Too Many Memories – There are so many vendors out there selling you mementos that can be personalized to be passed on to your children and their children and that will preserve the memories of your wedding day forever. Do you really need an entire closet full of wedding mementos to pass along to your children? Do the mementos you do save need to be super personalized? How often will you really watch that wedding video that you have to have a pro do it?
You will probably make an album or a scrapbook with pictures, a sample of your wedding invitation and other wedding stationery and other mementos. You may have your dress and bouquet preserved and your glasses don’t need to have your wedding date etched into them to be saved. In fact your children will probably be more likely to honor you (and save money!) by using them if they aren’t personalized to you. Why fill your closet with wedding mementos when you can leave room for new memories?
Extra Large Wedding Party – Okay so you have 3 friends who had you as a bridesmaid, two sisters, a very close cousin and his sister has been helping so much with the wedding anyway… Stop right there! You, of course, want to include everyone in your special day and let them know how much they mean to you. The larger your wedding party, the more it will cost. Bouquets, boutonnieres, gifts for your groomsmen and bridesmaids and countless other little expenses will draw from your budget for each attendant you have.
Choose the select few people you really want by your side. Don’t choose from obligation or guilt. Give the honor to those who really deserve it. Your bridal party should make you happy. Assign other special positions to the people who are runner ups but didn’t quite make the cut. You will still need readers, candle lighters, ushers other people to assist you on the day of your wedding. A special mention in the program to thank anyone who was an enormous help with the wedding planning is also a nice gesture.
Flowers, Flowers everywhere – I called my priest to ask him what the acceptable donation was for his services since my parish performs weddings without any charge to the couple. He told me none was necessary then told me a joke about a priest friend of his who was asked the same question by a father of the bride. That priest told the father of the bride that 20% of the wedding flower budget was acceptable. I laughed of course but then I thought of how insane that the bride’s flower budget must have been to inspire that joke. My wedding flowers cost $600 start to finish. The $600 includes a few flowers for centerpieces, a couple arrangements for the church and bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages (mostly silk flowers). This is not the average price tag for flowers. Quotes I got for the fresh equivalent of the flower arrangements I used started at $1,500.
Use silk flowers if you can. If you must have fresh flowers choose flowers that will be in season locally at the time of your wedding. The more abundant the flowers at that time and in that area, the cheaper your florist will be able to buy them. Discuss alternatives with your florist so if a certain flower isn’t available locally for some reason they can substitute another instead of shipping the flower from further away. If you absolutely must have a certain type of exotic (read expensive) flower then use it sparingly and use lots of cheaper blooms and greenery to fill out your bouquets and centerpieces. Reuse the flowers from your ceremony for the cake table or consider non floral centerpieces for the reception.