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Creating Your Dream Wedding by Budgeting For What’s Most Important To You An Intimate and Sweet Sassi Wedding

Bridal, Weddings

April 16, 2018


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Creating Your Dream Wedding by Budgeting For What’s Most Important To You An Intimate and Sweet Sassi Wedding

Today I have a super fun treat for you! Not only is the following wedding dreamy in every single way, I have an amazingly useful and practical post to help you create your own dream wedding with some simple budgeting tips & tools.

When I got married the first thing I did was figure how much money we have total to plan the entire wedding. But then I had no idea how to break that down. I am sure most bride & grooms don’t know where to begin either.  Now I I got married in 2007 and I didn’t have Pinterest, wedding blogs and the like, so I went to Barnes & Noble’s and bought a sweet little wedding guide & workbook. That thing was KEY to my sanity. What I remember most was the budgeting guideline. 11 years later and it’s still one of the most useful tools I can across. So I wanted to do the same for my readers.

I have been planning on writing a practical budgeting post for some time now but it’s just another thing on the to-do list. lol. So, much to my delight a few weeks ago Abigail Golder reached out to me. Abigail found my website when she was planning her wedding and so generously offered to write a blog post for me because she loved my site & my work!!!!!

I’m like “SAY WHAT? I hate writing blogs.” haha. So my obvious answer was yes and yes!  I am SO so so so thankful that I did. Abby seriously did a great job listening to my budgeting idea, researching the top wedding blogs & tools for data, and compiling information that was not only helpful but concise and easy to read. Thank you so much Abby!

Abigail is a senior studying journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She plans to graduate in May 2018 from the Cronkite School and Barrett, The Honors College. Originally from Colorado, Abigail grew up in a small town called Montrose and she still spends much of her free time in the mountains hiking and skiing. She is in the process of planning her September wedding and as a DIY bride hopes her experiences throughout the process will help other brides along the way as well!

The reason I think this post goes perfectly with Karina & Michaels wedding is that this couple KNEW what would make their wedding day special and budgeted accordingly.

They knew they wanted it family-centered, including their darling Arlo (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel- Puppy, good food, and located in a beautiful location with breathtaking views, floral and details. And they NAILED it!  Karina & Michael knew what was most important to them and as such dedicated their budget to highlight those important elements to create their dream wedding. I am SO proud to show off these intimate photos and to be apart of their most special of days.

Please relish how much work this couple put into their beautiful wedding day and take a tip from them. Take notes on Abigail’s information, then shift around things in your budget to accommodate the most important things to you. Above all hold onto your love and keep each other first in the process. Happy wedding planning friends!


Everything There is to Know About a Wedding Budget, by Abigail Golder.

Think back to your tenth birthday party and what a blast you and your friends had. The budget was probably pretty small, but luckily you and your friends were carefree enough at the time to just enjoy yourselves and whatever activities your party planners…or…your parents had planned. It was a low-pressure, low-budget good time. If only every celebration could be this easy.

Fortunately, with proper planning and forethought, planning a wedding can be just as stress-free as planning a child’s birthday. By honing in on the key details of a great wedding, you can set you and your guests up for an unforgettable time as you enter into your new life with your partner.

If you’re like most people, your wedding will be the biggest and most expensive party you’ll plan in your life. In Arizona, the average cost of a wedding is close to $30,000. This probably doesn’t leave you feeling too comfortable with the idea of error.

That’s why it’s important to set your budget early and assess how much you can dedicate to each aspect of your wedding. Dividing your funds between photography, food, the dress, the rings, etc. can be daunting if you don’t get ahead of it all.

Whether you’re planning to spend $10,000 or $100,000, laying out the budget ahead of time will ground you through all the difficult and fun decisions you’ll be making along the way. Take a look at this suggested breakout of your budget:

50% Goes to Venues and Catering

It’s no secret that the biggest portion of your wedding budget will be put toward these two crucial pillars of your wedding day.

In terms of choosing a venue, it’s important to remember that the space you choose will set the scene for the day (and the photos you look back on for years to come). Though you want to be mindful of cost, you don’t want the venue to be a place where you cut corners.

Often times the venue you choose will either require they provide catering in-house or supply you with a list of approved vendors to choose from. Some venues may even include catering in the cost of rental, so when budgeting for these two items be sure to ask what is included and price out your different options to see where you can get the best deal.

Tip: Be sure to include the cake in this 50% portion of your budget and the costs around delivering and displaying it at the reception as well as the cost for the bar and beverage service.

12%-25% Goes to Photography and Videography

Next, to the venue and food, good photography and videography will be one of the most important investments you make for your wedding. This is an opportunity to preserve your memories and, if missed, will leave you wishing you had invested more into the right person for the job.

There are thousands of photographers out there whose packages encompass a huge range of prices. That said, as far the quality is concerned, you get what you pay for. Many experienced photographers are more expensive for a couple of reasons. One reason is the time they put into photographing the details of your big day. Another reason is the equipment they use. Photo and video equipment can cost tens-of-thousands of dollars and well-seasoned photographers use only the best equipment. This, of course, provides the best results. It’s also important to note that the best photographers and videographers spend hours outside of the wedding day to edit photos and video.

There should be plenty of time put into the process of hiring a photographer. Unlike like other life events, like graduation photos, there’s no chance to go back and redo them if they aren’t exactly how you invisioned. It’s important to find a seasoned photographer who shoots with the style you desire.

Photography is the only thing that you get to keep from your big day, so it’s definitely not a place to be frugal. The most expensive photographers tend to be more experience but regardless, be sure to take a look at their portfolio. If possible, ask for a full wedding album to really get an idea of what you can expect.

12% Goes to Attire and Day-Of Preparations

The cost of the wedding dress, the tuxedos, the hair, the makeup and everything else it takes to get everyone beautiful for the big day can really add up if you’re not careful.

This can also include things like waxing, facials, manicures, pedicures, tans and anything else it takes for you to feel your best walking down the aisle. Keep an eye out for deals and discounts on this kind of beauty preparation. That way you can have all the day-of wedding preparation for a fraction of the cost.

10% Goes to Ambience

Creating the right ambience will give people a sense of your style and make for the best possible pictures. If you have a good photographer, they will know exactly how to capture detail shots, so your creative eye will not go to waste. These photos can make all the difference in your wedding album. You might not even get a chance to take in all the hard work you put into planning small details, but your photographer will have time to capture it all for you.

Consider things like lighting, flowers, centerpieces and signage. Each of these creates an opportunity to express your personality as a newlywed couple and give guests something to admire throughout the day.

8% Goes to Entertainment

Finding the right DJ or band is another crucial step and a place where you can’t afford to cut corners. Chances are you know someone who’s cousin’s boyfriend’s coworker claims to be a DJ and could put together an awesome playlist for your reception. Chances are, that’s simply not going to cut it. While most of the wedding expenses are spent for your sake, the entertainment is something wedding guests care about most.

Hiring a DJ or band with enough experience and a diverse selection of songs will please the entire crowd. One great way to find the right music is through referrals, so be sure to listen closely at the next wedding you attend and make note of what you liked and didn’t like.

4% Goes to the Wedding Planner

Depending on what kind of guidance you’re looking for, you may want to invest more than 4% in your wedding planner as it could help you cut costs in other areas. Your wedding planner will be your guide and guru leading up to the big day and will handle any mishaps as the wedding is occurring. This will be a key ingredient in allowing you the chance to enjoy yourself and release the stress of planning.

2% Goes to Stationary

In the age of email and Facebook events, handwritten notes never go unnoticed. Your engagement party invitations, save the dates, wedding invitations and thank you cards can all be included in this cost.

Keep in mind that the cost of stamps can add up. If you’re trying to cut costs in this area, consider an online RSVP. Many guests are accustomed to this now and it could save you some money in this area.

Channeling your time, energy and money into the right places will help your wedding feel as easy and care-free as a kid’s birthday. Get ahead of the big day by planning early, being mindful and having fun with the process!


Creating Your Dream Wedding by Budgeting For What’s Most Important To You An Intimate and Sweet Sassi Wedding

If you are newly engaged and not ready to budget yet, check out my post on ” So you are Engaged, What is Next? 

Vendor Love: It Takes a Village to Make a Wedding Dream Come To Life.
Below is a list of the amazing hand-picked team that came together to help Karina & Michael’s wedding vision a reality.


Fully Alive Photography
@fullyalivephotography #fullyalivephotography


Sassi Weddings


Az Flower Bar

Hair & Make Up Stylist:

Bridal For The Win

Wedding Gown:


Groom’s Wear:

Hugo Boss


Sift House


Retro Rentals


Adrienne Knauer


Jen Paul- Life Passages



Ring Box

Flowertown Weddings

Guest Blogger:

Abigail Golder




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I'm Tracy and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about our clients, shoots and my own personal life! Stay awhile, leave a comment, or say hi!

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