Cutting the Wedding Cost: What You Should and Shouldn't Leave Out

When you’re on a tight budget or when you’re paying for your wedding yourself, the need to cut costs as much as you can is very real. However, there are just some things related to your wedding that you shouldn’t cut, and in fact invest more into if you are able to. What you actually need for a nice wedding and reception can be essentially narrowed down for a few key items, and of course should be taken into consideration based on personal preferences.

Shouldn’t Cut: Photography

Sure, you have a friend of a friend who will shoot your wedding for free or at a steeply cheaper cost than other photographers you’ve looked at. But look at the experience of this person, their editing style (if they edit their images), turnaround time, and most importantly do they have a guarantee and contract. You won’t always have your wedding flowers (silk or real), you won’t remember the cake flavor, but you will always have the images captured from your wedding. Investing money into making sure those images are exactly as you want will never be a bad thing.

Should Cut: Cake and/or Grooms Cake

Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful cake. However, if you’re pressed for money and can’t afford an elaborate four tier confection, don’t beat yourself up about it. Talk to your baker about doing foam layers, or using buttercream instead of fondant or gumpaste. Go with a more simple design and have flowers added. Or, forget a formal cake all together, and do a cupcake tree in your preferred flavor.

Shouldn’t Cut: Food and Associated Rentals

Food is the biggest cost of a wedding, there is no getting around it. Whether you choose to have a restaurant or a private company cater, there are associated costs with not just the food, but the staff in order to serve and wait staff. Most caterers also include plates and silverware in their pricing (if not, ask for a quote directly), which should be considered if you’re weighing the choices between doing it yourself or not. Also, the entire matter of doing it yourself (or having a family member do it): the stress of you or your family having to cook and take care of those details when you’re supposed to be focusing on yourself and relaxing is completely unnecessary.

Should cut: Favors

When was the last time you actually enjoyed a wedding favor or used it? Personally, I do not care for favors, and do not see the added value they give to a wedding. I have yet to hear of a guest genuinely excited about receiving a favor; in fact, guests care more about spending time with the bride and groom, and being personally thanked for their attendance. If you focus your time and ensure that you have an interaction with everyone at your wedding, I promise that no one will notice that they didn’t receive a gift for coming.

Shouldn’t cut: Wedding Attire

As a firm believer in high quality clothing, of course I will suggest that you shouldn’t cut the cost of your wedding dress. With resale websites like OnceWed beginning to become more and more popular, one shouldn’t have to settle for a reproduction dress from Ebay or another auction site. A suggestion would be Etsy to look for something truly unique, or perhaps get into contact with your local university’s fashion department.

Should cut: Signage

Though wooden welcome signs, hashtag indicators, and paper programs are nice details, they are not necessary in order to have a stylish and well thought out wedding. With the rise of DIY couples, Etsy craftsmen and women have started producing customized pintables that you can have places like VistaPrint, Fedex, and event Walgreens print for a significantly lower cost than Wedding Paper Divas or Minted. Though I will always recommend a small business (like Sue Paperie of Ruston, LA or Paper and Things in Baton Rouge), there is no denying that doing the printable route is more cost effective. And, if you still want that welcome sign, look at printing and frame options, or DIY (a tutorial to come soon!). 


Poppies, I hope this was helpful in your planning journey! If you ever have any questions, feel free to email