What do you wish you’d spent more money on?

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Frankensara Rings
We are close to hitting the ceiling on our small-budget wedding, and I'd love to hear from Offbeat Bride readers who've finished their weddings…

What are things that you wish you spent more or less on?

I am trying to balance my tight-fisted nature with my f-it attitude.

mikmoro310

Offbeat spouses, we know TONS of you are still reading (you're 20% of our readership!) and we need to know: Looking back, what do you wish you'd spent more money on? Bonus question: what do you wish you'd spent LESS money on?

Comments on What do you wish you’d spent more money on?

  1. I’m curious about responses to this. The budget for my wedding is really tight, about $5,000 for 150 people. i HATE getting my picture taken so i was planning to not really bother with a photographer, but now i’m wondering if I’d regret not having tons of pictures.

    • This – photography – is actually the single thing I might actually consider asking my father (or his) if they would be willing to help pay for. Mind, we literally need photographic proof of the wedding as part of the VISA process, but I figure this is possibly the one thing I’ll regret not having nice photos of in the future. (That said, it’s such a small wedding that I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be better to do a session with a photographer rather than paying a professional to be at such a tiny event.)

      • I know a few photographers who LOVE those shooting smaller gatherings, because they get such intimate, informal shots. If you look through a blog/portfolio and see a lot of those emotional images in their work, you’ll know they’ll be a great fit because they can catch those little moments you really want to treasure.

      • Holy cow! Since when is 150 people a “tiny event”? No wonder there’s such pressure planning a wedding.

    • i don’t like getting pictures taken either but pictures are really important to me- i skipped the videographer and spent a little more for the photographer i really liked. we had a husband/wife team with a graphic arts background so our pictures are incredible. we were lucky to find them, they were extremely reasonable, i think it was $900 for everything. we invited 130 and ended up with about 90 (including the bridal party) & our budget was about $5,000- but my mom paid for the catering ($1,500) had she not though, we would have had a very different reception. in the end, your wedding is about you as a couple & you should plan a celebration of your love that suits the 2 of you. hope this helps!!

    • Definitely get a photographer who’s not necessarily expensive, but who shares your aesthetic. That is the one thingI wish I’d done differently. We got a start-up who was offering free wedding photography in order to build his portfolio, but his style of photography – posed photos (he used the same ones for every wedding!), photo-shopping etc – was not the look or feel of our wedding, and subsequently I find our wedding photos all a bit ‘meh’.

    • YES YOU WOULD BE COMPLETELY SAD LATER… we went cheap- completely cheaped out on photos- for the same reason– and so we ended up with mostly lousy shots and cellphone fuzzy pics– some of which were better than the real photos… thing is you think you can rememebr stuff, but you can’t and every time I look back at some of the pics I just feel so warm and happy remembering– and seeing some of the people who have now since passed on– it really is important– spend the money for a photographer- and have them get shots of every 150 of your guests and several of you and your spouse- and stupid things too like the greenery or the feet of your friends-anythingy interesting or unique about your wedding- and one day you will indeed be so HAPPY you spent that cashola on the photographer!!!!

    • After everything… I regret not going with the expensive ass photographer that I really wanted. Saving money there = BIG MISTAKE that I regret all the time.

    • we went pretty lowkey with the photographer, got a couple of nice shots, only shot I WISH so badly to have had: shot of whole party, guests and family ect. I don’t have that and I wish I did.

    • I’m really glad that we spent money on a good photographer. We got beautiful pictures, and so many of them! Plus he was completely on board with some of the crazy shots we wanted. And he stayed until the end of the night (which was 1 am) and had an assistant that also took some photos. He had some remote cameras in places so that we got a perspective we wouldn’t have gotten with a person there (or the person would have been really disruptive to the ceremony). And he wasn’t disruptive at all. He got all the photos we wanted, but we barely even realized it. He was like a ninja!!

  2. I think photography was the most important thing I spent money on! It was the first thing I nailed down and budgeted because that’s one of the few material things you will hold onto forever.

  3. Tablecloths/table runners. Everything looks fancier with nice tablecloths. It seems like a silly detail but our outdoor wedding was quite windy / rainy and ours were too lightweight. We had to do some quick thinking to get them to stay down.

    The best thing I did was pick up back up rain boots that am. It was from sun to rain to thunder to sun to rain all day.

    • I learned the cost was about equal if i rented or purchased tablecloths, so i opted to buy some deep purple ones. I figure I can sell them on craigslist aterwards. Now i’m looking at these really rich and pretty tableclothes against the nasty-ass community center folding chairs we have, and i’m wondering whether or not chair covers are worth it. The best price i’ve found is $400, but…that just seems like a lot of money for something i’m not sure anyone will care about as much as i do.

      • Chair covers will only be impressive to the first 10 or so people to enter the room. After that, chairs get covered with coats and purses and stuff like that.

      • How about getting tulle by the yard and just tying big bows around the backs of the chairs? Should be a lot cheaper, will visually distract, and shouldn’t take too long.

        • we were going to do that but opted to rent. you would have to buy A LOT of tulle (trust me) to make the tie look substantial enough. my suggestion, try linenhero.com and have them send you swatch samples. they are $1 per tie and will most likely end up being cheaper than buying all that tulle.

          • You can get gossamer by the roll (100 ft-50 yards) for not much ($30-$50) from novelty sites. It may be a cheaper option than tulle. Usually, it’s 5′ wide, but some sites sell some that is 19″ wide, and that would make nice chair bows.

    • Also, they don’t necessarily have to be expensive! I purchased six tablecloths for $20 from a caterer going out of business on Ebay. And there’s always RecycledBride, as another option.

  4. The guest list. I wish I’d done away with half the Very Important DIY projects I had and just invited more people and fed them. I loved my wedding, I just wish there were more people there to love it too.

  5. i wish i’d have spent a little more money on the ceremony decor- at least done more with it. our space was really pretty, and i made paper flowers to rope off the back sections of seating to encourage people to sit in the front- i should have made more and hung them from the front rows too, just to make it look nicer & really tie in the colors/DIY touch that was really my personality. as much as i loved my dress, i wish i wouldn’t have spent so much on it. my mom chipped in some money but $1,200 is a looooot of money. oh, & more on the drinks for the reception. My husband didn’t like anything we had! otherwise, i wouldn’t change anything 🙂

  6. If we’d had the money, I would have liked to have someone film the ceremony and toasts. I never wanted videography, but I wish we had set up a camera and let it roll during the important talking moments, because our vows were awesome and I want to relive that over and over!

    • I did not budget for videography, but during the planning process my parents realized that a very close friend of theirs does it as a hobby, and he offered to provide us with video of our day.

      Videography can be really expensive, but I learned that even if you just ask a friend or relative to be sure to capture a few key clips–even if it’s just on a cellphone or tablet–it’s worth it! Now that my parents and grandmother are in poor health it’s really meaningful and important to know that I’ll always be able to listen to their voices and watch their mannerisms and expressions. The pictures are beautiful and incredibly special, but there’s just something different about being able to see the person be themselves in a video.

      • I just did this! Yesterday we met with some friends and, as they are planning their own wedding and struggling with the budget too, when I told them we will have no video and a friend would take the pics, they instantly offered their camera and tripod to record the ceremony and whatever important moments were happening after that. They are sweet like that ^_^

    • yeah I kind of wish that we had hired someone to do the video. We live streamed our wedding so that people who couldn’t make it could watch, but the computer and the video camera were in the same spot and it wasn’t a good angle, so it didn’t turn out good at all.

  7. I went waaaaaay over budget on photography and our wedding rings. Coincidentally, those are the two things you get to keep forever after the wedding is over and the dress is stuffed in a box at the top of your closet :o). So I am super happy we went with the photographer we did because our pictures are beyond amazing, and our wedding rings are absolutely gorgeous and we both get compliments on them. We ended up actually being a few hundred dollars UNDER our total wedding budget despite these two items (took that with us on our honeymoon!). Thinking back on what I wish I spent less on: less candy for our candy buffet. It’s been over a year since the wedding and I am STILL eating it!!

  8. The major thing I wished I spent more time on is photography. I really wished I had booked the two extra hours with my photographer because there were a lot of shots that were missed (I don’t have a professional photo of me with my family). I also would have hired a day of coordinator because my mother in-law bugged me about everything that day that could have been handled by a day of person and not been done while I am trying to get photos done.

  9. I wish I would have spent less on my dress. Lets be honest, all brides all beautiful. A person in love is always beautiful, and now I have a dress that I spent over $1000 sitting in a closet! Seems like a waste. (still trying to figure out what to do with the darn thing)

    I wish I would have spent more on our honeymoon… your first “vacation” as a married couple. It is that start of so many memories to be shared. And after all is said and done… it really comes down to just you and your partner.

    • we were so fortunate that my husband’s father’s wedding gift to us was paying for our honeymoon- he paid for the airfare and hotel accommodations. (VEGAS BABY!) we were able to experience everything we wanted to do without worrying about the cost since the major budget breakers were covered. we also received a lot of cash as wedding presents so we went a little hog wild! 🙂 i agree on making your honeymoon as great as you can- after months of planning a wedding you need a relaxing break just the 2 of you!

    • There are sites whet you can sell your dress. Once Wed & Nearly Newlywed are two I have looked at for buying a used dress. Trying to save money on the dress since I am in a tight budget as well. Hope that helps.

    • Hey, this is a bit off topic but if you are looking for something to do with the dress and are willing to part with it, google “Angel gowns.” There are many people who volunteer to create appropriate respectful and special clothing to bury stillborn children. Your wedding gown can give about a dozen families a last image of their beautiful child in peace, instead of simply wrapped up in hospital towels. I believe that they’ll accept old white or light colored prom gowns, fancy linens and such also – prob depends on who is running the program near you but they are all over the place. (no judgment if you aren’t willing to part with your dress – I know for sure I am saving mine for my future daughters or daughters-in-law.)

  10. Our wedding was awesome; everything we wanted! But I wish we had spent more money on a wedding photographer. The hubs and I found an amazing photographer for the full day but at the time just couldn’t justify the cost. We opted to go with another photographer that was about $1200 less. Unfortunately we ended up getting royally screwed. I won’t get into details, but whenever I look at the photos of our beautiful day all I can think about is how bad they are and the stress trying to get the photographer to send our photos six months after the wedding; four months past the contracted delivery date. If I could do it over, I would have accepted the offer of our dear friends to photograph our wedding (we turned them down because we wanted them to be guests and enjoy themselves), or just spend the money on the amazing photographer.

    • I would suggest spending the money rather than asking the guests. I speak as someone who’s been put in that position several times – it’s really stressful, knowing the couple are relying on you to deliver the ‘magical’ images of their wedding day, and certainly doesn’t permit you the space to enjoy the wedding yourself.

      On the other hand, a friend or acquaintance whose photographic work you like who you wouldn’t otherwise be inviting is fine. I have been that person too, and it works really well, because you know the couple, know their plans, and know you can deliver something they’ll like, but on the other hand can feel more professional when bossing people into the requested family groups etc. Payment could be their accommodation paid for, and maybe being part of the reception dinner.

    • I did spend the money on the more expensive photographer and got beautiful pictures. That said, some of my favorites came from various friends and family. For me, in retrospect, my first instinct that I didn’t really need expensive photography was correct.

      On the other hand, I had also decided that I absolutely was not going to have a photographer I didn’t love. I would rather have none. I think that was absolutely the right decision. I did not want to spend a lot of time taking pictures and prefer unposed pictures. Most of the photographers I talked to thought of a couple of hours spent taking pictures as “not much” and I am afraid they would have interfered with the day. The photographer we went with spent about 15 minutes on posed photos, which was great and he was really cooperative, helpful and a pleasure to work with.

      I would say if you want a particular photographer, but they are outside your budget, don’t be afraid to ask if they have an option that will work for you. Based on his website, the photographer we chose was probably 50-100% more than I was comfortable spending. I decided to inquire anyways and he easily came up with a package that worked great for us and was within our budget.

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