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I want to start with the top two mistakes brides seem to be making (ALOT) when it comes to wedding planning:

1) The absolute NUMBER ONE MOST important vendor of your entire wedding, is your photographer. And guess what, this is most often the vendor that brides cut the cheapest deal with. And worse than that, they sometimes have their friends — who are NOT professionals — grab their expensive looking camera and attempt to capture the day for minimal to zero cost and as I like to call it, “play dress up as your photographer”. This is one of the worst mistakes I’ve seen brides make over and over again. Let me explain why…

A GREAT photographer can make any wedding, no matter the budget, appear in photographs like a million dollars. They capture the romance, the mood and all of the tiny details that a novice would never think to photograph. As a makeup artist, I rely heavily on these pictures so that I can display my work on my website gallery and blog. It is essentially my portfolio. So often, too often, I do makeup on a GORGEOUS bride (and wedding) and when the pictures come back they are complete and utter crap (excuse my language) deeming them completely un usable. But forget about me, I’ll find plenty of other pictures, but I do want to mention this cause other vendors feel the exact same way. But MOST importantly, lets talk about you, is that what you want framed around your house for the next 50 years? No. A picture lasts a lifetime. So here is my advice, look at photographer’s portfolios and I mean look through several and do your research. Any decent photographer is going to cost money, but consider a few things you might not know… they are at your venue for an average of 10 to 12 hours on the wedding day and THEN Photoshop and sort through prints for hours in their studio to give you beautiful and flawless prints. Trust me, photographers earn every penny, and are worth every penny. Take this vendor seriously when arranging your budget. Feel free to email me if you need recommendations I know several and I honestly just want you to be happy at the end of the day.

TIP: If your favorite photographers are just simply all out of your price range, inquire about their second shooter and their services. They will be cheaper and you know that they are vetted in the art of picture-taking and know how to shoot in a similar style as their boss.

2) Mistake number 2 that over 70 percent of brides make:

Many brides let their friends act as professional vendors (as mentioned above with photography) and let them do their makeup and/or hair on one of the most important days in a girl’s life! The ability to do flawless lasting makeup and hair is a skilled, highly practiced art.  It requires a kit, hours of training and true experience. I have personally been trained by some of the top pro artists in the country,  over 80 hours on basic makeup application alone. Trust me when I say that I know my craft and I will make you look your very best version of yourself on your wedding day.

Lets talk about hair. Be VERY wary of salons that also offer to do makeup for your big day.  Make sure they have an actual artist on staff who is trained in makeup and does it professionally.  In hair school (even the TOP programs in the world) they spend an average of one week learning the basics of makeup.  One week, as part of a year-long program and that’s all folks! I am not saying that a person can’t have talent for both, but often, salons do hair and are much stronger in that area. Hairdressers who also do makeup are rarely professional makeup artists anymore than I am a professional hair dresser.  We are women, we all know how to do makeup and hair but doing it on someone else is a whole different ball game…

Now, lets dive into other areas of wedding planning and find ways to cut corners financially (without anyone really noticing) while still making the wedding look like a million bucks!

12 EASY WAYS TO CUT COSTS WHILE MAKING YOUR WEDDING FABULOUS:

1) The first and easy way to have all of those beautiful and yes, expensive details at your wedding is to cut the guest list. This will slash your catering costs, save on invitations, the number of centerpieces (ie FLOWERS, vases, candles), place settings, cake size, alcohol, and venue size (with a smaller guest list, it’s now more feasible to find a private estate and have a lovely tented or non-tented backyard wedding under the stars!) Bottom line, the less people, the more you can focus on getting high-end details and are able to have everything you want — i.e the expensive options that are pay per head.

2. Think off-peak season and save thousands! Skip the Saturday wedding. Perhaps a Friday evening or Sunday wedding, vendors usually give a break on those days … even during peak season.

3. Hold your ceremony and reception in one spot — it will cut travel time for vendors that you pay by the hour.

4. Have bigger tables so you need fewer centerpieces and tablecloths.

6. Shop the off-season for extra decor — get modern black vases on sale after Halloween and pretty pink ones after Valentine’s Day. In most cases it is cheaper to shop for these things on a budget and own them than to rent them for one night.

7. Swap out costly flowers — did you know peonies can be five times more expensive than roses? If you DO want peonies, you must marry in the Spring when they are in season. Garden roses look similar and are much more cost-effective. Stick to just one or two kinds of flowers. Always buy flowers that are in season. And consider buying them in bulk online and having a few experts arrange them in your home. This will save HUNDREDS. I plan on draping my whole wedding in flowers, so I plan on buying from well know flower farms (in bulk amounts) and arranging them myself — with help from experts of course. Flowers are usually best arranged 2 days before the wedding when they are at their peak bloom. So yes, you have time to spend working on them well before the wedding day.

8. Offer beer, wine, and a signature cocktail instead of a full bar.

9. Order a small one or two-tiered cake and then supplement cake with a larger sheet cake (hidden back in the kitchen). Yes, it will taste the same and your small adorable cake will be more for show and MUCH cheaper. But still fabulous in photos! 😉 Also, the use of fresh flowers to adorn the cake is much cheaper than using sugar ones.

10. Reuse ceremony flowers, candles and anything you want to adorn the cake table or even the main bridal table. I’ve seen blank vases set aside for the bridal party to place their bouquets in after the ceremony and poof, you have a bunch of extra gorgeous flower arrangements to decorate the head table!

11. Make your own menu and escort cards (only if you feel crafty enough, with so many how to’s out there and some bridal party free labor you can buy the necessities at Michaels, use Kinkos to print out special cursive font and with the addition of some ribbon or a rhinestone placed just right, no one will ever know! This is a HUGE money saver.

12. Don’t do wedding favors, no one cares about those Jordan Almonds, I promise. And while we’re at it, a wedding program is really not necessary either. You are the only one that might scrapbook it, everyone else will throw it away. Spend more on your invitations, those set the entire tone for the wedding well before the guests even arrive.

I hope these tips helped. Happy planing and budgeting to you all!

xo Katy

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