Here's to all my nickel and dimer's...I love you! I was you...I get it.
I was a bride.
I was a bride ON a budget!
We can't all have $50,000+ wedding days, but this doesn't mean we can't have a gorgeous wedding and we will cut whatever corners it takes to prove it!
The thing is...while most of us are on budgets, that means we get to choose what we invest in and what we cut out.
The things I'm about to share with you all are the EXACT things I did for my own wedding, things I see at every wedding AND I even chatted with a few professionals so you could hear it straight from the source!
I know, I know. We all like to think we're florists thanks to our local farmer's market. While most of us are extremely proud of our bargain buys for our dining room table (guilty) this doesn't necessarily apply to the bridal bouquet.
For my personal wedding, we were on a pretty tight budget...I ALMOST tried to do all of my flowers myself. I thought in my head, how easy to run to the grocery store, buy some pretty flowers and throw them together. "Florists don't have it that tough," I thought to myself. False. False. FALSE. Since I didn't have a big enough budget to load up all of my tables with immaculate center pieces and more, I chose to invest in my bridal bouquet as well as my bridesmaids and boutineers. Reason? These would be the main focus in 90% of the photos and seen in front of everyone at the wedding! And since photos are important to me, I wanted to look back in my photos and see beautiful creations, not just day-to-day thrown together flowers or fake flowers..
If you can't take my words as they are, I asked one of my favorite local florists, Taylor of Ever Something to share a little bit about her work and here's what she had to say
"While creating your own flowers seems at first like a simple task, you'll find out closer to time that it is not! From sourcing the flowers to processing the flowers to creating and delivery, one wedding can take up our entire week with several employees. We started our business three years ago but I've been studying floral design for five years. I've learned so much about the actual design process but other knowledge that has proven to be very helpful is processing and storing flowers so that they stay fresh and beautiful for the wedding day. We source our flowers from several wholesalers and growers so that we can find the best quality of flowers that still fit in the bride's budget. Several bride's tell us they like our style because it looks like they were just effortlessly picked from the garden and gathered that way. It takes years of constant practicing to be able to pull off this style so that it doesn't look messy. We are always working on perfecting our work! Doing your own flowers might seem to save a lot of money but even having your bouquet done by a professional can make all the difference when you look back at your wedding photos. "
2. Hair & Makeup
Contouring, Pinterest style up-do's and more. We are all experts now, right?!
I wouldn't claim to be completely horrible at H+MU...I'm no Jaclyn Hill but I try to do what's necessary for me!
When it came to my wedding day, I seriously considered cutting this corner. Why would I need a professional who is just charging a lot to make a lot and I can buy the same make-up at the store?
BECAUSE. PROFESSIONALS ARE PROFESSIONALS FOR A REASON.
Hiring Haley was one of my best decisions being a bride. I chose to pay for my hair and make-up to be done professionally because:
1. Even though I knew basic make-up, Haley does this almost EVERY DAY. She uses products SHE knows work the absolute best and she is constantly striving to make sure that bride's feel beautiful on their day. I knew she would give me only her best, so I knew I could trust her!
2. IT TOOK AWAY YET ANOTHER LAYER OF STRESS FROM MY DAY! I can be a bit of a perfectionist in certain areas, especially knowing I would be preparing myself for my future husband and all to see on my wedding day - one that I would not soon forget. If I was worried about the eyelashes I glued on incorrectly, trust me, I would be stressed about it all day. I knew Haley was beyond educated on color matching, eye perfecting and all things glowy goodness. It was such a relief to roll out of bed and sit in a chair and let her work her magic.
3. QUALITY QUALITY QUALITY! Haley used QUALITY products, not just any bargain shopping "this works just like the high end ___" product! I knew I was getting the best of the best and that she cared. Makeup can play a big role in photos. It can give you eyes that extra POP that they need or smooth out any imperfections you may notice on yourself. You don't have to worry about sweating your face off either! I got married in June...the weather was warm and it was ALL outdoors. But when I left my wedding that night after dancing and being outdoors, I STILL looked and felt 100% beautiful. Something that my little ole' make-up doesn't do after a 8 hour work day. Here's some photos from my wedding day...eeek!
Here's what Haley had to say...
I've been in the beauty industry for about 6 years now. I get the opportunity to change the way people look and feel about themselves.. We all have those days that we feel something needs to change..That's what I do! My clients come in we have a consultation about their wants and needs and then we create a style that works for them! With a little effort (by that I mean 2 hours) we put some makeup on and fix our hair and we're ready to face even the craziest days!!! #fakeittomakeit BUT your wedding day shouldn't be one of those days! You need to have a stress free and relaxing day! Before booking with a bride for her wedding we have a consultation, and a few things we go over are how long it will take to get everyone ready...Which usually takes me about 45 minutes for makeup and depending on the hairstyle I usually say about 30 minutes. Also, its good to go over what kind of makeup that we use in-case of a skin sensitivity or if there are any special requests. We go over the style of hair and makeup she envisions for everyone who is apart of the bridal party on the day of her wedding. My goal is to truly help you create your dream look and to feel your absolute best!
Who needs a professional when you've got Pandora?
All of us. WE ALL DO.
If you're looking for a FUN wedding and don't want the stress or pressure of getting your crowd to dance and enjoy themselves..you've GOT to hire a professional.
Skip the awkward pauses between songs, awkward introductions, and just all around awkwardness by looking at your entertainment options! Find someone who wants to invest in you as a client, care about your wedding and ensure you that they will take care of it for you.
We ALMOST cut this corner, but I am so thankful we didn't. We didn't have to count on a person attending our wedding to play two roles - instead, everyone was able to enjoy themselves! So if you're going to cut corners in the entertainment section, cut yourself out of a corner and invest in a professional!
I've gotten to work with Gabe of Gabe Chronister Entertainment before and have weddings coming up with him this year, so I thought he would be the perfect person to chat with!
Typically I spend anywhere from 24 to 36 hours on a wedding. That includes consultations, setup, tear down, music research, drive time, talking to the drunk uncle and not to mention the entire ceremony and reception. I always meet up with my couples and explain to them how I work and what I shoot to aim for. That being said, I always ask for my couples to be upfront with me with their expectations that away we know if we are a good fit for each other. You don’t want to be around someone who you’re not comfortable with on your big day. You build relationships with these people and they trust you . With that being said...never let your friend “DJ” your wedding. Sure anyone can press play but you want someone who is able to keep the night rolling without any awkward moments in between. It’s never a good thing when the dance floor is packed and you have to stop due to a commercial from your friends iPhone. I’ve done more “my friend was going to DJ for me but he backed out on me“ weddings than I would like to admit. You definitely get what you pay for in the DJ industry. I know weddings get expensive but do you really need the swan sculpture? I promise you people will remember the music more than the swan. Besides that, you can’t make your friend sign a contract. I’ve been in the industry for almost 10 years now and I still learn something new every day it feels like. From a background of being in radio, going to trade shows and DJ’ing tons of weddings and events NOTHING seems to stay the same.
4. Event Rentals
This one might be subject to you, but it wasn't to me.
We chose an outdoor ceremony and reception location at our church...not a venue equipped with all things seats and tables. We absolutely HAD to invest in proper seating and tables. It might have seemed like a bit of money going towards that...but looking back I would pay that again and again!
Being 100% positive that we had all of the physical parts of our wedding and not worrying if Aunt Jill would show up with the 300 chairs she had promised...just prevents sweat from rolling down your pretty little face. We used Party Perfect Event Rentals in Tulsa, OK and had ZERO regrets!
I've gotten the opportunity to work with them on several occasions and have always been delighted to see their van pull up!
Do event rentals seem way too far out of your budget?
COMMUNICATE with companies, watch for specials, and simply be open to compromise!
Not all wedding professionals are in this for the money. Find people who truly care about your day and open up to them about what you have in your budget bank!
You knew it was coming, right?
I am a wedding photographer after all....not that I'm biased or anything. ;)
HEAR ME OUT - your wedding photos matter.
They do. They do. They do.
This is the only takeaway from your wedding. When everything else has been packed away, tossed out or even forgotten...there lays your wedding album filled with pages of physical documentation of your moments. Your people. Your memories.
DO NOT ASK UNCLE JOHNNY WITH A CAMERA TO SHOOT YOUR ENTIRE WEDDING.
Find a professional, think about your budget, INVEST IN WHAT MATTERS!
I can't stress enough how important it is to communicate with your vendors.
In some cases, maybe you're simply not a good fit for said vendor. But, if you are, think about your budget and WHERE to invest. You are in charge of your purchases! Like Gabe mentioned earlier, ditch the ice sculpture of the swan...that is compromise friends. INVEST in a lifetime of well documented memories of people having a good time and you looking beautiful.
Invest in what's important.
I've been doing photography actively since I was 14. I photographed my first wedding as a senior in high-school.
I've spent LOTS of money into quality equipment, education and learned excellence.
I believe in photography, I'm not just trying to sell it. I believe we invest in what matters to us and I myself, have invested in this very thing.
I give up weekends with my husband, weeknights with friends and majority of my day-time to photograph, edit, and WORK on becoming the best me I can be FOR YOU. For your day that I believe in so much! I want you to look back on your wedding day and feel absolutely stunning, see people enjoying themselves, cherish that photo with you father who passed away suddenly after your wedding. It's harsh to say, but it's true and life happens.
You deserve to always remember the way you looked at each other in the beginning. And you deserve to remember it just as bright, beautiful and fresh as it was that day.
To all my DIY sisters, high-five.
Let's come together and create weddings with purpose and be memory-minded.
We can't all invest in the Four Seasons, but we can invest in what matters most to us and what truly is worth it.
I've heard stories and experienced bride's investing almost all of their budget in their dream photographer, because they know without a doubt that a professional photographer will capture your day beyond expectation, take care of a photo schedule for you, ensure everyone is where they need to be, help direct guest and families accordingly, and so much more.
I hope this has encouraged you that wedding planning and the wedding industry isn't that difficult! Find what you love, find WHO you love. Invest in what matters to you, not what others say you have to. It's YOUR day, you deserve only the best!
Photographed in main photo & used to plan my wedding: Southern Weddings Wedding Planner. Click here to purchase yours!