The Top 8 Items Couples Regret Spending Their Wedding Budget on
“It’s a wedding? Hang on… we need to add a zero to that quote!”
Sound familiar? Well, it’s my aim with this article to help you avoid overspending on a few things that most of my past couples tell me they wished they hadn’t overindulged on when it was all over…
One thing you’re probably working on right now is your wedding budget. You have a certain amount of cash to spend and you’re looking at the long list of things you need to buy and thinking:
“Can we afford that?”
“How much is typical / expected to spend on the flowers or cake?”
Making the right choices is so important to your special and unique day
You’ll only do it once (hopefully) and there’s a lot of pressure – sometimes too much – to get it ‘just right’.
There are the obvious areas that you need to spend more on and then the random and slightly usual practices that you might want to politely ignore. It’ll all help with your budget.
For all the tips I’m about to give, remember this:
Your wedding is the biggest and most fun party you’ll ever likely throw. Laugh, love, dance, and invite the best people. It’s your day, your way, and your call. Don’t be pressured by convention or tradition.
This advice is compiled from the many post-wedding conversations I’ve had with my couples over the years…
1. An overly-expensive wedding dress
Right, let’s get this one out of the way first. Please don’t hate me for saying this, but…
… you’ll only wear it once!
It’s great for photos, it’s wonderful for the first glance with your partner, it’s going to make you feel amazing… but don’t blow a disproportionate amount of your wedding pot on it.
When I talk to brides about their wedding and their fondest memories, hardly any of them (if any) ever mention the dress! They talk about the speeches, the ceremony, the overseas guests who made it, the entertainment, the wonderful gifts, and that first breakfast with the people they love.
Get a great dress, just don’t try to out-do a princess with a global budget. Don’t over-spend, unless you are utterly loaded. In which case you don’t need to be reading this article!
Lydia’s dress was made from her mother’s wedding dress material!
2. Table Favours
Your tables will look fabulous right up until the point that your guests sit down. I always try to get photos of the table layouts because I know they’ll only stay pretty for a few minutes and people will not remember (or care!) how they looked.
The most stunning tables I’ve seen are also the most simple and elegant.
Sure, it’ll be amazing to give all your guests Moulton Brown hand cream or chocolates hand-crafted in London tied up with fresh lavender and ribbon woven by fairies…
… but it’d be better if the seats were comfortable and the wine was good!
If you’re going to do favours, I’d recommend something personal people can take home or use on the day. They’ll remember that… Katharine & Ciaron had some old-fashioned sweets in little stripy paper bags. Simple and lovely. Don’t blow too much £££ on favours!
3. Renting a post box for the evening reception
A post box is an easy way to mail away some budget that some of my couples have told me they wished they’d not bothered with.
Consider just letting people leave cards and presents in a lovely box with a slot or simply on a nice table that’s safely located inside the venue, surrounded by your guests. Not out of sight in a side room or lobby. This is good advice even if you do choose to go with a post box!
4. Expensive invitations
You are cordially invited to not waste your dosh! Check out online designers and printers, or look at Not on the High Street.
DIY invites are even better and a great job to do if you’re struggling to avoid watching Don’t Tell the Bride or visiting the venue for the seventh time just to check that the hinges on the entrance will match the groom’s socks…
… it doesn’t matter!
Invitations are expensive and there’s a huge amount of money spent – and as it turns out (according to my brides) – wasted on invites! Spend it on something else instead.
5. The Decorations
If budget allows, choosing a venue with naturally attractive interiors and style reduces the need to spend more on additional decorations. A marquee is better simple than over-dressed. My advice is to keep things minimal, simple and therefore – just lovely!
Want to blow a few hundred quid on something no one will notice or see? Upgrade your honeymoon suite instead and get that jetstream bath with champers!
6. Your Transport
You probably don’t want to get an Uber to your wedding (although it has been done). But spending £1,000s on a beautiful old wedding car is not compulsory either. In fact, if your bridal prep, ceremony and reception are in the same place you won’t even need a car!
Hiring a soft-top in the UK could be a bit brave in my experience. You might find that when you leave the ceremony the heavens open. They’re also bloomin’ windy and will mess up your hair!
Instead, get a sensible high-end transport company to pick you up in a couple of nice motors and get you there in air-conditioned comfort. Or ask around your family and friends for someone with a nice car you can borrow.
Amy’s gorgeous wedding car belonged to an old friend, and it cost her precisely £0 to get dropped off at Jephson Gardens in Leamington Spa!
7. The Flowers
When did something that came out of the ground for free become so expensive? Flowers are an important decision for many and can be an amazing way to add colour to a church, ceremony room and reception, but you don’t have to spend £500+ on them…
Go simple, go elegant, go to Marks & Spencer’s if you like or at least cut back on your flower budget like you would on your rose bush.
Some of the most beautifully elegant bouquets I’ve seen were made by the bride and her bridesmaids as part of the bridal prep. Just like these ones below!
8. The Cake
I’ve seen some amazing professional cakes over the years. Wedding cakes have come a long way! There are some super talented cake bakers out there, no doubt about it.
But… they can cost a lot!
A cake looks great in the photos, but it’s rarely something you’ll be giving credit to for an amazing day.
Many of my couples regret spending so much of their budget on a cake that most guests nibbled on as they were full up from dinner.
Do you have a keen baker in your family or friends? When I got married back in 2010, I asked a close friend (who’s baking obsessed) if she’d be interested in doing our wedding cake. She was honoured and relieved as it became her unique wedding present to us.
Fern & Sully’s homemade cake at their wedding looked amazing to me. Fern made it with her mum – a great excuse to spend some time with your folks. The top tier was polystyrene as they didn’t actually need that much cake! Another cost-saving tip!
Here’s what my couples have told me WAS worth spending money on…
The honeymoon. This is your first holiday as a married couple. Unless you really love Blackpool, push the boat out… to another beach!
Wedding rings. Unlike the cake and favours, you’ll have these forever! Spend wisely.
Good photography and videography. I’ve got to mention this. Your images are a lasting and visual memory of the day. It’s worth spending more, as you’ll get more. More experience, more skills, and more quality.
Good caterers and drinks packages. It’s a party! Cheesy Wotsits won’t cut it. Get some good budget assigned to the core of any party, the booze, and food!
Here are some of the replies from my previous brides when I asked them:
Avoid an overly expensive wedding dress– “I got my wedding dress in a Black Friday sale. The saving paid for alterations and the honeymoon!”
Don’t worry about table favours– “These are a nice touch but no need to spend a fortune. We bulk bought some old-fashioned sweets and put them in pretty paper bags.”
Forget making expensive invitations– “I knew I didn’t want to spend much on these. I don’t get why people include an envelope and stamp. We let people RSVP by WhatsApp/text or email!”
Invest in good photography & videography– “I wanted someone who ‘got’ us as well as being able to get some memorable snaps.”
Don’t worry about a late bar– “For me, my biggest spending regret was extending the bar hours with the venue. We paid way more than I would have liked in order to do it as we thought the guests would prefer a later bar. In reality, most people had started to go home by the original time we were supposed to end the night in the first place, so the extra time was a complete waste of money.”
I don’t regret having amazing photography– “Our amazing photographer package was the best money we spent! Having two photographers was genius to ensure no shot was missed and getting two different angles of the same shot at times was amazing. Upgrading to the Gif Robot for guests was also brilliant. Our guests actually still talk about it now, almost a year later!”
Go all out on your honeymoon – “I would advise any prospective newlyweds to go all out on their honeymoon, and to go on said honeymoon two or three days after the wedding. This gives you a few days to decompress, open gifts and cards and truly bask in your newlywed status.”
To find out more about the photography packages I offer (and why they’re worth the investment!) simply give me a call on 07739 251 027 or email me.