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3 Budget Wedding Tips from a Professional Planner

budget-wedding-photographyMy Trio Rings asked wedding insider Lindsay Averette for suggestions about how couples can plan a budget wedding without cutting too many corners. A wedding planner with her own event planning company, Lindsay knows where to spend and where to save. For more expert advice from Lindsay, see “Budget Wedding Tips from a Wedding Planner” and “More Expert Budget Wedding Tips.”

What splurges do you most recommend for a budget wedding?

Photography and entertainment. The photographs are how you’ll remember the day twenty years from now, when the special day is a distant memory. You don’t want to look back on blurry photos or heads chopped off because you asked a friend to take pictures, do you? Good photography doesn’t have to cost a lot. Shop around to find a photographer who offers a package that best fits your budget wedding needs. Some photographers will even let you pay for their services and a CD of the photos, and you can print the photos yourself inexpensively.

Entertainment makes or breaks a party. DJs are much more than someone who just presses play on an iPod. They read the crowd. They know what songs will get people dancing and what songs to avoid. If you have a friend rolling through your iPod playlist, there is liability of equipment failure AND the pressure to keep the dance floor crowded and guests excited for the next song. Even if you are planning a wedding on a budget, it is best to stick to a professional DJ.

What are your favorite budget wedding websites?

is a great website to find cute and inexpensive handcrafted details like creative guestbooks, favors, cake toppers, and stationery. For gently used wedding items, the standard resell websites are ebay.com and craigslist.org. These are excellent places to find a wide variety of wedding items that were only used once. Two wedding-specific websites to buy and sell previously used wedding details are RecycledBride.com and WeddingBee.com. If you are planning a wedding on a budget, consider keeping some special memories but also re-selling some of your wedding décor and accessories to recoup some of your costs after the big day.

What are the most common unexpected wedding expenses?

Sales Tax/Delivery fees: Most vendors will quote you a price before they add in sales tax and fees. When planning a wedding on a budget, make sure you allow a cushion for these fees.

Gratuity: Traditionally, you tip catering staff, musicians, hair and makeup artists, and transportation providers. Don’t forget to budget a small percentage for gratuity, even if you are planning a budget wedding!  

Postage: After sending Save The Dates and invitations with a stamped response card, postage can add up quickly.

Lindsay owns and operates LK Events and Design,  a wedding and event planning company in Richmond, Virginia.

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