Wedding Budget Tips: When to Splurge and When to Purge…

Planning a wedding is all about compromise…usually within yourself! You have to tell the good angel and the bad angel when to break out the checkbook and when to put it away. You have to find the balance of splurging on the things that matter most to you and knowing when to cut back on others. Financial priority should be assigned to the elements that are the most important and representative of you as a couple. However, there are some general guidelines, I believe, that should be used for spending to ensure that your day is not only memorable for you but for your guests as well.


WHEN TO SPLURGE: I can pretty much guarantee these are the items your guests will be walking away remembering the most. I an also say with full confidence that the following details are things that you and your beau will be glad you invested extra cash in later!:


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1. The Food- Food is everything! That doesn’t mean it has to be overly expensive and fancy though. You don’t have to serve French cuisine at your wedding but you do want to make sure it tastes good! You also don’t need to have enough food to feed a small country. Keep your menu simple if needed but just make sure everything tastes good and that there is enough for the guests to be satisfied. I have been to fancy venues where the food was okay. I have also been to backyard weddings that served the most delicious pulled pork sandwiches and homemade wedding cake! You can have family help out with the food if your budget is strict. Nobody will miss the filet mignon if the food you serve makes them sit back and say, “Man this is good!”. If you are using a venue or a caterer, you MUST have a tasting first! This ensures that our selections are just as tasty as they sound on paper!

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2. The Music- Music sets the tone for the night! You will want a DJ (cheaper than a band by far…although bands are awesome!) that can balance a variety of music and keep the crowd hyped and happy. Good music pumps energy into your crowd and keeps them there till the very end. Here you show your personality through song selections (see my previous post about using music to customize your wedding) but you also want to make sure that the music reflects your crowd so that there is something for everyone. You don’t need a DJ with a crazy lighting system and lots of bells and whistles. You do need a DJ with a great song selection and personality!

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3. The Photography- Yes, you can save money and put disposable cameras out on the tables and have guests take pictures but you may be taking a big risk! It will be impossible to use those in digital a;bums plus you are risking a plethora of shots you will never want or need! Your best bet is to find a PROFESSIONAL wedding photographer. Perhaps you can work out a deal where you only get the rights to the digital images and you can create your album yourself using sites such as Shutterfly or Snapfish. It pays to have good pictures though. You want these to be timeless. Wedding photographers can capture the emotion, beauty and subtle important details of one of the most important days of your life. Great pictures are worth every penny!

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4. Service- Read reviews of your venue! Good service makes a huge difference. Nobody wants to wait for orders, have their tables overcrowded with dishes and use dirty restrooms! You can utilize a buffet or cocktail style dinner but make sure that the food is easily accessible and that you have a plan in mind for getting food on and off the tables. Good service doesn’t have to be expensive but it’s worth paying for a couple of hands to help you out even if you are doing a DYI backyard wedding (and those usually have awesome service!).


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5. YOUR DRESS!!!!- That’s right! Get selfish! Everyone remembers what the bride looked like, very few remember the groom’s tux, hair…etc.! This is your night to be a princess and feel like a star! You can splurge on a dress that makes you feel beautiful. If you happen to find one for an amazing deal, even better! However, make sure the dress makes you feel confident, romantic and stunning. You deserve it!


WHEN TO PURGE: Here are some of the areas I think it is easier to cut back without lessening your experience and the overall guest experience.

1. Invitations- Most pieces wind up in recycling no matter how expensive or fancy! Pick something you like and that is affordable!

2. Centerpieces/Flowers I have attended two weddings recently that used the centerpieces that came in the venue package. Nobody cared! The centerpieces don’t make or break the experience! Save some major money here!

3. Favors- Pick something useful, fun and inexpensive! Most people don’t “need” their favors so don’t think you have to choose something over the top and expensive. One of my favorite weddings favors I received was a one dollar scratch off ticket with a penny!

4. Videography- Here you can have a friend film the most important parts only (such as the ceremony, cake cutting and toasts). You won’t sit down and watch a 12 hour video of your wedding…EVER.

5. Your Accessories- That means your shoes, hair accessories and jewels! No one is staring at them as much because your dress is the focus! The best accessory for a dress is great hair and make up! Invest in those and consider costume jewelry and sale items for the rest!

DIY Inexpensive Table Numbers!



If you have a theme or color scheme to your wedding…why not dress up the table with some inexpensive but memorable table numbers? There are so many different options to create inexpensive table numbers that will add to your table decor! Here is one!


Wooden Shapes

My theme was dragonflies so I made the table numbers pictured in the photo above. I found these wood cut-outs on sale for $1 at the Dollar Tree. I then painted them with acrylic paint (on sale at the craft stores), sprayed them with varnish (also on sale at a craft store) and hot glued them to metal stands (I am not sure what they were originally!) from Home Goods which cost 49 cents each! I also painted each table number to have a detail that matched the number. For instance, the dragonfly at the 11th table had 11 peaks painted in each section. I made sure they were visible from each side. The project cost me about $2 a table and it was fun!

You can customize your theme using any wooden shape, acrylic colors in your theme and picture stands (fairly inexpensive!).


Mad Hatter Tea Party Theme for Less! Tea Favors, Centerpieces and More!


Okay anyone who knows me knows I am a HUGE Alice in Wonderland aficionado. I even had an Alice in Wonderland Mad Tea Party shower planned by my best friend! I recently found some great deals if you are looking to plan a Mad Tea Party themed party. Here are some ways to do it on a budget! The cake pictured above was displayed at Sugarplum.


Seating Cards:

1. A simple deck of cards can be used for really creative seating cards. All you need to do is add the guests name and table number with a cool scrapbook paper cutout (teacup shaped perhaps?) and glue it to the solid side of the playing card. You can even have seating cards arranged on a table like a hand of cards for each table or letter of the alphabet!

2. Tea Bags! You can cover them with nice paper or put them in a sachet with the guests name and table and have them sitting in tea cups (courtesy of your venue!).

3. Paper Fans! You can find inexpensive like the ones below in many different colors! They are under $6 for 12! You can attach a guest’s name to the handle and have them open their fans to find the number inside!

4. Drink Me Straws…I love these!!!! You can have them displayed in fabric covered styrofoam with guests names and table numbers!


1. Tea Pots of course! Look at garage sales and consignment shops! You don’t want them to match and the funkier the better! You can fill them with fresh flowers and petals around them which will cut down on the expense of just a large floral arrangement. However start your teapot quest early…I tried this and found they weren’t as plentiful as I first expected!

2. Large Tea Cup Planters: You can find these at Michaels around spring and summer, you may even be able to catch them on clearance. The one below can be found at These are really pretty and can be filled with wheat grass, colorful floating candles or simple flowers. If you want to paint your own, you can get a set of 6Design Your Own Tea Cup Planters
from Amazon for $25.80.

3. Top Hats! You can find a top hat (not a paper shiny one, that would look tacky) made of fabric in different colors…(hello thrift shops and Halloween clearances!) and fill them with flower arrangements! Old pocket watches (working or not) can look great on the table as well!

4. You can also get Giant Playing Cards to use as table numbers and put them in picture stands to display them. You can use single cards for single digit tables and two cards side by side for the double digits. Kings can be used for the groom’s family and queens for the bride’s!

5. Red Roses and white roses…’nuff said!

Looking for merchandise? Check out some of the products listed below!

1. Party City is having a major clearance on tea party themed items as of now (March 2013). There is also a coupon code for either free shipping on orders over $65 (PCXXEP) or $10 off a $65 purchase (PCG2RS). Now here is a tip…if you drive to a Party City, you can use their computer in store for an online order, use the $10 off coupon code AND get free shipping. Shipping is always free if you place the order in store, no minimum. This is great because you don’t have to worry about things being in stock at your local store! Worth the trip!

Some of the items in the clearance section say “birthday” on them. Watch out! The ones I am posting are birthday free. You can pick and choose elements. You don’t want to overkill with color even if it is a MAD party!


These tea cup candles can be used as favors and are on clearance for only $3 for 4, regularly $5.99 for 4.

These are seven inch fold-out centerpieces for $3, down from the original price of $5.99. If you can’t find used tea pots at a garage sale or thrift shop, these could be colorful alternatives or good for the food and drink tables or guest sign in area.



These 20 count cello bags can be used to wrap the favors with an inexpensive tea bag serving as the tag for either seating or for favors! These are on sale from $3.99 to $2.00.



This favor is only $1.69 before the coupon…and it is really cute! It’s not on clearance but the price isn’t too bad especially if you use the coupon and order in store.

These are tean invitations that are not on clearance but are $8.99 for 8, which isn’t too bad for a super cute shaped invitation!

These invitations are on clearance! These are only $4 for 8! Nice!!!!

2. The following items can be found on Amazon. Amazon has free shipping on orders over $25 for eligible items. If you have a prime membership, you get free 2 day shipping on eligible items.

My favorite is the set of “drink me” straws! Check out the chocolate molds (a little pricey) and the lollipops. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the Alice in Wonderland MP3 for only 99 cents! It includes the Unbirthday Song and all the songs from just the Mad Tea Party in the Disney version! How fun would it be to use this for games or when opening presents! Check out the links below!