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4 Supersmart Tricks for Planning Your Wedding Budget: Lover.ly

We’ve been planning our dream weddings since we were five years old. So it’s no surprise that we can’t get enough of Lover.ly, a wedding inspiration site that lets you search through pics of swoon-worthy gowns, bouquets, and everything else you need for the big day. Once a week, the ladies behind Lover.ly will be sharing their best tips for getting through the craziness of the season—whether you’re standing at the altar or enjoying a view of it from the audience.

image(From Etsy Shops via Lover.ly)

Worth the Splurge

When you’re planning your wedding, figuring out your budget can be a challenge. From centerpieces to favors to entertainment, it’s tempting to want all the pretty things even if you can’t afford them. And since going into debt to pay for your wedding is never a good idea, you may have to make some tough choices.

If you’re not sure how to allocate your funds, here are the things we think are usually worth the money—and some areas where you can cut corners.

The photographer. Good wedding photography isn’t cheap, but nearly every bride and groom we’ve ever talked to says that a good photographer is one expense they do not regret. And it makes sense—after all, you only get one chance to capture those great wedding moments! While you may be tempted to have a friend with a fancy camera do your photos on the cheap to save money, an experienced professional will ensure that you get really great wedding photos and that you receive your photos in a timely manner. That doesn’t mean you have to spend more than you can afford, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re considering bringing in an amateur to cut costs.

image(Photo by: Adam Barnes on Heart Love Weddings via Lover.ly)

The bar. If you’re serving alcohol at your wedding, an open bar is the way to go in US culture. Most guests aren’t big fans of cash bars. On the other hand, you can save money by having a daytime wedding (when people tend to drink less), limiting your bar to just beer, wine, and a signature cocktail, or choosing a venue that lets you bring in your own liquor.

image(Photo by: Randolf Evan Photography on Bride and Breakfast via Lover.ly)

Cut Corners

The food. We aren’t saying that you shouldn’t serve good food, but we are saying that you don’t have to serve the best food. It’s a wedding, not a 4-star dining experience. People only remember wedding food if it’s really good or really bad; as long as you’re not in the “really bad” category, you’ll be fine—and food includes the cake too! You just want it to show up on time, be structurally stable (seriously!), and taste good—something even your local Wal-mart bakery can achieve. (Or you can skip wedding cake entirely and just serve pie!)

image(Photo by: Jen Simpson Design on Jen Simpson Design via Lover.ly)

The invitations. We absolutely love pretty paper, but we also know that wedding stationery matters way more to the couple than it does the guests. Sure, some of your guests will appreciate the beautiful calligraphy or the letterpress RSVP cards, but most won’t give these extra (expensive!) details much mind. With so many fantastic online stationery shops these days offering fabulous designs, high-quality paper, and tons of options for customization at a fraction of the price of traditional fancy stationery, you can get really slick invites without spending a fortune.

And remember: you should spend on the things that matter most to you, not what people tell you is important. It can be helpful to start by sitting down with your fiance(e) to identify the things you care about as a couple. If you love live music and really want an amazing band, that’s fine. It may just mean you’ll have to let go of having the chocolate fountain. And if you find something you love and it happens to come at a great price, thank the wedding gods for your good fortune and snap it up!

More from Lover.ly:

DIY wedding projects

Sparkling wedding ideas

Quirky whimsical weddings

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    My new post with some ideas on how to budget for your wedding!
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