Simplify your wedding checklist by removing or changing some items that won’t matter to your guests! Everyone knows wedding planning is stressful! With the endless list of things to do, from the décor, to dress shopping, to catering, and everything in between, the stress can pile on. That said, there are more than a few items on your wedding checklist that guests pay far less attention to than you think. Let us help you figure out what you can do to simplify your planning process and save some money!
Unnecessary Wedding Expenses: Save Money On Things Guests Won’t Miss
Keep from driving yourself crazy and save yourself the headache by knowing what matters to your guests, and more importantly, what doesn't. Read on for our handy list of wedding details that guests don't really care about – plus a few that they do!
1) Are Wedding Favors Necessary?
Wedding favors are nice but generally unimportant. If you can’t think of anything in particular that you want all of your guests to have, just go ahead and save your money. Wedding favors often end up forgotten at the venue by the guests or tossed in the garbage by the following day. If you do, try to do something meaningful rather than cheap stuff no one wants.
Solution: Skip Out on Wedding Favors or Choose Something Meaningful
Instead of spending money on random nick-nacks that your guests may not keep or appreciate, try to pick something meaningful for them to take home. One of our favorite ideas is having Polaroid-style cameras on every table. Guests can take photos all night and keep one or two for themselves to remember the night by!
2) Wedding Invitations (Expensive Isn’t Worth It!)
Save yourself a chunk of money by skipping the fancy printed wedding invitations! Guests may keep the invitation for a short time to remind them of the (date/address/etc.), but it will go in the trash. Don’t buy expensive custom-made invitations or waste your money on magnets. The average couple spends around $445 on their wedding invites! Try not to stress about your invites, but instead, find an affordable option that fits your budget.
Solution: Order Cheap Wedding Invitations
Etsy has great template options that you can customize yourself and then have printed for cheap elsewhere, like these minimalist wedding invitations. All you have to do is download the template, fill in your info, then find a cheap place to print them! If you really want to go fancy, there are even DIY kits to create invitations, RSVPs, details cards, accommodations cards, and thank you cards!
3) Do You Need Save-the-Dates?
Save the dates are a sort of precursor to your official wedding invitations. The purpose of save the dates is to make sure everyone knows far enough in advance that they are invited to your wedding so that they can avoid making any other plans. While these announcements are super important so that all of your guests can make sure they can come to your wedding, you don’t need to splurge!
Solution: Go Paperless with Save-the-Dates!
The easiest way to save money on your save the dates is to go paperless! By going paperless, you won’t need to pay to have anything printed and you won’t need to buy envelopes or stamps. Use Etsy electronic save the date templates, direct to wedding website links, or simply text, call, or email your loved ones!
4) Wedding Florals & Bouquets
We agree with most people that floral arrangements are almost always a welcome addition to your chosen venue. It can inject the space with a bit of your style. But, while no one will argue that golden dip-dyed roses aren’t gorgeous, they’re probably an unnecessary cost.
No one will notice the lack of designer blooms and your artfully arranged farmer’s market flowers will be just as striking – at a fraction of the price. Guests will appreciate the thoughtful, fragrant flourishes, regardless of whether you’ve chosen exotic blooms from far-flung corners of the world or locally grown greenery or even fake flowers! For more help, check out this guide on choosing wedding flowers.
Solution: Cheap Wedding Flowers (or Fake Flowers)
Instead of spending a fortune on flowers, visit your local farmer’s market or even a grocery store with a good floral selection like Trader Joe’s. Your guests will have no idea where your flowers came from, so why waste all the extra money? Many people even get faux flowers that last a lifetime! Also, your guests won’t notice if you reuse bridesmaid bouquets as reception decor.
5) Wedding Dress Cost: Save or Splurge?
Whether or not you decide to splurge on your wedding dress is up to you, but don’t do it just for the name brand that no one will see!. There are lots of high quality and affordable options that aren’t boutique/designer prices. As long as you’re comfortable and feel your best and most beautiful, that will be good enough.
Solution: Shop Online for Wedding Dresses
Did you know that instead of paying boutique prices, you can shop for high-quality wedding dresses online? Keep in mind that it is important to research the quality of the company before ordering - and be aware that you often get what you pay for if it's too cheap. A safe price range will typically fall between $400-$1000.
6) Is a Fancy Wedding Cake Worth It?
Towering layers, handcrafted sugar paste designs, pretty designs - the painstakingly detailed wedding cake is undoubtedly gorgeous. Still, guests won’t miss those details if you opt for an elegantly simple confection instead. As long as it tastes delicious, you’ve got a guaranteed crowd-pleaser (and let’s be honest, it will, because of CAKE).
Speaking of tasty treats, a dessert bar is a great option as well. Swap the cake for an array of equally delicious (and comparatively affordable) cupcakes, macarons, or ice cream sundaes, and guests will be just as pleased.
Solution: Consider Wedding Cake Alternatives - and Dress Them Up Yourself!
Some of our favorite alternatives to a fancy wedding cake are donut walls, cupcake tiers, and brownie stacks. You could also do a small wedding cake for cake cutting tradition and give other desserts out to guests. If you still want a real cake, save money by buying a simplistic cake. Then order a custom cake topper, which is a great way to personalize your wedding and add to the theme of the wedding!
7) Don’t Waste Money on Linens & Table Decor
Don't pay much mind to your tablecloths. As long as people don't have to eat off of a burlap sack, it will be just fine. Specialty linens can get costly, so save yourself the buck and choose something simple and functional that blends seamlessly with your décor.
Solution: Buy Secondhand or Rent Items You Aren’t Particular About
You can get second hand linens, gently used from someone else’s wedding or event, off of Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist! You could also check out your local thrift store or Goodwill for runners or other table decor. Rental options are also a great idea if you can find an affordable wedding rental company!
8) Printed Ceremony Programs & Other Day-Of Stationery
You may not need to print a ceremony program for every guest. Wedding stationary can add up and get expensive really quick. There are plenty of ways to tell guests what to expect from the wedding without adding an extra stationary cost to your budget!
Solution: Display a Wedding Order of Events Sign
Programs are super cute, but if you want to skip them and save the money, your guests won’t care. Instead, you could have a custom order of events sign made. One sign near the entrance of the wedding will be helpful for the guests to know the wedding itinerary without needing a printed list for each individual guest.
9) Who Needs a Complicated Wedding First Dance?
Instead of the weeks of rehearsal required to try and fix your two left feet, it's more important just to be yourself and enjoy the moment. You don't want your guests to remember a nervous, shaky, overly choreographed routine. Tackle a few moves that you feel 100% comfortable performing or just simple dance moves. No matter how simple and watch the pressure melt away. Great for you, great for your guests, and great for your wedding photos.
Solution: Just Have Fun on Your First Dance
Have fun! If you don’t feel confident in your dancing skills, be able to laugh at yourself because your guests will appreciate that way more than being nervous. This is a moment for you and your partner to take it all in!
Desert Rose Bridesmaid Dress | Sidney Ashton
10) Don’t Splurge on a Fancy Wedding Guest Book
Guest books can be expensive, and the cost can skyrocket once you start to add more to the guest books. Please do yourself a favor, keep it simple. Your guests won’t miss it, and in the age of digital photography, you’ll have tons and tons of snaps of your family and friends sharing your special day. If that doesn’t beat a scrawled name on a page (or a smudgy thumbprint), then we don’t know what else to tell you!
Solution: Choose a Simple Guestbook Idea
If you decide to go with a guestbook, create something simple. You can create a cute DIY board like the one pictured below that is so charming, cheap, and something you can display even after the wedding. Your guests won’t care that you made it yourself. Some people have one of their engagement photos framed and then removed the glass so the paper could be signed. It was super simple!
What to Prioritize in Your Wedding Budget
We’ve talked a lot about what we think you could think less about so that you can focus on the most important parts of your wedding! The ceremony, venue, food, drinks, and music are the core elements of your wedding. Choose options that will make you and your spouse happy, while making sure your guests will have a great time!
1) A Meaningful, Yet Simple Wedding Ceremony
Guests will be overjoyed to watch the happy couple proclaim their love and witness wedded bliss. However, the crowd may start to get restless during a long, drawn-out wedding ceremony. One of the most frequent guest complaints is having to sit through a too-long production, so keep it short and sweet (roughly 30 minutes or less) for a happy clan.
2) Crowd-Pleasing Wedding Food Options
Enjoying a decadent meal with loved ones is a treat for guests, so make sure your food choices are crowd-pleasers. A fantastic meal will keep those good vibes going, but a bad one could bring down the mood. Also, be sure to offer options for vegetarians or those with common allergies, like gluten and nuts.
3) Affordable Wedding Bar & Drink Options
Weddings and drinks go together like peanut butter and jelly. Make sure to keep the drinks flowing, because there’s nothing that wedding guests hate more than the liquor running dry. Forgoing the fully stocked bar is fine; an edited menu of Champagne, wine, beer, and one or two specialty cocktails will keep guests in high spirits all night long.
4) Wedding Music That Everyone Can Dance To
Your wedding music will be going strong from the first arrivals through the last dance, so make sure your music list is on point, especially once guests start hitting the dance floor. Skip the chicken dance and opt for something fun. Add contemporary tunes that everyone is sure to know and love. Unite the crowd and get people moving.
5) A Wedding Venue that Accommodates the Guests
Skip the outdoor wedding venue during the hottest, most humid days of summer, and choose an indoor wedding venue during the fall and winter months when temps may be chilly. Also, a unique wedding venue is something your guests will care about. Just make sure the journey to your wedding is not too much of a trek for some of your long-distance guests. A seriously cool spot is much more of a draw than, say, Hotel Ballroom #3.
Focus Your Wedding Budget on What Really Matters
Hopefully, this guide was able to put wedding planning details into perspective. Knowing wedding planning can be so stressful - probably, you can brush aside some of those worries. Sometimes it's easy to forget that your wedding day is... your wedding!
Don't stress about what you think your guests want, do what you and the love of your life want. Remember, your wedding day is, above all else, is about you, your spouse, and the love you share, so take a deep breath and think about what is essential.