As a wedding planner, I'm always reading posts that people both in the industry and outside of it write about wedding planning. I think it's really interesting, and important, to get both perspectives. One thing that always makes me cringe, however, is how people deal with saving money on their weddings.
The difference between the advice given on this topic by those within the industry and those who aren't professional vendors is obviously different, and for good reason. I'm here to tell you right now that I don't always believe that weddings need to cost an arm and a leg. My own wedding only cost me $7,000, so it's definitely possible. That being said, there are some areas where you just do not want to cut costs.
1. DIY DJ
One of the most common pieces of advice I see for cutting wedding costs is to just hook up your iPod to speakers, and DJ your reception yourself. While I don't think this is the worst piece of advice in the world, I can tell you from personal experience that it isn't as easy as you think it would be. Who is going to control the iPod during the reception? Are you going to take time away from your guests so you can skip songs and manage the playlist?
The music and the emcee are an integral part of your reception. They are the ones who keep the party going, and a bad DJ can ruin everything. If you want dancing (and not just, say, ambient music), a DJ is really the way to go. You can create a playlist, but the transition in between songs can make or break a dance party.
That being said, there is one way that you can potentially save money while still DIYing your music. Instead of just creating a playlist, I would recommend finding a DJ that will either create a custom mix for you, or find a pre-made mix by a DJ with the music that you'd like played. This gives you the same dance party feel you're going for, but you can still just plug in your iPod to play. You'll still want to task someone with managing the music and announcing the important events during the night, such as the first dance and cake cutting.
2. Handcrafted Flowers
I honestly have no idea what possesses people to do their flowers on their own. Though I've seen it work a few times, the stress of getting the flowers and putting them together before your wedding is often not worth the amount of money you'll save. There are so many elements that you can DIY, but flowers shouldn't be one of them, mainly because of when they need to be done. You can't really do your flowers more than a few days (like, two) before your wedding, and you should be too busy drinking mimosas and getting your nails done to worry about that! Speaking of nails, they'll ruin your manicure too, I promise. Not only that, but there really is a lot of talent and knowledge that goes into floral design. You may be able to do some basic arrangements, no problem, but if you want something a bit more complex, it's best if you go with a professional.
3. Crowdsource Photography
I can't help but cringe when I hear someone considering ditching the photographer, with the expectation that your guests will take care of the pictures. Hashtags and Instagram are a great way to see your wedding through your guests eyes, but think of what you want to show your kids years down the line. Do you want them to see grainy pictures with terrible filters, or something much more timeless and classic?
One crowdsourcing technique that I've seen that can work is video. Speaking from personal experience, I've watched my wedding video once in the three years that I've been married, so I can't even really see the point of getting a videographer unless you can really afford it. I have seen some awesome homemade videos that put together different clips from wedding guests that really give an intimate look at your wedding.
There really are so many ways that you can save money on your wedding, but these are three things that are just a disaster waiting to happen. Obviously I'm a proponent of hiring a professional wedding planner as well, but that's neither here nor there. Just think of what you want your guests to be doing on your wedding day, really. Do you want them to work? Or do you want them to have an awesome, amazing experience while dancing and celebrating your new marriage?