Luxury Vibe on a Budget!

Hey! This blog post is the result of my seeing so many incredible couples who wants to make sure their wedding feels luxurious and is very well thought out BUT they’re working on a non-luxury budget! Generally, when you think of a luxury wedding, it’s not just about the cost for the couple – so much of it is about attention to detail! There’s lots of ways to help create a vibe that will leave your guests talking about your wedding for years while making sure your money is being used as efficiently as possible! And I know when you’re thinking of wedding planning it’s all already sooooo much. To do. To buy. To research. And now I’m telling you that you can elevate your wedding by paying even more attention to details and design. So I want to give you some tips I’ve come up with on how to up the luxury level of your wedding while remaining budget conscious, and also without driving yourself crazy! haha

  • Focus on the things that people are going to spend the most time with!

For example – level up your chairs or your table setting. People will be spending their whole dinner with these items! Or if you anticipate a lot of dancing – hire a live band instead of a DJ! Then for multiple hours you’ve upped their experience. Inversely, cut back on things people won’t be spending a lot of time with. Skip the expensive floral entryway that people will walk under in about 3 seconds and not see again until they leave! Same kind of thing – if your current getting ready location (maybe the venue provides one) isn’t the best, see if you can upgrade it! You’ll be there for potentially 6 hours on your wedding day so let’s make it nice!! As far as that specific suggestion goes, look on Airbnb for sure. You want lots of light, neutral colored walls, and larger spaces.

  • Have your planner or waitstaff fold your napkins in an interesting way!

This is literally free and will give a tiny moment (maybe even subconsciously, but it’ll still be there) of “ooh, that’s nice!”. And that’s what you’re going for with a luxury wedding. At the very least it will improve the photos of the tables! Here’s an incredible Martha Stewart blog on different napkin folds you can try! (Image: Alpha Smoot)

  • Consider color palette carefully!

I know that you’ve already done this. You’ve probably had your wedding colors picked since you were 12. Or maybe not, idk. But the VAST majority of couples do NOT fully flesh out how their color palette is going to impact their day, or they lose focus halfway through the planning process! You’ve gotta do the opposite and consider color in every detail if we’re going to try this luxury thing! This even includes your choice of venue!! Obviously there’s other factors like capacity and cost that impact your venue decision. But if you can accommodate letting color be a huge influencer of your venue choice you will come out on top! Is the getting ready location complimentary to your colors? How about the ceremony spot, or the reception area? How will they look after dark if you’ll be going that late? For example – if you’re going for a very spring look with blue, cream, yellow, or other bright colors, but your venue is exposed dark wood and other dark accents then there will be a disconnect!

  • Set a dress code for your wedding!

Without a doubt the thing that is going to take up the most space at your wedding is going to be the people! When you look across the crowd at your closets friends and your family, would you rather see everyone dressed in beautiful dresses and suits? Or would you rather see each family’s idea of “nice wedding clothes”? Unless it’s a beach wedding, I’d highly recommend putting on your invitations either Formal Attire or Black Tie Optional. Maybe even Black Tie if you think you can get away with asking that of your guests. Picture everyone in beautiful dresses and suits instead of khakis and polos. Your venue is a big expense – lets fill it with good looking people! Here’s a great article explaining all the different wedding dress codes!

  • Pick a photographer with a look you love, and whose editing compliments your vibe!

This is kinda straightforward since it’s such a subjective thing! Since half of your wedding day is about how you’ll remember it (through photos usually!), how do you want those memories to look? If you want a sultry, intimate, dramatic luxury wedding then consider hiring a photographer with a moody, contrasty style. But if you’re hoping your day has a lighter & brighter feel that’s full of colors, smiles, and laughter then you might consider hiring a photographer with a brighter shooting/editing style! Consider how your color palette will look with his or her editing, what details they hone in on in their galleries, and the vibe of the couples in their photos! On the right is my older darker style vs. my newer brighter style! There’s no right or wrong way – I just started feeling like a lighter brighter guy!

  • Go as nice as you can with the wedding party attire!

I think this is one of the better ways to set the bar high at your wedding. If your wedding party looks good then everything else is going to look better! I totally understand that this can add a lot of cost, but hear me out. This group of people will be in like 70-80% of your photos. At least in the background. For example, jumping from a nice enough button down & tie option to a well-fitting suit in one of the classic “nice” colors (black, charcoal, deep navy) will up the luxury appearance of your gallery SO much! Here’s a great article on mens suits that will help you style them really well! Scroll to the “what to wear” section.

  • Splurge on your photographer – even if it takes some OT to afford them!

Hiring a more expensive, more experienced wedding photographer is kinda like buying insurance. You think that you’ll probably be okay without it. So maybe you skip it. Things totally could turn out okay. But boy. If something happens and you wish you went for it… you’re going to really wish you went for it. For example, if your budget is currently $3k for a photographer. But you see someone you love for $4k.. I mean you think they’d be perfect for you, but that’s just the price they charge. Maybe you’ll find someone you love within your budget and you save $1k. But you’ll likely wind up settling! Since there’s no redo of your wedding day I promise that if you wind up disappointed with your photos that you’d wish you could magically pay even more than the original difference in price to fix it! Remember – a great photographer is like a magician! And will help you relive your wedding day as even more perfect than it was!

  • Trade out the sparkler exit!

CONTROVERSIAL, I KNOW! Don’t come for me!!! We’ve just all done it. I love shooting them, and maybe it’s because 95% of my weddings do a sparkler exit, but it feels like they’ve just become commonplace now. Can I say that?? Let’s come up with some other ways of sending couples off!! For the daytime, consider giving your guests bird seed, rice, glitter, or petals from your main wedding flower to throw! For night, consider bubbles (these look great with flash), glow sticks, or phone flashlights (this will read like paparazzi is chasing after you!)!

So that’s a lot of tips to help you UP the luxury level of your wedding while still being conscious of your budget and being as effective as possible with the money you spend! I hope you got so much out of this and can have the most luxurious and epic event possible! If you try any of these ideas then please let me know and send pictures, I’d love to see! Have any other ideas?? Comment them below!

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