Balancing a wedding budget is delicate business. It’s easy to go off the rails quickly when it comes to wedding spending, but there are also a few parts of the party-planning process that warrant a bit of a splurge. We’re always asked for our take on where it’s most important to drop the bucks, so here our editors share insights on which elements of your wedding you absolutely shouldn't skimp on.
THE DRESS “It’s your Cinderella, red carpet moment and you don’t want to feel anything less than incredible going to the ball, right? There are so many styles of gowns to choose from today at so many different price points, I don’t think any bride has to settle for something she is not completely in love with. You will be looking at your wedding pictures for the rest of your life and the last thing you want to think is that you should have paid a little extra for that dress you really loved.” —Alison McGill, editor-in-chiefPhotography by Carey Nash Photography.
PHOTOGRAPHY “You absolutely cannot skimp on photography (because this is what happens when you do). Your wedding day is going to go by in a flash and the images will become priceless mementos of the time you spent with all of your favourite people. Look for recommendations on the top photographers in your area and flip through their portfolios to see who will jive best with the overall theme of your celebration. The best shooters will command higher prices but they'll also ensure that you end up with a collection of artful images that you adore. When it comes time to book, make sure you reserve your chosen photographer for the entire day (not just the ceremony) so that they can capture all the tearful reactions to heartfelt speeches, your first twirl on the dance floor as husband and wife, and your beautiful sparkler send-off.” —Jen O’Brien, executive online editorPhotography by Photobolic.
MUSIC & SOUND “For a great party-like wedding atmosphere, splurging on your music and surround sound is key. If you can, hire a live band because there's nothing like live entertainment to get the crowd pumped. Spending on quality sound equipment, especially in larger venues is also a must. The last thing you want is for your guests to talk through the heartwarming speeches that your bridal party or parents have prepared for you.” —Roseanne Dela Rosa, associate editorPhotography by Ikonica.
FLOWERS “Great flowers can make a wedding. They create a mood and add luxurious drama to your décor. It’s not about the number of flowers you have or even having an over-the-top display of them; great flowers mean putting together creative arrangements using the freshest blooms available. Work closely with your florist to come up with a plan that won’t break the bank but also may necessitate dedicating some extra dollars from another area of your budget. It is a spend you definitely will not regret.” —Alison McGill, editor-in-chiefPhotography by Chris Nicholls. Styling by Tara Willams. Shot on location at Tangled Garden, Grand–Pré, Nova Scotia. Hair and makeup by Tony Masciangelo using Tresemme products for Thealcorn.com/P1M.ca.
HAIR & MAKEUP “Unless you work as a hairstylist or professional makeup artist, you need to abandon the notion that you'll do your own hair and makeup for the big day. Part of the process of putting together a cohesive bridal look is working with pros to test out hairstyles that will complement your dress and makeup that will look natural yet flawless in photos (and last from the vows through to the last dance). For this reason, hair and makeup trials are an absolute necessity. Even if you're a die hard DIY bride, go ahead and hand-make the decor, favours, stationery and even the cake, but splurge on the pampering experience of hiring pros to handle your bridal beauty look.” —Jen O’Brien, executive online editorPhotography by Taylor Jackson.
FOOD AND DRINK “Every amazing wedding I've attended and every great real wedding I've written about always highlights food and drink as a top priority. Trust me, the menu can have a huge impact on how your guests will rate your celebration. Don't be afraid to think outside the box: for appetizers have food stations highlighting your favourite dishes, and for dessert go all out with a wide range of sweet and savoury options. For drinks, serving personalized cocktails goes a long way. An open bar is a necessity and treating your guests to some nice wine with dinner will also enhance the culinary experience.” —Roseanne Dela Rosa, associate editor
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