So many articles tell you how to save money on your wedding, but do you know where to splurge on your wedding? Here's what's really worth the cost, and how to be savvy even while you're splurging.
Wedding Photography Sad as it is to acknowledge, most of the wedding details that you worked so hard on will be mere memories the next day. The food will be eaten, the dress put away, the monogrammed napkins crumpled. But the photographs will be there to remind you of the memories and document your wedding day. So make sure that they're top notch by splurging to get the best photographer that you can.
Be Smart Take the time to shop around and find a photographer who you feel comfortable with, and who fits in your budget. Consider packages, which often give you a better bang for your buck. Be sure to ask to swap out things you don't want, and be savvy about expensive extras like "Deluxe Wedding Albums." Make sure that you get a set of pictures printed by the photographer – the finishing work (editing, cropping, printing) should be far better than what you could do yourself. But see if you can get a CD of the images so that you can cheaply print out extras for extended family members and friends who want a picture.
Your Wedding Dress and AppearanceIf you've ever had a day where you just didn't feel pretty (and really who hasn't?), you probably didn't have a very good time. Feeling confident and beautiful will not only help you enjoy the wedding, but it will help you shine in your wedding photographs as well. So don't just buy the cheapest wedding dress you can find, but splurge a bit to get the wedding dress, tuxedo, makeup or accessories that will really make you feel great.
Be Smart The right dress for you is not necessarily the most expensive. Shop sales, outlet malls, and discount stores, including national chain bridal shops. Consider buying a bridesmaid's dress or an evening gown in white or champagne. And don't forget used! You can get a designer dress for a fraction of the price from eBay or bridal consignment shops.
The Right Wedding OfficiantAs far as I'm concerned, it's all about the wedding ceremony. The reception is just gravy – a big party celebrating what happened during the wedding ceremony! So make sure that the person marrying you is someone you feel comfortable with and who shares your beliefs. So, if you need to fly in your childhood priest or rabbi, or simply take the time to find the right person locally, it will be worth it. How to Choose a Wedding Officiant.
Be Smart Found a beautiful wedding ceremony location, but don't like the officiant? Find out if you can bring in your own minister or layperson. Don't know where to begin? Here's a guide to finding the right officiant to marry you.
Your Sanity Planning a wedding is stressful! The pressures on a bride and/or groom to have the most perfect wedding are immense. So make sure you've budgeted some money for things that will help you relax. Whether that's hiring a wedding coordinator, or a day at the spa with a friend, being relaxed will make a huge difference in how much you enjoy your wedding day.
Be Smart Relaxing doesn't have to be expensive! There are even free and easy ways to relax. And don't forget to delegate. Your friends and family want to help – you don't have to do everything yourself!
What's Most Important to You Whether you're a gourmet who wants to make sure the food is top notch, or a sports nut who's dying to have a special grooms cake, it's worth it to spend money on those little details that make your wedding special to you. In my wedding planning questionnaire for the newly engaged, I ask couples to individually rate what's most important. This information can then be used when you set your budget, allowing you to allocate a little extra cushion for those important things.
Be Smart Be sure to use a wedding budget worksheet, and remember that you'll have to cut the budget in other areas in order to accommodate the splurges. Remember that there are many ways of including special personal details that are free or inexpensive, including special wedding readings at the ceremony, naming your tables after places you've been together, or using family heirlooms such as your mother's wedding veil.