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You can’t wait to spend eternity with your fiancé, but first you have to get married. Planning a wedding can be both fun and stressful, as there are a lot of decisions to make – and most of them don’t come cheap.
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In 2021, the national average cost of a wedding is $28,000, according to The Knot. Whether you plan to pay more or less, you’ve probably already realized that something – or more like many things – will have to give to avoid overspending.
Larissa Banting, owner of Weddings Costa Rica, a wedding planning company that handles weddings locally and abroad, said every couple has a budget, so she encourages them to prioritize their spending.
“When I start working with clients, I always tell them to list the three most important things to them and the bottom three that they’re happy to cut back on,” she said. “But you don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you’ve spent the entire budget renting an amazing place, only to find you don’t have the funds for decorations, a photographer, or a meal beyond the cake. and punch.”
Here’s a rundown of several items to consider splurging on on your big day and a look at what might not be worth the extra cash — plus the average price of each, according to The Knot.
Splurge: Wedding Planner
You can plan your wedding yourself, but Banting recommends working with a professional.
“Now I might be a little biased, but I think splurging on a wedding planner is a good idea because an planner will not only save you time – the average wedding takes 250 hours to plan by you -even – but also an oversized Tylenol bottle of headaches and stress that no amount of meditation can calm, especially on the big day itself,” Banting said. “A planner will save you money because they know the ropes, as well as the vendors that will best suit your vision and budget.”
Since photos live long after your wedding day, Banting advised choosing a seasoned photographer who will capture stunning photos and have security systems in place to back up all images.
“Hire an experienced wedding photographer, as they will be able to maintain composure under duress, bring large groups of people together effectively and [know] how to get the most out of their nervous subjects,” she said. “A professional will also have the right equipment, such as multiple lenses and a secondary camera body, and know how to edit the final photos beautifully.”
POLL: Do you have a side concert or other activity?
In theory, creating a playlist for your wedding reception might sound like a great way to avoid the expense of hiring a DJ, but Banting says it never works. In fact, she said one of her clients tried this and accidentally played “Baby Got Back” during dinner.
“A DJ will know how to read the crowd to keep the dance floor filled, be able to get things flowing as an MC, and save you or the guests from having to keep the iPod on,” a- she declared.
Splurge: Wedding Venue
Going all out for your wedding venue can come with a steep upfront price, but Fátima Falcon, founder of Momentos Weddings and Events in Los Cabos, Mexico, says it’s worth it.
“You can invest more in choosing the wedding venue as it will mark the aesthetic of the day and it can also help you save costs,” she said. “If the venue already has very strong decor in the style you like, then you can cut costs on additional flowers, ornaments, or accessories.”
Splurge: food and drink
- Average cost: $75 per person
If you and your loved one are foodies, you wouldn’t dare to serve less than top quality dishes to your guests. As long as it’s really important to you, Falcon said spending more in this category can be a good idea.
“For some couples, drinks and food selection are also important in the amount of investment for the wedding,” she said. “While it may help in the experience, it will all depend on the priorities you have as a couple.”
They could add a special touch in the moment, but Falcon said wedding favors aren’t necessary.
“Although these are very special details, they are normally either completely overlooked or must have a very specific use to be useful,” she said. “If you want to save money or not spend it all, you can forget about those details and invest in a more personalized experience.”
You probably wouldn’t dream of having a wedding without flowers, but the type you choose can seriously stretch your budget.
“You don’t need to fill your wedding with flowers in very elaborate designs, especially if the species isn’t in season,” Falcon said. “Choosing too many flowers can increase your budget, so we can recommend choosing seasonal flowers or more foliage.”
Save: wedding cake
Cutting the cake is a special moment at many weddings, but Banting said there was no need to make a huge one because not everyone would eat it.
“If you’re serving dessert, have a cupcake to cut out and plate enough small pieces for about 50 to 60 percent of the guests,” she said. “If cake is important to you, consider skipping dessert with dinner and instead serving it soon after dinner service ends and people have had a chance to dance a bit.”
Emily Heckler, owner and chief wedding planner of Central Florida-based Unveiled Wedding Planning LLC, said stationery was her biggest savings area. “Apart from your mother, no one keeps the invitations,” she said. “Only a small percentage read programs. A menu is easily displayed on a large panel for everyone to see.
Therefore, she recommended ordering only a few fancy invitations for the detailed photo and immediate family members who will appreciate it.
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