I really 100% don’t regret a single thing. Most of the things I’m sharing that we “regret” really aren’t that big of a deal to us, but they are just things we discussed and looking back, things we could have done differently.
One thing I think a lot of people always want to ask brides is, if they regret how much they spent on their wedding. While I am not going to share how much we spent, I will say it was below the average wedding cost (thankfully) and honestly I don’t regret a single expense. If I would have been able to do it over the only thing I would have done differently money wise was hire the Champagne Supply Company Truck… hehe :)
In this post, I’m going to share a few things:
1) 7 things we could have done differently
2) 14 ways we saved money
3) 9 things I’m SO glad we did!
First I’ll start with things we would have changed:
We wouldn’t have left for the Honeymoon the next day
I think the one thing that sticks out to me the most when it comes to things we would have done different would be not leaving for the honeymoon the day after the wedding. We got married on a Friday and left that Saturday because it was the best flight option for us when traveling to Italy. Looking back it would have been nice to have one extra day to spend with our families, and prepare for our honeymoon. It was a little stressful packing everything up for both the wedding and honeymoon that week, and then coming home with only a few hours to grab our bags and head to the airport. Looking back we probably would have gone out after the wedding to a nearby bar or something, which also would have made the wedding night seem like it lasted a little longer. It just would have been nice to have a little more time to spend with family.
Picked a Venue where we LOVED the rain option as much as the outdoor option
First I want to say that I LOVED our venue, and it was the perfect place for us to get married. However, I really didn’t want to have a “tent wedding” and the inside of the venue wasn’t my style at all.. I absolutely loved the ceremony site, and when we first toured the venue our plan was to have the reception under the stars without a tent. I didn’t even think about it raining on the wedding day at the time because I was excited to pick the venue. We ended up needing to use a tent for the reception (which luckily our venue had provided) and it turned out beautiful. But looking back at photos, everyone was sweaty, and hot under the tent. As much as I loved the outdoor option of our venue- it would have saved a lot of stress leading up to the wedding day if our venue had a more modern indoor option that we loved just as much as the outdoor option. My advice would be to pick a venue where you love ALL the options for the ceremony and reception.
I would have put a sign on the Bridal Suite door
One of the biggest issues for me on the wedding day was having guests trying to come into the bridal suite when we were getting ready (while I was in my dress) and even after the ceremony when I was getting my dress bustled and during our private dinner! (more on that later) The Bridal suite was right next to the reception area, which I loved. But it was also really annoying how many guests kept opening the door right before the ceremony and saw me in my dress. I didn’t want anyone other than my mom and bridesmaids seeing my dress before the wedding, and a unfortunately some people did. I was already nervous and having everyone come in really stressed me out. I would have had a sign that said “Bridal Party Only” on the door or something along those lines.
PRACTICE YOUR BUSTLE!!!!!!
I can’t stress this enough. Unfortunately my seamstress didn’t add the correct buttons to bustle my dress and we didn’t realize that until the wedding day. This resulted in my maid of honor not being able to bustle it. My train was super super long, and it was already a complicated bustle. It was kind of a stressful moment, but I was so excited to just get out and start our reception that I ended up saying it was fine and pretty much had to hold my dress all night. My dress also got SO dirty, because it was dragging on the ground when I wasn’t holding it. Looking back, my sister and I could have easily practiced bustling it before the wedding day which would have saved a lot of stress. My advice would for sure be to ensure your bustle is good, make sure you get a video of it being bustled, and practice it a couple times the week of your wedding!!
I would have gotten a family photo with my entire family (extended too)
I was going back and forth about this when making my family photo list because my family is HUGE. We would have had to round up about 30 people, haha. And I was worried about having to organize a large family photo like this which the amount of time we had. I chose not to add a large photo like this to my photo list and looking back I do kind of wish we would have taken a photo of all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents together, even just a selfie or something. This was the only time I have seen my whole family together in a very very long time, so I think they would have liked to get a photo together, even if it was just done at the reception! Again, just a little thing we would have done different..but we got SOOO many good photos from our photographer with family and videos at the end of the day it didn’t matter. Just a little advice for those of you with larger families that don’t get together often!
I would have had my dog in the wedding
No commentary needed haha…my dog is like my child and I should have just had him there on the wedding day.
Hold off on buying bridal party gifts until you have your bridal party count confirmed
Without getting into too much detail we had to make some hard decisions about a bridesmaid and groomsman in our bridal party after we had already purchased the wedding day gifts for them, which caused us to waste a couple hundred dollars. We ended up having 5 people each in our bridal party, and on each side 4 out of the 5 were all family. I’m so glad we kept it to mostly family, because at the end of the day family is going to be in our lives forever.
One big regret I have is not asking my sisters to be my maid of honors from the very beginning. I originally asked my “best friend” and had that special moment of asking someone to be my maid of honor taken a way from me when she said yes, and then backed out a couple months before the wedding for no reason. Like I said, family will always be there, and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because having my sisters as my maid of honors was so much more special. That being said, we had purchased some “Matron of Honor gifts” and some custom groomsmen gifts we literally ended up throwing away.
Looking back I would have waited until a couple months before the wedding to purchase gifts. I also wouldn’t have spent as much on the groomsmen gifts because men will be men, and none of them even took the custom glasses with their names on them that I thought were so cool, haha. I think they just forget them in the grooms suite. I would have just gotten them their ties, and a bottle of alcohol to share. I don’t think the guys care as much about the cutesy gifts so we could have definitely saved some money there.
8. Don’t worry!
Of course you’re going to worry, just like I did. You’re going to hear a lot of stories like “on my wedding day this happened” “on my cousins wedding day she fainted” whatever it may be, everyone has an opinion or story. At the end of the day, don’t let other peoples stories get to you! Sometimes little stories like this freaked me out, and honestly it all turned out fine, even little things that could have gone wrong.. would have been just fine. :)
Ways we saved money: from the ceremony to the reception
Honestly when it comes down to it, I don’t regret any purchase we made on any of the decor, from the seating chart mirror, to the flowers, or any other decor element. (You can click here to view our wedding day decor post) Every item we purchased was perfect and exactly what we envisioned for our wedding day. Here are a few ways we saved money on our wedding!
Veil-Purchase your veil from etsy or from your seamstress. My veil was about $100 vs $400+ at the bridal shop.
Shoes- Again, my shoes were about $60 from Nordstroms. I wore them for 15 minutes and then changed into flip flops. Theres no need to spend $200+ on shoes that you wear for 15 minutes.
Suits- Eric’s suit and the groomsmen suits were all under $250, and they got to keep them. We got them from a local suit shop in Austin! The Black Tux is also a good option!
Pretty Ceremony Site- We saved a lot of money not having to decorate our ceremony site because it was so beautiful even without any added decorations!
Small Bridal Party- Depending on what you are gifting your bridesmaids, and if you’re paying for part of their hair or makeup, I would estimate spending at least $100 per bridesmaid (and thats low). Having only 5 bridesmaids helped us out with our budget as well!
DIY Table numbers, menus, and other signage- Instead of buying table numbers or menus, I downloaded an etsy template and printed them myself using cardstock, and a paper cutter! It cost me about $20.
Inexpensive Invitations- Minted has great options for inexpensive invitations and they usually have discounts during any holiday! Save money on stamps by personally giving the invitation to people you see often.
Linens- My wedding planner from Blue Sparrow Events said that some people spend about $40+ on each table linen! Ours were less than $30 for ALL FIVE of our guest tables combined and they looked beautiful!
Programs- You don’t really need wedding programs. They get thrown away or used as fans
Guest List- We had about 55 people at our wedding. We kept it small by only having very close friends and family at the wedding. We honestly didn’t invite anyone we didn’t have a close relationship with. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Obviously having a small guest count saves money on food. But also allowed us to have fewer guest tables, fewer linens, less floral decor, less alcohol needed, fewer invitations, and more time to spend with each person and the list goes on. Having a smaller wedding was so great if you can swing it!
Guest Book- Like programs a guestbook is also unnecessary. You don’t need it, and will probably never look at it again after the wedding. My uncle generously gifted us with two, three liter custom wine bottles with our pictures on them for our guests to sign. If we wouldn’t have been gifted this we would have skipped the “guest signing” idea all together to save money.
Catering- We saved money on catering by having a buffet style dinner and having one entree with a pasta as a “side” rather than having 2 entrees!
Cake- We got a very small cake, enough to feed our guest count perfectly, and didn’t save the top tier.
One location- We had our getting ready, ceremony and reception all in one spot. This saved us money on transportation. We didn’t have to hire any transportation other than our getaway limo for our wedding day.
Bachelorette Party- We choose to stay in Austin for my bachelorette party, which saved on travel expenses for sure!
I would recommend waiting until closer to the wedding to buy your decor, so you can see how much room you have in your budget, and you know your guest count.
The things we wouldn’t have changed at all:
1. Getting married locally VS a destination wedding
Some of you know, we originally wanted to do a destination wedding, after doing research and trying to arrange a wedding out of the country.. we realized it was so much better for us and way more fun to plan things locally! Hello cake tastings, and vendor meetings. If you are the type of person who wants to plan and be involved, I wouldn’t recommend a destination wedding. If you want someone else to plan every detail with you basically just showing up to get married- have a destination wedding
2. Private dinner and private last dance
Hands down the best decision..thanks to the best wedding planner ever. We had a private dinner right after ceremony while my dress was getting bustled. (so we actually got to eat!) and we had the most intimate private last dance while our guests were lining up for the send off. (I cried like a baby)
3. Hiring a videographer
One of the best decisions we made. The feeling of watching that video brings me back to the wedding day every time we watch it. I would recommend hiring a videographer to any bride. Click here to watch our wedding videos!
4. Having a photo booth
Like the videographer, this one was another great decision we made!! Our guests had so much fun in the photobooth and it was so fun looking back at the photos of them having a great time. This was an another expense that was well worth it and we spent less than $500!
5. Any vendor we hired
Every vendor we hired was absolutely fabulous, necessary and worth every penny. Our wedding coordinator- amazing. Photographer- incredible. Florist- worth every penny. The hair, dress, catering and dj. I wouldn’t have hired anyone else or done anything differently. (I will list all of our vendors at the end of the post)
6. Saying our own vows
As mentioned in my post about our wedding video and ceremony, saying our own vows was something I am so glad we did. It was so unique, special and intimate and something I stressed myself out more way more than I needed to. At the end of the day, everyone has heard the same traditional vows over and over..but no one has heard YOUR vows, written from YOUR heart. Click here to watch the full ceremony where we read our own vows!
7. Take a moment to look back at everyone during the ceremony and reception
I read this in another blog before the wedding, and I am so glad I took a moment to look around when I was standing up at the ceremony to make eye contact with a few guests and look at everyone. I also took a moment to myself to look around during the reception to see everyone dancing and having fun. It was so heartwarming.
8. Not doing a first look
For us choosing not to do a first look was a special decision. While having a first look does have its pros- like being able to take a ton of photos before the ceremony and getting those emotions out of the way. We chose to share the anticipation and the excitement of not seeing each other until the ceremony, and it was so worth it.
9. Bridesmaids 1st look
The bridesmaids 1st look was something that was unexpected, and so so sweet! I am so glad I was able to share this special moment with my bridesmaids.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post! Comment below with any other wedding day questions..seriously I’m having wedding planning withdraws! haha :)
Photography Honey Gem Creative
Wedding Planner Blue Sparrow Events
Videography Paper Bird Films
Florist Sweetwater Stems
Mirror Signage & Escort Cards Haley Wynn Designs
Cake Kayla Knight Cakes
Photo booth We Just Click ATX