I still remember the excitement of getting engaged and having a wedding to plan. That excitement soon turned to a feeling of being overwhelmed – not only with the number of things to organize, but the number of options for each one.
We knew that wedding costs could balloon. According to Weddingbells’ Annual Reader Survey, the expected cost of a wedding in Canada in 2014 was $31,685. On average, couples planned to pay for 13% of that with a credit card or line of credit. (There are better alternatives to credit cards for couples with good credit!)
Managing the cost of the wedding was really important for us. We had a massive spreadsheet where we compared costs for everything.
We quickly learned to ask questions about different types of fees to make sure we were comparing apples to apples. Would there be a chair rental fee? A chair coverrental fee? An additional fee for different colourof chair cover? You get the picture. My favourite was the cake plating fee.
“Let me get this straight. Even if we bring our own cake, you’ll charge a $5 fee per piece to cut it?”
The most important thing for us was to show our family and friends how much we loved and appreciated them. It was important for us to spend our budget on things that they’d enjoy (read: food, drink) and cut out the things we didn’t think they’d care about.
So, without further ado, here are 4 things the wedding industry says are “must-haves” that your guests will never miss:
We planned to do the classic flower-in-a-vase centrepiece. Simple, and relatively inexpensive at about $15 each. Fairly last minute, we found out the venue would provide candles on the tables for free. Not having “official” centrepieces would save us over $200. In the grand scheme of the budget it wasn’t a ton, but I asked myself:
“If I saw $200 lying on the street, would I pick it up?”
Obviously, yes. Did my fiancé care about centerpieces? Not a chance.
I really love stationery. But we set a wedding date just over 3 months from when we got engaged, so we didn’t have a lot of time. And the cost of the invitations, stamps, return cards and stamped return envelopes would add up quickly.
We decided to use an online invitation and collect RSVPs through our wedding website. Paperless Post has lovely electronic wedding invitations, and you can create custom websites through WeddingWire and The Knot. Many websites offer planning tools to manage guest lists and RSVPs – if you’re doing this anyway, your guests won’t miss a paper invite.
Confession – we actually had programs at our wedding. It was a DIY project with a friend who had some cool embossing tools (I told you I was a stationery nerd). But were they necessary? Totally not. Would our guests have noticed if we didn’t have them? Don’t think so.
This is one area where less is more – I actually think your wedding guests will have a better time if you don’t have a videographer! No stranger intruding on the experience and getting in the way to get the best angle. No professional capturing those embarrassing moments on the dance floor. And no risk of you having them over a few months after the wedding and saying “Hey, want to check out our 45-minute long wedding video?”
If your goal is to show your family and friends a good time, I think you could totally do without these things. What do you think? What “must-haves” did you go without, or plan to go without at your wedding?
Eva is COO of Borrowell. She and her husband have been happilymarried for almost 7 years despite not having centrepieces at their wedding.
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