10 Wedding Options That Seem Cheap but Are Actually Deceptively Expensive

By: Elizabeth Ervin
| Published:
February 26, 2023

Weddings can be expensive. Even when finding budget-friendly solutions, when not done correctly, can turn into deceptively costly events defeating the purpose of being budget savvy.

Because we are helping people plan affordable weddings, this post engaged me, and I wanted to share it. Someone asked, “What wedding options seem cheap but are deceptively expensive?” Here are the top discussions.

1. Wedding Makeup

Image Credit: sidrahsana From Canva.com.

Basic makeup is expensive. Decent makeup is even more costly. A few years ago, makeup was nowhere near the cost of today’s inventory. The CVS drugstore makeup is $15- to $20 per product nowadays. Sephora is one of the biggest culprits in the high-priced makeup industry. One User recalled spending “like $100 and only coming out with three products.”

The consensus of the brides in this thread is that if you do not usually wear makeup, the DIY option may become more expensive and stressful than paying the makeup professionals who have all the things and know-how.

2. DIY Weddings

diy weddingsImage Credit: Deposit Photos – jirivondrous.

DIY or do-it-yourself weddings can incur high costs if you don’t budget accordingly, aren’t artsy, or have crafty help. I say this because of the “trial and error” portion of figuring out DIY if you’re entirely foreign to arts and crafts.

However, if DIY is your game, or you have a couple of friends and family members who are crafty and want to help, DIY weddings can save you a small fortune.

3. Free Outdoor Wedding Venues

free outdoor wedding venuesImage Credit: Deposit Photos- ZigicDrazen

The allure of a free outdoor wedding venue is enticing. However, once you factor in the cost of all the rentals, it can prove more costly than an all-inclusive wedding venue. Additionally, it involves more of your time, and “time equals money.” Of course, there are alternatives to renting, including DIY wedding tents.

4. Secondhand Wedding Dresses

preowned wedding dressesImage Credit: Deposit Photos – NatashaFedorova.

You don’t need to spend your life savings on a wedding dress! There are plenty of budget-friendly alternatives. However, one option, the secondhand wedding dress, can sometimes become deceptively expensive.

For example, an ill-fitting dress on sale or a hand-me-down can become more costly with fittings, alterations, and added embellishments such as beadwork.

5. Fake Flowers

faux wedding flowersImage Credit: alessandrovecchiphoto From Canva.com.

Regarding volume, many brides suggested that fake flowers are the cheaper alternative to fresh arrangements. However, one warned, “Don’t be fooled by Sola Wood Flower sales that are like $200 for 1000 flowers!”

It doesn’t include everything you need to create them: paint, glue, stems, vases, or filler and greenery. Additionally, the DIY labor and trial and error can add up for those who aren’t into the benefits of DIY naturally.

Popular Reading: Bulk Flowers: Where to Buy Wholesale Wedding Flowers Online

6. Lower Guest Count

wedding guest listImage Credit: Helgy From Canva.com.

One user warned that a lower guest count doesn’t ensure savings regarding expenses such as catering. And many brides confessed to sharing the experience.

“We’re paying about 65% more per person for catering from the same vendor for the same menu as they have tiered pricing based on guest counts.”

The explanation is that they must make a minimum amount of money to take on a wedding because they can only host one event per day.

7. Bar Packages

wedding bar packagesImage Credit: IVASH Studio From Canva.com.

While there are many alternatives to an open-bar wedding, many choose to go with it. Someone explained having a venue quote them $15 per beverage regardless of what was in the cup!

Another did the math and suggested, “My wedding had an open bar included in the proposal. So I did the math, and it was $130 per head in six hours.” So they opted to nix the open-bar package and went by consumption instead.

8. Buffets

Wedding buffet mealsImage Credit: Deposit Photos – .shock.

A buffet option may sound like a cheaper alternative to individual plates, but it can be deceptive. It largely depends on the caterer. One bride shared that the dinner buffet option of her caterer costs two times as much “since they have to assume everyone would get one of everything.”

9. Food Trucks

Food Trucks WeddingsImage Credit: Deposit Photos – nenetus.

Another way people attempt to save money on food is with food trucks. However, one suggested it’s not worth it. You either have long wait times in line or have to hire multiple food trucks to take care of your guests. However, one argued it is doable with a one-option plate versus providing a full menu.

Popular Reading: Wedding Freebies: A Huge List of Free Wedding Stuff for Your Big Day

10. Wedding Signage and Favors

wedding favorsImage Credit: Deposit Photos – elitravo.

Finally, the signage and favors were expensive, time-consuming, and not worth it to many. One noted that most people leave whatever favors you purchased or took the time to create on the tables before they go. They don’t care about it as much as you do.

This thread inspired this post. 

Featured Image Credit: Deposit Photos – NatashaFedorova.

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