As couples embark on their fun and exciting journey to the aisle, they’re often struck with the realization that weddings don’t come cheap. While you can certainly pull off a low-budget celebration, it typically comes with a fair share of headaches and stress. Your wedding is an investment–not just in a party, but an opportunity to celebrate your love and start your next chapter amongst loved ones. Couples often discover that their wedding becomes a reunion for friends and family to create new memories and revisit old ones, which is a worthwhile experience in itself. As you plan your big day, you may be wondering how to allocate your budget in a way that includes all of your must-have items while keeping your guest experience a top priority. We asked wedding industry experts about the best investments that their couples have never regretted—here’s what they had to say.
A chance to reconnect as a couple
Wedding planning is a busy process and one that can often distract from the bigger picture of your upcoming marriage. That’s why The Soulful Wedding’s Maureen Cotton recommends investing in some pre-wedding time, just for the two of you. “Many couples never consider a couple’s retreat or some kind of premarital counseling,” she explains. “But when family dynamics get complicated or they crash post-wedding, couples can feel how they strained their relationship in service of the wedding. Prioritizing your relationship with premarital counseling or a retreat makes the planning, wedding day, and early marriage more fun and meaningful.”
Dedicated care for four-legged friends
Plenty of couples go into marriage with fur babies already in the picture, so they naturally want to include them in their wedding day. “Your pet is part of the family,” affirms Veronica Silghigian of Pawfect for You. “And families should be able to celebrate life's most memorable occasions with their pets.” But that doesn’t mean you must be on full-time pet parent duty when you should be talking to guests and breaking it down on the dance floor! As Silghigian explains, “A specialized service will help to take the worry away, plus help couples and their families enjoy the wedding day to the fullest! Everything is planned out, and you won't have to rely on a guest when they could be enjoying the day.”
More chances to celebrate with loved ones
Ask any married couple and they’ll tell you their wedding day went by in a blur. When surrounded by guests with well wishes, it’s easy to feel pulled in multiple directions. Instead of trying to fit it all into one six to eight hour window, spread out the festivities through the weekend as Shauna & Jordon's Shauna Cooney suggests. “Wedding weekends truly are such a magical time in couples' lives,” she says. “From the welcome dinner to farewell brunches, so many memories are made. Because of that, we have most often heard from couples that one of their biggest regrets is skimping out on those events. Be it having their planner handle and design the event, or having their photo and video team there to document those memories for them.”
A lifelong memory to share
Few weddings have a 100% RSVP rate, which means there will inevitably be guests who cannot show up to your wedding. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be part of the celebration! With live streaming, you can include them in the festivities so they’ll fit right in whenever your wedding comes up in conversation. “Live streaming your wedding ceremony is something you will never forget,” suggests Shannon Tarrant of Wedding Venue Map. “Not only is it a great feature for your guests who can't attend in person but many of the live streaming options provide a recording of the Livestream after the fact. The opportunity to watch your entire wedding ceremony back will be money well spent.”
Picture-perfect hair and makeup
Even if you’re a whiz with a curling iron and can contour like a pro, it’s worth investing in a beauty professional for the wedding part. As Megan Estrada of NSWE Events reveals, “We find if couples choose to opt-out of professional hair and makeup for their bridal attendants, they often regret it later.” She elaborates, adding, “What makeup may look fine in-person doesn’t necessarily translate well to professional photos, so having professional makeup and hair artists for your bridal party is money well spent if you are having a professional photographer.”
A helping hand with vows
You only get one shot at your wedding ceremony—of course, you want it to be perfect! But if you or your partner aren’t great with words or simply want a special touch, consider hiring a professional to help. “Couples are increasingly hiring us to help them articulate their vows, help friends or family members officiating craft a highly personalized ceremony (that has all the prerequisite elements), and make sure wedding party toasts aren't too long, boring, or inappropriate,” says Brian Franklin of Vows & Speeches. “The whole process removes the anxiety and pressure of writing (and practicing) it themselves, and adds professional guidance to parts of the wedding that have mostly gone without that.”
Extra support with stationery
Sending invitations to your guests is a labor of love, but one you don’t have to take on alone. Momental Designs’ Kelley Nudo encourages couples to, “pop for your stationer to address your envelopes for you. No one likes to have to do the dreaded task of addressing envelopes, so our clients often tell us it is money well spent to avoid having to do it themselves,” Nudo explains “Whether you want to avoid getting hand cramps from hand-writing or you want to steer clear of trying to get the envelopes through your home printer, leave the addressing to the professionals. You will not be sorry!”
An all-in-one venue solution
Seeing the price tag of an all-inclusive venue might make you break out in a sweat, but in many cases, it can be at par or even more affordable than purchasing all the elements separately. Plus, it means fewer contracts, invoices, and vendors to worry about! “When it comes to receptions, many couples appreciate all-inclusive packages and how they take the stress of planning off their shoulders,” explains Patricha Pike of Meadows Event Center. “If your venue has an all-inclusive option, then go for it. Putting the pieces together yourself typically costs more and packages also save you time.”
Peace of mind on the big day
Committing to forever in front of all of your loved ones is already enough to create some wedding day jitters. You don’t need anything else causing undue pressure, especially unpredictable weather! Timeless Event Planning’s Sandy Brooks stresses the importance of contingency plans, recommending couples to “add a rain tent to your rental contract to ensure you have one reserved as a backup plan, as they often sell out weeks in advance if the weather looks bad.” Better safe than sorry!
A wedding planner to take over
Planning a wedding involves a significant amount of heavy lifting—and, if you’re doing it on your own, you may find yourself tense and overwhelmed when the big day finally rolls around. That’s why Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss reveals that “couples that didn't, wish they had hired a wedding planner.” As Sheils explains, “The level of stress when a couple is planning a wedding without professional support is exponentially higher than when they have a planner on their team to manage all the logistics and last-minute changes. Planners are priceless, not only during planning but on the wedding week and wedding day itself!”
Creating your wedding budget can feel like a lot of work, but be mindful that your wedding is about more than just a dollar amount. Weddings are about love, togetherness, and growth—stress and frustration should have no part in that! Some things are worth the expense if it means getting to the aisle without the extra headache. “An investment isn’t just an investment because you paid money for it,” asserts Sarah Blessinger of Kindred Weddings & Events. “Imagine you save money on what seems like an awesome price for a wedding DJ, but then come to find out this person doesn’t have their own speaker system, requires someone else to make announcements, and has poor communication skills. That can add a lot of worry and headache to your plate. If it costs you your peace, then it’s too expensive. Always look for the value of the investment and what it is saving you holistically.”Remember: Your wedding is your day—so it’s up to you and your partner to allot your budget where you see the most value. When in doubt, turn to your team of wedding professionals for support. They’re excellent resources for answers and advice about your big day!
We partnered with Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting to bring you these priceless wedding tips. Meghan Ely is the owner of the wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast. As always, thanks for supporting our sponsors!