What's Worth Spending Money On For Your Wedding? Here's Where To Splurge Vs. Save
Deciding what to splurge on, and where to save money at your wedding, can be a very personal thing. It's totally up to you and your partner to decide what's important, and what you want your day to look like. But in general, there are areas where splurging can be worth it, and areas where it might make more sense to save.
And this is especially true when you're trying to stick to a budget, since it can be easy to treat every factor of the wedding as a top priority. To narrow it all down, it can help to focus on "two to three areas that mean the most to you (i.e., music, food, your venue) and give a higher percentage of your budget to each," Lindsay Jones, founder and editor of Woman Getting Married, tells Bustle.
If something isn't important, or you don't think it will add to the day or impact your guests, that's where you can save. "It will mean taking away from other items such as your invites, flowers, or wedding accessories, but will help you stay in budget," Jones says. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on what might be worth splurging on, according to experts, and where you can definitely save.
1. Splurge On A Coordinator
If your dream is to have a big wedding with lots of things going on at once, you may you want to splurge on a wedding coordinator to be there on the day and ensure everything runs smoothly.
"It's great to have someone there to make announcements, answer questions, and take care of the issues that inevitably arise during the wedding," Whitney Cox, wedding coordinator from Vegas Weddings, tells Bustle. "This responsibility should not fall to the couple as they will have enough on their plate already. This is one area where it pays to have an expert."
2. Splurge On A Photographer
While you can always have friends take photos, or rely on disposable cameras set out on tables, it may be worth it to call in the experts for some truly professional shots.
"Your wedding photos are one of the few tangible things you can take with you from your wedding," Cox says. "You will look back on them to recapture the feeling of your wedding."
Of course, that doesn't mean you need to go over budget. "Just make sure you get the best photographer you can," Cox says. "Look for someone who has experience with wedding photography specifically as you need someone who knows wedding logistics and what moments must be captured."
3. Splurge On A Unique Food Experience
If food is important to you and your partner, you may want to spend a bit more in order to have a truly unique experience. Think along the lines of a build-your-own taco bar, a campfire with a s'mores buffet, or a server who flambes your dessert, Cox says.
These specialties can get a bit pricey, Cox says, but it may be a good way to spend a little extra money, especially if you're focused on guests having a good time.
4. Splurge On Bartenders
The whole point of a wedding is to have a good time, so the last thing you'll want is for guests to spend most of it in line waiting for a drink, Brian Worley, creative director and owner of B. Worley Productions, tells Bustle. And that's where bartenders and servers can come in handy, who can take care of the food and the drinks — and keep it all rolling.
You may even want to splurge on a valet, especially if guests have to park far away in order to get to the venue. Making it easy for everyone to get home, Worley says, will ensure your wedding ends on a good note.
5. Splurge On A Great Band
"Splurging for a great band or DJ will keep your guests on the dance floor all night long, which is always the sign of a great party," Jones says. So go ahead and hire that band you've had on your eye on, even if they cost a bit more.
6. Save On Decor
"While everyone wants to create a beautiful ambiance at their wedding, it's a simple truth that the decor is not something most guests will remember about your wedding," Cox says. And the same might be true, she says, for you and your partner, who will likely be too busy to soak it all in.
So, instead of spending thousands on floral arrangements and lighting, opt for simple centerpieces — which you or your friends can even make yourselves. As Cox says, "The possibilities are only limited by your imagination here."
You might also go for one focal point, instead of decorating the entire space. "Pick a few elements you'd like to highlight and do those up," Alexandria Kochinsky, owner of Alexandria Catherine Events, tells Bustle. "It'll make a bigger impact in the long run visually — and in your wallet."
7. Save On Champagne Toasts
While it's tradition to serve champagne during wedding toasts, it isn't necessary to splurge here if you don't want to, especially since many guests won't even drink it.
"By the time the toasts come most guests are already drinking their choice for the evening, and don't always want to change," Jones says. "Guests can raise their glasses and toast with whatever they are drinking at the time. Or if you want something bubbly, opt for a cava or prosecco instead."
8. Save On Wedding Favors
While wedding favors can be a nice touch, the reality is most people either don't notice the them, Jones says, or they won't opt to take them home. So you may want to go for something affordable, such as a favor you make yourself.
Or put out something for guests to eat. "If you're going to do a favor," Kochinsky says, "go for something edible and put it at their plate on the table so that they don't miss it." That way, you won't be throwing forgotten favors away at the end of the night.
9. Save On Invitations
"If you're on a budget, bespoke wedding invitations are something you may want to skip," Jocelyn Voo, wedding photographer and owner of Everly Studios, tells Bustle, especially since there are many easier (and cheaper) ways to get the word out.
For example, you can check online for wedding invitation templates, Voo says, and print them yourselves. "They won't bear custom calligraphy or have debossing," she says, but they will have the important details.
You could also send out invitations via email, which can be a cute and helpful way to keep guests updated, without spending any money.
10. Save On Alcohol
While you may want to have bartenders on hand to mix up amazing drinks, that doesn't mean you have to have an open bar — especially since the cost of free (and pricey) drinks can add up fast.
"If you don't want to go so far as to impose a cash bar on your guests, consider offering beer, wine, and two signature cocktails," Voo says. "This will cut down on costs," while still allowing everyone to have a good time.
11. Save On The Cake
The cake can be a lovely focal point at your wedding, and it usually serves as the main dessert. But that doesn't mean it has to break the bank, or that you even need to purchase one that's over-the-top impressive.
"A cake is great to have, but don't order a six tier cake if you only have 100 guests," Kaitlin Cooper, owner of Kaitlin Cooper Photography, tells Bustle. "Also consider having a small customized one tier cake that you can cut, and then have a cheaper sheet cake in the back to serve to guests."
You can even break from tradition and serve another kind of dessert, as a way of saving money. Or get crafty and bake a cake yourself.
There are countless ways to spend and splurge at weddings. It is, however, up to you and your partner to figure out what's important so you can create a budget, focus on what you love, and create a nice day for all involved.