Skimp or Splurge? Making the Most of Your Wedding Budget

You’re planning your big day, and you want to make sure it’s special in every way. But that doesn’t mean you have to go broke in the process—there are smart ways to cut down on costs without cutting any corners. Here’s a list of common wedding expenses and whether you should “skimp” or “splurge.”

Photographer: SPLURGE. You want someone who can capture the beauty of your wedding day so that you and your family can relive the memories for years to come. Resist the urge to take a friend or family member up on their offer to bring their camera and handle the photo or video duties for you. Hire a true professional—after you’ve seen their work and checked their references. For destination weddings, take time to find a wedding photographer who has experience capturing the natural beauty of the setting, whether it’s a daytime ceremony on the beach or a nighttime ceremony in the mountains.

Limousine: SKIMP. It’s fine if you’d like to hire a driver to whisk the two of you away after the reception, but don’t feel as though you have to hire a limo to get your wedding party and family members to the ceremony or reception venue. They can figure out their own transportation, or even carpool. Better yet, help them find accommodations that are within walking distance.

Rings: SPLURGE. Ideally, you want rings that will last a lifetime, just like your love. Even if you hope to upgrade on a special anniversary in the future, start with high-quality basics that can stand up to everyday use.

Flowers: SKIMP. Well, not really skimp, just be smart. Save money by choosing flowers that are local and seasonal, not ones that have to be flown in from halfway around the world. For destination weddings, this is easy to do—almost any local flower will look lush and extravagant.

Cake Knife: SKIMP. This also goes for other one-time-use items like engraved champagne flutes, custom chair covers, and fancy ring pillows. They’re nice to have, but they’re not really going to enhance your wedding-day memories. Better to save the money and put it towards the “splurge” items. (A regular knife will cut the cake just fine.)

Music: SPLURGE. From the moment the processional begins at your ceremony, to the moment when the dance floor finally empties out at the end of the night, the right music sets the tone for the whole event, it reflects your style, and it helps create long-lasting memories for everyone in attendance. For destination weddings, find a musician who has experience playing music that truly reflects the beauty of the unique setting. Search wedding sites like,, or for musicians in the area. Listen to song samples, and get references.

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