Wedding Planning

By Teresa Cortes

January 20, 2015 5 min read

The Champagne has been toasted. The ring fits. And the excitement of your recent engagement has subsided just long enough for you to think about the vast work that lies before you. It's time to get down to the business of planning a wedding. One concern you may have repeatedly throughout this process is what you can get away with doing yourself and which jobs warrant hiring a professional.

Your wedding budget will more than likely take one of its biggest hits from hiring a photographer -- so much so that it may feel quite alluring to want to hire a friend who claims he is handy with a camera instead. However, more than any other expense of your wedding, this is perhaps the one place where it certainly pays to hire a professional. Wedding photographers are trained and skilled in how to capture the most picturesque of moments: the first kiss, the bouquet toss and the giving away of the bride, among others. Professionals understand best how to manipulate light, as well as work with shadows and varying weather conditions, to provide the clearest and most beautiful depictions of your special moments. When all is said and done, these photographs will be one of the only physical remnants of the love felt that day, so it's vital that they be done correctly.

Perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking questions any bride may ask herself is, "What if no one dances?" When you hire a DJ to take care of your music, you are hiring not only someone to hit the play button but also someone to help set the tone of the soundtrack of your wedding day. You are also investing in someone who is experienced in entertaining a roomful of guests. Most DJs act as master of ceremonies, as well, and work to keep guests excited and interested in the various wedding events. Though it may seem as if an iPod can suffice, it's important to keep in mind how difficult it may be to gather a group of nervous guests onto a dance floor without the encouragement from a proper emcee. Therefore, it may prove worth the price to hire a professional DJ when it comes to the enjoyment of your guests and your stress level.

For the creative and penny-pinching brides, there are a few areas in your wedding that you can tackle yourself. Nearly anyone can become ordained to officiate a wedding. Having a close friend or family member officiate your wedding is a wonderful opportunity to not only save you money but also add a personal touch to your ceremony. Yes, you will have a few more tasks to wrangle than you would if you hired a professional wedding officiant, but many people say it's worth it. First, becoming ordained to officiate a wedding can be done both easily and cheaply online through various organizations, many of which are nondenominational and some of which are attributed to specific religions. It's important to look into any further legalities of your place of residence (or where you choose to get married) to ensure that the marriage is done legally. Offbeat Bride makes a great point regarding this vital part of the officiating process: "If you are doing research online regarding marriage law, only trust sources that are the legitimate website of the government in question." You will also be responsible for writing the ceremony. However, this does give you the ability to make the tone of your ceremony much more personalized. Lastly, you will need to make sure to work with your DJ to provide appropriate amplification for the officiant. With a bit more legwork, the payoff can be enormous, with a customized ceremony that reflects who you and your spouse are, at a fraction of the cost that comes with hiring a professional.

Many brides daydream about the beautiful flowers that will adorn their wedding day -- that is, until the reality of the costly prices of peonies actually hits them. Hiring a florist to arrange your wedding flowers or create your bouquets certainly makes the process even costlier. If you are organized enough and have a very willing bridal party, doing your own flowers may work. But it's important to think ahead. Focus on flowers that will be in bloom during the season in which your wedding will take place. It's also helpful to do a dry run of any bouquets and centerpieces that you will be doing yourself so that the real deal is not so overwhelming. DIY Network also has several suggestions for keeping prices low, such as mixing expensive and inexpensive flowers and utilizing less costly greens in bouquets and centerpieces. There are many creative and affordable options that are available when it comes to your wedding flowers, certainly making it a doable option for most brides.

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