6 “Budget Wedding” Tips That Aren’t Always Worth It

No bride (unless your name rhymes with Schmim Schmardashian) wants to spend more than she has to on her wedding. But beware: Not all budget wedding advice will actually save you. Here are six suggestions that are better off ignored.

Buy a Used Wedding Gown
Learn from my mistake, ladies. I thought I had hit the jackpot when I bought a worn wedding dress for half the original price. The lights must have been intentionally dim at the sale because once I took the wedding gown home, I saw it not only needed to be cleaned but also repaired–it was missing beads on the bodice. A dry cleaner estimated it would cost nearly $1,000 to fix it and alter it to fit me. So unless the used wedding gown you’re considering buying is in mint condition, you won’t be saving by going with a worn one.

Provide Your Own Centerpiece Vases
Some florists do charge brides to borrow vessels for their reception arrangements. Many do not. If vases are included in the price of your pro centerpieces, take advantage. Many sellers of those popular milk-glass vases have gotten wise to the fact that they’re great bases for wedding centerpieces, so they’ve jacked up the prices. Plus, my pal dropped a bunch of dough on car gas and shipping fees to amass enough coordinating receptacles to decorate her wedding tables.

Book a Not-Yet-Built Wedding Venue
Wedding halls offer deep discounts if you reserve a date before the space is ready. Here are a couple of reasons you should resist: Blueprints and artist renderings may not accurately reflect the end product. A particular feature you love may get nixed in the construction process. More importantly, construction workers aren’t known for meeting deadlines. A venue that’s supposed to be ready in a year may not be finished for two years. And it can take more months for it to pass inspection. If you just can’t resist the allure of a still-unfinished space, get a backup plan you love in your contract, so you won’t have to hold your wedding in your basement.

Do Your Own Hair and Makeup
Hey, Kate Middleton’s makeup was lovely, and she allegedly applied it herself. You can bet, though, she was using the finest products–and she may have had expert help picking out her cosmetics. Even if you have access to fabulous products and are adept at putting them on, you may not know the best ways to apply makeup to look great in photos–or how to ensure that your hair stays in its style as you party hard. Moreover, you may be nervous in the hours before your wedding, and tasking yourself with looking the prettiest you’ve ever looked is a lot of pressure. Usually, brides who go the DIY route look lovely for the ceremony and worse for wear for the reception. If that doesn’t sit right with you, hire pros.

Serve Only Hors D’oeuvres and Cake
It’s true: Many guests prefer appetizers to entrees. But you won’t necessarily save by skipping the main course. Caterers’ main objective (besides making money and serving tasty dishes) is to fill up guests. In order to do that, they need to have enough food to go around. Forgoing meat and fancy ingredients in the apps can be budget-friendly; in general, though, lots of little bites add up to about the same as fewer entrees.

Have Friends Serve as Vendors
If you’ve got buddies who are pro DJs or photographers, for instance, and they don’t mind working instead of enjoying your wedding, then by all means, book ’em for the friend discount they offer you–as long as the price really is reduced. But if they don’t own pro-grade speakers or they only dabble in photography, odds are you won’t be pleased with the service. And as you well know, you only get one wedding (unless, again, your name rhymes with Schmim Schardashian).

What other bad wedding advice have you heard? Would you try any of the above?

More Wedding Advice
What No One Admits About Wedding Dresses
Know When to Let a Bridesmaid Back Out

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Photo by Gail Chatelain