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Wedding Budget Series: Part 2 - Delving Deeper into Venue, Catering, DJ, Photographer, and Dessert C

Alright -- last week we talked about making a wedding budget -- and how I categorized our priorities. This week let's talk a little more in depth on those categories! If you aren't in the business of weddings -- and you haven't been through the process -- you might really be wondering at that list!

Woman sitting on the floor on the computer.

If you missed that one -- let me recap that budgeting for a wedding is a personal decision and that these are absolutely not hard and fast rules. And anyone that tries to guilt you or coerce you into prioritizing something that doesn't feel right to you -- well -- hold true to yourself! At minimum though, these hopefully make a good "jumping off point" for you!

Remember throughout -- the number of guests you are planning for will affect your budget in almost every way. From the size of the venue, tables/chairs, linens, catering, desserts, bar....just really all the things. So, getting a rough number in mind will help with what you really need to look for!

Here was our Level One: Venue, Catering, DJ, Photographer, Cake/Dessert options.

Venue first -- lol -- bet you didn't see that coming! Seriously though, pick something you love and can afford! If you have a $4K venue budget...don't torture yourself by looking at a $10K venue! Unless...unless you are willing to shift to other things! This is an be challenging to even know where to start -- but a quick look at what is in your area will help! What mood are you going for? Personally, I love a venue with character. Colors, decorative elements -- the whole vibe. We've come a long way from 4 white walls for a wedding backdrop! (remember the picture of Matt and I's first dance? The DJ Equipment as the background and 4 white walls. Sigh) Also -- cementing your venue cements your DATE! And that is needed for pretty much everything else!

Catering second -- because you know I'm all in on the meal! Caterers in our area specifically book up fairly fast! Finding one that you love -- and having them available for the date -- that is something to prioritize! Catering is also a pretty big expense tied directly to the number of guests you are expecting! That being said, I don't believe in bargain basement catering in most situations. A fantastic caterer will help you when picking out what your vision is and the reality of how the day can flow. They can help you with what is reasonable and necessary -- and guide you in add ons that elevate your experience! ( and they can tell you what add ons really don't seem important in the weddings they've done!) Work with them -- let their experience help you make the decisions! Also -- knowing that your food will "just happen" that day and that you don't need to stress or micromanage that -- priceless!

DJ third -- again -- booking! I am amazed when talking to a couple of my favorites at how fast they are booking out! If you have a certain style that you love --- get on that list sooner rather than later! And your DJ can really be an asset to your day from audio for the ceremony, to table dismissal for the dinner, to transition chatting to keep your guests informed on what is happening, to making the dance floor pop all night long! These are all things to consider -- and by all means talk to them and see what they think! Don't assume they will just "do the things" -- ask them if that is something they offer and will do. Most of these guys have really great personalities that can make your guests enjoy the night -- they just have to know what you are looking for and how that fits into their contract with you!

Photographer fourth -- sigh - bookings friends -- they are booking OUT! Take some time -- look through their social media -- see how their style is! Are they light and airy or a little moody? Do they seem like it is majority posed or majority candid? What feels right!?! I know there is a huge range of prices -- although I don't know anyone's prices so don't ask me that! -- but you need to think about what you like, what feels great when you look at it, and then talk to a few and see how you can budget that in. We see people with multiple shooters, videographers, photo booths...all the things. And we see people with a single photographer. And you know what -- they all seem happy because they are confident that they are getting the parts that are important to THEM! And we LOVE to see all the different photographer's pictures! Every. Single. One. Captures. Something. Different. Go with your heart! (O and maybe your pocketbook!)

Cake/Dessert Options fifth -- if you've followed our Instagram page you know I am always going to show you dessert. Always. That's what "story" dreams are made of if you ask me! I will tell you that every baker has a different specialty, and you need to find one that makes your heart go pitter patter when you think about that dessert you are going to have at your wedding. Cupcake aficionado? Then pick one that bakes the Yummiest! Frosted cookie monster? Then pick the one that decorates cookies amazingly! Homemade bars and brownies have your heart? You guessed it -- pick one that makes you think of grandma's kitchen! You don't "have to" have the cake as the primary dessert -- pick the dessert that makes you happy! I guarantee your guests will enjoy it as much as you do! So finding that baker that makes you happy --- it's high on our list!

Oh boy --- I'm struggling to keep this short -- so here was our LEVEL ONE picks. Next up --level two!

And -- be sure to share this with someone who can use the ideas -- and support!

Sara <3

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