It’s wedding season and I have the immense pleasure being married lady instead of the bride this year. While I enjoyed our wedding and planning, engagement was a hard season and wedding planning was stressful- even with all my efforts to make it as streamlined and easy as possible.
Early in the process, I learned that while Pinterest and TLC may tempt you to believe otherwise, there’s a heck ton of things that your wedding does not absolutely need. While you may have dreamed of intricate centerpieces (I definitely did), they cost a lot more than you’d think. It’s not worth it to spend upwards of $30,000 on your wedding day. In the end, your wedding is only one day of your life, and your marriage is the rest of it!
So, in an effort to pass on some advice to hopefully ease some of the stress that you, as an engaged couple, may be experiencing, here are a seven things that I personally did not miss at my wedding, and they made my life easier and cheaper during the wedding planning process.
- Wedding Favors: In all the weddings I’ve been to (which now is upwards of 14 and I’m still only in my early twenties!), I do not know where a single wedding favor is. We’ve had personalized golf tees, pens, cups, coasters…all missing. Sometimes I’ve lost the favor on the way home from the wedding or forgotten to take one at all! Save yourself some time, energy (those crafts don’t look easy), and money by just opting out of them. If you have even just 100 guests, you could be saving $300 or more. Believe me, you have bigger things to worry about than whether or not your labeled items or handmade goody bags are ready and good to go.
2. Matching Bridesmaids Dresses: You will not regret not picking out the exact bridesmaids dresses, and your bridesmaids will thank you. For my wedding, I told my girls that I wanted a them to wear a shorter navy dress and that while I wanted to see it before they bought it, I didn’t really care what it looked like as long as they liked it. One of them already had a navy dress that worked? Great! One found one on ModCloth for $30 on Black Friday? Great! One was going to wear her dress to another wedding later? Great! Even without matching styles, the pictures turned out beautifully and each of my girls all looked comfortable in their dresses. I knew they each had their own sense of style, budget, and that in all likelihood, no matter how cute I thought a dress was, not all of them would be happy with it because in the end it would still be my style and not theirs. You can’t pick something for someone else and assume that they can “wear it again” after the wedding! I’ve had friends spend HOURS searching for the perfect dresses for their maids to wear and in the end, it’s not a big deal. Save yourself and your maids some grief, and just let them pick.
3. One large cake for all of your guests: You will most likely not regret not having a huge-o cake. (Unless that’s something you’ve always dreamed of, in which case, go right ahead!) But really, we had a tiny vegan cake from Whole Foods for Nate and I (that we each only ended up having exactly one bite of), and bought frozen Cheesecake Factory Cheesecakes from Costco for everyone else! It worked out perfectly because then dessert was about $2/person and most of our friends liked cheesecake better than normal cake to begin with. Other weddings that I’ve seen have also forgone the classic large cake and opted for something more personalized to the couple, like a fancy pumpkin pie or bundt cake with a dessert bar or cupcakes for the guests.
4. Elaborate centerpieces. When I first started talking to our florist, I remember getting a pricing list and found out that even small centerpieces would be $40 a table–and we had at least 17 tables! I opted out of the centerpieces and instead designed and assembled my own with the help of my artistic mama. We bought the vases and water beads on Amazon and the Calla Lillies in bulk through Costco and it was only about $300 total instead of upwards of $800. Admittedly, the simplicity was largely due to the venue’s character and it didn’t need much to look great. For my sister in law’s wedding, she and her now husband made several hundred candles out of thrift store wine glasses and paired it with wooden cuts and small vases of roses and that looked great! There are a lot of options out there that can suit your personality as a couple that don’t require a lot of money per table.
5. Bouquet Toss: Unless you’re really excited for it, you won’t miss the bouquet toss or the garter toss–especially if you’re short on time or don’t want to ruin your bouquet. Your guests will likely not miss it either! If the single girls are feeling sensitive about being single, they don’t enjoy it, and Nate confirmed that he has never enjoyed having to participate in the garter toss either because he said it’s always been awkward. While it’s totally a preference thing, but we were glad that we skipped it…especially because there was more time to dance without it. If you want something else, try a game like the shoe game which is entertaining to the guests without singling out a group of people (no pun intended).
6. Buffets over plated dinners: Unless it comes with the venue, it saves so much money to do a buffet. The price difference was almost half for all of the vendors that I talked to, and since I have a lot of friends with allergies, it was nice to let them know what options they could have and then let them fill their own plates. I have definitely appreciated that as a wedding guest as well! Buffets also ensure that guests are eating what they want to and that less is going to waste- if it hasn’t been on anyone’s plate, the rest can be taken home by your family.
7. Super Fancy Invitations: Instead of spending several dollars a pop on invites, we searched around on Etsy and found some downloadable stationary that we loved and ended up spending about $1/invitation total. All we needed was the .pdf files, and we bought card stock at Staples and then took it all to Kinkos to have them printed out.
While these are all things that I found we were easily able to do without to save money, I realize that you may be completely attached to some of those ideas- and that’s okay! It’s your day. At the end of the day, it’s one day of your life. Important, for sure, but if you’re married and enjoyed yourself at the end of the day, then that’s what a wedding is for. Each wedding is unique–just make sure that your wedding day is not eclipsing your marriage.
There are definitely things that I would have changed about our wedding and the planning process, and that may be a post for another day, but for the things above, I’m glad we did them the way that we did.
What did you do (or are planning to do) for your wedding? Did you find anything to be unnecessary or wish that you had left out?
Photographer: Lady Ilg Photography (we loved her, she’s great and willing to travel!)
Catering: Green’s Point Catering
Cake Topper: ArtsyBridalShop on Etsy
Invitation: 3EggsDesign on Etsy