Splurge or Save your Money? Budgeting for your Wedding

When it comes to planning your wedding, these are the two major areas to consider right away:

All photos taken by Heather Franklin from  Studio 25 Photography

All photos taken by Heather Franklin from Studio 25 Photography

The date/location logistics and (the part that always freaks everyone out) the budget… *cue the dramatic dun-dun-duuuuuuuun*

But it’s going to be ok! Money is such a taboo topic that it makes people feel really uncomfortable. So, the way to avoid any unnecessary wedding stress is to grab some wine and your finace and talk it all out. It doesn't have to be a difficult conversation if you both approach with an open mind and listen to each other.

In order to avoid any confusion or overspending, knowing what figure you will be working with from the start is incredibly important. There are plenty of budgeting spreadsheets on Excel or Pinterest to help you estimate the appropriate figure for you and your fiance’s financial situation.

Every couple is different (some pay everything themselves while others have the help from family) but regardless it’s still important to make a budget. My husband and I used an Excel templet and it helped us figure out our budget (even though some areas changed along the way).

So, since this month is all about weddings on GS, my hope for this post is to normalize conversations about money/budgeting in a positive way by relating it to your special day. Money doesn't have to be stressful topic if you chose to look at it from an abundance mindset (no matter how much or how little you have). What you focus on will grow, so approach these conversations with positivity and see how quickly the stress disappears (and how money might start flowing into your life in unexpected ways).    

To help you out, I have created a list of the areas that my husband and I totally thought were worth the splurge and those that we decided were not for us. I hope this helps you with your own budget and gives you some money-saving tips!

Venue/Decor: Splurge on your venue to save on your decor


You will find that the majority of your budget will fall into two categories: venue and food/alcohol. So to keep the other areas of your budget on track, use your venue to your advantage and make it part of your decor.

We had our wedding at a gorgeous estate built in 1929 on the water in Sarasota, FL. It inhaled a good chunk of our budget but it helped save us money since it doubled as our decor. There was very little we had to decorate because the venue was just so beautiful.

Plus, I wanted to avoid having a lot of leftover decorations so I made sure to only buy items I knew I could reuse.

We ended up buying tea lights and holders in bulk from IKEA + mason jars (what's a wedding without those bad boys) and decorate them with lace and dried lavender (all credit goes to my mother-in-law for that one). They were really inexpensive, looked amazing, and matched our colors. After the wedding, we distributed them around to who ever wanted to keep them. Currently, I have a a few in our bathroom on some rustic shelves.

So, to keep your decor budget on track, use your venue as your decor and only buy things that you can use again or that can be given away to someone you know. There is no need to buy expensive decor if you can make something similar with the help of Pinterest and that will end up cluttering you closets with more junk.

Each table was named after a city that meant something to us. The cities we were born, where we met, our fave vacation spots etc. 

Each table was named after a city that meant something to us. The cities we were born, where we met, our fave vacation spots etc. 

Photographer/Videographer: Splurge/saved (+ REGRETS!)

This is the one area of our budget I wish I had fought harder on.

We hired an AMAZING photographer (she took all the pictures you see here) and her work was amazing. I even rehired her to take the headshots that you see on here and on my Instagram. She is also shooting my maid of honor’s wedding in December.

So, if you are in the Sarasota/Tampa area and are on the hunt for a photographer, check Heather out HERE.

What I regret is saving our money by not hiring a videographer. Although the pictures we have are incredible, I would have loved to have some footage of the day to fully reminisce and eventually show our future children. My mom was able to film the actual ceremony so I do have that to rewatch but I would have liked some more.

So, if you are on the fence on whether or not to hire one, I would suggest you do. Even if you ask a friend to take footage with their phone and you can edit it yourself later. It is better to have the footage than not have it and wish you did!


RSVP cards: Save your money

When you go to order your invitations, you will have the option to add RSVP cards to your order. The idea is that when a guest receives your beautifully designed invitation, they will also get the RSVP card to fill out and mail back to you.

Thanks to the internet you can completely eliminated this step, which will save your guest the hassle of sending it back and save you some cash! Instead, make a free wedding website (a quick google search will show you these sites + they are really quick to set up) and instruct your guests to electronically RSVP. For us, to print RSVP cards along with our invitation would have added an additional $200 to our order. That did not include stamps, which would have been an extra $40! Instead, we use that $240 on our decor. 



Open bar: Splurge

This was a no-brainer. We have a very thirsty family (Norwegians and Polaks sure love to party!) so there was nooooo questioning that an open bar for our wedding was a must!  


Favors: Save your money

You are already providing free food, booze, entertainment, and your love. That is plenty! I have noticed that most people will actually leave them behind....

Flowers: Splurge/Save your money

My fiance grew up in Sarasota so his family was a huge help with finding local vendors. With our florist, we had flowers ordered for the bouquets, the boutonnieres, and some in the centerpieces and near the ceremony location but the rest was mostly greenery. That way, we were able to keep our flower coat down by using less flowers and more simple greenery.

Converse for the win! I was beyond comfortable wearing sneakers and I could dance all night 

Converse for the win! I was beyond comfortable wearing sneakers and I could dance all night 

Tip: If you have a local farmers market or wholesaler that also sells flowers, you can bypass the florist all together. If you have the time, grab your wedding party and put them to work to make the bouquet and any floral arrangements your desire!


Wedding day coordinator: SPLURGE!

This was hands down the best money we spent at our wedding! Like I mentioned in last week’s post, it made our wedding so much easier to enjoy since we knew someone had all the technical/logistical things handled. None of our family members or people in our wedding party had to worry about anything and we could all enjoy the night.

And that’s the list! These are the things that worked for us and our budget as well as the ones we decided against. You might want completely different things at your wedding and that is absolutely wonderful! It is your day and it should be just the way you want it. I hope that post gives you a few new ideas and helps you avoid any future dread when it comes to discussing your wedding day budget.

As always, I would love to hear from you! If you have an amazing money-save tip for a wedding, please share it in the comments!