A Bride’s Guide to Wedding Budget

Bride's Guide to Wedding Budget

When you first get engaged, it’s all about the beautiful dress, the hunt for the perfect venue and deciding on your wedding party. The last thing you want to do is have to think about a budget. Unfortunately your budget is an important part of the wedding planning process. That’s why I created A Bride’s Guide to Wedding Budget!

A wedding budget will ensure that you’re spending wisely and that you and your fiancé don’t need to have any awkward conversations about money later on. Plus, the more you can save, the more money you’ll have for an amazing honeymoon. 

Many brides also tend to think that creating a budget means you’re never going to be able to have the wedding of your dreams. The truth is, having a budget forces you to think out the box, get more creative and stay on track at the same time. This is something that every couple is thankful for after their big day. 

A Bride’s Guide to Wedding Budget

Below are a few tips that you can use to stay on track financially as you create the budget for your wedding.

Bride's Guide to Wedding Budget

Chat about the details

Before you can start putting a budget together, you and your fiancé will need to chat about your vision for the day. Start making a note of all the expenses that you know you’ll need to factor in based on the type of wedding you’re looking to create. This includes everything from the cake and outfits to your transport and the venue. 

Once you have everything in a spreadsheet you can start deciding who is going to pay for what. Remember to include any contributions that your parents might be making too. Now that you know what your budget is, tick off the items that are a priority and mark the items that might need to take a backseat or be removed completely. Make sure that you use this spreadsheet to keep track of all of your expenses so that you can stick to your budget.  

Speak up

As you start researching and enquiring with various venues and vendors, chat to them about your budget and what options they have that would fit in with what you can afford. Ask as many questions as you need to so that you’re not signing up for something that might come with added expenses later on.

Work with a buffer

Working with a buffer is one of the best ways for you to stay on track.  Try and work with a buffer of at least 5% so that you still have some budget leftover for any last minute expenses and splurges. For example, if your wedding budget is $50 000, work on a budget of $47 500. 

Pay sooner rather than later

The sooner you can start paying venues and vendors, the better. Knowing that expenses are already taken care of can really relieve some of the planning pressure. Remember to use your spreadsheet to keep track of all payments that you’ve already made so that you know how much you’re still able to spend. 

Cash in on credit card rewards

Before you start making payments towards your wedding, try and find out about any credit card reward offers that you might be able to take advantage of. Many credit card companies offer clients points that can be exchanged for cash or vacation miles, something that will really come in handy when planning your honeymoon. 

I love getting 2% cash back on my Discover Card!! CLICK HERE to become a Discover Cardmember and get a $50 Statement Credit when you make your first purchase within three months. Then, earn rewards with every purchase after that.

Wedding Planning Checklist

8 Uses for Your Engagement Photos

Boho engagement

Booking an engagement session is also a great way for you to work with the photographer who will be shooting your wedding, it’s like getting a test run of what to expect on your big day. But, what exactly can you do with all those fabulous images? Here are 8 ways you can put your engagement photos to use.

How to Use Your Engagement Photos

1. Save the Dates

One of the most popular reasons to have engagement photos done is to use them for save the date cards. You can get really creative with different props to let people know when your big day is approaching.

2. Invitations

If you are skipping the save the date card and just sending our invitations you can use your engagement photos for that as well. There are many different components to a wedding invitation from the actual invitations, RSVP, menu cards, directions and hotel accommodations lists to the stamps, envelopes, and address labels. There are many places you can use your professional engagement pictures to give your wedding invitations a more personal touch.

3. Guest Book

Creating a customized guest book is a great way to display your engagement photos. You can keep your guest book simple with just an image on the cover with blank pages for guests to sign or you can make it a little more personal. Some couples have included a few pages in the sign in book that lets their guests know how they met, fell in love and end up saying ‘I Do”.

4. Photos for Your Home

There is no better way to start the new life you will be sharing than decorating your new home with your photos. Having your engagement images hanging on the walls in frames around your home is the perfect way to remember the special bond you two share.

5. Displaying at Your Wedding

There are many ways you can use your engagement photos to decorate your reception venue. You can have large prints made to line the walls of your venue or have a few framed and allow your guest to sign it.

6. Photo Montage for Reception or Rehearsal Dinner

Having a sideshow playing as your guests enter the reception area or even to show at your rehearsal dinner is a great way to get your guest talking and adds a little sentimental value. Why wouldn’t you include a few of your engagement photos in it?

7. Party Favor/Gift for Guests

Key chains, postcards, and t-shirts even can all be made with your image on them. You’ll want your guests to take home something special to remember your wedding day by. Even if getting a coffee mug isn’t something you think your guests would appreciate, you can still have little escort cards personalized with your engagement photo.

8. Social Media Images

The best way to use your engagement photos is to have them as your profile pictures on your social media accounts. What better way to not only show off your stunning images but to also let everyone know you two will be tying the knot!

Wedding Planning and COVID-19

Old Union Baptist Church Wedding

We are in this together!

So much has changed so quickly in our wold and nation in the last week. Wedding planning and COVID-19 has produced so many questions and uncertainty as we are encouraged not to gather in groups of 10 or more and to practice social distancing.

The world as we know it has changed. And spring weddings have been impacted. I have been on the phone with several brides this week rescheduling all the March, April and early May weddings I had booked. My heart breaks for every couple who is faced with postponing the big event they have been planning and looking forward to for so long!

Our Biblical Response to COVID-19

While our church and ministry have suspended all larger gatherings in cooperation with government requests, we are continuing to observe our Biblical Response to COVID-19 by checking on our neighbors and meeting needs as we are able. This will not change.

Staying Informed

As so much false information circulates on social media, it has become more important than ever to stay informed through reliable sources. We are keeping up with Fox News and the Mississippi State Department of Health for reliable information as the virus progresses.

Wedding Planning and COVID-19

As we navigate this together, I wanted to share a few tips:

Communicate with your wedding vendors

Communication is KEY as plans are changing rapidly! If you need to adjust your plans, or even reschedule all together, it is important to maintain clear communication with all of your wedding vendors. Make sure your vendors send you contract addendums to confirm and clarify all changes.

Communicate with your wedding guests

Do you have a wedding website? FaceBook Group? Or email list? If not, then now is the time to set it up. You can create a FREE Wedding Website using one of the beautiful templates on Minted. This is a great way to keep wedding guests up to date on your changing plans.

Offer virtual attendance to your guests

Do your new wedding plans include keeping your upcoming wedding date, but having a small family only ceremony? Include your guest via the web! FaceBook Live and YouTube Live are two options to provide guests a way to attend your wedding virtually!

PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!

As we enter uncharted territory, my encouragement to each of us is to pray without ceasing. God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Do not allow fear or worry to dominate your thoughts and decisions! Take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).

Download our free Psalm 91 NLT printable to post in your home and declare over yourself, your family and community! Let’s pray without ceasing and see this virus defeated in Jesus’ Name!

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12 Must Have Wedding Detail Shots

Mississippi Wedding details

The dress, the flowers, the bridal party and all the decorations, there are a lot of things you’ll want to remember and reminisce on from your wedding day. While some of these details may be obvious there are others that you might not have thought about, This list will give you some ideas of the must have shots you’ll want to look back on for years to come.

Capture These on Your Wedding Day

1. Dress

While there will be plenty of shots of you in your wedding dress, and you have probably snapped hundreds on your phone, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to have a beautiful shot of your dress hanging in the morning sunlight before you put it on.

2. Rings

You’ll want your photographer to use their creative skills to take beautiful images of your wedding rings bands.

3. Shoes

Your shoes may not get as much attention as they deserve on your wedding day, but they really bring your whole look together. You’ll want to have the details of your shoes captured as well.

4. Special Mementos

Whether it’s a necklace, earrings or a special charm wrapped around your wedding bouquet to remember a loved one, these little mementos are something you’ll want to have documented.

5. Getting Ready

From getting your hair done, having your makeup done to being zipped and buttoned into your dress, the getting ready shots are some of the most fun and sentimental shots you won’t want to miss.

6. Notes and Gifts

Most brides and grooms exchange little love notes or gifts the morning of the wedding and the moment you read these sweet notes are definitely ones you will want to cherish and remember.

7. Bride Glamour Shot

Once your hair and makeup is perfectly done and you are dressed and ready for your walk down the aisle, you’ll want to take a few moments to get some of those high fashion styled shots of just you.

8. First Look

There is nothing quite like the expression your soon-to-be spouse gives when they see you for the first time all done up in your wedding attire. While in the past this was left for the big moment when the bride walks down the aisle, a first look can really enhance this moment. The first look allows you to see each other for the first time without having to keep your composure in front of all your guests. It allows you to get a genuine and natural reaction to seeing each other and can result in incredibly beautiful moments you won’t want to miss.

9. Children

The flower girls, the ring bearer or just some of the adorably dressed children of the guests attending your wedding will make for sweet images that will bring a smile to your face.

10. Reception Details

There are a lot of things that you’ll want to have pictures of at your reception site. You’ll want to allow your photographer to get into the reception prior to your guests arriving so they can capture the table settings, escort cards, guest books and more untouched.

11. Speeches

Not only will you want pictures of the person giving the speech but you will also want your reactions and your guests’ reactions to the speeches.

12. Farewell

There are so many ways to capture your departure and this is one thing you don’t want to leave out. Whether you are running out the door with your guest throwing flower petals or lighting sparklers you’ll want to have your farewell captured to remember how you ended your big day.

5 Simple Poses that Every Bride Should Try

Mississippi Winter Wedding

Even though your wedding photographer will guide you every step of the way, it doesn’t hurt to know a few tricks yourself.

Place your hands on your hips.

This is quite a common pose but it works wonders for your body. Keep your toes together and turned at a forty-five degree angle with a pop in the font knee. Place your corresponding hand on your hip. Slightly angle your body towards the camera for that slimming effect. It’s important to make it look natural though.

Get to know your better side.

Spend some time in front of the mirror and discover which side of your face is the better side. We all have one. Take a few selfies with your phone to see the results for yourself.

Sitting pretty.

How you sit makes a huge difference to your photos too. One of the best poses is when you cross your legs at the ankle. For an extra slimming effect, ever so slightly draw your arms and shoulders inwards.

Lighting matters.

Soft lights and natural lighting are the best for hiding any minor imperfections. Make sure that the room you’re getting ready in doesn’t have any harsh lighting and ensure that you won’t be sitting under any bright lights during the reception.

Angles make a difference.

When it comes to your portraits, the shots should always be taken at eye-level or from above. Low angles will give you that dreaded double chin effect so avoid taking photos at that level. If you would like to look taller in your photos, try and stay away from tall objects or very tall people, it really does make a huge difference.

A Rainy Philadelphia Wedding |Mr and Mrs Hanna

Philadelphia Wedding

Anna Leigh + Houston overcame numerous obstacles to become Mr & Mrs Hanna on their rainy Philadelphia wedding day. Saturday morning’s storm included trees down, power loss and other storm related issues. But Saturday, October 26, 2019 was a day of overcoming! We stood in agreement and commanded the rain to stop, and the day that began with obstacles quickly turned to a day of rejoicing as we celebrated love!

I have loved getting to know Anna Leigh + Houston during their engagement season. From planning and capturing their engagement session at the Town of Livingston, I knew that Anna Leigh loves open green spaces. I was so excited when their reception was moved to the Philadelphia Country Club and we were able to capture their bride & groom portraits on the golf course! The golf course was the perfect location for a rainy Philadelphia wedding. I was able to keep Anna Leigh and Houston on the golf cart path and out of the mud. We also kept the clear umbrellas at hand in case the drizzle began again. The Lord gave us a perfect fifteen minute break in the rain so we were able to capture beautiful outdoor portraits! Answered prayers indeed!

Anna Leigh + Houston, I have continued to pray for you and your marriage as I have edited these images. I see the Lord’s hand in every detail of your wedding day. From stopping the rain, to the outpouring of joy, Holy Spirit was present in every moment. I teared up again as I edited the images from your foot washing, remembering how special this moment was. You kept Jesus at the forefront of every detail of your wedding day. Continue to do this, and you will truly be a chord of three strands that will not be easily broken.

I am so thankful for the amazing vendor team that overcame every obstacle to make Mr & Mrs Hanna’s rainy Philadelphia wedding day absolutely perfect!

Vendor Team

Ceremony Venue | Trinity Baptist Church Philadelphia, MS

Reception Venue | Philadelphia Country Club

Bride Getting Ready | 457 Pecan

Full Service Planning | Oak Experience

Florals | Oak Experience

Invitations | Oak Experience

Caterer | Oak Experience

Cakes | Oak Experience

Bride’s Gown | The Bridal Path

Bride’s Shoes | Steve Madden

Groom’s Attire | Beyond Expectations

Bridesmaid’s Dresses | The Bridal Path

Bride’s Hair | Madelen Greer

Bride’s Makeup | Jamie Bobbitt

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A Country Wedding At Sand Ridge Barn | Mr and Mrs Smith

Sand Ridge Barn Wedding

Hannah and Dustin’s country wedding at Sand Ridge Barn in Lake, MS was absolute perfection! I have enjoyed getting to know this joyful couple throughout their engagement season. Their engagement session at the Town of Livingston was beautiful and I was so excited to see some of the images from our session displayed at the reception! Hannah and Dustin are so full of JOY and you can just see their love for one another.

Every detail of the day, from the beautiful barn to the stunning florals, was simple perfection! Bethany of Oak Experience wowed us all with her beautiful designs and her team pulled off the event flawlessly! Hannah’s laughter and Dustin’s smile were the perfect accents to the day! The Name of Jesus was exalted throughout the ceremony as these two became one.

Hannah and Dustin, I have prayed for you and your marriage as I have edited these images. The verse the Holy Spirit has given me for you is from 1 Timothy 1:5 which says, “For we reach the goal of fulfilling all the commandments when we love others deeply with a pure heart, a clean conscience, and sincere faith.” The Lord has put the two of you together for a Kingdom purpose. Allow the love He has placed within you to grow and overflow to others He puts in your path. Your love and joy is contagious and will draw many into the Kingdom of God!

I loved capturing every moment of Hannah and Dustin becoming Mr & Mrs Smith at their country wedding at Sand Ridge Barn!

Vendor Team

Venue: Sand Ridge Barn

Bride’s Gown: Lace Bridal Boutique

Bride’s Shoes: Canty Boots

Bride’s Veil: Azazie

Groom/Groomsmen/Ringbearer: Joyce’s Etc.

Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Azazie

Flowergirl: Etsy

Event Coordinator: Bethany at Oak Experience

Florist: Oak Experience

Invitations: @etsy and @shutterfly

Caterer: Oak Experience

Cake: Oak Experience

DJ: Richie Sebren

Hair & Makeup: Madison Bilello

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A Wedding at The Ice House Venue | Mr and Mrs Miley

Mississippi WeddingMr & Mrs Miley’s Southern Wedding at The Ice House Venue was timeless, classic, and full of JOY! Sarah + Nathan know how to laugh and have a good time. I enjoyed a day of laughing right along with them as I captured each moment of their beautiful wedding day.

My team and I arrived at the venue early to scout out portrait locations and to have time to visit with Sarah, Nathan and their bridal party. This was such a fun group to spend the day with! Sarah was stunning in her Madeline Gardner gown. Nathan’s timeless blue suit was the perfect selection to complete the look for this dapper duo.

You may remember Sarah + Nathan’s May engagement session and the epic field we found. I was so excited when they were willing to hop in my van and go to the same field for their sunset Husband and Wife portraits!

Sarah + Nathan, I have continued to pray for you as I have edited the images from your wedding day. As I pray, I sense the Lord’s love for you both. He has such amazing plans for your life together! Keep your eyes on Him and allow Him to guide your every step, every decision. He is for you, and His love is greater than you can even imagine! Allow Him to fill you with His love so you can pour out that same love to one another!

Thank you for allowing me the honor of capturing your wedding day memories at your wedding at The Ice House Venue.

Vendor Team:

Venue: The Ice House Venue

Flowers: Something Borrowed Blooms

Caterer: Dena Piggot

Cake: Dream Cakes

DJ: Thomas DeMartini

Video: Caleb Jordan Byrd

Officiant: Chip Henderson

Hair/Makeup: Christine Cody

Photo Booth: Southern Exposure Selfie Booth

Bride’s gown: Madeline Gardner from Low’s Bridal

Tux: Tuxedo Junction

Bridesmaids Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids

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A Classic Southern Wedding at First Presbyterian

First Presbyterian Wedding

Josh & Cayla’s classic southern wedding at First Presbyterian Church in Meridian, MS was such a joy to capture! Every detail from the soft pink florals to the timeless blue suits, was absolute perfection.

I loved getting to know Josh & Cayla during their engagement session. We got to know each other as Josh drove us around the lake where he spent so much time as a child, stopping in beautiful locations to capture the love they share in beautiful images. I was so excited to see them again this past Saturday as their wedding day was finally here!

The wedding ceremony was held at the historic First Presbyterian Church of Meridian, built in 1913. The beautiful stone facade and traditional decor of the sanctuary were the perfect setting for Josh and Cayla’s timeless wedding day style. Dr. Rhett G. Payne, III led us in a worshipful service, honoring Jesus as Josh & Cayla became one before God and congregation of witnesses.

Following the ceremony, the wedding party boarded the Meridian Trolly for the ride to The Max to celebrate the newly married couple. The party was kicked off by the traditional first dances, followed by Style Entertainment leading a high energy dance party! The culmination of the evening was the sparkler exit and Josh & Cayla speeding away in a classic 1950’s Chevrolet Belair!

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to capture Josh & Cayla’s classic southern wedding at First Presbyterian Church in Meridian, MS!

Vendor Team:

Ceremony Venue: First Presbyterian Church Meridian, MS

Reception Venue: The MAX: Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience

Bridal Gown & Veil: Lady in Lace

Bridesmaids Dresses: Lady in Lace

Groom’s Attire: Joyce’s Etc.

Flower Girl Dress: Etsy

Event Coordinator: Southern Productions Weddings

Florist: Southern Productions Weddings

Invitations: Generations Paper and Gifts

Caterer: Pretty Presentations Catering

Cake: Missye Warren

Videographer: Revival House

Entertainment: Style Entertainment

Hair & Makeup: Brynn Chesney

Transportation: City of Meridian Trolly

First Presbyterian Wedding

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3 Things That Could Affect Your Wedding Budget

Your budget is one of the first things that you will sit down and discuss when planning your wedding. It can also cause the most stress during the planning process.

Below are 3 things that could affect your wedding budget and add to your wedding planning stress. 

  1. Where you wed. Your wedding location will play a leading role in the creation of your budget. Venues that are situated in popular areas will generally charge more than smaller venues outside of main cities. Venues also have different packages and policies that you’ll need to consider. For example, some venues might require you to use their vendors, some of which might not fit in with your budget. A lot of venues also have minimum catering requirements that may go beyond your guest list. It’s important to look at average costs of areas and venues before you make a final decision on where you want to get married.
  2. Time of the year. Wedding seasons make a big difference to costs. Planning to get married on a Saturday in the summer? Chances are you’re going to end up paying a lot more for your wedding. Look at your budget and how it fits in with the venue and location you have in mind and whether you can move your wedding to another season or day of the week to save on costs. Vendors might also be able to offer you discounts for off-peak days and seasons.
  3. The number of guests. This is one area that can very easily get out of control. Your guests are going to take up a large portion of your budget so it pays to be sensible about who you’re inviting. Most venues will charge you for everything from drinks and food to the chair your guest will be sitting on so think twice about inviting your aunt who you haven’t seen in 2 years. Agree on how many guests you want to invite and stick to it.

If you want to stick to your wedding budget and not be in debt by the time you come back from your honeymoon, carefully plan your finances before you even begin planning your wedding. Working with a wedding planner would be an added bonus as they can help you find better prices and keep you on track financially.