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If there is anything I have learned in all my years doing weddings and events, I can tell you that there is no right or wrong way to plan your wedding. But no matter how you plan your big day, there are five wedding essentials that will make a MASSIVE impact on your wedding and they should not be ignored or overlooked. In fact, I believe couples should think strongly about allotting a bit more of their budget on these five details. Keep reading to find out what those five areas are and why they made the wedding essentials list!
When it comes to planning a wedding, I always tell people to start with finding the venue. Before you start the venue shopping process, you and your fiancé(e) should always sit down and think about the vision you have of your big day. Create a list of “non-negotiables” you would like included with your venue. There are also a lot of aspects to a wedding that you can’t really nail down until you have signed a contract and picked out the spot where you will say “I do.” Here are the reasons you should spend more money and time finding the perfect venue:
- Your venue sets the tone for the ENTIRE wedding and it can either enhance your vision or take away from it.
- Your venue should check off most, if not all, the boxes on your “non-negotiables” list (i.e. on-site parking, guest capacity, nearby accommodations, amplified sound restrictions, etc.)
- Some venues will include chairs, tables, in-house catering, etc. which can make the planning process easier, but you may have to pay a higher premium for that type of venue.
- Spending more money on a gorgeous venue could save you money in the long run by not having to invest in decor, flowers, or lighting to alter the venue itself.
- Your venue is one of the things you can’t really avoid spending money on, so make it count!
2. WEDDING PLANNER
I know I’m a bit biased in this category, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to hire a professional planner for your big day. This looks different for every couple, which is why most planners will offer different packages so they can assist you in the way that you need. If you don’t need or want help with the overall planning process, you can hire a coordinator to oversee the logistics on the day of your wedding. These are the biggest reasons to spend your money and hire a professional planner:
- Depending on the type of package you choose, your planner will put in anywhere from 25 to 200 hours into planning your big day. Hours that you typically don’t have.
- If you have a planner to help you from start to finish, they will assist you in finding the right team of vendors that fit your vision and your budget. This takes a LOT of time and communication off your plate.
- Even a month-of coordinator will give you unlimited communication and advice for the couple of months (or more depending on the planner) leading up to the day.
- While most vendors may have multiple events on the same day, your planner will focus solely on your wedding the entire day they are hired. You get their undivided attention!
- Your wedding planner will oversee the overall logistics, design, flow, aesthetic, timeline, etc. on the big day. Most vendors only take care of their one area of expertise (florals, music, lighting, etc.) while your planner oversees it all.
- The last thing you will want on your wedding day is to worry about communication among family, friends, and vendors. But if you have a planner, they do that for you.
- With a professional planner, you will never know if there are last minute changes or issues on your wedding day. Ignorance is bliss!
- Your planner is an extension of you. They have the industry knowledge and professionalism to represent you to other vendors, but they are also on your team and can be a friend. They will always have your best interests in mind and do everything they can to be sure that your big day is everything you envisioned it to be!
After your wedding, there are very few things you get to take home when all is said and done. Most things will go in a keepsake box, some things you may sell or donate, but the one thing that you will treasure and look at forever are your photos. As most couples do, you will print them and hang them all over your house, share them with friends and family, create a beautifully printed album for your coffee table, post them to social media, etc. So there are definitely some good reasons to invest in a good photographer:
- You will spend more time with your photographer than anyone else on your wedding day. They literally follow you around and try to document every moment they can, so you want to be sure that you like your photographer as a person.
- If you spend more money on a package with your photographer, that may include a printed album, an online gallery, and prints. If you only pay for the photographer’s hours, all of those things are more money you will have to pay later.
- Spending money on an experienced photographer means that they know what looks good: lighting, poses, angles. These things all make a huge difference in getting an unforgettable shot.
- A professional photographer with experience knows how to get the natural shots that you will LOVE later. Yes, you want gorgeous bridal portraits, but those candid photos of your dad crying as he gives you away or your maid of honor busting a move on the dance floor are the photos that will have you laughing for years to come.
- Your photographer may also give you great insight as to the flow of your timeline, specifically when it comes to allocating time for bridal and family portraits. And they know how to keep things going and keep everyone on time too!
- Most photographers will give you a full eight hours of coverage when you spend more money on their packages, and trust me, you want that full eight hours and sometimes more.
- Another plus to spending more on your photographer is you may get a second photographer for the day, and you won’t regret getting those extra shots.
It’s no secret that one huge component of your wedding that everyone remembers is the food. We have all gone to that one wedding with the dry chicken, chewy veggies, and slightly cold mashed potatoes. When you put all your effort and energy into planning the biggest day of your life, the last thing you want is for your guests to leave and one of their take-aways is that the dinner could have been better. The best way to get around that is to find a fabulous caterer and be willing to allocate more of your budget to have a killer menu. These are some other reasons to spend your money on a caterer:
- Your caterer will walk you through choosing a menu that will support and match the theme of your big day. Your food should also be cohesive to your vision!
- Choosing a menu will add to your guests experience; are your guests seated for dinner? Are there roaming food bars? How about interactive food stations? Will your guests enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres or grazing tables?
- With some caterers, an extra premium will allow you to create a menu that’s completely custom and unique to you. A lot of caterers have pre-set food and dinner options that couples choose from, but for all those foodies out there, you can create something brand new.
- Even if you aren’t using the same caterer for dessert or a late night snack, think about ways that you can surprise your guests with something they haven’t seen. An ice cream cart, pizza truck, coffee bar, fire pit for late night s’mores, etc.
- You will also want to be sure that you pay for a full-service caterer. A full-service caterer will bring in a team of servers that will ensure your dinner experience—from appetizers to dessert—are set up, cleaned up, and kept up throughout the entire event. If you don’t have a full-service caterer, most venues will require you to pay for an additional team to come in and do that for you.
5. WEDDING DRESS AND ATTIRE
The last, but surely not least, of wedding essentials that every couple should invest in is their wedding dress, suit, tuxedo, and overall attire for the evening. This topic has been a debate for quite awhile, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. The biggest argument I see against this is that “it’s only one day.” And while that may be true, this is one of the BIGGEST days of your life. It’s a day that you have planned for months, if not years. It’s one that you, your family, and your friends will remember forever. Here are a few more reasons why you should allocate more budget towards your attire:
- 99% of your wedding photos will be of you, and your dress and attire will be in almost every single one of them. I’ll say it again. Every. Single. One. If you find yourself settling on a dress, you will have photos to look at for the rest of your life that will remind you of that feeling.
- Part of the cost towards a wedding dress will go towards the alterations to make this piece of clothing fit you perfectly. And while there can be a cost for the alterations, feeling confident and beautiful are priceless.
- While your wedding will celebrate you and your fiancé(e) as a couple, your wedding dress will celebrate you as an individual. This dress should represent what makes you unique; what sets you apart, what your style is, and what makes you, you.
- We all know you get what you pay for, and that definitely applies towards your wedding dress. Quality has a price, and you should really think about paying a little extra for it.
- Finding your perfect wedding dress is a feeling that every bride should experience. The same goes for the groom and his suit or custom made tuxedo. The secret to your success will be finding a shop that understands the importance of finding you the right attire; the more personal attention they provide, the more likely you’ll enjoy this experience.
- A bridal shop like The Bridal Collection focuses on pairing you with the right consultant, adopting your vision as their own, respecting your budget, and celebrating with you when you find “the one.” You will walk away from your shopping experience feeling like a million bucks. And trust me, it just makes you THAT much more excited for your wedding day!
So there you have it! As an event planner, I always try to get feedback from my couples after their wedding and hear what they are glad they did and what they wish they would have done differently. When I share the advice above with couples at the beginning of the planning process, rarely do I hear that they wish they hadn’t invested in these five wedding essentials. However, at the end of the day, it’s YOUR wedding. My biggest advice is to be true to yourself! Invest in the things most important to you, whether or not they are listed above. And if you are just beginning the planning process, I hope that this information gives you some practical and helpful insight as to how to make your wedding day unforgettable.
Written by: Kaleigh Richards, Owner of Bridery Events