How Can We Stay on Budget for Our Philly Wedding?

Two local planners share where to splurge and how to save.

wedding budget philadelphia

Two Philadelphia-area planners share tips on keeping your wedding budget on track. / Photograph via iStock / Getty Images Plus

If you’re newly engaged, it’s easy to dream about all the many elements you want in your wedding. But, soon, reality will set in, and you and your partner need to think seriously about what makes sense for you to target for your wedding budget — before you start booking venues and vendors, or buying that dreamy gown whose cost made you cringe. Every couple has a different spending cap, must-haves and approaches to the Big Day, and you both owe it to your relationship to talk numbers. But we’re here to help! That’s why we’ve asked local planners Andi Schilawski of Musa Weddings and Tiffany Chalk of Tiffany Chalk Events for tips and tricks on where to splurge and how to save to keep your wedding budget on track.

kimmel center wedding

A Big Day designed by Musa Weddings / Photograph by Gabriella Marie Photography


Choose a date between November and April (excluding­ NYE) for off-season rates. Schilawski notes that Monday through Thursday see desirable discounts. Remember, Chalk adds: “Not everyone needs a plus one!”

Food and Drink

Full-service or limited bar?” is the top question about drinks, Chalk says. Offer beer, wine and one signature drink during cocktail hour, and reopen a full-service bar after dinner. Never do a cash bar, but use a dummy cake for show and serve store-bought sheet cake for dessert.


Some experienced photographers offer lower rates through their associate teams, Schilawski says.


ceremony arch

A ceremony arch with blooms by Blossom Bliss Florist that was later repurposed for the reception / Photograph by Peach Plum Pear Photo

Local availability and seasonality impact pricing. Chalk notes that fake flowers can be cost-effective for a floral wall; Schilawski recommends repurposing blooms to reduce the amount you order.


Schilawski suggests hiring a DJ/band combo — DJ and drums — instead of a full band. If a live band is a must, book a group with fewer pieces. You’ll get the vibe without paying as much.


Have a few “wow moments” (think a largescale seating chart) but keep everything else simple, advises Schilawski. This lets more subtle table decor, like votives provided by the venue, shine. 

Published as “Where Can We Cut Costs?” in the winter/spring 2023 issue of Philadelphia Wedding.