It can feel good playing the big spender at your wedding and showing off to all your guests with lavish plans. However, this feeling of opulence can be quickly replaced by despair once the party is over and realize just how much you have spent. If you need to bring a little sanity to your wedding plans, stay away from these huge wedding money wasters.
1. An expensive wedding venue
Wedding venue costs can be exorbitant enough to take over your wedding budget all by themselves easily. Sometimes, you can get in over your head even if you are not looking for an expensive place.
Many venues try to reel people in by advertising low prices but building them up with expensive add-ons – china, furnishings, lighting options, etc. It’s important to make sure that your venue does not use up more than 20% of your budget.
Choosing an outdoor venue is a great way to save on decorations. Consider some low-cost locations like your backyard, parks, forests, or gardens. Another way to save you money is by choosing an all-inclusive package, which usually includes the reception, wedding, and honeymoon.
Bear in mind that having your wedding during off-season will cut the expenses almost in half. On Saturdays in particular, wedding venues are more expensive, so try booking yours on another day of the week!
2. Trying too hard to save money on the venue can be bad, too
A bare venue, such as a large loft in a building or an empty hall in a barely used part of a property, can be priced very cheaply.
However, the problem with such low-end venues is that it will be up to you to bring in everything you need for your weddings, such as lighting, furniture, carpeting, cutlery, and silverware.
Often, you end up paying way more than you would if you picked a higher-priced venue that came with all the necessities included. Opt for moderately-priced venues, such as restaurants, which already have a neat ambiance.
Bear in mind that sometimes it’s much less expensive to buy your own items such as silverware or tablecloths rather than renting them.
3. Indulgent entertainment
DJs, a string quartet, and even a five-piece wedding band can liven up your wedding beautifully without costing too much. If you need to indulge a special love of Elvis impersonators, jugglers, or belly dancers, though, you can easily run out of money. It’s important to keep your wedding entertainment expectations under control.
A wedding band, however, is not the only way to entertain your guests without huge expenses. A local college band is also a good option to consider. Young musicians will likely jump at a chance to get experience and such bands usually cost less than professionals. In general, a DJ will be cheaper than a live band.
4. Inviting everyone
It may seem like the right thing to do to invite every relative and everyone that you’ve ever been friends with to your big day. However, each additional guest can cost an extra $150 at the average venue. You can quickly inflate your final bill when you don’t have the heart to keep your guest list to a reasonable length.
When making the guest list, try to omit your coworkers, children, and separated couples. If you cannot decide on the number of guests, use the rule of thumb: if you can spend more than two minutes with that person, invite them.
Why invite 150 guests if you won’t even be able to speak to everyone? Make a rough copy of the guest list and divide all the names into several major categories: family members, relatives, best friends, and coworkers.
Be sure you know how many people your venue can hold – this should help you narrow down your categories. You may even want to consider not marking the invitation with “plus guest.” This way, you can avoid extra people you may not even know.
5. Acquiring a sizable set of groomsmen and bridesmaids
At some weddings, the bride and groom show up with a small army of attendants. While it may feel good to have of large posse watching your back, they can cost money.
Even if you don’t shell out for the dress, you have to think of paying for invitations, gifts, bouquets, and places at tables. You can end up paying hundreds more.
While a formal wedding technically requires up to 10 bridesmaids and 10 groomsmen, you can easily reduce the number without making your day any less special.
Weddings on a budget often have no ring bearer or flower girl, either. If you are afraid to offend your friends, give them other special things to do on your wedding day.
Some may help you with preparation, while others can perform an important role during the wedding ceremony.
6. The wedding attire
According to a recently published survey, half of all brides are uncomfortable spending more than $800 on their wedding dresses. Yet, the average wedding dress costs around $1,100.
It’s easy to buy into the glamour-filled messages of the wedding industry and spend far more than you are comfortable with. But wedding attire is actually an expense you have plenty of opportunities to save some money on!
Nothing bad will happen if you buy a wedding dress off the rack or at a department store. If you love the dress, that’s all that matters! If you feel good about once-worn or vintage dresses, you can ask your mom for her gown.
This way, you will get free attire, and you honor your mom as well. Other cost-conscious variants include a rented gown or a dress bought at an online auction site.
7. Personalized wedding outfits
Personalized wedding outfits are incredibly trendy these days. Wedding retailers offer custom-printed clothing for all involved, with formal wedding titles printed on. Everyone from the best men to the bridesmaids get monogrammed outfits to wear around while they help. Since these touches are a luxury, they come at a heavy premium.
Moreover, you are not going to wear such clothes permanently, even though it is fun to have something personalized at first. Thus, it is not a good idea to spend money on such short-lived pieces of clothing.
Instead, you can order a pair of simple monogrammed pajamas with your partner. You can wear them at home where just the two of you can admire them!
8. Making mementos of everything
Wedding service providers sell the idea that weddings need to be treasured and remembered with all kinds of keepsakes – tokens that you can hand down to your children one day. They try to sell you monogrammed pens, picture frames, toasting glasses, preserved wedding flowers, and vases to commemorate your wedding day. While mementos are certainly important, you don’t need to spend anything on them.
A photo album and your wedding dress are obviously the most significant mementos of this day. If you are on a tight budget, you can create your own album with the most significant photos from the day.
If you are not going to watch your wedding video regularly, you can easily skip this expense item. Rather than cluttering your room with heaps of mementos, spend this money on something really worthwhile.
9. Elaborate wedding invitations
Wedding invitations are so expensive that you can easily end up spending $20 on an invitation with the works. It’s much more reasonable to go with mass-produced invitations. Just because they are store-bought does not mean your invitations can’t be classy and beautiful. You can even find some designs by big-name designers such as Vera Wang! Ask your guests to respond via telephone or e-mail instead of adding a reply card or using usual postcards.
With the abundance of arts and crafts supplies available out there, you can easily make your own wedding invitations. Surf the Internet to find interesting designs and invite your friends to assist you.
Wedding invitations are commonly sent in more than one envelope, but this tradition is no longer rigidly enforced. You can send your whole invite in just one envelope, which could really help cut postage costs!
10. An extra large wedding cake
With their special decorations, wedding cakes can start out as expensive as $8 a slice. It’s easy to make a wedding cake very expensive by ordering a much larger size than you need. Too many couples order wedding cakes to serve 200 when they only have 100 guests.
A large cake is impressive, but it’s much cheaper to order a small wedding cake and serve the guests a separate, decorated sheet cake. You will significantly save your budget if you decide on a sheet cake. The ingredients are usually the same, but sheet cakes are plain and unpretentious in terms of decorations.
11. Hair & Makeup
When planning a wedding, an essential element is the bride’s makeup and hairstyle. These are mandatory attributes of a marriage, but often brides spend too much on decorating themselves, leading to overspending. In addition, a hair and makeup professional’s price list often includes payment for travel and lodging.
Choosing a wedding hairstyle is a responsible and complicated matter, but thanks to the availability of a lot of content on the Internet, you can easily do your hair and makeup without spending extra money. That choice not only allows you to save money but also to emphasize the individuality of the newlywed.
There are many options with step-by-step instructions for celebratory hairstyles for weddings of different lengths and thicknesses.
12. Live Band
Live music will significantly increase your entertainment costs at a wedding, as the average price varies depending on the number of musicians, the length of time they are on stage, and the setup of the equipment. A DJ can be a beneficial option when planning on a small budget.
Also, not everyone can enjoy live music and unknown compositions. A DJ is just one music professional, and everyone’s well-known compositions will sound from the speakers. In addition, you get to make a selection of unique tracks and do not have to worry about how your favorite songs will explode in a live performance.
When it comes time to get through with your menu choices, choosing catering for your wedding can add up to several times the cost. The price of catering is made up of several factors, like the cost of renting dishes, equipment, and furniture, as well as the length of the banquet, the season, and the number of people invited.
Although choosing a catering company is also responsible, you need to familiarize yourself with the services provided, reviews, and portfolios.
As an alternative, you can prepare a few variations of well-known and straightforward dishes on video and instructions from the Internet. In organizing a banquet, it is imperative to thoroughly think through everything in advance and make each guest feel comfortable.
14. Flower petals for the flower girl
Since ancient times there has been a tradition to shower the lovers with candy, coins, or rose petals. Undoubtedly this is a critical wedding accessory and a magnificent performance. However, if you do not plan to take petal baths during the next month, then a path studded with petals is unnecessary.
After the gala, these petals your guests will walk on will be collected in bags and thrown away; it’s not a reusable service. Instead, that money may find a better use for it.
15. Limousine rental
In addition to buying outfits and preparing for the banquet, newlyweds have to deal with such a problem as a wedding motorcade. A wedding motorcade that is stylish and smart is a visiting card and requires a lot of attention from the newlyweds. Unfortunately, society has imposed on us the attitude that the wedding must necessarily be a limousine.
At this time, wedding agencies offer entirely different colors of limousines at exorbitant prices. Although you can take that expense for yourself or a luxury wedding trip, it will still work out better than a limo service. A great alternative is to hire a cab or help from familiar drivers in personal cars.
Saving money without sacrificing the quality of the wedding is a real art. As practice shows, the more little things at a wedding, like a jar of young people, a garter, a ring cushion, a wish book, a cake spatula, the more unnecessary the waste.
Of course, if you plan to continue using all the decor items, it can be beneficial, but spending an impressive amount on impractical purchases is not worth it. All of these accessories are times more profitable to make yourself. The Internet is full of masterclasses on these topics, and it is not difficult at all.
Eliminating the top wedding money wasters can be a valuable way to get more money where it counts – the life that you need to build with your partner after the guests go home. With hundreds of ideas out there, you can still have your dream wedding without having to break the bank! It’s up to you what expense items to include or remove from this list, but you should be aware of these 10 major wedding money wasters.
What do you think are the biggest wedding money wasters? Share your thoughts in the comments!