Planning weddings can be really complicated—so many details, elements, and traditions. So many things to be designed, ordered, and organized. So why not cut some of it out? Your guests won’t notice, you’ll be less stressed, and you’ll cut a little—or a lot—from your wedding budget.
Wedding favors range from totally creative (read: time-consuming to create) to totally useless (but probably really cheap). Your guests don’t need favors: you’re entertaining and feeding them, and they’re really just there for you, anyway. Many brides find that a few boxes of favors are left at the end of the day, further reinforcing the fact that guests could usually care less about favors. Sure, they’re cute. But not necessary.
2. Save the Dates
Guests usually need 4-6 months’ notice to be able to plan accordingly for your wedding. Unless, of course, you’re planning a short engagement. If that’s the case, just send the invitations as soon as you have the details ironed out. For a longer engagement, skip the save the date and just send the invitation about 5 months before the day. You should have the date, time, and venues chosen by then, and that’s really all you need to include.
3. Bride / Groom Gifts
This is a sweet idea, and if you and your partner really want to do this, then go for it! Or you can save the money and splurge on the honeymoon instead. On your wedding day, you’re already giving yourself away—and that’s anticipation enough!
4. Bridesmaid robes
You know, those cute little monogrammed robes that all the bridesmaids wear while getting ready for the ceremony. Cute, expensive, and also unnecessary. That little detail will only ever be noticed by your bridesmaids, both in the moment and in photos, and you’re getting them bridesmaid gifts anyway. So unless the robe is the gift, just skip it.
5. Bridal party
It’s a huge honor to be asked to stand beside your friend as he or she gets married—but it’s also really pricey, and sometimes pretty complicated, depending on the number and type of relationships you have. Save your friends’ bank accounts and avoid offending anyone by simply not having a bridal party. No one will be offended. Let your friends know how much they mean to you, and explain to them why you’re not having a bridal party. You can still invite your nearest and dearest for the bachelorette/bachelor parties, and your best friend will still be more than happy to help plan showers and wedding day details.
6. Formal rehearsal dinner
Again, not necessary. Skip the formalities and plan a backyard BBQ instead, or plan your rehearsal after dinner and hit the bars with friends and family for a relaxed way to break the ice among opposite families and sets of friends.
7. Wedding dinner
So expensive. Cutting out appetizers and entrées can save a lot of money, and if you plan your ceremony between lunch and dinner, or after dinner for an evening affair, your guests really won’t care. Serve hors d’oeuvres or simply lemonade, ice-cream, and cake. This also takes table assignments and place card holders off of your to-do list.
Two words: iPod wedding. Instead of renting a DJ, build your own playlist, hook your iPod to the sound equipment (whether rented or included with the venue), and designate a friend to cue the songs at key points, such as the processional, first dance, and start of the dance party.
Instead of printing one of these for each guest, write the order of ceremony on a blackboard and display it when guests first enter, or display a few small blackboards at strategic points along the rows. This will give your guests an idea of what to expect, without wasting paper that no one will take home anyway. If you still want to include a program for each guest, go tiny and print the basics of the ceremony on business cards: Processional, Wedding Address, Vows, Kiss, Recessional, Party.
10. Customized aisle runners
Just skip these—no one will notice or care. Your flower girl will scatter rose petals for you, anyway. Those are charming enough.