It's 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 aren't worth it at any price.
Regardless of budget size, brides of all kinds say that after the wedding, there were several things on which they wished that they hadn't wasted their money. For every person, this list will be different of course. But here is a brutally honest look at what I think are simply not worth it.
Top 5 Biggest Wedding Money Wasters
- Meaningless and Expensive Wedding Favors Wedding favors can be a thoughtful way of saying thank you to your guests. But far too often they're a meaningless knickknack. Your guests don't need a candy dish, or a little silver bell. Don't think their cute place card holder doubles as a favor; what are they going to do with one place card? And do you really want a plastic Frisbee with your friends' wedding date on it?
You're going to spend a lot of money on things that will just collect dust, or end up in the trash. I think it's far better to not give favors, or to make a donation to a charity. But cute favors include ones that are personal to the bride and groom. You might give food favors from the city you live in, or a box of your very favorite chocolates.
One of my favorite ideas is a breakfast bag. 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'll be sure to enjoy your treat as they reminisce about everything that happened.
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.
- Endless Bride and Groom Swag It may be fun to have a pair of track pants that say "Bride" across your butt, but how long are you really going to wear them? You certainly don't need to own multiple pieces of clothing that say "bride" or "groom" because they've got a limited shelf-life. And, you do have an identity beyond that of a bride. You don't own a sweatshirt that trumpets your profession, do you? 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" gear. Do you really 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. Leave the other bridal swag at the store.
- 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 charming. If height is a priority, consider asking your baker to use a separator set, and adding 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 don't need very many. Put together a wedding album, and perhaps preserve your wedding dress. But deeply consider every other item. Do you really need a personalized pen to sign the guest book? Is preserving your bouquet worth the money and the space in your home? You don't need to have a wedding video, unless you will really 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 makes sense to have a large wedding party. But before you start adding your friend who you haven't seen since high school, and all of your cousins, consider what the role of the wedding party should be.
Even if you're 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're 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 just thank them in the program for helping to support you during the wedding planning process.
Additional Articles You Might Be Interested In:
- How Many Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Should You Have?
- Capture those memories on film with a Wedding Photography Shot Checklist
- Questions to Ask Your Wedding Cake Designer