After budgeting for the basics, some couples find themselves with a few extra dollars to spend on their wedding. If you're in this lucky position, you don't want to waste your extra cash on details that won't be appreciated by your guests. To find out when it's worth it to splurge (and when you're better off saving), we talked to three wedding planners about eight details couples often choose to upgrade. Find out which these pros say are among the best places to put your extra money.
Since blooms don't survive long after the wedding, some couples are hesitant to spend big bucks on wedding flowers. But floral details are among the things guests actually remember—or, at the very least, notice—from the ceremony and reception. "The flowers are what your guests' eyes will be drawn to when entering the room," says Taylor Dahlstrom of Amelia Cole Events, adding that they will be memorialized in wedding photos forever. If you have extra money, try finding additional ways to incorporate flowers into your décor, or dish out some cash for pricier statement blooms.
Save: The Venue
You'll want to find a venue that checks all of your boxes, but that doesn't mean you should go drastically over your budget for one that does. "Going 'venue broke' is when you choose a venue that's really expensive, and then quickly realize you're going to have to go even more over your budget to achieve the look and feel you'd like," says Dahlstrom. If you're torn between multiple venues, consider going for the more affordable option, then splurging on décor and details you really want.
"Lighting is the most cost-effective way to upgrade a room or an outdoor venue," says Misty Damico of Luxe Event Productions. Proper lighting creates a beautiful backdrop for wedding photos, and it can draw attention to important details of the big day. "String lighting, paper lanterns, uplighting, fairy lights...they are the perfect element to create ambiance, in addition to décor," adds Jesse Reing of Events by Jesse. "In fact, spending on lighting adds so much to the décor that you can cut costs in other places." If your venue has less-than-stellar lighting, consider bringing in an outside company at an added cost. It's well worth it when your photographer is able to capture the details on film and your guests can actually see each other.
Save: Furniture Rentals
Renting high-quality tables and chairs may seem important, but chances are, guests will barely notice the furniture you bring in. Choose more affordable options and dress them up with chic décor (like luxe linens and centerpieces) instead. "The right linens can take a budget wedding and make it look upscale," says Damico, who adds that you can instantly dress up a venue "by adding high-end linens with texture or pattern to places like the head table, sweetheart table, cake table, or even guest tables."
Splurge: The Bar
According to Dahlstrom, wedding guests remember good drinks, making the reception bar worthy of a splurge. Consider swapping standard liquor for top-shelf varieties. Or, if finances allow, switch from a limited bar to a full open bar. Reing, agrees, saying, "One couple recently had some extra money in their budget and wanted to purchase some rare scotches for a scotch and cigar bar. It was a huge crowd pleaser!"
Save: Extra Desserts
Do you have a major sweet tooth? Think twice before ordering extra desserts, says Reing. "I often have couples add additional plated desserts for an extra $5-$10 per person—in my opinion, not worth it," the pro explains. "Once the main course is over, I want to bring the energy to the dance floor and make it stay there."
"One way to kill the vibe is by having a below-average entertainment company. Good music equals good vibes!" says Dahlstrom. After researching available music options, you may decide to splurge on a more expensive (but better) band or DJ, ensuring that guests have fun all night long.
Save: Customized Paper Goods
Sure, napkins adorned with your monogram look adorable during cocktail hour. However, guests won't be looking out for these personalized touches, and you'll end up splurging for items that end up in the trash. Similarly, most guests won't tote ceremony programs home, which means you don't need to spend big on these customized goods. As for bespoke invites? If you can swing them, go for it!