This is a discussion I come across a LOT while scrolling though social media, looking for potential clients; it’s a topic of endless discussion and this blog, while good intentioned, is certainly not meant to bring the discussion to a screeching hault.

According to Cost of Wedding’s website, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is $26,720.  This DOES NOT include the cost of a honeymoon; this is strictly the cost of a wedding.  This price includes your venue of choice, food, entertainment, planning, attire and accessories, etc.  Just recently I was helping a wedding planner friend of mine setup for a wedding she had been working on for a year, and although I’m well adjusted to what all goes into a wedding day, I was still floored by seeing all the moving pieces and parts coming together in unison for the big day.  It was mind blowing in all honesty.

With all these pieces and parts, what gets the most of your money?  Do you spend the extra on the venue, splurge on the dress and other accessories, fork out some serious change on the food, and then get a lowcost DJ and Photographer when the budget starts getting tight?  Or, do you fork out the benj’s on your DJ and Photographer, find a good caterer, but skimp a bit on the flowers and other decor?  Obviously, in a perfect world this wouldn’t even be an issue – we would all be loaded and be able to buy the best of the best of everything and have a perfect day.  But can you have the perfect day and still skimp?  And if so, what areas do you NOT skimp on and what areas do you?

My suggestions for categories to NOT skimp on when it comes to cost:

Food

Your guests need to eat.  They are hungry, they’ve been standing outside in the heat watching you and your hubby exhcange their vows for the past hour, they’ve now had two cocktails and some finger foods…time to feed them.  Don’t let them walk out of the building that night talking about the crappy food they just ate.  Spend the money on a good caterer!  I’ve never heard a couple say they wished they would’ve dialed it back on the food when we were tearing down at the end of the night.  Never.

You can find high quality, local caterers here.

Photography/Videopraphy

Like food above, I have yet to hear a bride complain about the amazing photos they received from their photographer post wedding day.  Not once.  I have, however, heard and read stories from plenty of folks who were just devestated by the product they received from the videographer or their photographer when it was all said and done.  I’m not a betting man, but if I was, I would put money on the fact that most, if not all, of these complaints are coming from couples who decided to skimp and go with the lowest priced photographer.  Without fail I would make that bet, over and over again.  Because the truth is, when it comes to photography and videography, you get what you pay for, every single time.

Entertainment

Obviously I’m a bit biased here, but with good reason.  Ever been to a reception with a terrible DJ?  Ever been to an event where the band was just awful?  If you have, you probably were at a reception or event where the person making the entertainment purchase decided to go with the cheap option and not the BEST option.  You entertainment will MAKE OR BREAK YOUR NIGHT.  Trust me, it will.  And there is a reason the pros charge more – its because they are worth it.  Spending upwards of $1500 for a DJ is not the craziest thing I’ve ever heard – in fact, I’ll almost guarentee you that you will walk away from that night happy, and your guests will have really enjoyed their evening.  Look…there are great DJ’s running specials for $400.  I’ve done it myself – and I’m the best (insert rimshot here)!  There’s also companies trying to charge you $1500 for a crap night of entertainment that will leave your guests bored and make you look cheap and cheesy as hell!  This where it all comes together…READ THE REVIEWS.  If the band is the cheapest band you’ve found by far, then read their reviews to make sure there’s not a good reason they are the cheapest band you’ve found!  If the DJ is asking for a large fee, alomst a grand more than the others you’ve looked at – check the reviews.  He or she should have tons of amazing reviews.

Look, this discussion can go for days and the truth is, it will never go away.  This is simply my opinion about what a bride and groom (or event planner) should be thinking about when deciding where to cut some costs.  Cutting costs is fine, just make sure you don’t regret the area you cut them in!  If a 4K dress is that important to you, and you only have 10K to spend on the wedding, you’re going to need to skimp.  Just make sure that if you skimp on the DJ, the photographer or the food,  that you’re ready to deal with the consequences!

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