Tips for Stretching Your Wedding Day Budget Without Skimping on Style

Everyone loves to save money when they can. duh. 

....but sometimes it can be difficult prioritizing when to spend, where to splurge, and how to save your pennies. Add in not really knowing if you're making the right choices, and the whole wedding day budget can get stressful in a hurry. The key to this post is the "not skimping on style" part. I dont want to tell you how to throw a cheap, boring, and bland wedding. I want to help you see that by saving a little here and there, you can use that money towards the things that really matter the most to you. These are things I'm hearing from my #nataliesmithbrides all the time, so I just wanted to take a day and write out a few of my suggestions, and a few things that I've seen brides do that seem to have really helped them in the past. I really think every one of these tips and tricks can work for all brides, regardless if your budget is $5,000.00, or $50,000. 

1. Set a budget, and stick to it.

     Y'all had to know that I was going to say that first, right?! Its sooo true though! You have to sit down with whomever is going to be financing the wedding and set a realistic budget so that you don't get halfway in to paying your vendors and realize your short on cash. So often brides can fall in to the trap of just paying as they go without a clear idea as to how much they are even able to spend, and then they are left disappointed that they can't afford to get their hair done, or that last minute mani/pedi, or their dream centerpieces, and when its all said and done, you want to walk away from your wedding planning experience with no regrets. 

2. Put your money where it matters most.

     Lets play a little game. Think about your best friend's wedding. Or your cousin's wedding. It doesn't really matter...What are the first three things that come to mind? Their venue? The flowers? Their gorgeous photos? Or maybe they got married somewhere very simple and sweet but the food was to die for, the band/d.j. was killer....and they have beyond gorgeous photos? *I'm biased. No apologies, I am still a photographer. My point is: spend the bulk of your money where it makes sense to you. And really take some time to think about that. While some brides have a particular venue that they are hell-bent on getting married at and will spend ANYTHING to make that happen, some brides care more about throwing an unbelievable party/reception that they know they will spend the rest of their lives reminiscing on. And thats ok! Each bride is different, figure out where your heart lies and what works for you.

3. Less is more.

     Confession: I am not reeeeeally a less is more kinda gal. TO ME, more is more. More flowers. More cake. More food, wine, and music. BUT--we're here today to talk about stretching our budgets SO- LESS IS MORE. If you have 10 bridesmaids, that is going to be more expensive than it would be if you had 3. And If your goal is to have amazing florals at your wedding and reception, fewer bridesmaids dresses to buy, fewer bridesmaids gifts to buy, fewer bridesmaids bouquets to buy, and fewer meals to provide are just SOME of the ways that cutting down your bridal party can really help save your budget. Same goes with groomsmen. Fewer boutonnieres, tuxes, gifts, food- you get the point. 

4. To echo my previous point, invite fewer guests.

     If you are a bride that wants to be surrounded by every single person you know and love on your wedding day, I think thats absolutely wonderful. I love big weddings. But again, if we're talking about stretching your budget--and we are-- then fewer guests means: fewer invitations (which means less postage), fewer meals, fewer centerpieces, fewer rentals such as tables, chairs, table linens, fewer plates, napkins, less flatware....you get the picture. Inviting the people that are closest to you, as opposed to everyone you know is one of the quickest ways to save money on your wedding day. 

5. Simplify.

     If you go back and look at everything that you have now decided that you HAVE TO HAVE for your wedding day and feel like you just can't cut back on anything else, just simply all of the things. For instance- the "favors". No one needs an elaborate wedding favor. They are a great and nice gesture, and while I'm not suggesting you do away with them entirely (or anything else for that matter), just see if you can simplify. Simplify your bar from being a wide range of drink options to just 2 or 3 signature cocktails. Simplify your meal from 3 entree choices and 4 side options, to just something less. Instead of renting a hotel room to get ready at, see if you can get ready on site. So many options that can be scaled back, when necessary.  

In closing....

I really want to drill home that I am not suggesting that everyone now go out and put on the cheapest wedding that they possibly can. Again, I'm a 'more is more girl' (dont judge me). BUT-- I hate hearing brides say that they couldn't afford x, y, or z, because they weren't mindful of their budget early on, then got to the homestretch and had totally blown their budget. If y'all have anything else that you're currently doing to stay on top of your spending as a way to ensure the wedding of your dreams, I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT, so leave me a comment below and you just may help out a fellow bride along the way.

Cheers to all you bombshell, budget-building brides!

Natalie