Every wedding season, wedding writers search for new ideas to source for brides. In Spring 2016, brides were feeling overwhelmed about the Pinterest-perfect weddings — and their huge price tags. I put together this article to balance out the new, social-media standard with some old-fashioned sense.

Save Versus Splurge

By Danielle Verderame

Published in The Central VA Bridal Guide

To pin or not to pin, that is the question. Six years after the launch of Pinterest, most wedding planning starts with a collection of inspiration images. The difficulty lies in recreating the look on a budget. In central Virginia, brides can get the most of out their Pinboard by soliciting the help of local professionals. According to The Knot’s annual Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding is approximately $32,641. Interestingly, The Knot’s report indicates that using professionals for their expertise is up and maybe the key to getting the most value. Below, we have collected the top tips from local professionals on where you can save versus splurge.


Average cost: $14,788

At The Timberlake Tavern, event coordinator, Jennifer Reynolds, dialogues with brides to help them understand their options. She relishes the chance to help the bride create this part of their story. Reynolds explains, “The best-case scenario is to visit your venue on the same day a year prior. Then, you can check out the temperature and landscaping. You can see

what’s blooming for outdoor pictures that time of year and the time of sunset.”

Save vs Splurge

Reynolds recommends, “…finding a venue that doesn’t have hidden fees but is more inclusive of linens and chairs.” For pinning, she explains, “It’s always helpful to have a picture of your vision.”


Average cost: $2,300

Cheryl, Owner at Cheryl’s Secret Garden has been helping with weddings for over 20 years. For a consultation, Cheryl emphasizes the bride’s personality by encouraging the bride to imagine what will make her happy. Cheryl explains, “I don’t start by talking about her budget. Instead, we talk about her desired look. How does the bride want to feel when she looks at her wedding? What will make her happy? Then, I find a combination of flowers that can create that look regardless of her budget.”

Save vs Splurge

While Cheryl explains that you can’t have “an orchid wedding for a carnation price” you can get a beautiful wedding

on any budget. Working with a florist can actually make perfect pins more attainable because floral arrangements can be repurposed during the event. For example, bridesmaids’ bouquets can become centerpieces, lowering the cost of table arrangements during the reception. Also, a spray-on spray on an archway during the wedding ceremony can be moved to the food table for the reception.

Wedding Beauty

Average cost: $209

Several beauty experts gave the advice to feel comfortable and confident. Samantha E. Hill, MD, FAAD Owner of Aesthetics by RidgeView Dermatology recommends two processes, CoolSculpting and MiraDry, which may help a bride be more comfortable during the event. CoolSculpting supports exercise efforts and MiraDry reduces sweat. To start, Hill can recommend a personalized regimen to help a bride, “…become the most radiant and confident versions of themselves”. For each consultation, Hill discusses aesthetic goals, budget, and timeframe to make an individualized plan.

After 16 years of working with brides, Emily Garbee-Harris, a hairstylist, makeup artist, and manager at Body Works Day Spa, knows how to listen. Her assistance starts with the wedding consultation, typically two months before the wedding. During

this consultation, she carefully watches the bride’s reaction when she turns toward the mirror. According to Garbee-Harris, the only difference in the budget is how many touchups the bride anticipates during the day.

Similarly, Jennifer Griffin, a cosmetic tattooist at Beyond the Surface, lends her artistic eye to lash extensions. Griffin works out of several locations, including Caspian Tattoo. Her extensions are customized to the bride’s eye shape and fullness. Also, the extensions can last up to three weeks leaving long lashes for the honeymoon.

Save vs Splurge

For wedding beauty, experts agree that professional experience saves both time and touchups. Garbee-Harris encourages pinning because it helps clarify styles and expectations. Griffin also encourages pinning because brides may use terms like “dramatic” or “classic” differently.


Average cost: $2,618

Audra Lynne Rygh of Audra Lynne Creative explains her passion for weddings by saying, “I love knowing that a bride can trust me to capture one of the most important and special days of her entire life.” This trust starts with the consultation

where Rygh asks the bride what is most important. For example, some brides may be more focused on candid images rather than posed photos. Talking about these expectations early in the process focuses on the shooting schedule.

Save vs Splurge

When it comes to Pinterest, Rygh says pins can help her create a checklist for the bride’s story. Also, a pinboard can create opportunities for Rygh to discuss the venue and how it may look in photos. For example, the bride might choose to put more budget into fresh flowers and lighting because these items photograph well.

To Pin or Not To Pin

When it comes to your wedding budget, the consensus is “pin away”. Don’t assume you can’t get the look on your budget and will need to resort to an overly ambitious DIY project. Local professionals can help you turn those inspirational photos into a personalized, budget-friendly look. In fact, their years of experience can help you find ways to save time, stress, and money. If you find yourself wondering if you can afford your dream wedding, start with the photos and let creative wedding writers guide you.


1. The Knot Real Weddings Study, http://ir.xogroupinc.com/investor-relations/press-releases/press-release-details/2016/Wedding-Spend-Reaches-All-Time-High-As-Couples-Look-To-Make-The-Ultimate-Personal-Statement-According-To-The-Knot-2015-Real-Weddings-Study/default.aspx