Weddings do strange things to people. One day you're planning to keep your wedding inexpensive yet gorgeous, and after a few months of immersion in the wedding industrial complex, you may be having a panic attack about how you'll ever afford mints with your names printed on them. The small, unnecessary details can be the most crazy-inducing elements of wedding planning. If you have a trust fund, it might make sense to blow tens of thousands of dollars on your nuptials but, if you're a mere mortal who has to go about the business of life and debt, it's time to reel in your costs and cut out the unnecessary details.
No one is saying that you can't have a beautiful wedding with lush centerpieces and stunning accents. Your guests, however, are unlikely to notice the smaller details, and while you might be heavily focused on them now, odds are good that you won't give them a second thought on the big day. Aisle runners can costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but it's likely that your dress will cover most of the runner and that your guests will never take a gander at the floor as you embark on your walk to the altar. Steer clear of overusing photos and videos, too. A video slideshow of you and your betrothed can cost a pretty penny, as can rows of photos of family members or engagement photos. Your guests are unlikely to notice, and you might end up spending money framing pictures that you lose as you rush around on the big day.
Pick only a handful of decorations to serve as the focal point for guests, whether it is the floral centerpieces or the chandeliers, and splurge on those. Plus, depending on the theme of your wedding and your own capabilities, DIY projects can be fun and money-saving.
Before you get excited about favors, ask yourself a simple question: Do you know anyone who has ever been excited about a tiny vial of bubbles, a pretty name tag, or a bag of dollar store trinkets? Unless you're giving out hundred-dollar gift cards – in which case, you have an entirely different problem – favors of all varieties are a useless expense. Many of your guests won't pick up their favors, and almost all of them will throw them away before they even make it home.
Instead, splurge on a few people instead of wasting money on hundreds. Your bridesmaids and groomsmen have been by your side throughout the process, so don’t hand out to them cheap pens as a thank you. Your bridesmaids will appreciate you finding personalized items that they would ordinary not treat themselves to (you can never go wrong with Kate Spade). For the fellows, consider what is both fun and genuinely helpful to their distinct lifestyles when selecting groomsmen gifts (you’ll quite a range at Groom Stand).
Your wedding planner might have told you it's all about the details, but your planner has a vested interest in getting you to spend more money. Chair covers might be a bit prettier, but they're not worth the cost, and your guest will never notice that they're not there. Colorful napkins, fine china, and toasting flutes might seem like gorgeous keepsakes, but no one will notice them and you can easily drop thousands of dollars – and hours of time – trying to pick the right ones. Focus on the big-ticket items, instead, and you'll never think, “I really wish I had spent a lot of money on napkins my guests wouldn't have even noticed and threw away!”
There's no substitute for an excellent wedding planner, and highly qualified professionals are worth their weight in gold. Before you spin yourself into a whirling dervish hiring every variety of service provider, take stock of what's really important to you and evaluate what you can do yourself. Consider eliminating the following:
- The videographer. It's pretty unlikely that you'll ever sit down and watch the entire video of your wedding. But even if you do, a friend who's handy with a camera can take videos instead. Rather than capturing the whole thing on tape, focus on getting the important moments such as the vows, the walk down the aisle, and the first glance.
- The photo book. A hardcover photo book has become a staple for wedding photographers, but can cost thousands of dollars. You can easily upload your own photos to a photo site and create your own photo book for much cheaper.
- The band. It might seem like a band will give your wedding a cool ambiance, but a band can actually limit your possibilities. You'll be stuck with a single type of music, and be paying hundreds or even thousands more for it. People like dancing to songs they know, and the original played by a DJ is often a much better choice than a cover offered by a band.
- The wedding planner. Unless you're planning an all-day extravaganza, a wedding planner can't do much for you. You'll still have to find the vendors and design the schedule, not to mention cut the checks. Instead, enlist the assistance of friends and family, and practice the three D's of wedding planning: Delegate, delegate, and delegate some more.
It's no secret to any of your guests how your wedding will go. At some point, you'll walk down the aisle, say some vows, maybe share some readings, and then start your life together. If you're trying to save cash, try skipping the wedding program. Even if you're bound and determined to stick to this wedding tradition, there's no shame in eliminating other sources of excess paper. Stick to a traditional guest book rather than spending hundreds of dollars designing cards or other paper products on which your guests can write personalized messages. Steer clear of costly menus, too. Your guests aren't in a restaurant ordering food; they're at a wedding, and there's no need for a menu. Plus, you’re helping to save a tree or two.
So let your wedding day be one of merriment and care-free happiness by eliminating the looming bills from your mind!
Photography Credit: Amanda Hedgepeth Photography
Submitted via Two Bright Lights
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