As you start planning your wedding budget, there are a few things you should definitely splurge on -- don't cut corners on these things! Quality is definitely better than saving a few bucks. Invest in these 5 things for an exceptional wedding experience (and photos!).
1. Hire an Amazing Wedding Photographer
I might be biased, but having beautiful, quality wedding photographs are one of the very few remnants of your day, once the cake is gone, the flowers wilt and everyone goes home.
It is usually more economical to look within your local market, but definitely look elsewhere if your dream photographer isn't there... if you're really in love with one or two photographers' styles, and they are not local to you, contact them anyway. Many photographers offer discounted travel or other "perks" for destination (to them) weddings!
2. Hire an Amazing Wedding Videographer
One of the most consistent regrets of past brides of ours is that they didn't hire a videographer... or they simply had "Uncle Bob" use a Handycam from his seat during the ceremony. This WILL be a regret after the wedding, almost a guarantee!
The most incredible gift is the ability to watch and hear the day forever began... over and over, maybe sharing with your future children and grandchildren. There is something special about a cinematic wedding video that a Handycam or iPhone video just cannot capture.
More importantly, hearing quality, professional audio of your vows, speeches and other important moments within the video is one of the most incredible things to experience after the wedding day! When choosing a videographer, look at sample films and listen for great audio in the film from the wedding day, not just a musical background track.
Watching your wedding film also makes for a fantastic anniversary date, too... and a great family heirloom.
3. Professional Hair and Airbrush Makeup
If there is one thing you don't want to skimp on OR do yourself (or allow your sister/bridesmaid to do), it is your wedding day makeup! Unless you or one of your friends is a professional hair and makeup artist, this is generally a bad idea.
Hair and makeup is so vitally important, because you will see beautiful hair and makeup in your photos, just as much as you will your beautiful wedding dress. Poor quality, drugstore makeup will not last you the full wedding day... especially if you'll be in hot/humid weather!
Quality airbrush makeup application should last your entire wedding day (and then some). It won't sweat off, won't smudge, and you'll look amazing even after the last dance. Come on, no bride wants to look like bridezilla because her mascara and eyeliner were droopy and fading in the sweat and tears all day!
If your eyelashes are not naturally full and dark, I highly recommend investing in individually-placed natural lashes. They will enhance your eyes, therefore making your photos look even more beautiful!
4. Your bouquet
Your flowers make such a statement about your wedding style. You don't have to break the bank to have AMAZING flowers! Many floral designers offer "Ceremony-Only" options that include bouquets and boutonnieres, oftentimes without a (steep) minimum order.
Here are a few tips:
If you invest in only one bouquet, make it the bridal bouquet. Even if that is the only bouquet you have professionally made, you will be very thankful you invested in your dream wedding bouquet.
Unless you’re allergic, do not try to design your own bouquet with silk flowers. They never look real — ever. By the time you invest in quality silk materials, you may as well have invested in the real thing!
For bridesmaids and boutonnieres, have your floral designer choose simpler/less expensive blooms and add a variety of greens to create lush bouquets. Greens add texture and volume to the bouquet without adding too much expense versus adding additional blooms.
Don't forget the guys! Boutonnieres are important too! These can definitely be economical, and use lots of greens vs. blooms.
If you’re particularly crafty, you can pick up your favorite blooms and greens at a Farmer's market or Trader Joe's. Be sure to find some tutorials on how to tie a bouquet and tips for picking flowers that won’t wilt as easily.
But our advice.... stick to a professional floral designer. That way you don't have to worry about wilting flowers, flowers that don't bloom on time, having to strip and hand-tie bouquets when you don't really know what you're doing, having your flowers wilt and die on you before the wedding day, etc.
5. Your Dress + Veil
You will see your dress in every image (that you're in) from your wedding day! If you set a budget of $2000, but your dream dress is $4000... find areas in your budget that can be cut. Find things that aren't "must have" expenses, like expensive invitation suites, ceiling draping, more expensive floral blooms, full open bar vs beer/wine only, steak instead of chicken, etc. It's usually easier than you think to cut out the things that don't really matter...
You can also find your dream dress and then check out online sites for pre-owned wedding gowns if you want to save a lot of money on your dream dress. Another option is to connect with and follow local bridal shops to know when upcoming sample sales or trunk shows may be coming up.