Welcome to my new series on wedding planning! I'm going to try and do a few wedding related posts per month. If you have any questions or thoughts for any future weddings posts, let me know.
Wedding planning can be overwhelming for those who have never been involved with weddings before. It's hard to know what is worth spending extra money on, and where to cut costs. From being a bride myself in 2014, and a wedding photographer for 8 years, I feel like I have a good grasp on what really is important for your big day. Of course every vendor thinks they are the most important or that you shouldn't cut your costs on them, which I totally get! I'm just speaking from a realistic perspective where most of us don't have an unlimited budget (if I did, I would have had an oyster bar haha). So it comes down to what is the most important to you. Below you'll find my top four things to spurge on at your wedding and why, along with photos from my own wedding to demonstrate :) If you want to see more from our wedding, check out the #poffparty2014 hashtag on Instagram!
See our wedding feature on Green Wedding Shoes!
Looking for any vendors for your own wedding? If you live in California and want any suggestions, feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org //
1. Pick a full weekend venue
I'm sure you've heard that your wedding goes by so fast, and it makes sense when you think about it. If your ceremony starts at 4pm and reception ends at 10pm, that's not a whole lot of time to mingle and hang with your guests. For our wedding, we opted for a full weekend venue (Flying Caballos in San Luis Obispo, CA) for two reasons. One, so our whole wedding party could stay with us for free (they had to travel 3 hours so we figured it was the least we could do), and two, because it meant we had way more time to spend with everyone. It meant not rushing to set up on the wedding day, not having to drive between hotels and the venue, and not having to stress about what time we had to be in and out of the venue at. We arrived at our venue Friday early afternoon, and held our rehearsal dinner right there on the property. We also setup the reception tables and decor and placed all the chairs out for the ceremony along with the backdrop. Saturday we rolled out of bed to start getting ready, and then of course our wedding was that day. Sunday we had a few friends come back over to hang in the hot tub and Adam's siblings were there with us too. It was a nice long weekend that didn't feel rushed. Full weekend venues also tend to have be less cookie cutter, meaning they let you be more creative with how you use the venue.
2. Hire a really good photographer and videographer, because those are the tangible things you have when your wedding is over
I've seen so many people complain on Facebook about their bad wedding photos and come to find out they spend somewhere around $1,000 on it. Well, I can't say you didn't get what you paid for. A professional, full time photographer/videographer who has good equipment, a lot of experience, and the know how to run a wedding day will cost upwards of $4,000. If you want a film photographer you're looking at closer to $7,000. These people work full time at this job, making sure everyones wedding photos are perfection. Just think, if you paid someone $1500 for wedding photography, how could they possibly do this full time and make a real living off of that? They can't, because doing 30-40 weddings at $1500 doesn't equal enough money (after taxes, after business expenses) to live in California where I do. So therefor they have to be making money some other way, not allowing them to 110% focus on their career as a wedding photographer. You want someone fully devoted to their job, who has great vendor relations, can be quick on their feet, and can take amazing photos (be sure to ask to see a full wedding gallery). When your wedding is all said and done, these are the physical items you have left to remember a day that goes by so quickly.
3. Hire a coordinator, so you can be stress free and enjoy your day
Don't delegate this job to a friend or family member. Just because they are an organized person in your life, doesn't mean they know how to run a wedding in a timely manner, communicate with vendors, look over contracts, complete a timeline, help visualize layouts, come up with creative ideas, etc. All of this is meant for a wedding planner and stylist, who knows the ins and outs of weddings. I know a lot of people say they don't need a wedding planner, because they think their job is just to pick vendors or style the wedding. Their job also has to do with logistics, and this should be left to a planner. You don't need to hire a planner for "full planning" if you have the design side down, you can opt for a "month of coordinator" instead. Either way, having a coordinator to make sure that your day goes smoothly is key!
4. Hire a talented florist that you trust
If you're trying to save money on flowers, doing your own isn't the way to go. Flowers can make or break the overall look of your wedding. If you opt out of doing a lot of flowers, at least hire a talented florist to design phenomenal bouquets for you and your bridesmaids. Bouquets really make a statement in portraits, and can be repurposed on the head table or dessert table after portraits are done. It's better to have a few really good floral arrangements, then to have a bunch of poorly designed ones. Cut down on guest count, expensive food, or an expensive dress, before you have to cut your floral budget. A good florist can take your color palette and run with it, making something unique and beautiful.