Once we were within a year of the wedding, I wanted to start thinking more seriously again about the actual wedding planning, and where, exactly, we wanted our budget to go.
Other than the venue and catering, which we took care of earlly, things that were really important to me are the paper, the dress, the photography and the music. I care less about the flowers and other decor. So I had to keep that in mind when I determined where to spend our money.
1. The paper. I know Mr. Spaniel would send invitations by email if he could, and I understand the sentiment... but I love stationery. I just really enjoy the feel of fine paper with high quality printing, and I think this is something I want to make sure we do well. We could spend quite a bit of money here (I've seen invitation suites for thousands of dollars), or very little, but my goal was to get 100 letterpress invitations/envelopes, RSVP cards/envelopes, and thank you notes/envelopes for under $750. Better yet, under $600. I had no idea how I was going to do that, but I suspected it would involve coming up with my own design and getting most pieces letterpressed, while getting some others digitally offset. Blah.
2. The dress. I don't think I need to spend all that much on the dress to still treat it as a priorityI just needed to be willing to look around until I find what I want. I don't need an expensive or super fancy dress, but I do need it to fit spectacularly, and it has to be something I'm going to be comfortable in all night. This one is more of a time investment than a financial one, relatively speaking.
3. Photography and music. Ugh. Almost all of the photographers whose portfolios really impressed me charged at least $5,000 for the day. That's way too much for me. I'm going to save money by printing my own photo albums, but beyond that? I don't want typical (boring) wedding photos, so I can't just hire anyone. This required a lot of research. Same story with the musicwe don't want your average wedding music. We want world music that reflects our eclectic tastes, so most wedding bands are out! DJs should be less expensive, but finding (1) a good DJ, (2) who has done weddings before, (3) who has a music library big enough to fit everything we want (from indie rock to flamenco to bhangra), (4) who will MC the reception, and (5) who isn't out of our price range was a huge challenge!
So flowers are definitely getting the short end of the stick. We'll probably be doing candle centerpieces (about $15 per table to DIY?), but we'll still need a bridal bouquet, five bridesmaid bouquets, three corsages, and 11 boutonnieres. Oh my god. Can I just get someone else to do this? Oh wait, I can't; that's not in the budget!