Most couples reach a point in wedding planning where they feel like their to-do list, and maybe even their budget, is getting out of hand. And if that’s you right now, don’t fret – the One Fab Day team have got your back! Give us five minutes of your time and we’ll take a dozen or so wedding-related jobs off your hands… and maybe save you a few grand in the process. Because for every joyful wedding must-have, there’s a bunch of wedding non-essentials that you can cut from your big day without a single person noticing. So without further ado, here are 18 non-essentials that you can cut from your wedding right now.
Let’s be really clear – we’ve got no beef with the items on this list! Our picks include cute details, sweet touches and even a few long-standing traditions that are really lovely to incorporate into your wedding day, if you’re happy to take on the associated cost and effort. But if you’re actively looking to cut items from your to-do list, either for financial reasons, or because you need a little less stress in your life (and a little more time to enjoy the perks of being engaged, such as weeknight Prosecco!), this is a great place to start.
And there’s more good news! Ditching all of the items on this list could save you up to €7,500, which you can either keep in the bank for a rainy day or put towards your dream wedding dress, band or honeymoon! Of course, these numbers are approximate and we calculated them based on a wedding of around 140 guests, so don’t book that luxury suite without running your own numbers first. Another plus is that shortening your to-do list will give you extra time to catch up with guests on the week of your wedding. Now doesn’t that sound tempting?
1. Goodie Bags
We totally get the appeal of goodie bags or welcome bags – everybody likes free stuff and it’s fun seeing a flash of excitement in your pal’s face as she pulls a bag of her favourite crisps out of a personalised tote bag! But remember that for your guests, your wedding day is essentially a whole day of free stuff. You’re already paying for their meal and some of their drinks, and you’ve designed an epic night out with their tastes in mind. They absolutely do not need more freebies, and even if they did, they probably couldn’t fit them all in their clutch bags anyway.
A simpler alternative: Make a page on your wedding website filled with helpful information for out-of-towners, and print out a photo of you with each of your guests to leave at their place setting.
How much you’ll save: €100 – €1000+, depending on the number of guests, and whether you’re putting them together for everyone or just guests from abroad.
2. Bouquets for your Mothers
We’re of the belief that you should take every possible opportunity to make a fuss of your mum, but handing her a bouquet during the wedding speeches doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to us. She probably doesn’t want to carry it around with her all night, and it’s unlikely that the flowers will survive the journey home.
A simpler alternative: Arrange for a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to your mum’s and your partner’s mum’s house the week after the wedding. They’ll be thrilled!
How much you’ll save: €0, or €80 – €100, if you do away with the bouquets altogether.
3. Ring Boxes
Pretty ring boxes make for a lovely wedding-morning photo but these stylised, Instagram-worthy shots are pretty far down on your wedding photo checklist for a reason – they simply aren’t as important as wedding portraits and ceremony snaps. Chances are you got a really nice box with your rings that will only sit in a drawer anyway.
A simpler alternative: Ask your wedding photographer to take a nice photograph of your wedding rings, but leave the details up to them. They’ll come up with a cute and creative way to show off your sparkler that doesn’t require an Etsy order!
How much you’ll save: €50 – €100
4. DIY Decor
You know we love an effortlessly elegant dining space, but if you’ve got your florist working on some lush centrepieces and have ordered some pretty decor from a good party supplier, you can probably stop right there. DIY wedding decor is a great idea if you’ve got the skills to back it up and you genuinely enjoy the process, but if you’re doing it because feel you need something extra for the space, take a step back and re-evaluate – this part of the job is probably already done, and DIY-ing can actually cost you more in supplies.
A simpler alternative: Get creative with your table names – this post has loads of cute and cost-effective ideas.
How much you’ll save: €50 – €500
5. Dinner Menus
If you’re a stationery lover, you’ll be looking for every excuse to incorporate beautiful calligraphy into your day, but individual menus are another wedding staple that your guests barely notice. In our experience, they’re too busy chatting and getting to know their tablemates to even think about the meal until the waiter arrives.
A simpler alternative: Get one large menu to place on an easel in the dining room or incorporate it into your table plan.
How much you’ll save: €70 – €150
6. Bathroom Baskets
It’s great to have an emergency box of plasters or can of hairspray in the loos, but guests really don’t expect bathroom baskets or a pile of free flip flops. In fact, an experienced wedding guest will have their own supply of just-in-case items in their handbag ready to go, which they’ll be happy to share.
A simpler alternative: Pop a few extra items in your wedding emergency kit and give it to a bridesmaid or pal to hold onto. Anyone who’s having a wardrobe malfunction will quickly sniff it out!
How much you’ll save: €50 – €150
7. The Bridal Party & Groom’s Party
This is definitely the most conventional thing on our list, and the one wedding element that guests will probably notice missing, but you’d be surprised how little ditching the bridesmaids and groomsmen will actually affect your wedding day. Your best pals will still be there, and still thrilled to partake in ceremony readings, toasts and conga lines – you just don’t have to dress them! Plus, it means that you and your partner can focus attention and budget on your own wedding-day looks!
A simpler alternative: Take a look at these lists of traditional bridesmaid and groomsmen duties and dole them out to willing pals. This one has an added bonus – it means that you can actually ask the best person for each individual job, as opposed to lumping it all on the three people who happens to be your oldest friends.
How much you’ll save: €1000 – €2000
8. A Theme
We’ve featured glamorous Great Gatsby and super cool Star Wars-themed weddings on the site in the past, but if nothing in particular is getting you inspired for your big day, it’s totally fine to kick this one to the curb. The theme for your wedding can just be having an amazing day with your favourite people!
A simpler alternative: Create a gorgeous colour palette for your big day to help guide your vision, and leave out the extras.
How much you’ll save: €0 – €500+
9. Bridal Party Robes
We’ve all seen the getting-ready photos of bridesmaids all in a row, decked out in matching floral bridal robes. These pictures are always super cute, but if you treasure the photo of you and your bridesmaids getting ready on the morning of your wedding, it’s because of the people in the photo, not the fact that they’re wearing co-ordinating lingerie!
A simpler alternative: It’s a good idea to ask your bridesmaids to bring a robe or loose clothing for make-up purposes, but other than that, your job here is done!
How much you’ll save: €50 – €300+
10. A Wedding Scent
Brides have told us that they felt pressure to buy a special perfume that would forever remind them of their wedding day, and while it’s a nice idea, we think it’s an easy one to ditch. If you’re a dedicated fragrance buff looking for a chance to treat yourself, go for it. Otherwise, your current favourite scent will do just fine!
A simpler alternative: Scented candles are a nice way to incorporate scent into your big day, but of course, these will take up a little room in the budget!
How much you’ll save: €50 – €100
11. Ceremony Programs
As with dinner menus, ceremony booklets are rarely looked at very closely, unless you’re having a group singalong (which sounds fabulous by the way!). No-one will be disappointed that the readings aren’t written down in front of them – in fact, they might enjoy the ceremony more if they aren’t!
A simpler alternative: Organise a wedding timeline to display at your venue detailing when the dinner is served, when the band starts etc. – this is the information that people are most interested in!
How much you’ll save: €70 – €200
12. A Gift for your Other Half
The number of couples exchanging gifts on the morning of their wedding is rising sharply, but, while we’ve oohed and aahed over a few delightful presents in real weddings, it’s easy to give this one the heave-ho once you’ve had a quick chat with your partner. You’re giving each other a wonderful wedding day, and that’s more than enough!
A simpler alternative: If you’re not spending the night before the wedding together, write a thoughtful card for your other half and shove it under their door in the morning or hide it in their luggage. This will have just as much meaning as a wildly expensive gift, we promise!
How much you’ll save: €100 – €500+
13. Wedding Favours
We love a box of locally-made chocolates or a take-home succulent, but wedding favours are another extra that aren’t completely necessary.
A simpler alternative: DIY a cute thank-you card to put at each guest’s place setting. Your stationer can also create these for you, which is a great option if you’re looking to save time rather than money.
How much you’ll save: €300 – €500+
14. The Champagne Toast
Between cocktails and wine, you’ve bought your guests plenty of drinks by the time the post-dinner toast rolls around, so there’s no need to stress about keeping their glasses filled with bubbly. If you’ve planned everything correctly, the wine drinkers will still have some tipple left, and the beer and spirits drinkers will have already made a beeline for the bar.
A simpler alternative: If you have your speeches between courses during dinner, the wine will still be flowing. Otherwise, relax! Your guests will be expecting to buy their own drinks!
How much you’ll save: €400 – €800
15. Kiddie Accessories
There are endless ways to up the cute factor of children at weddings, including sweet ceremony signs, official-looking boxes for the ring bearer and even superhero capes! But if you’re trying to minimise fuss, this is a good place to do it – the kids in your family are adorable enough on their own!
A simpler alternative: A cheap colouring book and crayon set or some modelling clay is a good idea if you’re having kids at the meal and the little ones will definitely appreciate it more!
How much you’ll save: €20 – €60
16. Chair Decorations
We’ve been known to gasp at the sight of a chair decked out in colourful florals, but elaborate chair decorations are certainly not the be-all and end-all of ceremony or dining space décor – in fact, they can sometimes make a space look a little too fussy!
A simpler alternative: Organise chair decorations only for the bride and groom. That being said, if you’re really happy with your chairs, they shouldn’t need any dressing up at all. Our handy post on table and chair hire should help you find exactly what you’re after!
How much you’ll save: €100 – €500
17. Bridesmaid & Groomsmen Gifts
It’s so lovely to show your wedding party how much you appreciate their help with a gift, but this is something that is most definitely not expected, and just another thing on the to-do list. Remember if you’re paying for their dresses or suits, and even kitting them out with accessories like shoes, this is already a big expense.
A simpler alternative: Dress your wedding party in timeless looks that they can wear again. A good suit, or a classy jumpsuit will never go out of style, and is a great gift. Write them a heartfelt card to tell them how much they mean to you!
How much you’ll save: €50-€100 per person.
18. Day-After Outfit
Whether you’re planning an epic second-day party or a laid-back trip to the pub, a new outfit just isn’t necessary, and if you’re feeling a little delicate from the previous night’s festivities, you might not be in the mood to pour yourself into a cocktail dress and high heels anyway!
A simpler alternative: You probably already have the perfect thing in your wardrobe, so root around for something that’s only seen a couple of wears, or borrow or rent something epic. Your hen night outfit might also do the trick!
How much you’ll save: €80 – €250
Looking for more ways to save? Check out some of our handy budgeting posts!
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