Budget for Your Big Day

Every couple faces tough choices about the details of their wedding day

Especially when it comes to their budget. We asked some of the seacoast’s top wedding experts where couples can save, and where they should splurge, on their big event.

Photo credit: Eric McCallister


If you’re looking for that perfect dress but working with a limited budget, Malinda Macari of Dream: A Bridal Boutique recommends using a seamstress, not the production place of the gown, for any small alterations you may need. Looking for special wedding day jewelry? Ask family and friends if they have unique pieces that complement your dress.


Macari’s top tip for any couple getting married: spend money on what resonates with you beyond the wedding day. “Spend the most on the things that last,” she says. “Why spend only $100 on a ring that you’ll wear the rest of your life?”

MALINDA MACARI, Dream: A Bridal Boutique
Sudbury, MA | yourdreambridal.com


Photo credit: Kate McElwee


Cluttering tables and your venue with signs, knick knacks, and favors that may go unused can chip away at your budget and divert attention from items you do spend money on, says Michelle Rose of Minka Fine Flowers.


Instead of centerpieces, Rose suggests, create an over-the-top tablescape with high-end food and your favorite flowers. You might need to cut the guest list, but it will be worth it to have an intimate gathering around a visual feast.

MICHELLE ROSE, Minka Fine Flowers
Kennebunkport, ME | minkaflowers.com


Photo credit: Eric McCallister


If you want to save money on photography, Christian Pendergraft of Pendergraft Photography recommends using your photographer’s time wisely. For example, many brides want photographs of the groom and groomsmen preparing for the ceremony, but he warns: “Most guys don’t want you taking photos of them putting their pants on!”


A custom, professional photo album may seem like a splurge, but Pendergraft believes it’s an investment a couple never regrets, especially when it’s passed down to future generations.

CHRISTIAN PENDERGRAFT, Christian Pendergraft
Photography, Portsmouth, NH | christianpendergraft.com


Photo credit: Kim Chapman


Want to save money on hair and makeup? You don’t have to treat your entire bridal party to a beauty session; they might even appreciate being able to style their own looks.


Nancy Gorman of Makeup by Nancy believes that the lasting memories you’ll have of your wedding are your photos, so you’ll want to look your best. “Everyone will have an opinion on what’s most important for your wedding, but it’s not about what everyone else remembers, it’s what you remember,” she says. To Gorman, that means a dressed-up version of your best look and not overdoing your makeup for one day.

NANCY GORMAN, Makeup by Nancy
Salisbury, MA | makeupbynancy.com


Photo credit: David Murray Weddings


Use larger tables! “By using 72″ round tables you can seat 12 people instead of 10,” says Fausto Pifferrer of Blue Elephant Catering.
“Having less tables reduces your floral, waitstaff, and rental costs right off the top.” Another bonus: fewer tables equal more room for dancing.


Is your reception lasting ‘til the wee hours? Create a late-night snack table to serve guests hungry from all that dancing.

FAUSTO PIFFERRER, Blue Elephant Events & Catering
Saco, ME | blueelephantcatering.com


Photo credit: Eric McCallister


Opt for a daytime wedding. “One of my favorite weddings ever was a lakeside brunch wedding,” Geneve Hoffman of Geneve Hoffman Photography says. “The ceremony was at 10 am on the edge of a lake in September, and the guests enjoyed the most amazingly decadent champagne brunch buffet with dancing, cake and all the perks of a nighttime wedding.”


Don’t forsake your honeymoon for a glitzy wedding. “If you have a budget, like 95% of my clients, take the honeymoon option,” says Hoffman. “You don’t need to create the most amazing day wedding experience for your guests; it’s really about gathering together to celebrate.”

GENEVE HOFFMAN, Geneve Hoffman Photography
York, ME | genevehoffman.com

Cover photo credit: Russell Caron Wedding Photography