So many factors can contribute to your decision, but perhaps the most important (or close) is your budget. Every couple has one, whether it's tiny or generous. While it may not be the only thing on your mind, it certainly looms large. No one wants to walk away from such an important purchase with buyers’ remorse, fearing that they have made an expensive purchase that wasn’t the right choice. In the case of your wedding, those multiple expensive purchases contribute to a day that cannot be done over; it truly is a “once in a lifetime” experience.
Decisions based solely on price can cause regrettable (and avoidable) disasters on your wedding day. Like the classic joke, “The food was terrible, and the portions were so small!”. Five hours of an obnoxious DJ or an out of tune band will ruin your reception, no matter how many mirrored balls, inflatable guitars or ‘dance motivators’ they throw in for “free”. Five thousand photos that are carelessly shot, amateurishly lit or cropped and delivered late are not going to capture your wedding day in a better way than 500 artistically created pictures that really tell your story. (And there is just no way to know what great shots were missed.) A cake no one eats is well, a cake no one eats……and a ceremony everyone yawns through is a terrible way to start this precious moment in history; yours, your friends’ and your families’.
When you buy a house, a common phrase is, Location location location! Buy the most house you can afford in the best neighborhood, not the most expensive house in a less than desireable neighborhood. How does this translate to your wedding? Easily. Instead of finding the cheapest professional in any category, strive to put together a team of the people that you truly want to create your wedding, and then work with them to see just how that can happen.
Every wedding professional who truly is that, a professional, wants to work with the couples that want to work with us. We want you to understand why we charge what we do, how we are uniquely qualified to be a part of your wedding, and how we might work together to stay within your budget. Your photographer might suggest a shorter period of coverage (maybe just before the ceremony and then part of the reception, rather than spanning the entire day, from makeup to the last crumb of cake). Your invitation artist might deliver your wedding stationary in components, ready for your bridal party to assemble. Your officiant, (that would be me!!), might offer to do a quick run through of your processional before the wedding rather than on a separate day. (I also offer a printable, decorative copy of the ceremony readings that some of my couples have used instead of favors.) All of these are invisible ways to include the vendors who will truly enhance your days.
None of us want our couples leaving their reception thinking that their day was vastly more expensive than they hoped; that is not the memory we are striving to create. Great, experienced, enthusiastic wedding partners are worth every penny that you’ll spend on them, and they’ll help you spend it wisely. That is our wedding gift to you.
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Celia Milton is a wedding officiant and celebrant who creates and performs lighthearted wedding ceremonies and civil unions in new jersey and new york.