Ok. Not literally an axe, even though it's October and that's a theme if I ever saw one. Unless you are having a lumberjack wedding. In that case, rock on.
Here is a list on how you can simplify, destress, and cut costs for your wedding.
I was flipping through the most recent bridal magazine (as I do, I’m a wedding photographer it comes with the territory) and there was a HUGE list of “must-haves” for weddings. And I was like: “Pfffft nobody needs this stuff.”
So, in the spirit of being contrary, I’m about to tell you what you DON’T ACTUALLY NEED TO SPEND MONEY AND RESOURCES ON FOR YOUR WEDDING.
......And then I’m going to enter myself into witness protection services before any other wedding vendors read this.
1.) Opt to have a more eco-friendly wedding day. You can skip the following, and your guests will love you all the same:
Favors. No, I don’t actually need that champagne flute with your names engraved on it. Guests love you the same without it.
Fancy silvery plastic crummy cutlery.
Plastic plates. Say no. The fish and birds will thank you.
Napkins with your cute little names and the wedding date on them. People blow their noses with those. Plain paper napkins or cloth napkins will do.
Save the Dates and elaborate invitations with multiple pieces of paper. A simple photo invite with a QR code to your wedding website is nice.
Fake rose petals, plastic confetti, tiny useless bubble bottles, balloons. Just say no.
Programs. They’re a great fan during those summer weddings. And then they get tossed.
Disposable cameras. Your guests already have cell phone cameras.
Custom aisle runners. 100% of these blow away and/or make your aisle look like it’s been toilet papered by a bunch of Halloween hooligans. Flower petals are classic and beautiful.
Flowers in every corner. Small, fragrant bunches have the same impact.
Huge centerpieces on each table. People like to see each other and talk to each other.
You don’t need to print menus. If people are coming JUST for the food and drinks, you can probably trim your guest list.
2.) Are you having a “black-tie” event? Are you sure you wanna do that?
If you have mason jars, lace, and burlap at your wedding; you might be getting married in Idaho. Black tie is not an option in this case. Because unless it’s a burlap tux (hellooooooo chafing), these just don’t mesh. Pick a theme, execute it simply.
The “candy bar.” Because you know what mixes well with small children and sugar? Endless rows of fragile glass vases full of more sugar of course. You can skip this trend, and parents at your reception will thank you.
Rehearsal dinner, formal dinner, brunch. Your day is about celebrating your new family. Not feeding everyone for 3 solid days. People will still love you if you go dutch.
You don’t need a fancy cake cutting set. Borrow one.
You don’t need custom toasting glasses. Will you really use those after?
Skip the limousine from the hotel to the venue. You don’t need that. Hire a car for the end of the night if you plan to imbibe a few.
Elaborate place settings and seating chart. Want to maintain your sanity? Set a buffet up and let people mingle. Done.
Skip the chair covers. No one will notice.
You don’t really need tuxes or elaborate white dresses, especially in the summer. Go with lighter options for apparel and actually ENJOY your day.
You don’t need a wedding gown and a reception gown. You will likely wear your dress once, maybe twice if you have bridal portraits or formals on a separate day. Bustle that train up, and get dancing.
3.) Be ruthless, and KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly.)
On average it’s reported that the bride and groom and their families end up spending about $75 per person at their wedding. Want to cut costs? Cut the guest list.
Smaller bridal parties are less stressful. You don’t need 14 little flower girls and ring bearers. Same goes for attendants. Fewer gowns and tuxes in your line means less stress.
Be firm with paparazzi wedding guests. They are there to witness you taking sacred vows. It isn’t their job to document the occasion. Tell them to relax and experience the day with you.
You do have alternatives to a big expensive wedding cake. I've seen donuts, pies, cheesecake, and even marshmallow cream puffs done beautifully.
Ok, hang in here with me… you don’t actually need a Saturday wedding. Some of my favorite weddings have been on Fridays and Mondays, and they usually cost a lot less too.
No one will notice if the champagne and cider costs $6 per bottle or $600 per bottle. Put a cute custom label on that cheap bottle, and BAM! Toasts are done.
You don’t need to have 5 courses of prime rib and lobster at your reception dinner. My favorite weddings have had menus like roasted chicken, pulled pork, and even a taco truck!
You don’t need a wedding planner/event organizer. Do you have a trusted friend? Make a timeline and hand it to them. I have one rule for the brides to follow: NOBODY CALLS THE BRIDE ON THE BIG DAY.
I hope this list helps. I will subsequently post another list of things you should actually allocate your budget to.