Katie Jaynes Photography Blog





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For Brides

July 23, 2021

Splurge Vs. Save: Wedding Budgets

Okay, we know that planning a wedding can be a MAJOR headache. Of course, it’s all worth it in the end, but it can be stressful and EXHAUSTING. We aren’t going to lie to you. I remember how many stressful phone calls I made to my mom just needing to vent and cry.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but one of the hardest parts of the whole wedding planning process was the money. How much was too much to spend? Was this crazy to spend that much on a venue? Can I find flowers cheaper than this? Maybe I should just make all of the centerpieces to save money?

Should You Splurge On Your Wedding?

These are all very normal questions to ask when you’re planning your wedding. I’m sure you might feel like you’re losing your mind, but I promise – you’re not. Those feelings are very common.

We can’t EXACTLY answer the question of should you splurge or should you save, but we can give our thoughts from our own wedding, what we learned, and what we’ve heard from others (we get these questions from our couples a lot).

Here is what we did. Before we started REALLY getting into wedding planning, we got a general idea of what we could comfortably spend on the WHOLE wedding. For everything. Everything from the socks the groomsmen wore to the photographer. We wanted the total price tag that would didn’t want to go over.

After you’ve got that number, you should go ahead and set aside about 10% of it as a contingency budget. This is your “just in case.” We were very surprised by the number of “little things” that kept popping up. These were some extra fees we didn’t know about or even some costs for didn’t think to budget for. Those small costs add up.

Where to Splurge

After you have your total budget, you and your future spouse need to make some big decisions. Where do you want that money to go? Regardless of how big or small your budget is, you need to pick the areas where you’re willing to pay.

Obviously, you’re going to have some big-ticket items, like your venue, food, and possibly photo and video depending on your wants. If you are trying to save money, there are plenty of affordable options for both food and for venues, you just need to decide if it’s worth splurging on those big items.

In fact, there are cost-saving ways to have a wedding. Some people are spending tens and tens of thousands of dollars and even going into debt for their wedding day. In our opinion, this is where it gets tricky.

Yes – your wedding day SHOULD be special. Hopefully, it can be everything you want it to be, but is it working going into debt or even taking our a wedding loan? In our opinion, we don’t think it is.

With so many beautiful and affordable venue options, dress choices, and flower alternatives, it’s possible to have your magical day without breaking into your 401K.

Wedding Budget Decisions

When you start contacting vendors and deciding where you’ll get married, what your guests will eat, and which vendors you’ll use, you may have to face some difficult choices. What’s worth adding and what’s worth sacrificing.

We talk to some couples who have a dream wedding location in mind. They are willing to sacrifice on other areas to secure their perfect venue.

As wedding photographers, we are a little biased towards spending on video and photography (this has nothing to do with us. We tell couples even with photography, it’s not always worth shoveling out your whole bank account). Our argument for dedicating extra budget towards photography or video is because it’s going to be one of the few parts of your wedding that will last you for decades to come.

Regardless of how you feel about splurging on wedding photography, make those decisions before you start planning. Create your budget and decide where your money will go. It’s going to make the process much easier.

One Last Piece of Advice on Wedding Budgets

We had an older couple give us some wisdom when we were stressing about budgets and what to spend on our wedding. Here is what they told us, “if it’s going to matter to you in 10 years, make sure you get what you want.”
So, if you think you’ll care about what venue you got married at in a decade, splurge if you have to. If you can’t imagine caring about your wedding video 10 years down the road, it probably isn’t worth going over budget for.

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