Wedding Needs vs. Wedding Wants

So, you’re going along, planning your wedding and it’s time to make a decision.

Maybe it’s a choice between 2 photographers. Maybe it’s deciding whether or not to buy this dress. Or maybe it’s figuring out if you should do the hair and makeup trial.

Decision making is the most frequent task of wedding planning.

Most couples don’t realize how many decisions there are until they start planning. But, there are a ton of decisions you have to make about your wedding.

From little things like what color ribbon to choose for your bouquet to big things like who gets invited.

It’s where you spend a lot of your time and brain power.

It’s also usually the cause of a lot of your stress.

Because making decisions can be hard!

Not just because you want to get it right, but because you also have a budget.

And making decisions and managing a budget are two very stressful wedding planning tasks. When put together they can be a bit overwhelming.

And many times they can also be in opposition to each other.

But, here’s how to think about it that will help make both much easier.


Bride and groom walking in a vineyard at their Sonoma wine country wedding by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events creator of Passport to Joy online wedding planners and planning course for couples
(Photo credit: Andria Lo)

You want to think about your wedding in terms of needs vs. wants. Because there is a difference.

And when you understand the difference, you’re able to make a decision easier and allocate your budget more effectively.

And here’s why… Because you need what you need.

Needs are required. Wants are desired.

Needs are a have to have. Wants are a nice to have.

And thus your decisions and your budget goes towards your needs first before your wants.

Now this is not new information.

But, when you start to plan your wedding these two things can easily get mixed up and confused.

Wants can feel like needs. Needs can seem like wants. And sometimes wants are needs.

And that can make decisions tricky. Which also makes managing your budget and where you should spend your money tricky.

Defining A Wedding Need

Intimate wedding ceremony moment at the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts by San Francisco destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events creator of Passport to Joy the online wedding planning course for couples
(Photo credit: Bowerbird Photography)

So, what is a wedding need in reality? Let’s define a need when it comes to your wedding.

And let’s start here… A wedding need is a vendor, an item, or an event that you can’t live without. Something that you absolutely have to have to get married.

So with that definition, at the bare minimum in order to get married, you need your partner, a marriage license, an officiant and a ceremony. Those are the most basic needs.

But, you probably want more than that.

You want a wedding dress, a bouquet and dancing. You want to celebrate with your loved ones.

What you want is a full blown wedding with a ceremony and reception and all the moments that come with it.

Now you can see here how the want and need are already getting muddied together.

You want a full blown wedding. But you don’t need a full blown wedding.

So, yes, that’s true in the most basic sense. You don’t NEED a wedding. It’s why elopements and getting married at a courthouse exist.

But, you’re planning a wedding because that’s how you WANT to celebrate your love.

And because that’s how you’re celebrating, your needs are different than someone who just wants to get married. Or different that someone who wants a destination wedding.

So, we need a definition that makes sense given the celebration that you’re planning.

So, here it is… A wedding need is a vendor, an item, or an event that you can’t live without. Something that you absolutely have to have for the wedding you’re planning.

Assessing Your Needs vs. Wants

So you know what a wedding need is. But obviously everyone’s wedding needs are different as every wedding is different.

So you have to apply the definition to your wedding so you can separate your needs from your wants.

So, the question is, what is a wedding need for you?

For many, a wedding need is going to be things like a venue, some type of wedding attire, and food and drinks.

The question you have to ask yourself is what is necessary to have the wedding you’re planning?

To really understand what your needs are you’ll have to tap into your wedding vision. This is something we talk a lot about in the Passport to Joy program (you can become a member here!).

But, in a nutshell it’s the why behind your wedding.

And your why informs your needs and what is necessary to create the wedding and the experience you want.

So, when you’re making a decision or are trying to figure out what to spend your money on (or not), your needs always come before your wants.

You prioritize your needs and focus your budget on that.

But, it’s important to know that there are also needs and wants within needs.

For example, you need a wedding venue. But you also need a venue that holds your guests and is outdoors because safety is important. And let’s say having your wedding in a certain area is really important because it has a lot of meaning to you.

Those are all wedding needs.

But, a wedding want could be a wedding venue that’s oceanfront or a wedding venue that has accommodations onsite.

So once again, you’ll be making decisions to prioritize your needs over your wants.

It’s so much easier to make a decision when you know what to focus on. And it’s easier to know what to spend your money on when you focus on your needs.

The key is understanding the difference between a need vs. a want.

And a need vs. a want for you and your wedding specifically. Because it’s not the same for everyone.

Once you understand that, both decision making and managing your budget become much much easier.

Want to learn how to figure out exactly what your needs are? Become a Passport to Joy member!

I’ll walk you through how to create your vision so you know what’s necessary to create the wedding you want. And joining could never be easier than now!

Become a member today and have a professional wedding planner on your side helping you the entire way. Click here to get started.

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