I did a lot of internet searching in preparation for this blog post and let me tell you... I was shocked by the number of wedding blogs that are unapologetically telling brides to skip the DJ, hire a friend to be their photographer and have a cash bar. So before we dive into the things you can cut from your wedding budget that won't be missed, let me briefly tell you what you should prioritize!
If it directly affects the entertainment of the guests or how you remember your wedding for the rest of your lifetime (and how future generations will experience your wedding day) - DO. NOT. SKIMP.
Your entertainment (DJ or band), photography, food/catering, venue, florals (especially the bride's bouquet), professional hair and makeup and your invitations should be a priority. And for goodness sake please, do not listen to the blogs that tell you it's OK to have a cash bar. I'm here to honestly tell you that it's not. Despite what these popular wedding blogs might say, these professionals are not out to steal all of your money and provide an unnecessary service. They're a key part of ensuring your day is beautiful, running smoothly, memorable and once-in-a-lifetime.
Alright, with that out of the way, there are some things that you can opt not to incorportate to save some money when planning your wedding (and no one will miss them)!
1. Ceremony Programs
I'm a big believer in splurging on an invitation (it's the first glimpse of your wedding design that your guests get to see) but ceremony programs are notoriously useless. They get trashed, left behind for the venue or church ladies to clean up and they're quite expensive. Everyone knows the gist of the ceremony - you can feel comfortable skipping programs.
2. Fancy Bridal Shoes
Believe it or not, when it comes to the wedding day, the groom's shoes are more important than the bride's! Spending $800 on that pair of designer bridal shoes is definitely something you can swap for an affordable pair of flats, pumps or sandals that you would wear again!
3. Wedding Party Gifts
Especially if you have a large wedding party, budgeting for gifts can be overwhelming. Believe it or not, your bridesmaids aren't expecting extravagant, monogrammed goodies from you! It's OK to thank them for their support by providing them with a getting ready outfit and possibly paying for their day-of hair styling or contributing towards their dress and shoes.
4. Menu Cards
Honestly, dinner is dinner. While your guests might appreciate knowing what they are being served for food allergy or dietary restriction reasons, one lovely little sign will suffice. Menu cards at each place setting are beautiful but unnecessary in most instances.
5. Champagne Toast
We learned this from planning our own wedding - the champagne toast can be notoriously complicated. Our venue required us to notify them of specifically where each under-age guest would be sitting, there was a fee for each pour and adding on champagne glasses was a bunch of extra money. When we added up all the extra work and cost, we nixed the champagne toast and I think it's totally okay for you to do the same. If you are having a toast, just ask guests to "raise their glass" and they can toast to you with whatever floats their boat.
6. Ceremony Aisle Decor
Those floral arrangements, bows or candles at the end of each row... yeah... you don't need it. It's a lovely addition if it is within your budget but if you are desperate to save some funds, it is more than fine to skip your aisle decor. Instead, I recommend investing in the florals or decor pieces that will be featured right where the bride and groom stand at the front of the ceremony space.
Favors are expensive. Let's be honest. Instead of investing a lot of money into personalized favors, treat your guests to great food, an open bar and memorable entertainment.