Where should the bulk of your finances go when planning your wedding?

Hi there!

There are many things to consider when planning a wedding; budget is often at the top of the list. Whether your budget is abundant or modest, prioritizing where the money goes is essential. In this journal entry, I'd like to share what I believe are the highest impact areas for spending, in order to create a day that dreams are made of. The list below is in priority order. So, here we go!

Priority #1: The Venue

The venue will likely be where you spend the most money anyway, but I suggest you prioritize finding a venue that is truly beautiful. You will want good light and a clean, bright space. The venue is not only the place where you will be married, it is also the backdrop to most (if not all) of your photos. A great photographer can work with just about any space, but if you want images like you've seen on Pinterest, you'll want a space with great lighting and neutral walls. You can't go wrong with lots of windows and white base decor (think table linens and fabric drapery.) Additionally, having a window in your prep space will not only allow your makeup artist to do their job well, but will make for great photos.

The window in this bride's prep space made for some gorgeous photos.

Priority #2: Wedding Photography

Photography is typically the second largest budget item. Hiring a professional wedding photographer and/or videographer is essential to getting beautiful and high quality documentation of your big day. A photographer who offers full-service wedding coverage is the ideal. That's someone who is there to shoot the whole day and is willing to customize collections to you, offers heirloom quality printed images, and designs and orders albums. (I've addressed the topic of prints in a past journal entry, and why I think they are the way yo go. You can check it out here.)

Makes sure to review the photographer's portfolio and don't be afraid to ask for an example of full wedding coverage if they do not have a full wedding posted to their website. Here's one of my wedding galleries: Matt + Amanda

Priority #3: A Wedding Planner and/or Coordinator: Wedding planners and coordinators are not the same thing; they each have different benefits they bring to the organization of your wedding. Planners, well, plan! They are involved from the very beginning, setting and managing the budget, creating timelines, working with vendors, and essentially taking care of all the organizational aspects all the way through the day of the wedding. Coordinators, on the other hand, come in to play a month or two prior to the wedding. They, too, handle all the organizational aspects of your wedding, but they are essentially taking over the planning you already began. Where a planner would contact vendors and establish contracts, a coordinator would confirm contracts with the vendors you already chose. Neither option is better than the other, it just comes down to how active you want to be in the planning process. And what they both bring to the table is peace of mind for you, especially on the day-of, when all you ought to have on your mind is the joy of marrying the one whom your heart loves. Additionally, by hiring a coordinator or planner, you are extending that peace of mind to your family. My wonderful mother-in-law carried the role of coordinator and you can see it on her face in many of the photos from the day. While we were getting ready for the ceremony she was coordinating vendors and fine tuning details. If I had it to do over again, I would ensure my family was able to enjoy the day and be present for the documentation of our story.

This mother-of -the -bride was present and able to help her daughter with finishing touches on her wedding day.

Priority #4: Flowers and Decor

Beautiful florals and greenery are for more than just bouquets and boutonnières. Decorate the altar and the table tops at your reception for high impact. These florals will carry continuity of your colors from ceremony to reception and will be a a significant segment of your detail photos both as focal points and as supporting elements. On another note: You may or may not know that I love gardening, especially growing flowers. From that perspective, I have an even greater love for fresh florals used in wedding decor. Not only do they support our necessary pollinators in the growing process, but they can be composted after the fact to nourish the soil that grows more flowers. What a beautiful life cycle! Ask your florist if they have composting service or reach out to a local garden center when its time to dispose of these gorgeous wedding design features.

This couple chose to flank the altar with floral bunches while the bride wore a floral crown to emphasize the country-boho vibe.

This list is not all encompassing. There are many other areas that you will want to set aside some of your budget for. This list is based on opinion and is intended to create the ideal setting for a lovely day that can be beautifully captured. Some memories of the day will live on in your memory, but most will be revived through the imagery created by your photographer. Prioritize the things that make your day beautiful and bring you peace.

I sincerely hope this list will be helpful to you as you plan one of the most significant days of yours and your future spouse's life.

And it would be an honor to be your wedding photographer, creating the images you and your family reminisce over for years to come. Contact me HERE to start conversation about how I can serve you.