How to avoid costly Wedding mistakes

It’s easy to ring up a slew of wedding expenses as you try to make your big day perfect. But a little planning can help you avoid common money traps, stay on budget, and fully enjoy your special day.

Of course, everyone is different, and one couple’s wedding mistake might be another’s treasured memory. But if you’re trying to keep wedding costs in check, watch for money missteps that can break your wedding budget or serve up more stress than savings.

Here are common wedding mistakes that can cost you big, plus smart ways to save so you can fully enjoy your big day.

Wedding Planning Mistake #1: Not Having a Wedding Budget

You might be tempted to avoid setting a budget because you worry you won’t be able to have your wedding cake and eat it, too. But it’s totally doable to get married on a budget as long as you’re willing to negotiate and be flexible.

It’s also a good idea to find out how much wedding products and services cost before you crunch numbers. Many couples underestimate wedding costs by 45% during their initial planning, according to WeddingWire’s 2019 Newlywed Report survey of over 18,000 U.S. newlyweds, which found the average ceremony and reception cost more than $29,000.

Do this instead: Look at your savings accounts, ask your families if they plan to contribute, and set an initial wedding budget. The WeddingWire survey found that couples pay 45% of their wedding expenses, on average, with family picking up most of the rest of the tab.

“Approach budgeting for a wedding the same way you would for a car or new home,” says Trish Simitakos, a Washington, D.C.-based wedding planner.

Do some initial research on local venues and services to see if your budget and expectations match. If not, you may need to increase your amount or scale back your wedding plans.

Set a “hard budget” so your costs don’t edge up, and as a rough guideline, expect to spend 50% of your budget on food and drinks, Simitakos says.

Wedding Planning Mistake #2: Assuming DIY is Cheaper

You might think doing your own wedding planning will save you money, but that’s not always the case. The average couple pays $1,850 for professional wedding planning, according to the WeddingWire survey, but an experienced wedding planner might be well worth it.

A planner may be able to get you deals, spot scenarios where you’re being overcharged, and alert you to any items you’re missing that could cost you more later, Simitakos says. When you factor in savings, you may break even on the fee while gaining more time to enjoy the wedding planning process and your big day.

Wood hand made welcome wedding decoration on lawn

Going DIY also can backfire on everything from décor to flowers to favors to cute little details. San Francisco-based wedding planner Sarah Carroll often sees couples stress out over wedding DIY projects, so she recommends finding out how much it would cost to have the item or service done for you.

“It’s not always a money saver,” she says of going DIY. “If it’s the same price, and you’re not someone who particularly enjoys being crafty, skip it.”

Related: Here’s How Much the Average Wedding Costs

Do this instead: Comparison-shop for wedding planning services and consider partial wedding planning if you want logistical help for less, says Carroll, who offers four levels of service at different prices. For example, you could use a planner to create a schedule, and hire and manage three main vendors at a lower rate than you’d pay for full-service planning, she says.

Even if you go DIY on the planning, consider hiring a day-of coordinator rather than relying on a friend or family member to put out last-minute fires, she suggests. The average cost of a day-of wedding coordinator starts at about $800, according to WeddingWire’s Wedding Planner Cost Guide.

“That’s where things fall through the cracks,” Carroll says. “It’s better to be completely stress-free and have everything off your plate and your family’s plate on the wedding day.”

Wedding Planning Mistake #3: Getting Fixated on a Specific Date or Location

Flexibility is key when planning a wedding on a budget, especially when it comes to venues and wedding dates. Staying flexible paid off for Rick Albert and his wife, Stephanie, a Los Angeles couple who got married in May 2019.

While on a wine tour in Temecula, California, they fell in love with a winery and found out they could hold their wedding there for less than they imagined it would cost. A bonus: because the setting was so beautiful, they got gorgeous photos and saved money on décor, Albert says.

Do this instead: Make a list of possible venues and dates but keep an open mind. You might discover a perfect venue that’s a fraction of the cost, or you could significantly cut wedding expenses by getting hitched a few weeks sooner or later. For example, a venue may offer lower pricing between seasons or on off-peak dates, says Karen Norian, who plans weddings all over the United States for Simply Eloped.

“Even having your wedding date on a Friday or Sunday could help you save thousands,” she says.

Wedding Planning Mistake #4: Forgetting to Set Your Wedding Priorities

If you don’t decide what is – and isn’t – important to the two of you, it’s difficult to keep wedding costs under control. But setting priorities allows you to allocate more money toward the items that really matter. Then you can spend less on, or skip, the items that don’t.

Do this instead: Everybody is different, and that’s why it’s important for couples to set priorities from the start. Setting priorities can help you get more value for your dollar and enjoy your wedding more because it reflects what’s most important to both of you.

For example, Albert’s priorities were the venue and photography, while his wife’s were the flowers and music. “We agreed to spend more money in those areas and less in others,” he says.

Instead of holding a rehearsal dinner, they hosted an informal party with a taco truck for out-of-town guests and their bridal party, saving at least $1,500, Albert says.

Wedding Planning Mistake #5: Letting Your Wedding Guest List Explode

Most wedding caterers and venues charge by the head, so inviting more guests is a recipe for overspending. At an average cost of $230 per guest, according to the WeddingWire survey, just 10 extra guests can tack more than $2,000 onto your bill.

A close-up shot of a wooden step ladder at a wedding venue, place cards can be seen with a list of all the wedding guests and a seating plan.

To avoid guest sticker shock, Albert and his wife limited plus-ones to guests who were in serious relationships and had heart-to-hearts with other guests about attending solo.

“It was a little awkward, but everyone understood,” he says.

Don’t Miss: How to Save on Wedding Catering Costs

Do this instead: Pare your wedding guest list down from the start.

“While you should invite the people who are important in your life, it can be easy to go overboard,” Norian says. “When you’re debating over a particular guest’s invitation, a great rule of thumb is to see how frequently you’ve spoken with them this past year. If you can count your interactions on less than one hand, you might want to reconsider.”

Wedding Planning Mistake #6: Forgetting to Track Your Spending

Tracking every penny you spend on your wedding might not seem very romantic, but losing track of wedding expenses can quickly send you over budget. If you’re spending on credit cards, this could mean starting newly married life in debt.

Do this instead: Keep track of wedding expenses with a spreadsheet that lists the amount budgeted for each item or service, how much you have paid toward it, and how much you still owe, Norian suggests. Tracking wedding expenses will help you get clarity about your money, stay calm, and savor the fun of the planning process.

“That will allow for you to get a nice overview of just how much is going towards your big day each week or month,” she says.

Wedding Planning Mistake #7: Going Overboard on the Favors and Extras

If you spend much time on wedding planning sites, you may quickly end up with a long list of little things you think you should include in your wedding. It’s tempting to spring for endless details, from engraved invitations to a signature cocktail, a photo booth with vintage hats, personalized napkins, a groom’s cake, and a bouquet toss. Oh, and don’t forget something borrowed (at least that’s free!) and something blue.

One or two little extras might not break the bank, but a slew of small costs can blow up your budget.

A variety of succulent wedding favors with name tags.

Don’t Miss: 15 Hidden Wedding Costs You Need to Know

Do this instead: Make a list of extras you can skip and traditions that just aren’t “you.” For example, Albert and his wife ordered a $9 guest book from Amazon rather than shelling out for a fancy one. And they nixed the wedding favors because they noticed guests usually leave them behind anyway.

“Even if favors only cost $3 per person, if you have 100 guests, that’s $300,” he says. “That stuff adds up quickly.”

Wedding Planning Mistake #8: Hiring Friends for Your Big Day

Hiring a friend to make your wedding cake, decorate your reception venue, set up chairs, or manage the playlist may seem like a great way to stay on budget. But this money-saving move backfires more often than not, Carroll says. Hiring friends as amateur vendors, known as “friendors” in the wedding planning world, can create tension, cause wedding day delays, and leave you unhappy on what should be a happy day, she says.

Do this instead: Use this simple guideline: If your friend is a professional florist, deejay, or other wedding service provider, and you want to hire them, then go ahead, Carroll says. Otherwise, add the cost of hiring pros to your wedding budget, she recommends.

“I really recommend hiring professionals who do this for a living,” she says.

A bonus: Your friends can relax and dish up moral support rather than hanging string lights or breaking down chairs.

The Bottom Line on Avoiding Costly Wedding Mistakes

It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of wedding planning and make costly mistakes that can leave you starting married life in debt. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Be sure to plan carefully, set priorities, and sidestep common mistakes. That way, you can stick to your budget, reduce wedding stress, and focus on enjoying the moment – and all the memories you’re making – on your wedding day.

By Allie Johnson

Why You Should Have a Photo Booth at Your Wedding

In the age of selfie, Instagram and Facebook, we are always taking fun photos of ourselves and our friends on almost every night out, and the same thing happens at weddings! The best way to get those fun photos of your guests at your wedding is by having a photo booth! Photo booths – who doesn’t  love them?!  They are SUCH a fun activity to incorporate into your wedding! A lot of couples are incorporating photo booths into their weddings, even celebrities like Kim and Kanye had a photo booth at their wedding! As a wedding photographer, I’ve seen all of the fun that people have at wedding photo booths, which is one of the many great reasons why you should have one at your wedding. In this post, we’ll take into account why you should consider contacting one of the places in your area and make sure they can deliver one with some famous fun photo props!

So, first things first. Here are our top 3 reasons why you should have a photo booth at your wedding:

1) They Serve as Great Entertainment!

One of the best reasons to have a photo booth is to entertain your guests. It’s important to consider that weddings have down times, and you have to think of a way to keep your guests entertained during those times. For example, at the majority of weddings, normally the formal wedding photos are taken right after the ceremony during the cocktail hour, and sometimes guests can get a little antsy waiting for the cocktail hour to end and the reception to start. Photo booths are perfect for this part of your wedding day! Guests can be goofy and stay entertained while they wait for the bride and groom to return and for the reception to start. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun and time will be flying for your guests if you choose to have a photo booth!

2) They Make Great Memories!

With most photo booths having the ability to print out multiple copies of photos, it ensures guests get a copy, as well as the bride and groom! Some photo booth companies even have the option of making a photo guestbook from the photos taken at the booth, which makes for a great keepsake for the bride and groom! After the big day, they can look back and see all the photo booth photos and remember how much fun their guests had at their wedding!

3) They are FUN! 

Obviously, wedding photo booths are fun! The best thing about them is that they are great for all ages! I’ve seen everyone from kids to grandparents enjoy a photo booth!  A photo booth provides endless entertainment from the beginning of the night, all the way until the end!

If you want a wedding filled with laughs, endless fun and great memories, a photo booth is definitely the right source of entertainment for your big day!

 BY JULIA SEILER 

Check out our $999 DJ/ Photo Booth Package

Southcoast Production Group is a family-owned, professional DJ and Photo Booth company. We offer awesome Wedding or Event DJ Services at competitive prices.

San Diego is a diverse city that requires a DJ that can play a wide variety of music. Our goal is to deliver a next level sound experience. Music and entertainment is one of the most important parts of your event. To make your event a memorable one, choose Southcoast Production Group for the ultimate party experience!

Few people remember the dinner, the dresses or the flowers but they always remember whether they danced and had a good time!

Classic Black & White Photo Strips

The classic black & white photo strips will never go out of style 🎩

Color or Black & White option always available for your guests to choose for their prints!

📸Canon DSLR Photo Booth with LED lights starting at just $399 for 3 hours

📞Call/text to reserve your date: 
619-793-6359 

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The Knot

Reviewed On 3/02/2020 by Julie M

Southcoast did an amazing job at our wedding we had them for our ceremony and reception and the photo booth was huge hit. All his equipment was excellent quality and he provided an unforgettable wedding experience for all my guests. I love that we could fill out a form with all the songs and do not plays we wanted which made the process really easy. The photo booth was a huge success, everyone was thrilled with all the props and the assistant who kept it all organized. The photos are all really good quality and all were personalized. The DJ was able to keep the party going until the very end we actually added on another hour. I would definitely recommend for both photo booth and DJ. If I could give higher than 5 stars I would!

Yelp

Great, great , great DJ and photo booth! We were throwing an elementary school dance, and I found Richard on Yelp. He responded right away with a great special on the price that included his DJ service as well as a photo booth. He kept in touch over the weeks to take any requests we had for games, songs, theme, etc. Lighting was great, perfect set list for the age group, and photo booth was a hit!! We tried to do some games, and he could see it was a little crazy, as there were way too many kids to keep it organized, but he kept it fun for them, and just moved on to another song without making a big deal. We will be moving on to middle school next year, but will give the next crew of dance organizers his info and would recommend for anyone needing a DJ and/or photo booth! Thanks again for making the kids night super fun and a great send off for our 5th grade class!

Yelp

Richard was the best DJ and MC for my wedding on 2.22.2020 his set up was professional and looked like all the other DJ’s who wanted to charge me three times as much as Richard. He played so much good music that it was hard to get me off of the dance floor. It rained on my wedding day and Richard had checked out the ceremony site ahead of time to explain my different options in case it did rain during my ceremony. He was a great communicator the whole time and did exactly what I asked for as far as music goes. He even helped my husband roll some alcohol to our truck after the wedding was over. 10\10 would recommend him for any event that needs a DJ. Thank you so much Richard and I will make sure to recommend you to anyone I know! Thanks for helping my day go smooth

Southcoast Production Group Current Wedding Packages

Southcoast Production Group
Current Wedding Packages

THE GOLD PACKAGE $599
Best suited for Small Receptions
Cocktail, Dinner and Dance Music
In person pre-wedding consultation (in San Diego County)
24/7 phone, text and e-mail communication
Up to 4 Hours of DJ performance time
Detailed reception timeline
Completely customized reception music
Announcements will be made
Wireless Microphone + Professional Audio Setup for Reception Area
Complementary Set Up and Tear Down
$100 per each additional hour for DJ

THE RUBY PACKAGE $899
Best suited for Small to Medium Ceremonies and Receptions
Ceremony, Cocktail, Dinner and Dance Music
In person pre-wedding consultations (in San Diego County)
24/7 phone, text and e-mail communication
Up to 6 Hours of DJ performance time
Detailed ceremony and reception timeline
Completely customized ceremony and reception music
Announcements will be made
2 Wireless Microphones + Professional Audio Setup for Ceremony & Reception Areas
3 Dance Floor Lights
Event supervised by owner from start to finish
Complementary Set Up and Tear Down
$100.00 per each additional hour for DJ

THE DIAMOND PACKAGE $999
Best Suited for all Wedding Receptions
Cocktail, Dinner and Dance Music
In person pre-wedding consultations (in San Diego County)
24/7 phone, text and e-mail communication
Up to 5 Hours of DJ performance time
Detailed reception timeline
Completely customized reception music
Announcements will be made
Wireless Microphone + Professional Audio Setup for Reception Area
6 Dance Floor Lights
Event supervised by owner from start to finish
Complementary Set Up and Tear Down
3 Hours of Open Air Style Photo Booth with our Canon DSLR Photo Booth with Customizable LED lights
Unlimited customized 2×6 Photo Strips from our professional DNP printer (prints two 2×6 photos in less than 12 seconds!)
HD, premium images from our Canon DSLR camera 
Friendly Onsite Photo Booth Technician
Professional Standard Backdrop – White or Black
Deluxe Props
$100.00 per each additional hour for DJ or per each additional hour for Photo Booth

THE PLATINUM PACKAGE $1,500
best value
Best suited for Medium to Large Ceremonies and Receptions
Ceremony, Cocktail, Dinner and Dance Music
Up to 7 Hours of DJ performance time
In person pre-wedding consultations (in San Diego County)
24/7 phone, text and email communication
Detailed ceremony and reception timeline
Completely customized ceremony and reception music
2 Wireless Microphones + Professional Audio setup for Ceremony, Cocktail and Reception (up to 3 separate sound systems for 3 areas)
Expanded Reception Sound System if needed (includes extra speakers and subwoofers for up to 600 people)
Complementary Set Up and Tear Down
6 Dance Floor Lights
Up to 12 Wireless LED Battery Powered Uplighting Fixtures (They can do any color!)
4 Hours of Open Air Style Photo Booth with our Canon DSLR Photo Booth with Customizable LED lights
Unlimited customized 2×6 Photo Strips from our professional DNP printer (prints two 2×6 photos in less than 12 seconds!)
HD, premium images from our Canon DSLR camera  
Friendly Onsite Photo Booth Technician
Professional Standard Backdrop – White or Black
Deluxe Props
Free USB Flash Drive with all Photos
Free Photo Booth Guest Book
Event supervised by owner from start to finish
$100.00 per each additional hour for DJ or per each additional hour for Photo Booth




ADD-ONS: 
▪️$100 per each additional hour for Photo Booth
▪️$100 per each additional hour for DJ
▪️$200 add-on ceremony sound system for second area/room (includes 30 mins pre-ceremony music)
Additional $50 for Battery Power option (No Power Required)
▪️$175 add-on Video Projector And Screen for Video Montage or Slideshow
▪️$200 add-on 12 Wireless LED Battery Powered Uplighting Fixtures (They can do any color!)
▪️$50 add-on for Premium Photo Booth Backdrop: Silver Sequin, Gold Sequin, Red Sequin, Black Sequin, White Sequin, Rose Gold Sequin, Pink Sequin (Other options available -Just ask!)
▪️$50 add-on for customized unlimited 4×6 photos
▪️$25 add-on for Photo Booth downtime hours (if you want a break in the photo booth time frame)
▪️$50 add-on Photo Booth Guest Book
▪️$200 add-on Karaoke
▪️$50 add-on for Custom Music Editing
▪️$200 add-on Custom Monogram
▪️$100 add-on 2 Dance Floor Lights Upgrade
▪️$200 add-on 4 Dance Floor Lights Upgrade
▪️$600 add-on 6 Dance Floor Lights Upgrade

*Packages cannot be combined with any other discounts
*We do not offer any exchanges/swap outs on our packages

We love what we do!

Call/text: 619-793-6359

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