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One of my favorite things Emily says is “You can have a wedding on any budget, you just can’t have any wedding on any budget.” Preach, girl! A price tag has nothing to do with how beautiful and meaningful your celebration is, but the fact of the matter is, weddings are expensive. If you, like the vast, VAST majority of brides, aren’t able or willing to splurge on every single detail of your wedding, the key to using your budget well, in the places that matter to you and your beau, is choosing your priorities early on.

From Alex and Connor’s wedding, by Mustard Seed Photography

We can’t stand “advice” that tells you exactly what to cut from your wedding–everyone’s priorities are different, after all! That said, there will always be some things that you can cut or save on, as well as things you’ll want to splurge on. To figure out your own priorities, we’ve found that the most helpful thing to do is to sit down with your fiancé in front of a list of possible wedding expenses (we’ve started a list for you below!). After crossing off anything that you know isn’t applicable to your unique situation, take turns circling the THREE things that matter most to each of you about your wedding.

Possible wedding expenses:
– Paper goods
– Bride’s gown
– Hair stylist
– Makeup artist
– Bride’s accessories
– Groom’s outfit
– Groom’s accessories
– Ceremony venue
– Reception venue
– Photographer
– Videographer
– Wedding planner
– Wedding coordinator
– Florist
– Ceremony decor
– Reception decor
– Catering
– Alcohol
– Band
– DJ
– Getaway vehicle
– Bridesmaid gifts
– Groomsmen gifts
– Welcome bags
– Favors
– Cake/dessert

This is just a starter list, so feel free to add anything you can think of! (P.S. If you have our Joyful Wedding Planner, there’s a worksheet for this on page 47).

From Maggie and Travis’ wedding, by Gracie Blue

Once you each have your top three circled, narrow it down to your three overall priorities. If there’s anything you both circled, those are obvious choices! Answers all over the place? That’s okay too. Think back to your wedding vision and choose the priorities that best match that. For example, maybe he circled catering and you didn’t…but you both LOVE the idea of a family-style meal made with all local, seasonal ingredients, just like the way you cook at home. If that’s central to your values and your vision for your day, it may need to take priority over the wooden cross-back chairs you’ve had your eye on for the reception.

Again, there are no wrong answers here. Just like your love story is totally unique to you and your beau, your wedding priorities will be too. For a little encouragement, here are some examples from a few of the weddings on our team:

Lisa: photography, flowers, my dress
Emily: photography, videography, paper goods
Marissa: photography, reception venue, catering

From Anne Sydney and Jesse’s wedding, by Melanie Mauer

We hope this exercise is helpful! Once you complete it, we’d love to know, what are your top three priority categories? Let us know in the comments below!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Shaun – Wedding Videos reply

    love <3. Such gorgeous photographs. The cake at the end is amazing.

  2. avatar Annika Larson reply

    I am planning my wedding for this fall. We want to make sure everything is planned out perfectly. This is a great idea to help prioritize all the different things that need to be planned. I definitely think that the reception and ceremony venue has a big role in the planning process.

  3. avatar Being a Gracious Bride Throughout Your Engagement     | Kyla Mary Events & Design reply

    […] dreams and preferences for your wedding day, ask your beau for his input and opinion. Define your wedding priorities together and ask him what he envisions for the day you’ll […]

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