Calluna Tips: Where to Save and and Where to Splurge on Your Wedding


Thursday, September 8

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When planning a wedding, it’s easy to splurge on just about everything – it’s your day after all and it needs to be perfect, right? As fun as it is getting wrapped up in wanting everything, the wedding Fairy Godmother doesn’t grant you with a pot of endless gold (or if she does, point us in her direction!) and budgets are created for a reason. This can lead to some tough decisions – how can you get everything you want, at the best quality, and still be mindful of your budget?

Here at Calluna, we love the rule of three. 

Sit down with your soon to be spouse, family and friends (if they are involved in your planning process) and determine your three priorities: what is most important to you on your wedding day? What do you want to look back and remember? Then, do the same exercise in a frugal mindset. What are the factors of the day that are important but have less extravagance? Can you have it at your wedding without going whole nine yards and a (literal) ribbon on top? Identifying these areas will help find some areas of flexibility.

We urge you to approach these decisions thoughtfully and with care, as each wedding is a very personal celebration and reflection of your love story. That said, we’ve noticed some trends and tips over the years to help guide you. Read our two cents below and chime in with your thoughts! Happy Planning!


1. Photography


Photo credit: The Willinghams

This is a no brainer splurge for us.  You know the age old expression of “a picture’s worth a thousand words”? Well, it’s an oldie, a goodie, and true. In all our years of weddings, photography has been a consistent and sacred keepsake following the days of your nuptials. Your photographer captures the emotion of the day, the fleeting moments that went by too quickly. The photographs will tell a story, encapsulating every angle of the day from your groom’s expression as you walk down to the aisle to Aunt Sally boogying on the dance floor.

Your wedding photos are a tangible gift that allow you to live and relive your wonderful wedding day as many times over. We can’t speak highly enough about investing some time and budget to ensure you find the photographer for you. For more tips on how to choose a wedding photographer, read herehere & here.

2. Music


Photo credit: Kate Holstein Photography

On a day that is so joyous and full of love, we think a wedding would be incomplete without a special soundtrack each step of the way. Whether it be a string quartet on your walk down the aisle, a seasoned DJ with that perfectly curated playlist or a 12 piece band singing covers too good to be true, music sets the ambiance, the tone and the vibes of the day. Choosing between a DJ and a band is a decision in itself – see our thoughts and advice on how to choose between them here

Don’t be afraid to do you due diligence when making this decision. Read reviews, listen to demo reels, work together to curate a playlist. This early prep work will relieve any tension or suspense the day of so you and your guest will have happy feet all night long.

3. Design


Photo Credit: Matthew Speck Photography

As not only wedding planners but also wedding designs, this is a crucial component for what we do on a daily basis. 

Design is so open to interpretation, but we love the creative challenge of filling an empty space to reflect the personality of our clients. There are endless tools at your disposal to get everything just right. Lighting immediately warms up a room, creating a dramatic or romantic mood. Flowers make a high impact and professional arrangements are truly a work of art. Furniture rentals create gorgeous seating vignettes that play up your theme and provide a functional place to rest or take a fun photo.

This is one of those super important but super personal decisions that will be different for each couple which is what makes the planning process so fun. Let your taste shine through!


1. The Bar

Screen Shot 2016-09-08 at 11.07.41 AM

Instead of footing the entire beverage bill (believe us, this adds up quickly after a night of celebration!) we love opting for a customized bar. Offering beer, wine, and a signature cocktail, a fun way to show your personality while also doing some crowd control. Another way to save is by skipping the traditional champagne toast. Instead of having your caterer tray pass some bubbly, gather guests post cocktail hour when they are likely to have a drink in their hand and raise a glass that way.

2. The Favors


Photo credit: James Christianson

For our DIY bride, this your time to shine! There are so many opportunities to craft through the wedding planning process, and we think your wedding favors are a sweet spot for savings. We love when couples double their favors as escort cards, knocking two items off in a clever way.  Simple tutorials, a glue gun and a few helping hands can go a long way – and even a bonding exercise for your bridal party or family.

3. Bridal Accessories

Carrie Brice

Photo credit: Pamela Luedeke Photography 

We encourage you to take full advantage of your “Something Borrowed” here! Wedding accessories do not need to be off-the-shelf brand new. There’s no shame in wearing a pair of versatile shoes that you’ve worn or will wear for other events (in fact, we recommend breaking them in regardless to avoid painful blisters). Maybe you found a great second hand veil on a up-cycled wedding website. Do you have a special necklace or bracelet that’s a family heirloom? Your friends and family will likely be excited to contribute to your wedding ensemble – a thoughtful yet savvy way to accessorize your final look. 

Feature photo credit: Laura Murray Photography

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