When Kyle and I first started planning our wedding, we knew that the two most important things would be food and booze. We’re both foodies and Kyle is a beer snob, so our perfect day meant sharing delicious food and drinks with all of our friends and family. The majority of our budget is being spent on dinner, so I am cutting out or cutting back on many wedding “must haves.” Although I do get really anxious every time I look at a wedding checklist and realize that I am skipping a few things, I am pretty confident in our omissions.
Here is a list and thoughts behind some wedding “must haves” that I am skipping at my wedding:
This cut was mostly made out of necessity since I have terrible allergies. I love flowers, but I just couldn’t risk sneezing and crying on my wedding day because my bouquet or centerpiece was trying to kill me! There are a ton of non-floral ideas out there for bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, and decor, so I am still sifting through plenty of ideas. So far, I decided to use pearls to create my bridesmaid bouquets and they are coming together nicely for about $10 a bouquet! I am really loving the look of all the pearls and will probably incorporate this idea into other typically-floral decisions! Since I didn’t do too much research into flowers, I am not sure how much I am saving exactly, but I am sure it is $100s!
Kyle and I had a list of favor ideas that we thought about using, but eventually I just decided to drop it and skip the favors altogether. First, the favors aren’t really going to be missed. I’ve been to thrift stores enough times to know that all those “perfect date” shot glasses end up after a few years! Plus, most people end up forgetting their favors anyways! My cousin got to take 30 caramel apples home after his wedding just because people forgot to grab them on their way home. Most importantly, all of our favor ideas were cute DIY items, like homemade hot sauce or jelly. Since we’re travelling from Texas to Pennsylvania for the wedding, we really didn’t want to deal with transporting a hundred mini jars thousands of miles. We’re probably saving about $200 by skipping the favors, which can be used towards food!
3. Wedding Cake
Long before the cupcake craze hit, I knew I would have cupcakes instead of a cake at my wedding. It was pretty much the only wedding decision that I had already made before my engagement. Cupcakes are just my thing. During early planning, I asked my mom if she would bake the cupcakes for the wedding using my grandmother’s recipe, and she happily agreed! I come from a family of bakers, so I have no doubt in my mind that my mom will create a beautiful display of cupcakes! In addition, we are incorporating the Pittsburgh Tradition of a Cookie Table at our wedding AND having an ice cream sundae bar, so I hope none of our guests are even thinking about cake when they leave! The ice cream sundae bar probably negates the cost of not having a simple wedding cake, but I am ok with that swap!
My future mother-in-law fought long and hard to get us to use a DJ, but I would not cave. She believes that you cannot have fun at a wedding unless there is a DJ playing the chicken dance, electric slide, and polka (yes, polka). I just stared on in horror, since this sounded miserable to me. Plus, I honestly don’t see our guests going wild on the dance floor. We thought about just using an Ipod and playlist for a while, but I honestly don’t trust some of our guests enough to just leave the music alone whether it be requesting an awful song from a DJ or skipping around on our playlist. We decided instead to hire a solo singer/guitar player. He’s so talented, will learn a few special songs for our wedding, and has a list of songs that guests can choose from. Our solo guitarist also cheaper than a good DJ, so we’re saving another $500! Most importantly, he doesn’t play polka.
5. Photography Package
Photographers are freaking expensive. I know, they spend a lot of time and energy on a wedding and brides can be crazy, but whoa. I knew that I wanted a professional to take pictures at my wedding, since both my parents and my cousin had a photographer ruin all of their wedding day pictures. I knew I wanted some pictures, just not $3,000 worth of pictures! I found a photographer that agreed to do 3 hours of photography (the ceremony and group pictures) for $500, saving us $1000 off her total photography package! While there is no doubt that those pictures of dresses in doorways are beautiful, I can’t ever imagine printing a copy or putting it on display, so I doubt I’ll miss all the “before” pictures. We also plan to encourage our guests to take pictures during the wedding reception and to share them on our wedding website, so I’m planning for plenty of fun photos of the entire day!
6. Rehearsal Dinner
My future in laws got really obsessed about a rehearsal dinner, which I didn’t want for a number of reasons. First, my family didn’t want a rehearsal dinner. It’s not that they are wedding scrooges; they just own their own restaurant so that’s another day closing and everyone losing another shift. Additionally, my in-laws don’t understand “small” dinner. In the same breath that my future father-in-law would say that we would only invite our grandparents, parents, and bridal party to the rehearsal dinner, he’d add “and of course great-aunt Judy. !e have to invite her!” It was getting to the point that 1/3 of the wedding would be at this rehearsal dinner, which sounds like another wedding to me! The final decision was when my bridesmaids decided that we should do the bachelorette party the night before. Baseball and Yuengling instead of making small talk with Great Aunt Judy? Sold! We’re probably saving about $500 since I nixed the fancy rehearsal dinner.
What do you think? Am I trying to cut too many traditional wedding must haves? What traditional pieces have you decided to change or cut from your wedding?
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.