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decision to forego alcohol

This classic Ron Swanson dictum is one I try to live by, especially when making decisions about how to use my time and money.  Unsurprisingly, when it comes to wedding planning, these words keep echoing through my mind offering me encouragement and affirmation when making tough decisions.

As we've been planning a wedding on a budget, Mr. M and I have decided we're going to focus on doing a few things well instead of trying to do several things so-so. This isn't easy.  There are things we'd like to have at our wedding that just won't work in our budget.  But, that's ok.  Just because the latest magazine or most popular blog says you need X for the perfect wedding doesn't mean you really need it.

Here are three things Mr. M and I have decided to forego in order to keep within our budget.

Professional Flowers.  Although we only have four attendants in our wedding, Mr. M and I are going to need 15+ boutonnières, flowers for 25ish tables, and 3 bouquets.  Our flower budget is already tight, and we knew utilizing a professional florist would drastically limit what we could do.  My aunts, grandmother and a family friend have experience with flower arranging and making bouquets and boutonnières.  Utilizing their expertise, we'll be able to order our flowers in bulk and make plenty of bouquets, arrangements and boutonnières to suit our needs.

Favors.  While we haven't completely ruled out favors,  we wouldn't have a lot to spend on them and would rather that money go toward something else.  We'll likely personally make personal donations to some of the organizations at Purdue we were involved with during our time there.  The donation will be made in celebration of our marriage and to honor our guests.

Alcohol.  Mr. M and I contend with G.K. Chesterton that no animal ever invented anything as bad as drunkenness – or as good as drink.”  I definitely appreciate a good draught beer.  But, when Mr. M and I sat down to look at the budget, we figured we couldn't get what we wanted with the amount we had to spend. With the support of our caterer, we made a decision to forego alcohol altogether and direct that money somewhere else.  This may be one of the hardest decisions we made re: the budget.  However, it's also been a good “heart-check” for us to remind us our marriage is what we're celebrating, and it will happen even if we don't serve alcohol.

Everyone has different priorities when it comes to saving money.  I recently read on a blog that some decisions aren't “right vs. wrong” but “right vs. left.”  Make decisions that will take you the direction you want to go, be confident in your choice and ignore the voices that tell you that decision will take-away from their view of a “perfect wedding.”

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About Abby

Abby wrote about her wedding at The Budget-Savvy Bride in 2013 and 2014. She loves sharing info and advice with brides about how to create beautiful weddings that they love. Abby lives in the Midwest with her husband and dog.

Connect with Abby
  • I absolutely LOVE everything about this post. Go Abby!!

  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress)

    OK, I love this. I’m currently struggling with the fact that I’d prefer no alcohol at my wedding but would like to compromise by maybe having some wine bottles. I’ve been told by everyone and their brother (including my fiance’), however, that I’m ridiculous and that if I don’t have an open bar everyone is going to be mad at me. *sigh*

    • If budget is an issue, I say skip it! Definitely don’t over-extend yourself by spending what you can’t afford. You could always just do some cheap sparkling wine for a toast and leave it at that, if you feel bad not serving any alcohol. Feeling pressured over these decisions is the worst!

  • We skipped favors as well. I’ve gotten some nice ones at weddings but also plenty of trinkets that end up in a drawer. It’s an easy thing to cut in my opinion, especially if it allows you to pamper your guests in other ways, such as offering more food options or entertainment.

    Alcohol is tricky. So many different opinions and no really good answer. You shouldn’t go out of your comfort zone though. A nice compromise could be a champagne toast.

    I’m going to upset a lot of professional florists here, but flowers are such an easy thing to do yourself IF (a big if) you have the right people who want to help and know where to go. Flower farms are excellent and you can buy in bulk. Farmer’s markets and grocer’s are often full of hidden gems as well.

  • Shannon

    I second Bianca…love this post! Having an alcohol-free reception was one of the first decisions Matt and I made, and we haven’t second-guessed it yet (Although it helps that the venue is alcohol-free. 🙂 )

  • Love that you’re able to use your family to help with the flowers. A definite saver. Josh and I definitely wanted alcohol at our wedding. We both love beer, and Asheville is a big beer city. We’re buying the alcohol ourselves-probably wholesale, but we had to get a bartender which was cheaper than expected. As far as favors, we’re going with koozies. They’re less than $1 a piece, so I can hang. I definitely don’t hate if there’s no alcohol or favors. In the world of wedding planning, do what you gotta do!

    • Thanks for your encouraging words, Laura! Certain decisions are hard, and it’s great to be reminded that guests will have fun no matter what.

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