Growing up, we always see weddings as these extravagant, beautiful affairs with linens, lace, cake, and dancing. We think of the gold leaf engraved wedding invites. We see the bride in her flowing white dress, the tiered wedding cake that reaches elegantly towards the heavens, and the handsome groom in a perfectly tailored suit. Every detail is meticulously thought out and executed right down to the placement of the rose petals leading the couple to the altar.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this kind of wedding. If you have a vision and the finances to make your wildest wedding dreams come true, then do what makes you happiest!
Ultimately, the most important part of the wedding is you and your partner and what makes you happy. That being said, we confidently report that while big-budget weddings can be fun and beautiful, a wedding doesn’t have to put you in debt to be lovely and memorable.
We’ve compiled a list of your wedding must-haves and the items you can probably cross off your list.
What to Keep
As we mentioned, your wedding can be as extravagant or as low key as you’d like for it to be and still be a memorable day that you and your guests will cherish. However, there are a few key items that we think are essential to the wedding planning process.
If you’re getting married and plan to have anyone in attendance, it’s important that you have a venue that you know you and your guests are going to be comfortable in. This can be a variety of places including public parks or courthouses, or even your own backyard.
However, you’d be surprised to learn that many popular venues are happy to work with you on pricing based on your needs. Picking an all-inclusive experience like the one Evergrove Estates offers can be a real-time and money saver.
Food and Drink
Even if you choose to do hors d'oeuvres and punch, we can’t stress enough how important it is to feed your guests. A five-course meal is a beautiful experience, but far from necessary. If you know you’re going to be light on food and drink, let your guests know on the invitation so they know what to expect.
Professional tip: If you plan to feed your guests dinner, but are still being conscientious of your budget, choosing vegetable-heavy or grain-based (think pasta) foods will be less expensive than feeding everyone fillet mignon!
If you’re going to splurge on any detail of your wedding, let it be your photography! Anyone who has gotten married can tell you that by the time you say “I do” and say goodbye to the last guest you’ll have nearly forgotten that someone was taking pictures of you. Being able to look back at the events of that special day will be more valuable than you know. A photographer will catch silly, precious moments of you and your partner, your family, and your friends.
In some instances, a photographer may still not be in the budget. If that’s the case, select a unique hashtag for your wedding and ask guests to take pictures of your wedding and to tag you so you can see them later. It costs nothing, and many couples report that their guest photos end up being some of their favorites!
Ah, the dress. It’s practically the most fussed over part of a wedding. All in all, worrying about what you wear on your wedding day is completely valid. Looking your best on one of the most important days of your life is high on the list of wants for most couples.
In recent years, just about anything goes when it comes to procuring your wedding attire. A new, brand name wedding dress can cost several thousand dollars or more, but it doesn’t have to. We’ve hosted brides who have walked down the aisle looking fabulous in the dress most suited for them. Ultimately, you’re going to wear your wedding dress and tux for exactly one day. Pick something that you’re comfortable and feel confident in that will photograph well, and call it a day!
Music can get costly on your wedding day. Whether you choose to pick a live band or a DJ, the bottom line is the same. People expect to be paid for their time. However, music isn’t something we’d ever recommend omitting. Music sets the mood for your wedding day. If you’ve ever sat in uncomfortable silence, then you know what we’re talking about. Even selecting an option like Spotify is better than nothing.
What to Cut
We’ve seen a thousand different takes on traditions and trends. Heck, we’ve seen just about everything. So trust us when we say you can cut these items out of your list. These items might get a smile out of a couple of your guests, but ultimately they’ll get neglected or thrown away at the end of it all.
Save the Dates
Save the dates are a nice touch, but ultimately they matter very little in the scheme of things. To be clear, a save the date is sort of like a “pre-invitation.” It’s an announcement of the day you plan to get married. This differs from your invitation, which will not only include your date but how to RSVP, as well as other important details about the wedding.
Even when it comes to your invitations, it’s okay to keep it simple. Your friends and family will keep that expensive paper just long enough to jot down the date somewhere. If you’ve ever been invited to a wedding, you may admire the stationary, but we don’t think you went to the trouble of framing it. An easy alternative? E-save-the-dates.
Your wedding isn’t a play. You don’t need a paper program to let your guests know what happens after the flower girl walks down the aisle. Instead, opt for the less expensive option of a free, easy-to-put-together website. Use your wedding website as a means of communicating with your guests. Everyone has a smartphone these days. Your guest and your wallet will thank you.
Guest books are becoming less and less common these days and for good reason. The thought behind them is lovely: Let your guests leave you a sweet note for you to enjoy later with your sweetie. Truth be told, the guest book often goes overlooked. By the time your reception starts, your guests are likely ready to grab a bite to eat and drink and unwind. Remember, weddings are about you and your favorite people, not the minutiae.
If you do want your visitors to offer their congratulations in some capacity, think of alternatives for guests to sign – a canvas to hang, quilt squares to be sewn together, or puzzle pieces to put together.
Everyone loves getting a present, right? In our experience, it depends on the gift. Wedding favors are a lovely gesture, but even the most adorable of handcrafted goodies can get left behind by tired, jolly guests. If you absolutely must have a wedding favor, opt for something useful and small that can be easily packed (chapstick, cookies, etc). Giving all of your out of town guests succulents may seem like a good idea at the time, but having to babysit a plant on a plane isn’t most people’s idea of a great time. Save yourself some time and money and skip this one.
Before you gasp in shock and disgust that we’d suggest forgoing a cake, we should clarify that we mean forgoing a 7-tier monster of baked goods and fondant. There’s no denying that many wedding cakes are absolutely beautiful. However, in our experience, most people don’t actually like the taste of fondant. Instead of going for a giant cake, consider choosing a smaller cake (which will cost less), and then supplement with a variety of desserts your guests can pick and choose from.
Not only will it save dollars on the baking of the cake, but also when it comes to slicing and serving it (because that usually comes with a price tag).
We’re Wedding Professionals
When you make the choice to use one of the Evergrove Estates venues for your wedding, you can plan with confidence knowing that our expert wedding coordinators and staff will always help you work within your budget. We’re capable of providing everything on-site, minimizing the cost, and maximizing the experience. Learn more about what we have to offer.