Today I'm talking all about people's least favorite (or most favorite, depending on who you ask, lol) topic: budgets. Read on to see what we splurged and saved on for our wedding last year!
First, let me say that these are my opinions only, and I'm in no way telling you what you should and shouldn't spend. You know, you do you, ok? Splurge and save may mean totally different amounts to different people, so I'm referring to these somewhat loosely, and in proportion to our entire budget. I actually have "splurged", "spent an average amount on", and "really saved" as my categories below!
Second, I won't tell you our budget, but I will tell you that we spent well below the Chicago city "average wedding" cost, so we were very cost conscious - you'll notice when you see how many things we "saved" on. (Apparently the Chicago suburbs have a different, lower average wedding cost.) My goal when planning the wedding was to be as practical but as chic/non-DIY looking as possible.
Ok! Now on to the good stuff!
WHAT WE SPLURGED ON
Venue | Our venue was not as expensive as some city wedding venues, but we were willing to spend a bit more than we originally hoped in order to get this venue because we loved the industrial loft look with the warm exposed brick and the huge skylight. We also appreciated that the required caterers list was longer than other places that only gave you a few choices, meaning we had more options. ALSO, they allowed us to BYOB which would save us a lot in the end.
Food | The food was of low-average pricing as far as Chicago caterers go, but most of our budget went to food, so we technically "splurged" on this. We were concerned with getting good tasting but affordable meals for our guests!
WHAT WE SPENT AN AVERAGE AMOUNT ON
Photography | When looking for a photographer, it was important to us that they be in the budget range we were hoping for, that they had beautiful work of course, and that we connected with them and felt comfortable with them. We are so happy we chose the photographer we did!
DJ | One of our priorities was to have good music for our guests to dance to, and for everyone to enjoy themselves. Our DJ is a friend of mine, but we paid the regular price and they were well worth it, of course. We actually spent an average amount on our DJ I thought, but made sure to choose carefully.
WHAT WE REALLY SAVED ON
Transportation | It was not a priority for us to have fancy transportation, so we just rented a school bus to drive us around downtown for a few hours and paid a few hundred bucks. It worked out great!
Cake | We had a smaller 6" cake as our cutting/ceremonial cake, and then we ordered cupcakes for all the guests in 4 delicious flavors. The cupcakes were an average price, but it ended up being much more affordable than getting a large, tiered, fancy wedding cake which wasn't really our style anyway.
Liquor | See above where our venue allowed us to BYOB. We did a variety of beers, wines, and one signature cocktail (Moscow Mule). We purchased everything at the liquor store, and it was FANTASTIC because afterwards, they let us return anything that was unopened and resellable, and with the stuff we couldn't return, we kept and now have a very nice stash of liquor at home. All in all we probably spent less than $8 per guest for liquor!
Attire | I was never the girl who always dreamed about what kind of wedding dress she would wear on her big day. When I got engaged, I knew I just wanted something stylish and not white, preferably with some pretty beading or sequins, but not over the top. I ended up purchasing a $200 evening gown (that I used discounts on) that was in the style of dresses they sell at BHLDN, so I was happy. It didn't have a train or anything, but I didn't care. For jewelry, I got pretty stuff I liked from BaubleBar, and I made my own bridal belt. My husband got his suit from Express and had it tailored to fit him, since he didn't want to spend a ton on attire either. I love how both our outfits turned out and how they looked together.
Beauty | I love doing makeup, and I've done makeup for many of my friends and also other bridal parties before, so I knew I would be doing my own. I also have some control issues with makeup, lol. For hair, we used a friend of mine who is excellent at hair styling and does it for fun on the side (but compensated her).
Favors | We really didn't do favors because we knew that people don't remember to take them home most of the time. Our marble tile place cards doubled as favors in this case. A lot of our guests still have them at home!
Flowers/Decor | Read more here and here. I did all our centerpieces and bouquets, as well as all our decor items - for the most part on my own. I did have a bit of help though! I wouldn't recommend this to everyone, as it's a lot of work and time, but I loved doing it :)
Stationery** | This is starred because I do graphic and stationery design, and the printing of our pieces was gifted to us by a friend, so that's the only reason we really saved on stationery! We could have definitely spent an average amount on stationery (obviously, because I love stationery and paper) if it weren't a gift.
What about you? Are you married? What did you splurge and save on? Or if you're engaged, I'd love to hear what you are prioritizing in the comments below!