Whether planning a grand matrimonial affair, or a simple small ceremony, budget always comes into play and can be one of the most hotly debated topics between soon-to-be-wed couples. What should you focus on and where can you save a few pennies? What’s Hot explores!

Decide what’s important

How big a budget is, and which areas most of it will be funneled towards, will differ for each couple. Are you foodies who want impressive catering, or do you want the cream of the crop when it comes to wedding photographers? Or does entertaining your guests top your list?

“Venue, photography and décor will probably take most of the budget focus,” says Sarah Parker, wedding and event planner at Save the Date Weddings and Events. But of course, this depends on what aspects are most important to the couple.

Once you have decided which areas are most important, “allocate a prepared spend to each area but have flexibility in knowing that some elements do cost more so the budget may have to be swapped around,” she says.

The number of guests will of course affect budget, or vice versa – with budget affecting the number invited.

Juliette Ebanks, head wedding and event planner at Five Star Events Cayman says guests versus budget is always one of the biggest challenges. “First of all, couples should be realistic about their budget and take this into consideration when deciding on how many people to invite, especially if they want a glamorous wedding.”

Look after the pennies…

It is possible to save money in some areas, which will in turn lead to a reduction in the total budget, or the capability to then spend more in areas which are deemed more important.

Doing some of the preparation yourself can bring down costs in some areas. If you’re tightening the purse strings Sarah advises DIY projects for seating charts and name place cards etc. – Pinterest has unending inspiration in these areas – as well as sending out online email invites rather than printed stationery.

Décor can be expensive, but is also an area where a few pennies can be trimmed from the final budget. Juliette tries to find ways to be as cost effective as possible and says, “One great way to save money is to incorporate the ceremony décor and floral into the reception. We often use the ceremony arch as a backdrop for the head table – moving it during cocktail hour so guests don’t even notice it being done.”

Sarah advises couples to “use what the venue offers you then build your décor from this.” Many of Cayman’s wedding venues already have beautiful indoor décor or outdoor scenery, so utilize this before adding your own touches. You may find that not a lot needs to be added.

If you are having alcohol at your wedding, the bar is one area where money can be spent very quickly. Sarah has advice on how to save a few pennies on the booze bill. “You can save on liquor if you restrict the menu to signature cocktails and cash bar, rather than a bar package per hour for each guest as not everyone drinks.”

Where you want to funnel most of your budget to will depend on you as a couple. Decide what aspects are most important and remember that at the end of the day you and your guests will cherish and remember the experience on the whole, whether it broke the bank or remained a simple affair.