Pricey engraved cake server sets - Many couples buy these sets with the hopes that their children will use them and add their names and dates to the engraving. This probably won’t happen. These sets will only be used for 10 minutes and the bride and groom’s hands will be covering the handles while they are in use. A simple an inexpensive set can be purchased at a craft store or discount chain for a tenth of the price of the silver engraved sets. Some websites even sell sets at a similar price and offer engraving of the more affordable cake serving sets.
Expensive guest book and designer pens - The only person who will look at the cover of the guest book other than the bride and groom is the person who opens it because they are in charge of asking people to sign it. It is considered a nice memento for the bride and groom but the important part will be the signatures and well wishes from the guests, not how fancy the cover was, who the designer was or how expensive the pens were. Plus those expensive fancy pens often run out of ink quickly. Get an affordable guest book and if you must do something special for the pens get regular ink pens personalized with the wedding information and a thank you to your guests so they double as wedding favors.
Gifts for the bride and groom from each other - The bride and groom should be the gifts for each other. What better gift is there than a pledge of eternal love? If this tradition is important to the bride and groom why not exchange handwritten notes or small sentimental tokens?
Limousine services - Although it may be tempting to hang out of the sun roof and shout to the world to announce the wedding, limos really aren’t necessary. Get some cheap window decals that say just married, tie up some tin cans and use it as the getaway car. Just be sure to wash it that morning or the day before.
Inviting everyone and anyone as guests - They say it takes a village to raise a child and indeed it does. Must the entire village attend that child’s wedding? The couple should only invite close family and friends. A good rule of thumb is if the couple would expect to be invited to the persons wedding, and would attend if convenient, then the couple should invite that person. It is also not necessary to give everyone plus ones. If the couple’s parents are paying for a wedding they may add to the guest list but some math should be done to show them how much they could save if they shortened the guest list. Well meaning parents may not realize that each guest costs more than just what the per person cost is from the caterer.
Groom’s cake - If the groom really wants a cake they should have it. Most weddings include so many desserts that many wind up in the garbage. This is a more expensive option than some other dessert choices and unless it is important to the groom it can be avoided. Why not switch in an ice cream cake or something similar from the grocery store?
Matching bridesmaids’ dresses - Let the bridesmaids have a pick of a few colors and let them choose their own style so they actually have a dress they will use again. This can still be coordinated and matching accessories and bouquets can be used to give the wedding party a polished look. Since the groomsmen’s tuxes will most likely be rented, the vests can be matched with the dress of the bridesmaid they are accompanying.
Professional makeup – Makeup counters will do your makeup for free or with the purchase of one product. Lipstick is often the best product to buy as you will need it throughout the day. Other counters will ask you to buy a $50 gift card for your makeup session which you can use for products that day or give as a gift. You can also save it for later if you already own the makeup you will be using.
Wedding video - You will look at your wedding photos but how often will you watch the wedding video? If you do splurge on this at least get it edited for highlights to a fun song.
The dress - Yes, “the dress” does indeed make the list. Every bride wants to feel like a princess on their wedding day. The reality is it is the most expensive piece of attire many brides will ever own and it will only be worn for one day. If a bride is lucky, she will have a daughter that wants to use pieces of the dress to make her own 25 years from now. Most times this doesn’t happen. Saving money on a wedding dress doesn’t have to mean shopping at a chain store and buying something from the clearance rack. Sites that sell pre-owned dresses, consignment shops and thrift stores offer designer dresses at bargain basement prices. All it takes is shopping in advance and some time paired with determination. Some formal wear consignment stores purchase overstock and last year’s designs at rock bottom prices so a brand new dress at clearance prices can be found. Using a white prom or formal gown can also save lots of cash if the bride doesn’t have her heart set on lots of fluff and a train.
Wedding photography - Unlike the wedding video you may actually display a few of these and even make a wedding album that you will flip through from time to time. These albums are especially useful to help remind the bride and groom how happy they were on their wedding day in the middle of a fight. The last thing the bride and groom will want to stare at is Uncle Joe’s finger in all of the shots after he swore he could take better pictures than any fancy photographer the bride and groom may have hired.
It is okay to splurge on a few things, however. In fact it is recommended.
Lingerie for after the wedding - This is probably one of the better gifts the bride can give the groom.
A wedding planner or day of coordinator - Being relaxed at the wedding is invaluable.