Planning a wedding can be a bigger expense than expected and sometimes it’s tough to decide where you should spend your hard earned coin.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with planning a fancy yet budget friendly wedding, sometimes things are worth the additional money and sometimes they aren’t!
Should you splurge on that perfect dress? Should you skip the high quality entertainment?
What’s important to you right now might not be so important on the day of your wedding, so I took to Instagram and asked past brides what their biggest regret was when planning their wedding budget. The answers might surprise you!
Linens and Venue Upgrades
The majority of brides regretted spending extra money on venue upgrades and fancy linens.
At the end of the day, your guests don’t really care which napkins you used, how your chair covers looked, or if your charger plates were cast in gold.
Small details like this might make your wedding “look” come together, but your guests aren’t going to leave your reception raving about your tablecloth choice.
Many other brides described spending way too much money on wedding invitations. The graphic designer in me can see both sides to this situation — on one hand, a really nice, unique, custom invitation can really set the tone for your wedding if done correctly.
This is particularly true if you have a theme in mind as your invitation is sort of like an introduction to your whole event and should portray what the guests can expect.
In our invites shown above, our ceremony was going to be held on a mountaintop, so I wanted the invitations to portray that. I DIY’d these to save money but still achieved the effect I wanted. I even included a little illustrated map which would guide guests around the ceremony space to the reception.
On the other hand, for the budget bride, paying for totally custom invites can sometimes put a dent in your pocket… but they don’t have to! You can always look for pre-made wedding invitations from places like Minted, or if you’ve got an artistic side — DIY those babies!
That’s what I ended up doing, but again, I am partial to custom designing because it’s in my blood. (See how I made our invitations here!)
Surprisingly, guest favors were also at the top of the budget regrets list. Little wedding trinkets and gifts for your guests are such a thoughtful way to express your gratitude to those that came to share your special day with you, however they are costly and (as many brides admitted) not worth it.
Many guests even forget to take their favor home with them, leaving dozens of leftovers and wasted money behind. Instead, creating a memorable experience for your guests is priceless!
If you can think of something unique that your guests would enjoy AT the venue, that can also double as a wedding favor.
For example, I hired a caricature artist who created custom portraits of the guests. It was a hit and guests could take home their custom drawing.
Jewelry and Accessories
Those little pieces of jewelry and accessories really can add up… especially if you’re purchasing them to wear for only one day.
Our Instagram brides regretted spending so much on bling (and shoes!) and instead recommend buying pieces that you can wear again, if anything.
Borrowing a special piece or two from a loved one is also an option and can signify your traditional “something borrowed” idea.
What would you spend MORE on if you could have?
I also decided to ask the brides what they wish they had spent more money on if they could have. Here’s what they said:
Photography & Videography
By far, these two choices were the top contenders, and quite honestly, I was happy to see them up there as I spent the majority of my own budget on an amazing photographer and videographer.
As any bride will tell you, your wedding day goes by so quickly. Anybody who can help create lasting memories that allow you to relive the day is worth splurging on, in my opinion.
Our Instagram brides regretted not spending more on a photographer and many regretted not having a videographer at all.
I agree that shopping for a photography/videographer for your wedding is super important! Being able to watch your special day again and again in video form is something that you definitely will NOT regret.
When searching for someone to capture your day, be sure to do your research and read reviews. Are they experienced in wedding photography? It takes a special skill and not every photographer specializes in this area.
Find out if they are charging you by the hour or for the full day (I recommend a full day!). Also, and most importantly, be sure that you LOVE their work! Not every photographer has the same style of shooting. Find someone that you absolutely love and don’t be afraid to dedicate a little bit more of your budget to booking them if you need to.
Food and Drinks
Lots of brides wished they had spent a little more on the food because it is definitely something that guests will remember!
Delicious food is key to any great wedding and of course you want to make sure that nobody goes hungry throughout the day. Putting a little more of your budget aside for additional appetizers, desserts, treats, and drinks will allow your guests to leave happy… and full!
Now that you’ve heard from the experienced brides, will you rethink any aspect of your own wedding?
I know that their tips definitely helped me make a few changes to my own budget. Either way, the day is yours. Cherish it, appreciate it, and most of all have fun with everyone who loves you.
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