There are thousands of articles spread across the internet which list, in great numbers, all the things you can save money on at your wedding.
This article is not one of them.
I’m going to try and turn the tide a little and encourage you to empty your wallet on a few select products or services and I will tell you why – a wedding is a luxury.
You truly don’t need to have a wedding to get married.
You can sign the paperwork with a celebrant at a cafe, or if you’re really into government buildings, there is always the registry office.
There’s also the option of running away from wedding planning and eloping. All good options.
But if are having a wedding, I’m going to make the assumption that you’re not planning a terrible wedding. I am sure you are planning a good wedding, maybe even a great one!
So with that in mind, here’s a list of things, in my opinion, you should scrape your final dollars together for.
A marriage celebrant.
First up I am going to suggest you need me, or someone like me.
My role in your wedding is being your marriage celebrant – I’m the human who holds your wedding ceremony’s vibe by the balls.
A wedding ceremony is the thing that everyone’s actually invited to, it’s the moment where you go from being not married, to being married, and it deserves to be awesome.
So splurge on a celebrant that ‘gets you’, a celebrant who understands why you’re getting married and what that means to you. Get a celebrant that you would have a drink with even if you weren’t getting married.
My grandma always said ‘you should start how you want to finish’, so start your wedding with awesome.
The table settings and decorations won’t save your wedding if the music doesn’t complement the feel of your ceremony and reception.
Even more than that, if there are awkward gaps, or the uncle in-charge of playing the iPod doesn’t know how to use the speaker system, it can really ruin the vibe. Worse is an empty dance floor when all you want to do is party.
I’m always 50/50 on the live music versus DJ debate – they both bring different things to a wedding – so I’ll let you choose whether you go for a band or a disk jockey…but for the love of God, don’t go the iPod route.
Late night snacks.
Thankfully in Australia we have pretty high food standards so most bad wedding caterers have been run out of town by A Current Affair, but often a missing piece of the catering puzzle is the late night snacks.
Think about it. Your guests have likely been drinking all afternoon and evening (and the steak or chicken for dinner was great), but it’s 10pm and if they were out on the town they’d probably grab a kebab. So more food as an option later in the night is a smart idea. Maybe it’s a grazing table, maybe it’s a kebab truck, maybe it’s a Maccas run or it’s a bag of chips, but don’t forget the late night snacks.
Listen to the official advice on finding the perfect wedding dress in this week’s episode of Hitched:
A photographer (who takes good ceremony photos).
I’m often asked how to choose a wedding photographer, and here’s my secret test: if your wedding photographer can take awesome photos in a wedding ceremony then they’re a good wedding photographer.
When they have no control over the two of you, over the crowd, the lighting, positioning, or emotions, that’s when a good photographer shines.
I’ve met couples who have hired good photographers from other industries, who are good with a camera in the right conditions, but a good wedding photographer gets the winning shots regardless of the conditions.
So look through their galleries for awesome ceremony photos and that’s your photographer.
A little help.
Brené Brown famously talks about vulnerability powerfully being shown when you ask for help. Offering help is easy, yet it seems asking for help is Australia’s greatest allergy.
We often sing the high praises of DIY weddings and they can be a lot of fun, but above DIY and saving money, I believe it’s so valuable to be present in your wedding, to let it ‘happen’ to you.
Letting your wedding ‘happen to you’ requires a level of vulnerability and letting go that many of us aren’t comfortable with. So you don’t have to tell me, or anyone else, but I suggest you hire help where possible as the ultimate stress reliever.
For you that might be a full-service wedding planner, or it might be an on-the-day co-ordination, but I suggest you hire someone you can offload your stress onto to be fully present at your own wedding.
A videographer who records your vows.
With every inch of my soul I believe that some of the best moments of your wedding are the words we share. Your vows, speeches, personal conversations and encouragements.
To record every minute of your big day is actually super expensive, so I would seek to hire a videographer who can offer a sweet little highlights video somewhere in the three to ten minutes range, and part of that is the audio of your vows. That’s the kind of video you can enjoy for generations to come.
Food and drink for your photographs.
This last one is simple. People looking good in photos is an emotional and mental thing. It doesn’t really matter if you’ve been #shreddingforthewedding or if your dress or suit is worth $5 or $5000.
If you’re cranky, stressed, angry, or worse, hangry, you won’t look as awesome in your photos if you’re calm, relaxed, happy, and well fed.
So make sure it’s someone’s job to bring some snacks and drinks to the photo shoot. There are so many things you can save money on, but I honestly believe that some money spent in the right place can make your wedding the #bestweddingever.
Love weddings or getting married and need to ask all the questions about venues, flowers, photographers, wedding dresses, EVERYTHING? Come join Mamamia’s wedding planning podcast Facebook group Hitched.