We all have a budget we have to stick by. So here are some of the things you should not skimp on to make the most out of your budget & day!

Your DJ!

A great DJ is at the top of my list for a number of reasons but the biggest being is they can make or break your reception.

Seriously they are the life of the party & even party people won't be able to get down without someone in the corner hyping them up.

And another great thing about having a professional DJ is they help keep things on track & moving! As someone who attends weddings as a career trust me when I say this is not something, you want to skimp on. Now here are some tips I have to help find a great DJ or maybe help stick to your budget.

Ask your vendors.

We are constantly working with new & different vendors every week, & love to work with ones that make our jobs easier (such as making the guests happy & dancing!) so we definitely keep only the greatest in mind when recommending them to you.

Book in off-seasons.

Some wedding vendors offer discounts for off-season and they also sometimes offer discounts for booking a year or two ahead, but at the very least this can help you lock in a price.

Your Photographer!

Now yes, I am being a little biased here. 

But at the end of the day & all the days following, your photos are what's going to be left to help you remember all of the blood, sweat, & tears you put into making your day so special. And having a photographer that you love & makes you feel beautiful while dealing with all the craziness is key.  

I often see people try to tighten their budgets here because "everyone has a phone & will be taking pictures.", well they're right a lot of people will be taking photos but the truth is those photos may be blurred, and grainy, or just unflattering. So by hiring a cheap & inexperienced photographer you run the risk of paying for photos that don't look much different than your guest's photos.

Sadly, something I see every day is where someone purchases a $200 camera & literally jumps right into wedding photography with no clue what they're doing, leaving the brides & grooms with everything to lose.

As wedding photographers, we put years of work, $1,000s of dollars, & more into this profession knowing that which each wedding we shoot we get only one 1 shot because there are no redos so you have to know where to be & when, what would be the optimal setting for hundreds of different lighting situations often with only a few moments to adjust, all while trying to stay out of the way of guests.

But we all have a budget & sometimes a $2,000+ photographer doesn't match that, & I fully understand that so here's what I suggest.

Hire a photographer for fewer hours.

For most wedding days photographers are not really needed past 6 hours, so instead of going for a 10-hour package lower it down a few.

Only hire 1 shooter.

I hate suggesting this because 2 shooters offer so much more & are very valuable to, but sometimes it can take a good chunk off of a package.

Look for Payment Plans.

A lot of photographers myself included offer payment plans that fit your needs, keep in mind in the long run you will be paying a little more due to tax but for some being able to make a payment each week, month, etc... is easier than trying to pay in lump sums.

Second Shooting for Brittany Hawkins Photography

The Food!

Do not skimp on the food please!

This is one of the most memorable (other that your ceremony) moments of your day and also the largest complaints you will get from guests.

I am not talking about having a bunch of options or even the serving size. I am talking about going with cheaper vendors or family members that are not prepared to serve such a large amount of people in a short amount of time. I've attended top many weddings where the food was undercooked or ill-prepared leaving guests (& even the brides or grooms) sick. There are even some places I have asked clients to avoid after repeated occurrences of this (& they are on the higher end.).

So make sure when booking a cater or asking friends & family to help that all of the appropriate food & safety is followed.

Hopefully, some of this helps you while navigating the stressful world of wedding planning.

Thanks for reading!