Our Wedding Day | What We Chose to Splurge (and save!) On

Happy Wedding Wednesday, y’all! I have absolutely loved sharing our wedding day with all of you and I’ve loved getting your sweet comments & emails about our day! Today I wanted to share a different type of wedding post with you and chat about what we splurged on and what we chose to “save” on for our wedding day!

Simply put, weddings are expensive. There’s nothing like the “sticker shock” that comes when planning a wedding. I vividly remember the quotes coming in from vendors and immediately opening a bottle of wine because it was almost comical some of the prices we received. But, that’s the wedding industry for ya! During our ten months of wedding planning we had to decide what we were going to splurge on and what we wanted to save money on in order to stay within budget! When it comes to weddings, I know everyone’s budget and priorities are different, but I wanted to share what we chose to splurge and save on when it came to our wedding! Let’s start with the items we splurged on…

OUR WEDDING PLANNER

I’ll admit, when we first started wedding planning I thought I could do it all. Fast forward a few months of being engaged and I quickly realized I couldn’t do it all and we needed someone who could help us with the wedding planning process. I think a common misconception is that wedding planners do it all. And that’s true to an extent, but a lot of wedding planners offer numerous type of services from day-of coordination to all-inclusive planning. I did a little research and set up meetings with a handful of wedding planners to get a fill for who would be a good fit. For me it was really important to mesh well with my wedding planner (and all of my wedding vendors actually) because they are such an integral part of a wedding day. I knew the second I met Carly of Carly Marie Events that I wanted to work with her. She was very knowledgeable, she was able to provide great insight and our personalities meshed really well! wedding planner Greensboro ncSince I had already chosen our venue and a lot of our vendors, I went with a partial planning package with Carly. Nick and I had a strong vision for what we wanted for our wedding day, but Carly really helped us execute it. She helped us with RSVPs, coordinating details with vendors, understanding and executing our vision, and creating a wedding weekend timeline. Having a wedding planner really allowed us to have a stress-free (for the most part ha!) wedding planning experience. It’s safe to say that hiring Carly was one of the best decisions we made during our wedding planning process. While I did think I could do it all, I’m glad I couldn’t because she gave such great ideas and advice (that I never would have known otherwise) and really allowed us and our families to enjoy our entire weekend. We really couldn’t have done it without Carly. After our ceremony we drove to our venue and were able to see our reception venue before our guests arrived (you may remember that from this post!) and I was brought to tears because Carly executed everything even better than we could have ever dreamed and I felt like I gained a friend during the process!

If your budget doesn’t allow for a full or partial planner, I highly recommend you looking at a “Day Of Coordinator” solely so that you can enjoy your day without any stress or worry. I know everyone always says your day goes by so quickly, but it’s true and being able to soak in memories without being called on by a vendor or family member is worth every penny… I promise!

OUR VIDEOGRAPHER

If there was ONE thing I knew I wanted to splurge on when it came to our wedding it was a videographer! I was 1000% that girl who would watch wedding videos on my computer and bawl my eyes out…and I didn’t even know the couple (it’s not as creepy as it sounds, promise!) so I knew once we started wedding planning that a videographer had to be part of our budget.

I spent so many hours watching couples love stories when I should have been checking items off of our to-do lists, but my hours of “research” was worth it when I stumbled upon Whitewash Films. I was immediately drawn to the way they told the love stories of others. I think I watched at least five wedding videos of theirs and once Nick got home I pulled him over to watch more. I just knew they were who I wanted to capture our love story and the beginning of our best adventure yet.

I really cannot even put into words how wonderful Jenn and Brian are as videographers. I skyped with them after inquiring about their services and could tell how passionate they were about their business and it sealed the deal for us. Having them capture our wedding day was truly so special. Admittedly I was really, really nervous about being filmed all day, but they were SO professional and blended in so easily that my nerves instantly subsided. We got our wedding films back last month and I was in tears as we watched them. They captured our day perfectly and watching it was like re-living our day all over again. We have friends that watch their video on every anniversary (and now with their kids) and I cannot wait to start that tradition with Nick!

P.S. Most videographers offer a wide range of services (perfect for a lot of budgets!) We knew we wanted footage of our entire day from getting ready to our exit. We have individual films of our ceremony, the toasts, and a feature film! If you’re on the fence about having a videographer, I highly recommend hiring one. We LOVED having Whitewash Films capture our day and are excited to share a peek of their work and our day!

I am beyond THRILLED to share our wedding highlight video with you! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

PHOTOGRAPHER

After the wedding is over and everything is said and done, your wedding photos are all you have left of your special day. Hiring a wedding photographer for your wedding day is SO important. There are plenty of “wedding” photographers out there, so it’s important to do your research before choosing *the* one! I knew I wanted our photographer to capture more candid moments than “posed” ones, so when I saw Alexa’s portfolio I contacted her! She had beautiful images, a wonderful heart, and you could tell she loved capturing sweet moments.

We hired Alexa for our entire day (12 hours) and also opted to have a second shooter. This was the perfect option for us because we wanted to have memories of the entire day, including the details and that couldn’t have been done without a second shooter! We loved having a second shooter because we were able to have many moments from our day captured in different ways. We couldn’t have been happier with the way Alexa and Anna captured our day… and all 1300 of the photos were SO good! When we got our images back there were SO many sweet, sweet memories that we didn’t even KNOW we being captured. We will cherish these photos forever. 

WEDDING DAY PAPER PRODUCTS

I know a lot of couples choose to “save” when it comes to wedding paper products. For us, we chose to splurge on wedding paper goods. The first impression that your guests get of your wedding day is the save the date, so we made sure to invest in something we liked and that had elements we could carry through our wedding day. We loved our invitations because they were simple, had gold foil, and really represented our venue well. We carried elements from our save the dates and invitations to our other paper goods… from rehearsal dinner invites to menus. We brought the gold foil and grey hues into the rest of our day-of paper goods from If It’s Paper and it all flowed so well!

One of the many things I really loved were our rehearsal dinner invites! My MIL and I worked with If It’s Paper to create a perfect invitation for the rehearsal dinner she hosted. My MIL finalized this invite and it couldn’t have turned out better. The large ampersand connecting our names was such a cute touch. It was also the last piece of paper that contained our separate last names! So crazy, right?! I had my friend Mary of Southpaw Pen do the calligraphy on our envelopes. She had just started her business a few months before we started planning and it was SUCH a pleasure to work with her on our wedding details! 

FOOD & BAR

To be completely candid, we didn’t originally want a full sit down dinner for our wedding. We had an idea of what we wanted, but it just didn’t work logistically with the amount of guests we had. We both were a little bummed when we realized it, but looking back, it all worked out. We ended up having a sit down dinner and served filet mignon and herb roasted chicken, complete with two sides, a salad and bread. Our caterer happened to be one of our favorite restaurants, so even though we knew a sit down dinner would be more costly, we knew it would be delicious! We had so many of our guests compliment the food, so it made it all worthwhile!

The bar was a WHOLE different discussion haha. We like to have a good time and our friends (and family for that matter!) do too. We thought about having a full open bar, but after looking at prices it would have cost thousands of dollars more. Instead we had our two signature drinks (Moscow Mule and Bombay & Tonic) available all night along with 5 different wines and 6 different beers. We also had specific drink options that we knew our families would like. It wasn’t cheap by any means, but it was what worked for us! 

OK SO WHAT DID WE SAVE ON?

  • FLOWERS | Our reception venue provided flowers for our cocktail hour and reception space. Since I was doing neutral flowers and greenery, this worked out well! I worked with my florist and used vintage mercury glass vases to give the florals a more personal, intimate feel. That helped us save a lot of money (while still making our reception feel like “us”) and allowed us to spend that money elsewhere. Our florist, ABBA Design, created GORGEOUS bouquets for myself and my bridesmaids along with boutonnieres for Nick and his groomsmen. We also had greenery suspended over the dance floor that was simple, but a great piece to anchor the space.
  • DECORATING THE CHURCH | At the church we chose to only do candles, a large arrangement at the altar, that was later taken to our reception venue, and small pew arrangements for the family pews. We spent less than an hour total at the church, so we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on decor there. Our church has candelabras that we had lit to give an intimate feel.
  • OUR CAKE | We had a family friend (who has a baking business) make our cake and cupcakes. We had been using her for years for birthday cakes to anniversary cakes and everything in between. We really trusted her and loved her work, so we went with what we knew and saved a few hundred dollars in the process! We didn’t even look into other bakeries, but I’ve had friends tell me about $150 cake tastings and $800+ cakes, so I knew we were getting a good deal and a really tasty cake!
  • WEDDING FAVORS | We spent quite a while trying to come up with the “perfect” wedding favor. After going back and forth on it for a while we decided to nix the wedding favors in favor (pun, see what I did there?!) of a late-night snack. We had late night truffle fries and I think every single one of our guests enjoyed those WAY more than anything we had come up with!
  • “GRANDE EXIT” SEND-OFF | Originally we wanted to have a sparkler exit, but our venue didn’t allow that. We thought about doing LED balloons, pom-poms, and even glow sticks, but nothing seemed to scream out to us! Instead we did a bubble send off and it was a) cheap and b) fun!

I hope y’all enjoyed hearing a more detailed, honest breakdown of our day! I also hope that you enjoyed our wedding highlight film! Thanks so much for stopping by. XO

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    Comments

    Amanda

    I was the same way with the videographer in my budget and with watching random videos 🙂 I shared all my wedding budget saving tips today, too!

    Amanda
    http://www.strawberrychicblog.com

    Elle (@ElleDoole)

    Loved this post and that video!! CRYING!! xo

    Brianna Rooney

    Crying over your wedding video, how beautiful!

    Loren

    First of all every detail of your wedding was perfection! I have to agree with Video/Photography being one of the most important things to splurge on. Having that day captured beautifully is priceless.

    Your wedding video was absolutely GORGEOUS. x

    Victoria

    YES! I know I’ll be getting engaged pretty soon and this is the perfect post! Gonna need all the wedding help I can get! Thanks for sharing Emily!

    xoxo
    Victoria

    MCKENNA

    Such good thoughts!! I wish I could go back do a lot of things different for my wedding and having a sit down dinner would be one!! 🙂

    Azanique Rawl

    You invitations and paper products were gorgeous! Totally worth the splurge for something so beautiful 🙂

    -xo, Azanique | http://www.lotsofsass.com

    hannahcstark

    Wow your video is STUNNING! I love reading what others choose to save and splurge on weddings. I definitely think a photographer & videographer will be something I splurge on because you keep it forever!

    xoxo, Hannah

    thedoctorette

    All of these are such great tips! We are planning our wedding right now and let me tell ya, we are on the struggle bus staying in our budget. But we’re determined!

    Liz

    Such a great post! It looks like such a beautiful and special day! I love hearing what you chose to splurge and save on– and that video!

    Liz

    Laura

    I love this post and I’ve been married for over 5 years! It’s so important to choose what to splurge on and where you can save since as you said weddings are so expensive!! I definitely splurged in many of the same areas as you did.

    xo, Laura

    Lauryn Hock

    I love how you broke down what you splurged and saved on! Brilliant for other brides.

    Nelli Kal

    Such a great post, love how we shared what you saved and what you splurged on! Also loved your video, you were such a beautiful bride! Xo, Nelli

    How 2 Wear It

    Literally could not agree more with you on what you decided to save and splurge on. I think I will most cherish the memories from that day and want to put my funds into capturing those memories with a fabulous photographer and videographer! GREAT post!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

    Jillian

    Your wedding was absolutely elegant and beautiful. Your wedding video had me crying! How did you two meet?

    Danielle

    Although we splurged on flowers, our splurge versus saves pretty much match up otherwise! Love the idea of the late night snack for your favors.

    xx, Danielle

    Sara

    We definitely had the same mindset when it came to where to save and where to splurge! We, too, opted for a wedding planner, videographer, and had two shooters! We also did minimal flowers except on head table and used mercury vases and crystal globes to bring the jazz instead of flowers!

    xo, Sara

    thatssodarling

    You wedding looked amazing! Such great info on wedding planning here!

    XO-Lisa
    http://www.thatssodarling.com

    Sarah Lindner

    Such a great post and ur video was the best!!!
    xoxo
    Sarah Lindner
    http://www.thehouseofsequins.com

    Liz

    We did the same! We had family friends do the cake and flowers and they turned out amazing!!

    Liz

    Steph

    Oh my goodness you looked stunning. This is such an awesome post!

    xo,
    Steph
    @trendyinindy || trendyinindy.com

    Greta Hollar (@greta_hollar)

    This post is sending me down memory lane! I remember having all these conversations when we were planning the big day. So much to consider!

    Kait Elizabeth

    You had such a gorgeoussss wedding day! Hugs, Kait
    http://www.baskinginburgundy.com

    My Style Vita (@MyStyleVita)

    Hands down my favorite wedding meal I’ve ever had. We even ate our neighbors bread, then asked for more ha!

    xo Jessica
    My Style Vita

    @emilynwilkinson