Wedding planning is something most people don’t do often (unless you’re us, of course). Because it’s a unique undertaking, most couples often look back and can easily pinpoint things they wish they’d done differently. One of the main things we hear in hindsight is couples wishing that they’d spent more or less on specific aspects of their weddings.
There are some things you don’t need to splurge on, and others you absolutely should carve out some of your budget for.
Because we don’t want you spending where you don’t need to or wishing you’d focused more on something after the fact, we’ve put together a Splurge or Save guide especially for you. Below you’ll find a list of wedding aspects that we think you can save on.
Keep in mind, these are just our suggestions from experience. If one of these suggested “saves” is special or significant to you, then go ahead and splurge! It’s your big day, after all.
As wedding planners, we’re not here to tell anyone what to do, simply to offer our experience and expertise as we guide you and support you in making your vision come to life.
If you’re looking to cut costs and not sure where to begin, this list should help!
On the day of your wedding, your guests will both your ceremony site and your reception site, these will either be the same venue having been flipped between or two separate venues. Many couples splurge on grand entryway decor and florals. Though, in our experience, we’ve found that guests breeze through the entryway and onto the main event which they’re dying to see.
Therefore, the beautiful and costly entryway decor is easily forgettable for the guests. Also, the entryway is rarely a photo location, so the time, effort, and money to dress it up often goes unnoticed. This is a key area for cutting costs.
While a bride’s wedding day look is of the utmost importance, there are several parts of the ensemble that don’t need to eat up the budget. For example, veils range significantly in price, though there is virtually no reason to splurge and get a designer veil as they are all quite similar in look and quality.
Because a bride’s dress will always steal the show, a veil is a simple way to save while still adding a timeless touch to the overall bridal look. If you’re unsure if a veil is for you, be sure to try one on with your dress as well as your day-of hairstyle before making the final call.
Again, the bride’s dress will always steal the show. Most brides select understated jewelry to complete their look and, as a result, it’s never a focal piece of the overall look. Because the focus is on the beautiful bride, her dress, her hair, her makeup, the jewelry works as simple addition, therefore there is no reason to splurge and by brand-new jewellery for the occasion. Hint: it’s the perfect place to throw in your something old or something borrowed for a sentimental touch.
Hear us out! We know, you want to make sure you never run out of booze or go standard bar pricing so everyone has to empty their pockets, it’s just not the carefree energy your guests are after.
But, there is no reason to stock premium spirits or import beers when you’re providing your guests with free or seriously affordable drinks. If you’re worried about the cost of drinks, we suggest limiting your bar to no doubles, no shots, and a restricted bar during dinner service so the price tag doesn’t get to out of control.
There are several stationery items that you can choose to include in your wedding. Therefore, there are tons of opportunities for savings. For example, going paperless when it comes to save the dates is a huge money and time saver. If you’d love to send out physical invitations, save the dates can be digital to save on printing and postage while being more environmentally friendly! Place tags and table numbers are additional areas to save on.
Rather than ordering from a designer or printing company, you can think of a unique idea and go DIY or see if someone in your community is especially crafty. If there’s anything you’d like to print like menus or place tags, you can design them yourself on Canva or another simple online design tool and have them printed by Vistaprint for affordable pricing and quick turnaround.
Something we notice at every single wedding is that guests always leave their favours behind. Though we’ve seen creative and cute ideas over the years, it’s just not an area we’d suggest splurging on as they always get left behind. If you want to give favours to your guests, we suggest making something simple and sentimental rather than spending big. Another tip is to always choose a favour that they’ll use/consume at the wedding.
Whether it be a mini-signature cocktail kit or a pair of flip flops for dancing, they’ll be way more appreciated and noticed if they’re part of the day-of experience.
Ceremony Decor & Accents
We are not suggesting to skimp on decor for your wedding ceremony, but there is a huge savings opportunity here. If you’re paying for flowers for your wedding arch, for example, be sure you can re-use them on your head table or mantel for your reception.
If you’re splurging on a cute welcome sign for your guests, why not make it so cute and timeless that you can use it as home decor afterwards? Even better, let it double as your guest book and have guests sign it so you have a welcome sign, guest book, and sentimental wall art all in one.
As always, we’re huge advocates for supporting local wherever possible. Not only is it a wonderful way to contribute to the community where you’re getting married, but it’s also a huge way to save money as out-of-town vendors will need their travel and accommodations paid for on top of their service fees. Research the area of your wedding or hire a local planner who knows the scoop!
A part of weddings that often ends up costing a ton unexpectedly is the reversal dinner. Couples often rent out venues and hire caterers just for this pre-wedding event. More often than not, they can end up being pretty stuffy and uneventful. Instead, we always suggest doing something fun like renting out a bowling alley and getting a bunch of appetizers so people can drink, eat, mingle, and share a super fun activity while they’re getting to know one another.
This way, there is no stress on you to introduce everyone and be the social driver and you can enjoy yourself, too. You also won’t have to worry about a massive venue rental or fine dining bill to follow. Another option is a picnic with charcuterie and cheese boards in a beautiful setting.
Guestbook & Card Box
Like we mentioned, your guestbook should be something you can keep and cherish, rather than just a book you may never look through again. There are tons of creative and super cheap options. For example, the 6 wine bottles. You have three empty wine bottles and three full. Guests put wishes and notes in the empty bottles. On your first anniversary, you drink one bottle and open the notes from one.
You continue the tradition on your fifth and tenth anniversaries. There are tons of fun and creative ways to save notes from your loved ones. Also, now that most guests bring cards rather than physical gifts, most weddings have card boxes on the guest book table. Rather than buying something, pick something special like a vintage suitcase from the thrift store if you love to travel, a golf bag if you love to golf, etc! This doesn’t have to be something you buy as you likely won’t use it again.