"I know that it can be hard to see past the day itself, and you're just doing whatever you can to craft a beautiful event, but there is often so much waste that goes into a wedding. It's just one day in your life together, but the environmental toll can continue long after the day is done. Go simple, modern, vintage, or minimalist—any of these routes will help you reduce your impact on the environment and will likely save you money. So many people told us how blown away they were by our wedding, and yet, we spent less than $15k on the entire affair and managed to keep things very green.

You have four choices: You can welcome children with open arms; you can decide to have an "adults only" wedding; you can include immediate family only; or, you can hire a child care service to provide day care either at the reception space, in a hotel room or at a family member's home. To prevent hurt feelings, it's wise to avoid allowing some families to bring children while excluding others (unless, of course, the children are in your bridal party).

Get any nonstandard changes to your agreements in writing or send the vendor a confirmation email saying, "Hello, just confirming that you'll keep the venue open until 2 a.m. versus midnight." Don't just assume everything's all set—sometimes, by the time the actual day rolls around, your contact for a certain may no longer be working there to vouch for you.
"Reading from The Lovely Love Story was the best decision we made for our wedding! Our guests couldn't stop talking about how adorable and memorable it was, and we still get a bunch of guests sharing random dinosaur posts on our Facebook walls. We also ended up getting amazing wedding films, since it gave the cinematographers something really emotional to connect all of the pieces together. Cinematographers are storytellers, so having a unifying element to drive your love story will truly leave lasting impression in your wedding films." —Lisa and Jonathan

As soon as you've picked a date, start to look for hotels in a wide variety of price points. Many hotels allow you to reserve rooms for guests under a special wedding block and a reduced rate. You can then release any unbooked rooms a month prior to your wedding. If the hotels you contact insist upon contracts with cancellation penalties, just say no—you don't want to be responsible for rooms you can't fill.


Since some vendors will expect a gratuity, and other gratuities will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis, you have a few things to consider. Traditionally, business owners of larger companies don't get tipped—just their employees—but you can and should tip an owner when the service exceeds expectations. Small business owners should never be overlooked either, since their businesses are often run by just one person.
Since some vendors will expect a gratuity, and other gratuities will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis, you have a few things to consider. Traditionally, business owners of larger companies don't get tipped—just their employees—but you can and should tip an owner when the service exceeds expectations. Small business owners should never be overlooked either, since their businesses are often run by just one person.
Make sure your guests can both see and hear from their seats. If people are seated farther than 15 rows back from your ceremony altar or podium, consider renting a mic and a riser. This could range anywhere from $50 to $100, depending on the equipment used. You'll need to coordinate the delivery and setup with your ceremony space, so put your wedding planner or best man in charge of this task.
Wedding budgets are all about balance. Start your budget planning by making a checklist of the crucial details, like the music, your wedding gown, the invitations, the flowers and the photographer, and assign a number to each—one being the most important and three being the least. Invest your money in all your number ones and cut corners on your number threes. (But everything can't fall into the number one category!) For example, if a designer gown and fabulous food are what really matter, you may have to choose simple invitations and smaller floral arrangements.

If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you're often expected to make a donation to that institution. If you're a member, you'll probably want to give a larger amount than if you're not. However, if you're getting married there and they're charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. Tipping the officiant, both nondenominational and denominational, is also appreciated.

Finally, and most importantly, there are no rules! Want to have a BYOM (bring your own meat) picnic on blankets in the park? Do it. Don’t care for cake? Do without it. As someone who has worked in the wedding industry, I’ve seen it all too often become just that—an industry! Don’t buy into it if you don’t want it. Pick what is most important to you and prioritize based on that, not on convention or expectations. Don’t get so wrapped up in everything else that it takes away from being there in that moment."  —Sophie and Bobby
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