(Closed) What things are you happy you cut out, skimped on, or wish you had?

posted 4 years ago in Money
Post # 16
251 posts
Helper bee

We didn’t pay for transportation (I have a personal white vehicle I paid for a thorough cleaning lol). We didn’t do special chairs, and had plain white tableclothes. My shoes were maybe $10. We stayed with a wine & beer only bar. We didn’t have a DJ – our lovely MC was a friend of mine who we asked to press play on my iPod. I designed our invites and we had them printed locally for cheap. We had cupcakes that weren’t anything fancy (but were freakin’ delish). We didn’t do Save the Dates. No videographer. No ceremony programs. 


We splurged on the venue, food, and photog. We had beautiful pictures & very nommy food. We did pick up the cost of the bridesmaids’ dresses & groomsmens’ tux rentals, as well as their first hotel night. 


No regrets at all. For a 75 person wedding, we paid $11k at the end of it all. 


One of the things that wasn’t cost related that we did cut a bit was the ceremony itself. Usually in my family/church they do either a candle lighting thing or a sand thing, and then tons of readings. We were outside in August, on a river. I cut all that out and got the ceremony down to less than 30 minutes. It was short, sweet, and then everyone could go get food & drink and cool down. We had a lot of people comment that they were glad it wasn’t an hour long ordeal – not that they would have necessarily cared or minded, but it was hot out, and it sped up the day to the relaxing portion. (Plus then I didn’t have to stand up there for too long, lol)

Post # 17
2163 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - Valleybrook Country Club

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christina82 :  Happy I didn’t use a florist!! I used ecoflower.com and they looked amazing! Everyone was complimenting the flowers and they were much less expensive than a florist. I also ordered in bulk from them and made my own centerpiece arrangements with the eco flowers. Overall I spent about $600 on all bouquets, boutineers, and centerpiece flowers. I have had friends and family spend THOUSANDS of dollars on real flowers from a florist.

Post # 18
3187 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

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christina82 :  I’m actually super glad I DIDNT skimp out on the invitations. (Ordered a foil invitation from minted; painted a watercolor liner for the envelope that is a scene of our ceremony space, hand calligraphied the addresses; custom calligraphy return address stamp; wax seal). I love pretty paper and couldn’t be happier how they turned out. Plus I got SO MANY unsolicited compliments on them! People say “no one notices and just tosses the invite anyway” – well people DO notice if your invitation stands out (for better or worse).

glad we’re skipping on having a photobooth, live band (hired a DJ), and wedding planner.

Post # 19
538 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

What a wonderful and helpful thread! Thank you for starting it!

After attending many weddings where all the favors were left behind in a wet mess on each table, I said forget it.  So I didn’t have favors.

i made nice programs myself with my computer and printer. These get used at the ceremony but left behind at the end so I invested nothing in them.

i had very simple (elegant?) invitations printed by a printer but I made the insert card myself describing hotel and transportation info for Out of Town guests.

i skipped the fancy, expensive dessert buffet that the caterer was insisting I “needed” and instead had a fresh made dessert crepes & ice cream station that was manned by a chef/server.  This actually cost less then the boring dessert buffet and our guests went nuts at how good this was and so different.

No wedding cake! I feel that traditions are so important but I think they blind us to what could be a more enjoyable- and most often less expensive!- alternative.  

i only had to pay half of a very inexpensive florist bill because I antiqued-mirrored the vases and painted the mirrored display bases (all dollar store) and just let the florist keep them in the end.  Had no future use or storage for them.  I dropped it all off weeks before my wedding.  She did the set up the morning-of at the hotel.  Why do brides stress themselves out doing Costco flowers the morning of their weddings!? Noooo……

No seating cards and table signs because I let everyone sit where they wanted.  Everyone loves that.

No wedding party. Hooray! No stress!

i put the huge majority of my budget into the overflowing delicious food, all night sushi bar and open bar.  

I had a hospitality room at the hotel for the Out of Town guests with breakfast lunch and dinner I arranged for them for 2 days . I am all about treating my guests with lots of love and appreciation.

I also agree with the Bees who put money into their photographers and videographers.  Lifetime memories. 

Keep your great advice coming!!

Post # 23
5304 posts
Bee Keeper

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christina82 :  My daughter designed STD style invites for our wedding and I loved how they turned out (and super inexpensive). May not be a good ‘fit’ for a more formal wedding though. 

What I’m happy I cut out:  Pre-wedding events, rehearsal dinner, ‘party bus’/limos etc

Where we scrimped : DIY decoratons, table settings etc. photography by family members, cake (went with bakery slab cake, under $100), wedding clothes and shoes (casual, beach wear), made our own playlists, husband borrowed friend’s professional sound system, ceremony & reception at same place (loved this actually), make-up (my daughter did mine and she did a terrific job). Flowers- we got sunflowers, large for decorations, smaller for bouquets, from grocery florist, unbelievably cheap. 

What we spent money on: open bar, lots of food. bombonieres (favours, tradition in my husband’s fam). And I’m glad I paid to have our hair done professionally, the hairdresser came to our house the morning of the wedding, we had champagne etc – and besides adding to the overall ambiance, it felt nice to be pampered the morning of my wedding

Actually food could come under either scrimped or splurged because we had a full buffet (tons of food, tons of choices) but we got an amazing deal so best of both worlds, we scrimped but it felt like we splurged (about $3000 for 100 people, included lots of extra choices, could have gone basic for even less)

What I wish we’d spent on:

DJ, while it was fun creating playlists, I think a professional DJ would have helped everything flow better.

DOC- nothing went majorly wrong (except the A/C broke halfway through and more people ended up at the outdoor patio area than inside dancing) but a DOC would have freed us up from a lot of co-ordinating stuff we did ourselves. 

Definitely decorators/ clean up crew- Even with my husband, my son and daugher, step daughter and a handful of extended fam helping- I vastly underestimated how long it would take to decorate the night before. In hindsight I would have paid decorators their weight in gold to do this for us! Ditto next day clean up (we got the venue really cheap, know the owners, but clean up was our responsibilty, not sure if this is standard or because of the low cost he was giving us). 


Post # 24
3187 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

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christina82 :  to be fair, I DIYd the calligraphy (took me about 2 months of practice to feel confident about it – bought a learning packet for $5), and I painted the watercolor liner myself (watched a lot of YouTube videos and painted it about a dozen times before I made one I liked). So I did go all out on the invitations, but I didn’t outsource it. 

Post # 26
17 posts
  • Wedding: August 2018

We’re putting almost half of our budget into the venue and food because we wanted a beautiful location and also memorable dining. So we’ve been trying to cut costs in other places becaue we want to remain in the budget. Here’s what I’ve found so far:

1. Costco/Sam’s Club flowers (mainly roses)! Wayyy cheaper if you want fresh flowers but don’t want to break the bank. We have 3-4 people volunteered to put together the bouquets the night before.

2. No DJ. We’re not dancing people and wanted to focus more on the food, so this was an easy decision for us. We’re doing an acoustic guitarist for the ceremony then an ipod for after dinner.

3. Costco invites – only 69 cents per card, plus you save when you bundle.

4. No videographer. We will probably never watch the video, so we decided to ditch it. Nice photographer though to capture the moments.

5. Minimal decorations. We chose an expensive venue that has a beautiful garden, so we won’t have to do much to decorate.

Hope this helps! Looking forward to seeing other ideas on this thread 🙂

Post # 27
28 posts
  • Wedding: May 2017

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christina82 :  We used potted flowers from the grocery store, IKEA planters and Costco tealights to decorate. It was simple and beautiful because there were so many candles everywhere.  I bought my dress on sale for $700.  My sister made our wedding cake (I am lucky, she makes “Cake Boss” quality cakes for a hobby) and it was beautiful and delish.  My DH’s cousin who loves photography and is very talented did our photos. My mom made the favors (simple little paper lace boxes of Hershey’s Kisses), and our invitations were 35 cents each on Vista Print. We had a small wedding party.  Dh’s family is full of musicians so we had very good live entertainment.  My best childhood friend is a hair dresser and did my hair as a gift. We saved on a lot but we are also lucky to have a lot of talented and supportive people around us.  Ladies from our church decorated the altar and outside urns with flowers and tule too.  Everyone was so kind! It was a great example of family and community coming together to make an event lovely.

We did spend money on linens and chair covers.  At 150 guests this was not cheap.  But it was totally worth it.  It made our very simple wedding look more elegant and pulled together.  I also splurged on Badgley Mischkas, a gorgeous veil and a lovely shoulder cover from Etsy.  Wine was local and a bit expensive but worth it.  

Post # 28
7949 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

i used vistaprint for my stds and invites, my bm a graphic designed desgined them and we used VP to print.  my entire wedding suite plus thank you notes cost $300.  i priced the exact same thing out with 2 different stationary stores and it was over $1000. 

i splurged on food bc that was important to DH and me.


Post # 29
3841 posts
Honey bee

I was happy we skipped programs, happy we didn’t spend too much on favors (would’ve been happier to skip all together), and sad we didn’t splurge for a videographer. I don’t remember a lot of that day and would’ve enjoyed a video. 

Post # 30
1529 posts
Bumble bee

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christina82 :  I wish we would have spent more on photography and maybe had a second photographer instead of just one. 

We splurged on our music which I don’t regret. 

We also last minute booked a videographer and I don’t regret it. They were so fun to work with and I can’t wait to see the video.

We didn’t spend the extra money on chair covers or nicer chairs, and I don’t regret it. I don’t even remember seeing the chairs honestly. 

We also splurged on our honeymoon more than anything, and have absolutely zero regrets on that (just got back 2 days ago)!

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