You’re a bride on a budget, and that budget isn’t big. Your dollars need to be carefully spent on just the wedding details that are the most meaningful to you at your wedding, and not on things that you feel like you ‘should’ include just because it’s ‘expected’. Traditions are grand, but without a several grand in the bank, they’re just ideas. You need to do what’s good for you.  And these following details are just fluff: you don’t need them!

Engraved, Embossed and Embellished Invitations

Letterpress is all the rage, no wait, gold embossed is! They’re gorgeous, it’s true. But they’re all just paper products and literally no one (except maybe your mom, or you if you’re into scrap-booking) will keep these papers after your wedding is over. You just need to get people to your wedding on the proper day at the proper location. That’s what the invitation is for. If you want to DIY, get crafty. If you’ve got a decent printer or access to one, print your own on some decently priced stock invitation kits and bam, you’ve got people invited.

Fancy Transportation

Sure, you dreamed about arriving to your wedding in a horse drawn carriage ever since you were a girl. It was, in all likelihood, most girls’ dream at one time or another. But they’re not – in any way, shape or form – practical. And they’re soooo expensive.  Have you priced it? Go ahead, I’ll wait.  Yeah, no, absolutely not. Unless you’re marrying a man whose family owns a horse farm, then maybe. Even renting a limousine can be impractical and expensive (although if you’re determined, this link should help you save). What many couples have done is get their car cleaned out and looking good, then have a friend drive them away from the ceremony location.  Transportation: check!

A Huge Number of People

You can literally attribute the cost of your wedding to the number of people you invite.  For ever person there is a plate, for every plate there is food, for every food there is a beverage and for every beverage there is a charge, etc. It gets insanely expensive the more people you add.  Keep It Simple. Set guidelines on who is invited. First cousins, maybe, but not second cousins.  Or, if you really want to keep it special, limit it to just immediate family and close friends.  This is not the time for your dad to show off his family to his golf buddies.  Unless he’s paying for the entire shindig, in which case maybe he can have a couple extra people.

A Big Dinner Reception

If you’ve already started looking at receptions and catering, you already know that you’re looking at spending lots and lots of $$ for something that almost no one will remember.  Why? If you open up your ideas of what a reception after a wedding can be, your options get less limited.  What about a sweet, small luncheon for the smaller number of people you plan to invite now?  There are a number of lovely vintage (but not kitschy) diners that would be happy to host a post-wedding luncheon. My favorite in Portland, OR is Besaw’s.  Surely you know of one near you that has an ambiance and menu you would enjoy sharing with your loved ones?

Champagne Toasting

As much as it pains me to say this, you can skip the champagne toast.  It’s outdated, to start with, and there are – gasp! – people who don’t even like champagne! Why serve them a small glass of champagne that they won’t even drink when they can toast you with the drink that’s already in their hand? For that matter, another thing you can skip is:

The Full Bar

I know it’s a hot topic, but maybe not everyone needs to drink to have a good time.  Maybe a fully-stocked bar isn’t necessary, rather just a few beers and/or wines available.  Me, the only thing I required was champagne along with the fruit punches, lemonade and tea we served at our tea-party style reception. I spent $150 of two cases of prosecco and ended up taking a case home in the end.  Not everyone wanted alcohol, since it was 2 in the afternoon.  Those who wanted something stronger had access to the full bar downstairs in the hotel. I saved literal thousands on alcohol people might not have even wanted.  What about your group?

Fancy Favors

Another of the many wedding details that all brides seem to think they need to spend money on is favors. Unless it’s small food items that people can nibble on right then – those usually go over well. Some favorites are chocolate dipped pretzels, cake pops and candies – please skip the Jordan almonds, though.

There are many, many more things that brides on a budget can skip when planning the wedding, but I think I’ll save another few for another day.  Round Two!

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