One of the less fun and exciting things to talk about in wedding planning is money and budgets, BUT it is probably one of THE MOST important. Things add up very quickly. It can be a sensitive subject to some, and oftentimes, couples planning a wedding for the first time have no idea what these kinds of services cost. Allow me to break it down for you, and give you some pro tips along the way.

1. Venue. Listen, we understand that you want the wedding venue of your dreams, but sometimes those dreams come with a hefty price tag. If you’re in Connecticut and surrounding states, there are so many gorgeous venues to choose from, but many of those are DIY. That means that you have to first pay the (usually exorbitant) fee for rental of the facility, caterers, staff, food, alcohol, tables, chairs, plates, glassware, decorations, linens....the list goes on. The types of venues that are currently trending are exactly these types of places.
Tip: Don’t spend so much money on your venue that you don’t have money for anything else. You still have to feed your guests, pay a photographer, entertainment and many, many other things.

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2. Catering. I’ve been hearing horror stories about “caterers” lately. My experience is telling me that people are spending extraordinary amounts of money on their venues and don’t have enough in their budget for a professional off-site caterer. This is not something you want to skimp on. The food and service is something that your guests will remember for quite a while.
Tip: Choose a caterer that is familiar with your venue and who specializes in off-site catering. Tell them what your budget is, and keep in mind that they are most likely not only supplying the food, but the staff and everything else mentioned in #1. You will need to pay for all of that.

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3. Photography. Photos are another biggie. They’re going to last a lifetime. Make sure you hire someone with wedding experience, not someone who just shoots pretty pictures of landscapes. Mountains don’t move. You do. And things like the first kiss happen so quickly that it can be missed by an inexperienced wedding photographer. There are no do-overs.
Tip: Save some money in your budget to hire an experienced wedding photographer.


4. Videography. I did some actual research in the Facebook wedding forums recently, and one of the biggest regrets of newly married couples was not hiring a videographer. Try to make room in the budget for this, even if just for the ceremony. Photos are beautiful, but the memories that a video captures are irreplaceable. The day goes by so quickly, but having it on video will make it last a lifetime.
Tip: Hire a film student at a local college if you can’t afford to hire a professional wedding videographer. Normally, this goes against everything I believe in, but I think having a video is so important that you should try get it no matter what.


5. Hair and Make Up. Invest in the Hair and Make Up trial. This is your wedding day, not just another night out. You want to look and feel your best. Book the trial and make sure you leave satisfied. If you’re just feeling “meh” about your look, communicate with the artists and stylists about what it is you don't like. Chances are, they will want to fix or change it to appease you.
Tip: Schedule the trials on a day that you have a big event (i.e. engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette) so that you can enjoy the look for a while!

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6. Wedding Planner/Coordinator. Of course we had to get this one in. With the increase in DIY venues, wedding planners and day of coordinators are being hired more than ever (up 10% since 2009, according to TheKnot). Think about all that you are planning and all that is involved. If you haven’t done this before, chances are you’re not entirely sure what you are doing, and you want to get it right. Wedding planners can be an invaluable source when it comes to hiring vendors, reviewing contracts, or just being a sounding board or tie-breaker during a disagreement (supported with logistical facts, of course). The truth is that wedding planers are becoming less of a luxury and more of a must have.
Tip: Even if it’s not in your budget to have a full wedding planner, hiring a day of coordinator is still a good idea just to have someone take over the day and have one main point of contact so that you can relax and enjoy it. FYI we do both and everything in between!

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