Couples always ask me where in their budgets they should be spending on and where they should save. Rarely do couples have an unlimited budget, so naturally they will have to allocate based on where their priorities lie.

Some couples will splurge on everything, while others will save on everything too, so there is no right or wrong approach.

If you ask me, there are certainly some areas that I feel are more black and white than others, if a couple wants to have a balanced or practical approach to wedding planning. How much you spend and save in these areas is up to you. Here are my recommendations:

Ceremony - Intimate Burroughes Building wedding with string lights and lavender
Photo: Brandon Scott Photography

Splurge – Photography

I always recommend couples to spend on good photography.

You don’t get to redo your wedding day and if your photographer isn’t able to capture your wedding day how you envision it, you may have some big regrets.

Make sure you really love the photographer’s portfolio and style of photography, and ensure they are experienced in capturing weddings. They need to be flexible and have a good eye for capturing moments as well as details.

It will be worth it to spend in this area for an experienced photographer whose portfolio you love.

Save – Transportation

While getting around town in a limo or fancy vehicle is pretty fun, if you are looking for one area to cut costs, this can be an area you can save.

Do you have a relative or sibling who can assist you in driving? Maybe someone in the wedding party? Just ensure whoever is driving has a safe way to get home if they plan on drinking.

Some couples even opt for Uber as an alternative (tip: consider Uber Black for a nicer vehicle that is roomier).

Splurge – Entertainment

Whether you are looking at a DJ or live band, or music for your ceremony, I recommend spending on good entertainment.

An experienced DJ and great live bands will take your party to the next level. At the end of the day, your guests will remember how fun it was and hiring great entertainment is key.

Not all bands are expensive either, so shop around and find one whose vibe you love. For DJs it’s always great to get a recommendation, because it’s hard to know if they’re good unless you have experienced them at an event.

Save – Cake and favours

So many couples are opting to not spend money on a grand cake or on favours. Personally I think these items fall under the ‘nice to have’ category, but you can go without it and guests won’t be too fussed about it.

Some couples have opted for a great candy buffet with take-home containers that act as a nice favour alternative. The venue may have great pastry options if you’d like to opt for a sweets table instead of a traditional cake. There are a lot of alternatives that will give guests a nice late night food experience without spending on a large cake and ways to include take-home items that aren’t traditional favours.

Other wedding planning items not listed here will depend on your taste. Take flowers and decor for example. Spending in this area ranges so much (from savvy DIY to dramatic decor transformations). It really depends how important achieving ‘the look’ is to the couple. Determine whether an item is important to you, and budget accordingly.

While there is no right or wrong way to spend your money when it comes to your wedding day, you can use my above tips as a starting point for discussion. Spend on what you care about and save on the areas that don’t matter to you as much. Always discuss finances and priorities as a couple. It’s a great way to start a marriage!

Rebecca Chan is a Toronto event designer and event planner. If you have a brand activation, media launch event, design project, trade show or a special event, connect with her today to see how we can collaborate on your next project.