Wedding Planning: Where to Spend, Where to Save

In any given city, including New Orleans, you can expect to spend a minimum amount for certain vendor categories, while other categories are more flexible. I've compiled a list of my recommended splurges, and also the more flexible categories, where you can save.  


1. Photography

Your wedding lasts a day. The photos last forever. Sounds cliché, but it’s true.  As memories fade, those photographs are what’s left of the day, and having an amazing photographer makes a huge difference.  No matter what your wedding actually looks like, it can appear in the photos either sub-par or completely amazing. 

2. Flowers & Design

Flowers are a huge part of wedding design, setting the tone for the entire wedding.  How many photos have you seen of mismatched blush bridesmaids’ dresses lately? It’s those bouquets that lend personality to each wedding party.  All those pictures on Pinterest? It’s the design, styling, (and of course photography) that makes them pin-worthy. 

3. Band

Moving away momentarily from the look of your wedding, the actual party is all about a great band. The pros will have your guests on the dance floor all night long. Luckily, in New Orleans, we aren’t lacking for great music! 


1. Wedding Cakes

Wedding cakes can be costly, but there are ways to save. One option is to simplify the design, and go for a plain or naked cake that can be decorated with flowers, berries, or other natural elements by your florist or planner for a simple look that's totally in style right now. Fancy fondant designs and sugar flowers can add up quickly.

Another option is to reduce the size of the cake and either serve another dessert alongside, or have your caterer serve guests from a sheet cake in the back.  A huge plus to using a smaller cake is that you can use a smaller cake stand, such as a pedestal. Smaller cake stands are really elegant, and the cake table itself can be styled to have the presence and drama of a larger cake.  

2. Transportation

Limos or charter bus transportation can take a large chunk out of your budget. You could avoid chartering guests around by picking a venue where it's not necessary (a second line from the church to the reception, perhaps?) However, if you do need those services, you can benefit from putting the work in and getting quotes from multiple companies, or hiring a planner who knows the vendors and can find you the best deal.  Prices vary greatly for charter bus transportation companies, as well as limousine services, so don't settle on the first, second, or even third quote you get.  However, still do your homework and make sure the reviews look kosher.

3. Invitations & Signage

Invitations, save-the-dates, signage, programs, etc., being relatively small and easy to ship, can be sourced from around the country.  While there are some great local shops, you can also find numerous options online, which opens up the market for a wide range of price points.