You’re getting married and of course, you want the perfect wedding! Budget plays a factor in your decisions, though. So how do you stick to the budget and still have a wedding that you love and will leave your guests talking? There are 3 “musts” to work around your budget.
Venue! This one is important. You need to decide when you want your wedding and start calling venues right away, as they book up fast here in the region. Decide if you want an indoor venue, an outdoor venue, or one that offers both options (a popular option is having the wedding outside and then the reception inside). There are limited venue options in the Valley, with many couples vying for the same date. I recommend looking for your venue 12-18 months out, depending on your date. Peak wedding season is May- September, and winter weddings are often competing with holiday parties in December.
Another thing to consider is the rehearsal. You’ll want to see if the venue will allow you to book the night before your wedding to have a rehearsal and start decorating, or how early you can gt in to start setting up and decorating the day of.
A great option is hiring a day-of coordinator to do all your set up and arrange the decorating while you’re getting ready for your wedding.
My second suggestion is to find the photographer you LOVE. A great photographer can be spendy, but trust me, you don’t want to skimp in this area. Your wedding day will fly by and there will be so much you forget. Not to mention there will be so many moments you won’t even catch. Having a great photographer, and I recommend a second shooter, will capture all the moments you don’t want to forget and the moments that you didn’t see, like your fiancé’ getting ready for the big day, the sweet looks between you two throughout the reception, the look on a loved ones face while you walk down the aisle. The photos you get back from your photographer will let you relive the day over and over again. Set aside a decent budget for this. Many photographers will take payments leading up to your wedding, and most have a reasonable down payment.
The third is the caterer. This is YOUR wedding, remember that. But there are others to take into consideration. Your loved ones from near and far will be traveling to see you on your big day. Traditionally, couples will provide a meal for the guests (there are open house style receptions where this is an exception to the rule). To help ensure your guests have a great time and stay for the party you’ll want to feed them well. This can be your biggest expense at $12-$35 a person.
If it’s in your budget to have a catered, plated meal served to your guests, I recommend vetting the company. Make sure there are enough servers to get your guests served promptly so they’re not waiting for their meal while others have finished and are then waiting for the next step. Choose a menu that can accommodate all your guests…. Such as having a chicken or beef or vegetarian option. Make sure these choices are on the RSVP cards so your caterer can plan.
If you’re on a tighter budget I recommend a buffet. In this scenario, you’ll want to make sure the caterer is familiar with weddings and plans for 20% more than the expected guests, as the guests will serve themselves different portions and even go back for seconds. You want to make sure you have enough food so no one is left out.
See if your caterer will arrange a sample or tasting for you Trust their specialty. If your caterer is known for their meat and potatoes and large helpings, go with that. If your caterer has a specialty dish, go with that.