It is great to find ways of throwing a lavish bash without a lavish budget. But the best way to save money on your wedding is to avoid the things that are not worth it at any price.
Regardless of budget size, many brides say that after the wedding, there were several things they wished that they had not wasted their money on. For every person, this list will be different. But take a brutally honest look at what you are getting and if it makes sense to get it.
Meaningless or Expensive Wedding Favors
Wedding favors can be a thoughtful way of saying "thank you" to your guests, but far too often, they are a meaningless knickknack. Your guests do not need a candy dish or a little silver bell. Also, do not think that their cute place card holder doubles as a favor; what are they going to do with a place card? And, really, do you want a plastic Frisbee with your friends' wedding date on it?
In most cases, you are going to spend a lot of money on things that will collect dust or end up in the trash. Instead, donate to a charity, your money will go farther.
If you want to give favors, make is something personal and specific to the bride and groom. You might give food favors from the city where the couple lives, or a box of your favorite chocolates. A breakfast bag or basket is another great idea. Send guests home with some beautiful muffins, a couple of good quality tea bags, and perhaps a little pot of jam or honey. The next morning, they get to enjoy your treat as they reminisce about everything that happened on your special day.
Money-saving tip: Some of the most thoughtful wedding favors can be handmade. Put together a booklet of family recipes or create a CD with an insert explaining why you chose each song.
Bride- and Groom-Printed Swag
It may be fun to have a pair of track pants that say "Bride" across your butt, but how long are you going to wear them? You certainly do not need to own multiple pieces of clothing that say "bride" or "groom." They have a limited shelf-life. And, you do have an identity beyond that of a bride. You probably do not own a sweatshirt that trumpets your profession, so why would you want people out in public to see you first and foremost as a bride?
Perhaps the biggest money waster of all is giving your bridal party "bridesmaid" and "groomsman" printed gear. Do you think that groomsman is ever going to wear that tacky hat ever again? Do you think he'll even enjoy wearing it the first time?
Money-saving tip: Buy a pair of pajama pants or underwear that says "bride" or "groom." Rather than feeling embarrassed about wearing a bride sweatshirt out in public, clothing meant for the home will remind the two of you of your wedding day.
Huge Wedding Cakes
Some couples only invite 50 guests, but they still order a cake that serves 300. With cakes going for $2-$15 a slice, that extra size adds up quickly. While a large cake looks impressive, a small cake can be just as beautiful. If height is a priority, consider asking your baker to use a separator set, and add fresh flowers between the layers. Or, use a large cake topper, such as this tiered floral centerpiece.
Money-saving tip: If you are having more than 100 guests, ask for a display cake that only feeds 100 people. Use inexpensive sheet cakes in the back to feed the extra guests. No one will know the difference.
Too Many Mementos
The wedding industry loves to sell you goods by promising they will be keepsakes you can pass down to your children. Having mementos of your special day is a good thing, but you do not need very many. Put together a wedding album, and perhaps preserve your wedding dress. But deeply consider every other item.
Do you need a personalized pen to sign the guestbook? Is preserving your bouquet worth the money and the space in your home? You might not need to have a wedding video unless you will plan to watch it and enjoy it regularly. And not every toasting glass, picture frame, and photo album needs to be monogrammed with your wedding date. Rather than filling up your house with tons of wedding mementos, leave room for creating new memories.
Money-saving tip: If an album is not included in your wedding photography package, consider doing it for yourself. That way, you can include the shots that are most important to you, as well as any mementos like your wedding program.
Too Many Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
Have you ever seen a wedding with more than a dozen attendants? It starts to look like a wedding army. Of course, if you are inviting lots of guests, it might make sense to have a larger wedding party. But before you start adding your friend who you have not seen since high school, and all of your cousins, consider what the role of the wedding party should be.
Even if you are not paying for the wedding party's attire, each of those attendants requires a bouquet or boutonniere, a thank you gift, and an invitation to the rehearsal dinner and other parties. Tack on just a few unnecessary bridesmaids or groomsmen, and you are potentially talking about hundreds of dollars.
Money-saving tip: Give some of your friends and loved ones different roles in the wedding. Consider asking them to read during the ceremony or give them a special role at the reception. You might even thank them in the program for helping to support you during the wedding planning process.