Prioritising Your Wedding Spending and Our Top Cost-saving Tips

One of the first and most important steps couples should take when beginning their wedding planning is deciding what to prioritise. If the bride-to-be has always dreamed of walking down the aisle in a designer gown or the groom-to-be in a designer suit for example, then this may take precedence in your overall budget and allowances and/or compromises may have to be made in other areas which you feel are less integral.

With this in mind, The Wedding Scoop spoke with wedding planner, Caroline Tan-Reed, from The Wedding Stylist who kindly shared some of her personal suggestions about what elements she feels couples should spend more on and where they can potentially save.

Image from A Hong Kong Engagement: Elgin and Kai. 

First, let’s take a look at what a typical breakdown of a wedding budget is:

TWS-WeddingStylist-Infographic-2 copy Figures provided by Caroline from The Wedding Stylist.

{It’s useful to keep in mind that in many instances, some elements, such as food and venue, will always take up a larger slice of the budget pie, no matter where your priorities lie.}

TWS: What should couples spend on?
Caroline: I believe a good wedding is all about good food, good entertainment, good ambiance and good company, and not forgetting: fabulous memories in the form of pictures or videos. I would recommend that couples spend on a good photographer, good flowers and décor to create the ambiance and mood, good food and drinks so that guests enjoy themselves, and good entertainment, in that order.

Image from A Vibrant Wedding at Marina Barrage: Veiverne and Debbie.

TWS: Where can couples choose to save?
Caroline: If couples are on a budget, (and who isn't?) they can opt for having just one good photographer instead of having both a photographer and videographer.

They can also try using as much local flora as possible instead of exotic flowers. Another good strategy is to be clever with the way you top up or upgrade your flower arrangements. Try using a mixture of tall and short floral arrangements to give depth and height, instead of having a large and tall arrangement at every table.

Playing music from a CD or playlist instead of hiring a live band is another good way to save.

You may also want to keep a look out for sample sales for dresses. You will be surprised at what you may find!

Finally, try some DIY projects like designing your own stationery or making your own hand bouquet.

TWS: What have your couples mentioned regretting not having done at their weddings?
Caroline: Not hiring a good photographer or videographer if their budget allows.

Some couples regret not taking the time to take the wedding all in before it’s over. We encourage couples to spend 5-10 minutes quietly together to just take it all in. It can be very emotional when couples slow down, breathe and realize what is actually happening.

Couples also sometimes regret not giving huge hugs to everyone who was a big part of the wedding, and thanking them.

Another regret that couples may have is not taking portrait shots (just the two of them) in their wedding outfits on their wedding day.

Finally, one of the more simple things that some brides regret is not having a veil.

TWS: We know that many parents of couples contribute to the wedding. How does their financial involvement affect how the wedding is planned?
Caroline: In most cases where families are involved, there will be a compromise of what the families want and what they want. For example, one couple we worked with wanted an all black wedding but when the parents found out 2 weeks before the wedding, they strongly objected to this and we suggested a compromised of doing a mix of black, white and a small splash of very deep red. That kept everyone happy.

Where parents contribute to a wedding, the parents were usually hosting the wedding, so the majority of the guests belonged to the parents. These couples tend to be very accommodating of their parents' requests for obvious reasons.

In the case of couples paying fully for their wedding and being able to exercise full control over the financial aspect of the wedding, it can be challenging when families come in and have a totally different idea of what they expect from the wedding. In these cases, we do try to recommend for the couple to see if they are able to come to a compromise but sometimes that may not be possible. We believe that since it’s the couple’s wedding day and the couple is in financial control of it, the wedding should be how they want it to be. But of course, we should try to reach a compromise first.


Thank you for sharing those excellent insights with us Caroline, they’re definitely food for thought!


Now that you’ve set your priorities Wedding Scoopers, the next steps for you will be to research your wedding vendors to get a feel for how much things will cost before setting a realistic budget. More on this in a later article though! For now, we’d like to share our top wedding cost-saving tips as we know that with all the other financial responsibilities couples-to-be have to contend with, you can certainly benefit from finding ways in which to keep your wedding costs reasonable.

The Wedding Scoop's Top Cost-saving Tips!

Flowers and decor

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Image from A Simply Elegant Singapore Wedding: Elgin and Kai.

? Buy flowers from a wholesaler and create your own hand bouquets, boutonnières, floral crowns or table centerpieces.

? Use locally grown flowers such as orchids as opposed to imported ones. For more floral inspiration, read our article about our top 10 favourite flower ideas.

? Create a simple backdrop for a wedding that can help transform the entire ceremony/reception space using inexpensive fairy lights, paper pompoms or rosettes. For some great ideas, read our article about our top 10 favourite backdrops

Style and Beauty

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Image from A Stylish Wedding at Grand Hyatt Singapore: Fred and Velda.

? Find a trustworthy tailor that can make your dream wedding dress for less.

? Forgo a second or third outfit in favour of wearing just one wedding dress for all the events (but ensure your dress design is very comfortable in this instance).

? Buy an off-the-rack piece for your reception dress, lots of brides look online (and why wouldn’t they with low shipping rates and hassle-free returns?)

? Rent rather than buy your wedding dress.

? Start looking for a dress early and visit sample sales.

? Decide on a colour palette for your bridesmaids and allow them to wear a dress of their choosing which they pay for themselves and can use after the wedding.

? Shop for inexpensive convertible bridesmaid dresses online or find options at affordable high street labels.

? Wear costume instead of fine jewellery and still make an impact.

? For the groom: select an off-the-rack suit from a high street brand and have it tailored to fit you perfectly.


124 Blocmemoire Singapore Wedding Prewedding
Image from A Rustic Vintage Wedding at The British Club: Martin and Veronica.

? Guest lists are almost always difficult to manage, but remember that a good way to reduce your costs significantly is to keep your guest list trim.

? Research vendors as early as possible so that you have time to find ones that you like that are within your budget.

? Venue/food will probably be your biggest cost so consider having a weekday brunch, lunch or high tea, which is usually more affordable than dinner receptions. Also think about serving food buffet style instead of having table service.

? Aside from hotels, restaurants and country clubs may also have cost effective all-in-one packages. Parks can also make affordable and beautiful venues or get creative and consider more unique venues such as a condominium’s function room. For a comprehensive list of venues, pop over to our Directory or read our article about our top 20 favourite venues here.

? Have your solemnisation/ceremony/reception on the same day as this can help save on vendors who charge by the hour.

? You may also choose to forgo a separate engagement shoot and take portrait photos of the both of you on the wedding day itself, perhaps between the ceremony and reception.

? If you are pressed for time, hiring a planner may actually save you money. Wedding planners may be able to get you good deals from various vendors.

? Borrow someone's car rather than rent one for your wedding day.

? Email your save the dates (although some of your elder guests will probably still appreciate a traditional card).

? Design your own invitations or download free ones online and have them printed on paper of your choice. You may also be able to DIY other elements of your wedding if you're creative and crafty. Keep in mind that DIYing takes time and effort, and in some cases, may end up being more expensive than buying retail items. Start early and do your research.

? Instead of hiring a band, spend time together as a couple to select your favourite songs and compile them into a playlist for the night.

? If you fancy a tiered wedding cake, have a smaller version made and ask for iced sheet cakes to be prepared in the back to serve to guests.

? Bake cookies to give away as wedding favors, bake your own wedding cake/cupcakes or ask different family members to each bring a dessert and put them together to create a dessert table.


We hope you’ve found these tips useful Wedding Scoopers and that you’re feeling more inspired and empowered to take control of your wedding spending! All the very best and happy wedding planning!




About Caroline
The Wedding Stylist is founded by Caroline Tan-Reed, a masters graduate from the UK. After being a corporate drone for long enough, she decided to finally take the plunge and pursue her passion in wedding planning.

Caroline is a certified wedding planner (Dip WP) with the Institute of Professional Wedding Planners, UK and has experience planning events since 2005. Having lived abroad for more than 7 years, she brings a fresh perspective and unique style to the plate.