  

Invest Your Hard Earned Money On The Details That Impact Your Day The Most

Your probably thinking - "I like the sounds of that, but I've never planned a wedding before, so how do I know which details have the most impact?"

You probably have been to a wedding or know someone who's been to a wedding, and you or they didn't have the best experience.  The food was horrible, the DJ sucked, and the photographer was in the way all night long.  

The truth of the matter is this - your guests will remember if your wedding vendors were great or jerks.  They will remember if their food was fantastic or disgusting.  But very rarely do your guests remember details - like your flowers or centerpieces or the color of your table linens, etc.  

While there are many ways to save money planning a wedding, there are 3 details you must never consider scrimping!  

3 Wedding Details You Can't Afford To Scrimp! 

1.  Wedding Venue

Your wedding venue accounts for most of your wedding expenses.  On average, you will need to allocate approximately 45-50% of your wedding budget.  When you consider the average weddings is approximately $35,000, your venue will require an investment of $15,000-$20,000!  

When choosing a wedding venue, certainly there are many details to consider, but one of the most important is the quality of their food.  Be sure to arrange a taste-testing with each venue you're considering to ensure you are satisfied.  

Your wedding reception is a celebration of your marriage.  Your closest family and friend have joined you to share in your big day.  And your reception is just as much an experience for your guests as it is you.  A great wedding venue will serve to enhance the entire day and leave your guests with a truly memorable experience.

2.  Hair & Makeup

When you think about all the details that go into planning a wedding, it may surprise you to discover hair and makeup is on this list.  

Hair and makeup will account for approximately 1-2% of your total wedding budget.  This, of course, is largely dependent on how many bridesmaids you have in your wedding party.  A big part of exuding your beauty and confidence is feeling beautiful!  Having your hair and makeup professionally done will give you the peace of mind that you look perfect and the confidence to show it!

Professional hair and makeup artists will play a significant role in ensuring you feel stunning and look stunning in your photographs.  Cameras, unfortunately, magnify our flaws.  A poor makeup application will ultimately result in difficult editing for your photographer and sometimes these flaws are unable to resolved in post-processing. 

Professionals will ensure your hair stays in place, your makeup is smooth, even, and keeps you looking elegant for the entire day.  

Lastly, hair and makeup is one area of the day that tends to cause the most delays.  Professional artists understand the importance of your wedding timeline and they do a great job of keeping everything running on schedule.  

3.  Wedding Professionals

I saved wedding professionals for last because it's the most involved.  Wedding professionals refers to your DJ/band, photographer, videographer, and wedding officiant.  We are going to discuss the importance of each professional and why they are vitally important to your day.  Before we get started, let's take a quick look at how much of your budget should be allocated to each professional:

DJ:  7-10%

Photographer:  10-15%

Videographer:  10-15%

Wedding Officiant:  2-3%


Wedding Officiant

It might be easy to think your wedding officiant doesn't play a very impactful role in your wedding because their involvement lasts typically between 20-30 minutes.  

Don't fall into this trap.  

Your wedding ceremony is the most important moment of your wedding day.  This is the whole point of the day and the person that performs your ceremony can enhance the experience or detract from it.  When choosing your officiant, it's essential to communicate your vision for the ceremony and express what's important to you.  Some officiants are very open to your wishes, while others are more limited by their own beliefs.  It's critical to make sure you are both comfortable and on the same page because the last thing you want is your officiant delivering a speech that doesn't reflect you and your partner.  I have seen officiants with their own agenda that go on tirades.  It causes an awkward situation and most everyone feels very uncomfortable.  



Many couples view the DJ as someone who plays music.  Their role doesn't seem overly complex, so they hire a cheap DJ or play their music from a iPod.  Have you ever seen or heard of the "cheap" DJ that grabs the mic and give an unsolicited speech?  Trust me, if it happens at your wedding you'll be scarred for life!  If you want your guests running for the door after the cake cutting, this is definitely the way to go, but if you want your guests to have an amazing time, hire a professional DJ!  

Professional DJ's add a lot of value to a wedding.  They are experts at reading and understanding crowds; therefore, they know what music to play and when to play it.  This will ensure everyone is engaged and has a great time.

A good DJ knows when and when not to be on the mic.  When they are on the mic, they behave in a manner that is respectful and professional.  They are loud, obnoxious or inappropriate.  Great DJ's also ensure your wedding day timeline runs smoothly and they communicate with your other wedding professionals to ensure everyone is on the same page.  This is especially important when it comes to the first dances, toasts, cake cutting, etc.  


Videographers, in many cases, are the last wedding profession to be hired.  Many couples only hire them after everything else has been booked and the budget allows for it.  A lot of couples don't hire a videographer because they feel it's too similar to wedding photography.  They believe they're duplicating their efforts.

If you share this thought, it's definitely one you want to erase from your mind.  One of the biggest regrets couples have is not hiring a professional videographer.  It's very different than still photographs and truly memorializes your special day in a unique way.  Your wedding video and photographs are great compliments to one another, but they bring your story to life in very different ways.  

Most wedding videographers deliver a final video that's approximately 1 hour in length.  It really focuses on the highlights of the day, but they do a great job putting it all together to form a beautiful story.  

Most couples have a difficult time remembering details about their wedding day.  It's hectic, your nervous, and time melts away faster than you can imagine.  You'll certainly have memories from the day, but they will take on a deeper meaning once you experience your wedding video.  You can relive your ceremony and listen to the exchange of vows, but you'll also get to appreciate your partner's response as you recite them.  You can watch and replay that unbelievable toast that brought tears to everyone's eyes. 



One of the biggest regrets shared by many brides is scrimping on their wedding photography.  Again, it's almost impossible to witness and digest everything that happens on your wedding day.  Most brides look at their wedding photographs and love how their pictures captured details, moments, and people from the day that they missed.  Without photographs you would have never been able to appreciate these details or moments, but now you have photographs so you can treasure them forever.  

Now that copyright releases have essentially become a standard with wedding packages, many couples are printing their photos and displaying them throughout their homes.  These high resolution photographs are amazing pieces of art and they allow couples to appreciate and cherish their weddings in new ways.

Your wedding day is about love, commitment, and romance.  Your wedding photographs are going to encapsulate these memories and document your story.  This most special day will eventually be shared with your children and grandchildren.  It will allow them to better understand the history of their family. They will memorialize your wedding day forever.  

What Is Your Wedding Worth To You?

When you first begin your wedding planning, it's easy to be tempted by these lavish weddings you'll see on Pinterest, Instagram, etc.  It happens to thousands and thousands of brides every year.  Later, they're filled with heartache and regret because they let the true meaning of their wedding escape them.  They scrimped on the details that really matter and now they have very little to show for their big day.  

Your wedding is an important day.  In fact, it's one of the most important days of your life.  The details we discussed in this article are the details most brides value.  But, unfortunately, most brides don't realize how much they valued them until it was too late.  


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