This Is The First Thing To Do When Planning A Wedding

tampa boutique scout and molly's hyde park village

Thanks to Scout & Molly’s Hyde Park for letting me model a few beauties! My tunic isn’t available online, so I’ve linked a few similar items below.

HAPPY WEDNESDAY! I’m normally not excited when we’re still so far from the weekend + I’m exhausted (caffeine for days, y’all) but this is the first post of my #WeddingWednesday series, and I’m pumped. I talk about marriage all the time, but I haven’t spent a ton of time talking about our actual wedding. It was featured on A Practical Wedding, and that’s probably the only time I’ve written about in-depth. But I polled my followers on my Instagram stories, and the verdict was that you guys want to hear more about wedding planning, so here we go!

I have to start by saying that I never envisioned my wedding like a lot of my peers did. I was excited to get married one day, but I wasn’t particular about what kind of flowers we’d use or which city I’d have a wedding in. When I got engaged, I was suddenly surrounded by questions, but the top question in my mind was simple: How the heck are we going to pay for all of this? Thankfully, we had the support of my family, which helped a ton — if we’d paid for our wedding on our own, it probably would’ve happened at the courthouse — but I didn’t realize how expensive weddings were until I started looking at prices. Our first guest list had nearly 300 people. When I looked for venues that could hold 300, I was like, LET’S ELOPE.

My two biggest priorities at my wedding were making sure it was all captured well and having a lot of fun. So the first thing we did — even before settling on a date — was to search for the perfect venue. I realized that our venue was going to determine what photo and video style we wanted. If we were going to be outdoors at a rustic venue, I’d want a light and airy vibe. If we were going to do something glamorous indoors (which was what ended up happening), I wanted dramatic, striking pictures.

LET’S TALK NUMBERS. Our venue cost about $6,000, and photo + video were roughly $5,000. (All of our vendors have changed pricing since we got married in early 2016, so don’t take this as gospel!) I know that sounds steep, but we also knew what our priorities were going in. As they say, you get what you pay for. So my priorities were an amazing photo team, a great highlight reel and a unique venue that screamed “fun.” Once I had all of those things, nothing else really mattered to me! I wasn’t particular about my dress, lighting, drapery or anything else — thankfully, my parents are both detail-oriented, so I let them have fun and decide a ton of the little things. It was one less thing for me to do.

My best budget advice is to set a realistic number and stick to it! We went over our budget, but no one went into debt for our wedding. I realized afterward that the budget I had in mind was way too low when we considered our wedding party gifts, honeymoon, wedding rings, food + bar, DJ, etc. But we were thankfully able to do it all without much stress, and I think it’s because I avoided Pinterest weddings once we got engaged. I searched for ideas, but I didn’t check for “perfect weddings” only because I knew it would make me envious of other people! (Ironically, our wedding is now on Pinterest…but I digress. LOL.)

Just make a list of what’s important to you, figure out the average costs of vendors in your area, and come up with a number that won’t ruin your life! The top priority when setting a budget shouldn’t be keeping up with the Joneses, but having a wedding that uniquely celebrates you and the person you love. And stick to your guns! I talked to photographers who charged double what I wanted to pay, and I was so tempted to just blow the money because you only get married once. I’m so glad I didn’t do that!

Anyway, I hope this post helped y’all  … stay tuned for next week’s #WeddingWednesday!


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  1. Nadia wrote:

    Great post! Enjoyed reading it and learning as my son is now planning his wedding. It’s all so new to me – I was married 27 years ago. It nice to read about other weddings so I can be a better mother of the groom.

    Posted 6.14.18 Reply
    • Ayana Lage wrote:

      Such an exciting time, Nadia! Congrats!

      Posted 6.18.18 Reply