Many articles, blogs and other opinion pieces are making the rounds of Pinterest with what the writer believes couples should be spending most of their wedding budget on. The issue? These are opinion pieces, and tend to be oriented toward what that particular person is trying to sell.
If you are a member of the Knot or Wedding Wire, two of the top names in the wedding planning business, you will find that they are continually posting information based on the results of surveys of past and present couples. What does this mean? Look for actual feedback from couples, not from a wedding vendor's blog that is clearly steered toward their particular niche. For example, a recent pin claimed that couples planning a wedding should splurge on an over-the-top cake and favors. The problem? Wedding Wire wrote an article about where couples can trim the budget without it affecting the outcome of the wedding. Two of the places to trim? Cake and favors, two items that are usually thrown away at the end of the night.
Here is a list compiled from research conducted by The Knot, Wedding Wire and Martha Stewart Weddings about where to REALLY spend your budget:
5) Food! Here's the thing. Most wedding guests do not expect a local farm to table experience at your wedding. Is the food good? Is it plentiful? How about a fun station set up for guests to ooh and aah over? Perhaps a pretzel bar for a late night snack, with the pretzels hung from a cute display. Make the food part of the experience. And for dessert, a small cutting cake (if you are doing a cake cutting) and a donut wall. Yes, a donut wall! Again, seek those fun experiences to share with your guests.
4) A lounge area! Many older guests like to retreat to quiet areas and mingle with other guests they haven't seen in a while. Set up comfy lounge areas where they can put their feet up. Make this an experience by renting nostalgic vintage pieces with an homage to the past. Queen Anne chairs, Mid-Century modern items, poufs, rustic sideboards with old photo frames and even vintage travel pieces make for a fun time for guests while they view the little touches you've taken the time to add. Add an area rug and some toys for a place for kids to hang out.
3) Sneak in some decor pieces that most guests haven't seen at a wedding before. Rent one-of-a-kinds from a local decor rental place, specifically asking where they source their items. We here at Heart have many items that are handcrafted specifically for us. Guests love to wander the venue looking at the neat touches that have been added for just this reason.
2) Hire a good photographer and videographer to capture it all. Be sure they stay the ENTIRE evening, not leaving right after dinner! Your guests will be having the most fun of the night once the dancing starts, so why wouldn't you capture it? It's never a good idea to go cheap when it comes to this. If your photos and video are botched, all you'll have is grainy captures from guests' cell phones.
1) The biggest bang for your wedding day buck is ENTERTAINMENT! Survey after survey finds that over 70% of couples feel that the entertainment is the biggest factor in a wedding's success and for their guests enjoyment. And when asked, they also state they wish they had paid more if they hired solely based on price. (Remember the saying you get what you pay for? It is never more evident then booking wedding vendors).
What to look for? Professionally trained Masters of Ceremonies and DJs. Ask them if they have taken any training or workshops. If yes, ask the MC how they will personalize your wedding. Ask how they will ensure the wedding is enjoyable for all ages. Oh, they don't really do that? Next!
Another great rental item is a social sharing photo booth. It's not the old poor quality shots of years ago. Now you can post directly to social media and do animated GIFs. Make sure your photo booth company also has the option of personalization such as backdrops and prints.
Or how about hiring a company that has both live musicians and DJs on staff? Why? How about live classical or modern songs (or both) for the ceremony? And live jazz or modern folk for cocktail hour? And maybe some live oldies and classics for dinner? What guest would not LOVE this?
And how about getting that live band feel without hiring a live band? The best of the best entertainment companies will have a musician that can accompany the DJ (perhaps a percussionist?) And live bands don't typically know all the cool songs and even if they do, they probably can't play them the way your guests know and love.
What does this all really boil down to? Creating a memorable day for your guests. A wedding that they will all talk about for years. Because most won't remember that you had a towering flower wall or overpriced glass chargers, but they will remember if the food or music sucked.
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