Over the next few weeks we will be featuring some Q&A sessions with the DC area’s best wedding vendors so all of our readers can get some wedding advice from local pros! We have taken some of the best (and most repeated!) questions from our readers so we can better help you to plan your big day. Have additional questions for us? Ask away in the comments and we will help you out!

The biggest takeaway from these fantastic DMV area wedding professionals was that setting priorities is a huge part of planning your wedding budget! Being realistic about your wedding fund sometimes means cutting things that aren’t as important and focusing on things that mean the most to you and your future spouse. Not too worried about fabulous paper goods but really need some killer food? Splurge a little on your caterer with the money you save by ordering your invites online from Wedding Paper Divas. Be smart about your spending in order to make the day special and personalized!

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Birds of a Feather Photography via our Romantic and Colorful Wedding Inspiration

What are your best tips and tricks to stay within my wedding budget?

Before you begin wedding planning, make sure that your budget is as thorough as possible. Ensure that the cost estimates given by wedding vendors include the service charges, taxes and/or delivery fees. And, try to ensure that your budget includes EVERY possible expense you may incur while planning your wedding — this should include insurance, vendor gratuities, travel expenses (if your wedding isn’t local), wedding day and/or honeymoon kennel expenses (if you have a pet), the costs for fittings, etc. Finally, consider adding a “Budget Reserves” line item (typically 10%) for surprise expenses. – Kay, Howerton+Wooten Events

Planning a wedding with a tight budget can be stressful, but it is doable. One way to help with costs is to have a smaller wedding, since the more guests you have the higher the costs will be. While this may not be feasible for everyone, it is the best way to save money. Another option would be to do a lunch or brunch wedding vs. an evening reception with dinner. Food and alcohol costs, which are a large chunk of the overall budget, would typically be less expensive for a daytime affair. I personally love a brunch wedding; you can get really creative with the brunch ideas and still have a beautiful and fun wedding. For couples who still want a nighttime event, choosing any day other than Saturday will also help with costs. Friday night weddings can be a good alternative and then allow a couple to continue to spend time with family and friends over the weekend. – Margo, Bright Occasions

Make a list of priorities and be realistic. You are not going to be able to get everything you want so stick to those things that are at the top of your list! – Amanda, Engaging Affairs

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Almond Photography via our Lovely St. Francis Hall Wedding

Plan ahead. Start with a detailed budget of every element you can think of. Do this before you ask bridesmaids, pick a venue or even a wedding date. This budget will drive a lot of those decisions. And remember that numbers matter. Huge wedding parties, large guest counts and 6 course dinners add up. If you are on a tight budget, pick 2-3 areas that really matter to you and do those very well/make those unique. Don’t try to do everything on a tight budget. You’ll only spread yourself too thin and end up not doing any one thing very well. – Laura, Engaging Affairs

Plan for the worst case scenario. Start with a realistic and comprehensive budget. Prioritize each category of spending – what are must haves and what can you live without. – Vicky, Event Accomplished

Be ruthless. Seriously. Decide what you want to splurge on, what you want to do “standard” and what you want to save on and don’t be swayed by things you see later on Pinterest and in magazines, blogs, etc. – Janice, Bellwether Events

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K. Thompson Photography via our Classic, Timeless Fall DC Wedding

Best tricks to stay with your budget is to listen to your wedding planner and not give in to all the extras that you want along the way. Ask for help from your vendors on packages that will fit within your budget. Don’t do favors and opt for just beer and wine instead of the full bar. If you are not wedded to a wedding cake, go with a dessert station from your caterer. – Katie, Elegance & Simplicity, Inc.

Be realistic from the beginning. You can’t choose your budget out of thin air without some understanding of what things cost. Secondly, focus on prioritizing. If the music matters most to you, spend on your band. If you don’t care as much about paper, be willing to scale back on that part of the wedding. – A. Dominick Events

 

Thank you to all of the amazing local wedding pros who answered our reader’s questions! Looking for more budgeting tips from DC area professionals? Check out our latest budgeting installments, Balancing Your Wedding Flower Budget and Budget Advice: Splurging and Saving! If you are looking for helpful advice that is a little more specific, we have also compiled Wedding Budget Breakdown by Percentages!

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