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7 Things Worth Spending Your Wedding Budget On

Updated on September 18, 2015
Champagne Flute From My Wedding
Champagne Flute From My Wedding | Source

Rule number one of having a wedding is you don’t talk about the wedding.

Wait—that’s Fight Club.

The actual first rule of wedding planning is to never go into debt over your wedding.

Everyone has a wedding budget. Okay, maybe not everyone, but the average person must come up with a wedding budget to avoid going into debt over their special day.

I’ve been there; I understand the stress of choosing the right dress versus the wrong one (in fact I went through two wedding dresses). I know the struggle of deciding between chicken and beef (or both), whether or not that chocolate tower is worth the extra $200 (it isn’t), and whether you absolutely need those expensive peonies shipped especially from Canada for the centerpieces (you don’t). Great weddings, despite what the movies and magazines have you believe, are not defined by the expense that was put into them.

That being said, knowing where to spend your budget is half the challenge, lucky for you, I’ve come up with a list of 7 things that are worthy of your hard earned wedding fund.

  1. Photography/Videography
  2. Dress
  3. Makeup/Hair
  4. Venue
  5. Drinks
  6. DJ/music
  7. Honeymoon

Spending your money on these seven things will not only turn your wedding into a memorable one, but into a cost savvy one as well.

1. Photographer/Videographer

In no particular order, a good portion of your budget should be spent on a wedding photographer and videographer. Firstly, it’s not hard to spend a good deal of money on photographer. They cost a pretty penny even on the low end, meaning you can expect to be paying upward of $1,500 right out the door for only a couple of hours. Given that most weddings last for more than two hours, it stands to reason that you’ll wind up spending more for a photographer/videographer to get footage of your wedding before it even starts. A little known fact: weddings move fast. You know who they move the fastest for? The bride. Invest in a photographer/videographer to record the entire day from start to finish, allowing you to look back on the pictures and video whenever you desire. A wedding is nothing if not for the memories that are made, so make those memories last forever with a photographer who has not only made you look your best, but made your day indelible as well.

My Wedding Cake: A Great Photographer Will Capture the Details of Your Special Day
My Wedding Cake: A Great Photographer Will Capture the Details of Your Special Day | Source

2. The Dress

Many people might argue with me on this one. I actually argued with myself on this one. I got married in the time of “Say Yes To the Dress”, and I still to this day cringe at the price tags and way that the girls still aren’t always thrilled with what they end up in. For my own wedding, I was firmly against the expensive gown. I was so against it that I found one that I kind of liked, but that was also within a reasonable budget. The result? Two weeks before my wedding I panicked and had to find a second one. Don’t find yourself in this situation. Instead, set a decent budget to find a dress that you love. While the dress is one that will only be worn once, it’s also one that will be photographed to death, meaning you should feel your absolute best. Spend the extra time and money to find the perfect dress and you’ll be sure to feel your best on your wedding day.

Wedding On A Budget

3. Makeup/Hair

Though there are hundreds of videos available on YouTube, teaching makeup technique and creating professionals without the added cost of school, it’s still worth it to spend the extra money on a professional. A professional hair and makeup team will relieve the stress you might feel if you choose to do it yourself. Getting ready for the wedding is meant to be one of the least stressful parts of the day. It’s the time when you sip on mimosas and get pampered as you prepare for one of the best days of your life. Give yourself a break and invest in a professional to give you the best looking hair and makeup available. Not only will it relieve added stress, it will also make you feel good and confident walking down the aisle and posing for pictures.

4. The Venue

This past summer, my best friend got married in Coronado, California. Her venue overlooked the ocean and San Diego skyline, providing a scenic backdrop to her ceremony. Having such a stunning backdrop meant that she was able to forgo the added fluff that traditional venues might need you to provide. She was able to skip the altar, wedding runner, and flowers, instead relying on the stunning skyline and beautiful venue to serve as the décor for her. Did this mean that the venue did not cost her a lot? Absolutely not. However, because the venue was beautiful on its own, it meant sparing her and her husband added costs. Choosing a venue that is lovely by its own right can help you to save money and spend it elsewhere (like on a wedding photographer).

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5. Drinks

Let me take a second to be real with you. Drinks are expensive. Bottles of wine, glasses of champagne, kegs of beer, and a full bar, all cost a lot of money alone, and even more money when combined with a hundred plus people. Spending the money on booze for your guests will help them enjoy your wedding more because they won’t be worried about whether or not they brought enough for a cash bar. There are many ways to go about hosting a bar at your wedding, meaning you’re not limited to hosting a solid open bar for the entire night. However, hosting an open bar at some point during the wedding will go over well with guests and help ensure that the night turns into a party for all involved.


6. DJ/Music

After you’ve gotten your guests their fill of liquor, what better to help burn it off then by spending the night dancing? The reception is really where the majority of the time is spent at a wedding, so it’s important to spend some time choosing a DJ or band that will keep your guests entertained. A good DJ or band will serve as the host throughout the night. They will keep track of toasts, the first dance, the father/daughter dance, and bouquet tosses, so it’s important to make sure that you find someone who comes highly recommended and is up to the task. You’ll also rely on the DJ or band to keep track of the tone over the night, picking up the tempo where needed, or slowing things down the later it gets.

Don't Forget About the Smaller Groomsmen!
Don't Forget About the Smaller Groomsmen! | Source

7. The Honeymoon

After all is said and done, and after months of planning, all you’ll want is some time to relax. Putting some of your wedding budget toward a honeymoon is an excellent way to ensure that you get the honeymoon of your dreams. Even if someone is paying for your honeymoon as a gift, setting money aside and spending it on your trip will take away some of the stress that can come with vacations. Things like food, drinks, and souvenirs will cause much less anxiety if you set the money aside beforehand. Not to mention, the added money will help you spend extra money on activities or sightseeing tours, taking a lot of the stress from your hands.

Your wedding is just one day in a life of many. While it’s an important day, it should be celebrated for the life that it’s creating, meaning you should not go into debt over it. Be mindful about where you’re spending your money and you’ll wind up with a beautiful and budget-friendly wedding.


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    • Kelsey Farrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelsey Elise Farrell 

      3 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Larry, I agree and think many brides and grooms get caught up in the magic of the "perfect day". Even the perfect day will have hitches, in fact, the more money and time put into it, the more likely you will have problems on the day of. For me it's more important to capture the memory, meaning that the flowers can be sacrificed.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Couldn't agree more with your list. Too often people waste their money on nonsense. Spend on the stuff that is most useful.


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