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The tricks to stay on a budget and still have the wedding of your dreams

While this is one of the most important days of your life, it only has 24 hours like any other day and will come and go before you know it. Have fun planning your special day, but do not obsess over making it the most perfect and spectacular wedding ever.

As wedding professionals, it's our job to bring our client's dreams to life - but when budgets are tight, and expectations are high, we can feel more like crushers of dreams than granters of wishes. Add stunning social media images to the mix that sets unreasonable expectations, and you have directions that will send you straight to disappointment disaster town if you aren't careful.

So, how do you reign in your expectations and redirect your focus on what you can afford? The best advice we can give is to be realistic from the get-go.

Here are the tricks to stay on a budget and still have the wedding of your dreams:

Set Realistic Expectations from the Start by Doing Your Homework

Schedule a sit-down with your partner, family, and contributing parties to discuss how much you want to invest in the event. Start by considering where you would like your wedding, how many guests might be invited, and how formal or informal you envision it. Of course, talking about money with your loved ones can be a tad uncomfortable, but it is a critical step to avoiding a potential budget crisis down the line.

Once you and your partner are on the same page about how much you would like to spend, it is time to hit the ground running with market research. There are many resources out there to help navigate the numbers, but make sure you are taking into account the specific region you are getting married in, the guest count, and any big-ticket items you hope to include. It is also helpful to schedule calls with local professionals or ask friends who have recently married in a similar area or venue style.

Choose an Area of Focus

If you can't reasonably afford to recreate every single one of the stunning Pinterest images you have your heart set on, a great option can be to choose an area of focus: reception or ceremony. You could have a romantic, understated ceremony and save the bulk of the floral and decor budget for the reception; or, vice-versa: throw an over-the-top ceremony dripping in florals, and opt for a chic, modern/minimalistic aesthetic for the reception. Going big in a single area and having one wow factor (a jaw-dropping ceremony) allows you to spread the budget evenly across the wedding.

Location, Location, Location

The most major expense of a wedding is, without any doubt, the venue. Venue choice can make all the difference if you have a tight decor budget. If you can't afford a ton of florals and added decor to dress up a space, you want to start with the most stunning foundation possible. Choose a fantastic venue that has it all and requires minimum input from the decorators! Like a gorgeous beachfront ceremony, a reception in a stunning Italian Villa, or even an old castle. You will wind up with spectacular photographs and guests who leave in awe without having to break your budget.

Focus on the guest experience. Invest in food, bar, and interactive experiences while keeping the decor simple and budget-friendly.

Setting an Off-Season Date

Setting an off-season date is an intelligent approach to minimizing your wedding costs. The prices you might find during the off-season can be surprising. You could get a chance to book your dream wedding venue at a low cost. You can even get vendors' services at low prices when the number of weddings is minimal.

Set Your Priorities

Commit to two or three must-haves where you both do not wish to compromise, the non-negotiable ones, and just let the others slide. Whether it's a stunning floral arch, a dream photographer or videographer, or a crystal chandelier over the dance floor, focus on these priority elements and play with the budget to scale on the rest to keep expenses from spiraling.

It can also help to clearly understand how much you pay per guest and what your dream item will cost. (I.e. The floral chandelier you want is the equivalent of 13 guests.) That might encourage you to take a long, hard look at your guest list and make cuts where appropriate (sorry, second cousins) to ensure you can afford your dream decor item.

Create a Detailed Budget

Get down to the nitty-gritty with a plan outlining the percentage of your overall budget you'd like to allocate toward each category of your wedding. We recommend listing your budget in ranges rather than an exact number in each category to allow flexibility as you move forward. No matter how you allocate your percentages, ensure you're comfortable with the high amount as the absolute max you're willing to spend.

Set a Strategy to Repurpose

The key to both a stunning ceremony and reception on a tight budget? Repurpose. If you use floral garlands as a ceremony arch, figure out how to use those (rather than brand-new florals) for the reception. Start looking at every item you choose for your ceremony as something that can be repurposed for the reception—it is a strategic and budget-savvy move and one of the most overlooked ways to save when it comes to wedding planning. From cocktail-hour centerpieces to swags on the back of ceremony chairs to linens, figure out ways to make every design detail work a double shift.

Account for Extras

When budgeting, always add a "cushion fund" for any overage- big or small- that might arise so you won't have to stress further along in the planning process. Even the tightest budget needs a little wiggle room to factor in miscellaneous expenses.

Something that wasn't in your budget will materialize. There will always be something you will find that you will want to add ( oh, that raw bar during the cocktail hour! ), or one not-so-minor unexpected expense will pop up ( got to rent a tent because it looks like rain).

No matter your budget, you will end up spending more. In fact, the rule of thumb is that you will spend at least seven to ten percent more on your wedding than you think you will.

The Guest List

A very crucial aspect of wedding planning is, of course, the guest list. Yes, you have to invite everyone because it is your big day.

If you cannot afford a grand wedding, go for a small, intimate wedding with only the closest ones around you and your loved one!  After all, it is YOUR big day, and you need to ask people who are genuinely happy about your wedding.

The smaller the setting, the better it feels because you can individually meet everyone.

With these tips, we hope you will have a memorable wedding day that does not pave the way for any regrets!
We, of course, are always by your side to guide you!