credit: Kristen Gardner Photography

Credit: Kristen Gardner Photography

Budget planning for an event as large as your wedding can be overwhelming and daunting to say the least. We asked a few of our favorite DC area wedding planners for some words of advice to hopefully help in planning for the unexpected, and where to splurge a little. The one advice that we hear most from our featured DC real wedding couples is, to prioritize what aspects of the wedding are most important to you as a couple and shift your budget to accommodate. Thank you to our wonderful United with Love vendors who helped give insight in planning a great budget!


Question: What wedding budget item do you feel is most forgotten about, or under estimated by brides? And why is it important to remember?

“For tented outdoor weddings, funds needed to execute a rain plan.  Understandably, brides don’t like to confront the fact that it might rain on their wedding day.  However, it is so important to think about plan B and to set aside funds needed for extra equipment and services that might be needed in the event of rain.  For example, rain might mean additional tenting for the ceremony and cocktail hour.  Rain also might require marquees, or tented hallways, running from the catering tent to the dinner tent and from the dinner tent to restroom facilities.  Sometimes, heavy rain can make flooring an absolute necessity, depending on how water drains at the wedding site.  Heavy rain can also complicate vendor load ins, making it impossible for heavy trucks to move across soaking wet grass without getting stuck or tearing up the property. ”  Allison of Pineapple Productions

Credit: Connor Studios & Sugarplum Tent Company

“Don’t forget about all the little detail items! These include all of your day-of signage and frames, any cocktail napkins or drink swizzle sticks, table numbers, ribbon for welcome bags, etc.  All of the components for these pieces can start to add up and a lot of couples underestimate the true cost! Secondly, don’t forget about wedding insurance. Even if your venue doesn’t require it, for a few hundred dollars, it’s always a good investment for the unknown! “ Kelley of Kelley Cannon Events

“I think many folks forget to plan for gratuities. We live in a culture that tips service providers who meet or exceed expectations. When it comes time, often in the last few weeks before one’s wedding, creating a tally of all those folks can become a list of dozens of people, resulting in up to thousands of dollars in tips or gifts. I always have my clients plan for this in advance within their initial budget!” Janice of Bellwether Events

“Rentals are often underestimated when making budget plans. Stand alone venues allow you to customize and bring in your own rentals, especially if working with a catering company. Many couples don’t realize how many glasses are really needed for an open bar, or extra tables for service and miscellaneous décor like gifts and the guest book. These items add up quickly, and can fluctuate depending on your final numbers so make sure to leave room in the budget to accommodate.” Kristen of Roberts & Co. Events


Question: Beyond photography/videography, what is one or two items or vendors that you think are always worth the investment when allocating wedding funds?

“Lighting!  Lighting does so much to set a warm, welcoming atmosphere.  It can transform an event space, even a drab one. Plus, proper event lighting allows guests to see and appreciate all your wedding decor, from large statement pieces to the smallest table top details.  Most importantly, good lighting will enhance your wedding pictures and ensure that they are as beautiful and vibrant as they can be.” Allison of Pineapple Productions

“End of night transportation for the couple is always worth the money.  It’s easier to avoid having to wait on an uber or cab, especially if you are having a special send-off, a hired, dedicated vehicle for the bride and groom is the way to go. Transportation companies offer one way transfer town cars, which is a great way to avoid hour minimums on limos or buses. Kelley of Kelley Cannon Events

credit: Ralph Alswang Photoraphy

credit: Ralph Alswang Photoraphy

“With all the rain we’ve been having recently I can’t help but immediately think that a tent with a platform floor sounds like a great investment right about now. My clients who have invested in good tents and raised floors have never had buyer’s remorse, and those un-sexy budget items have often saved the day in the event of inclement weather. “ Janice of Bellwether Events

“A wedding planner or wedding coordinator, and I’m not saying this just because I happen to be one. I have been told by so many clients and friends of clients, that the one vendor they were so happy to have was a wedding planner/coordinator. And conversely, have been told by people who didn’t have a planner/coordinator, that they regretted that decision come the wedding day. A coordinator will save the couple so much time and energy and really allow them to fully celebrate and be present day-of, they will also be able to work with all vendors and provide experienced event management to carry out their clients dream wedding. A good planner, among so many things, will provide invaluable advice and guidance and keep their clients on track throughout the process. A good wedding planner or coordinator is not the venue contact, caterer or friend who dabbles in event planning. You get what you pay for, so choose someone who is a professional wedding and event planner!” Margo of Bright Occasions

“A textured upgraded linen over a plain twill-cotton linen is always worth the splurge. Typically only $12-15 more per table will help elevate your entire reception room and make it more personalized and lux looking. If you don’t have the budget to do all of your guest seating tables, upgrade dessert tables, and auxiliary tables such as escort card and bar tables. Secondly, welcome items for your hotel guests is a delightful treat that starts the wedding weekend off. From a simple combo of cookies and a hand written note with the wedding itinerary to a curated box from Marigold and Grey, guests appreciate you putting in the extra touches to appreciate their time for the weekend.” Kristen from Roberts & Co. EVents.



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