4 Secrets to Having the BEST Wedding Possible

Hi friends!

Thanks for taking time out of the day to check in on the blog and my personal welcome to you new followers, fans and clients too. Listen, we all want to have the BEST possible wedding within the budgets that we all have. Having that dream wedding isn’t at all about how much money you throw at it, in fact, there are things that you CAN do that will help make it the most awesome wedding that you’ve planned and the best part of all, these are secrets that are pretty much FREE or worth the investment.

Let me share them with you…

Wedding Professionals

If you haven’t hired one, get a wedding planner. They are honestly the MOST important piece when it comes to putting a wedding together and they will save you money int he long run too. Let me explain that a bit more.

Yes, a wedding planner in the Roanoke Valley can range from $500-$1,800, but they do a LOT MORE than just plan weddings.

  • They Coordinate the Wedding Day

  • They Negotiate with Vendors on your behalf (saving money)

  • They keep everything on track

  • They minimize YOUR stress level

One the BEST things a wedding planner can do is help negotiate rates with other vendors on your behalf. I’ve said this before in my blog but let me say it again, as a wedding videographer, I’m more likely to give a little more giggle room if a fellow wedding vendor came to me and asked about a date rather than a couple.

Why? Because we (all vendors) have favorite people they like working with, we either click well together or we work well together or both. I normally give a 5-10% discount when a planner acts on the couples behalf and thats if I know the planner and enjoy working with them too. :)

Repeat that process with a wedding photographer, florist, officiant, venue, your dress, etc. and that can SAVE YOU a few thousand bucks.

They also keep everything on track. A good wedding planner will provide a timeline of the day to all the vendors and trust me when I say that helps a lot! I was recently at a wedding where I didn’t have a timeline and the wedding planner wouldn’t provide one to me, the wedding photographer or even the DJ. It was all word of mouth.

The bad thing about that is everyone was constantly asking her what was happening and when. Finding her was very hard because the planner was being pulled into many different directions. Had she given everyone a printed timeline, we all would have done a much better job at our own jobs and wouldn’t have to constantly find and ask the planner whats going on.

Great wedding planners think of small details like that and it’s important. Think of them as like a conductor at an orchestra. I HIGHLY recommend you hire one, the more they take on for the wedding, the smoother it will go and the less you have to worry about the little things.

Planners aside, thats why you hire other people to help tackle your big day. There are several people working behind the scenes either on site or offsite of the venue, let the pros do what they do best and listen to their suggestions.

The Parents

Parents of the couple this is for you.

If you’re in the middle of everything, take a step back. Your son or daughters wedding is not about you and you need to step back and let them work on planning things out. They might not have the same vision as you when it comes to the wedding, maybe they want something larger or smaller to fit their personality.

My advice as a wedding professional: help when the couple asks for it but ONLY when they ask.

Again, this is where a planner can help too. A good one will help coordinate things and be a buffer between parents that want to control everything and the couple that wants to do it their own way.

Remember, when it comes to weddings, there is no right way or wrong way to go about them, just the couples way.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Hey, I get it, weddings cost money. I should know, I’d a wedding filmmaker after all. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard “Josh- We LOVE your work, we just can’t afford it…”.

Cost aside for a moment, my advice to you is don’t sweat the small things at your wedding. If someone was supposed to put your cake a certain way, maybe setup a table for gifts but they put the wrong colored tablecloth on it or maybe the flowers you purchased didn’t have the right amount of red in them, it’s okay.

Okay, are you Kidding me?!?!!!

No, seriously. You’re wedding guests won’t know the difference and even if they did, it’s not going to ruin their day of celebration, so you shouldn’t let it ruin your day either. Let me tell you a little secret, in the nearly 500 weddings I’ve filmed in my career, not a single one went 100% right, not the $150,000 weddings I’ve filmed, not the backyard BBQ weddings, it’s not a money thing, its a stress thing.

Just stop stressing over those little things and focus on your spouse. Nothing matters more than getting married, celebrating with your friends and family and enjoying the day. If you let those little things go, you’ll be happier, your wedding party will be happier, more helpful and it will also come across on film and in your photos too.

That Stupid Cost Thing

Finally, the overall cost. While theKnot.com states that weddings can cost $31k nationally (thats about $27k adjusted for the Roanoke Valley), thats still a LOT of money. One of the things that I’ve done with my business in recent years is provide a financing plan.

Instead of forking out a huge deposit and a huge payment before the wedding, you put down a smaller deposit and make payments over time. It’ helps better to pay over time and digest those large wedding bills over many months before the wedding and couples enjoy it. It’s also a way to help eliminate that “we love your work but can’t afford you…” scenario too.

That aside, weddings are expensive for a reason.

Take what I do for a moment. Wedding film (or video) is often the last item to consider for a wedding yet the most sought after the wedding, in fact nearly 97% of couples that skipped over a wedding film wish they could go back and hire one.

That aside, wedding vendors work hard and they also sink a LOT of money into their own businesses. Here’s a light example. It cost me $15,000 for all my gear, I have to recoup that cost, plus there are taxes, insurance, marketing and advertising, wear and tear (replacing gear), the hours I work, etc.

Sure, $1,500 might sound like a big chunk of money, but more than 2/3 of that goes back into gear, paying for the ads you see on Facebook, taxes and the like too.

Just think of all the other wedding vendors that also have lots of overhead.

The biggest expense that most couple do not see is all the BTS or behind the scenes work that goes on in order to make everything just right. The venue and florist, cake bakers, DJ’s and catering are examples of all the prep work that go into the wedding before hand, the wedding photographer and wedding filmmaker (me) have most times double the post-production time of your wedding day. Those costs add up too.

The secret is most vendors use the money towards upkeep and expenses than just lining their pockets.

BONUS Secret

Here’s a Bonus that most people don’t know about in weddings. Us professionals many times will turn around and do another wedding back to back and many times we just repeat the process over and over but act like this is just for the couple.

Venues for example will turn around within 12 hours to accommodate another wedding the next day, cleaning up from the last wedding and also prepping yours at the same time, you just never see that.

Many times we’ll use things from the wedding the day before like washing and reusing plates at the venue, tablecloths, tulle and some decor items. Now, that doesn’t happen all the time but some vendors will pull a double or even a triple, a Friday, Saturday and Sunday wedding, hey, it does happen at times, even to me.

Here’s the other thing thats real, the “wedding hangover” and I’m NOT talking about drinking either. Many times us vendors will wake up the next day with sore bodies, little sleep and just feeling tired. That’s normal for us too.

Me for example, the next day my back is killing me from moving about in weird positions at times, carrying a lot of gear and just being on my feet all day.