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.


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. Well, we haven’t gotten married yet and I’m pretty happy with our budget and expenditures. But I do wish we had enough to hire a day-of-coordinator. Our families are really pitching in to help, but it’d be nice if they didn’t have to. Also, more flowers. Our ceremony and reception area are outside so we’re doing pretty minimal decorating, but I love flowers and it’d be awesome to just have a shit-ton of them.

  2. I think we spent too much on favors–we had a ton of them (gourmet popcorn + bags) left over. Ditto for the guest book…the photos are worth so much more than people’s signatures and pithy messages.

    I wish we’d spent more on alcohol (we ran out midreception…damn boozy friends), decorations (our reception looked a little bare), and my ring. I think my hubs is happy with his $100 band from Turtle Love Co., but I wish I’d let the lovely folks at Brent&Jess talk me into the 14k gold for my band, instead of sticking with the 10k because it was cheaper. They were right…it really doesn’t match my engagement ring, though no one can tell but me. :p

  3. I do regret a little bit that I didn’t expand the guest list a bit. There were some folks I would’ve liked to be there, but we were right at our budget ceiling. Then, when the regrets started coming in, I realized we could’ve had them but it was too late.

    But this is a super-personal call, actually. We didn’t spend money on a band or dj, a driver service, a videographer or a makeup artist because those aren’t our priorities, but some people would love to have those services and more power to them–it’s different for everyone.

    One thing I’m very pleased we spent money on is a very professional, well-run catering company. Lots of weddings are not catered or are self-catered, which is awesome, but if you’re hiring people make sure they are into making the day great–they are, after all, people at your wedding. I’ve been to a number of weddings where the food was great, but the staff was grim, sloppy, or downright hostile. It meant a lot to me that *everyone* I talked to on my wedding day–waitstaff, bartenders, busboys–was cheerful and kind and on-the-ball. Afterwards, one of the compliments on the day was how incredibly sweet Dan the bartender was. Seriously–he treated us like gold. A lovely aspect of the day!

  4. I wish we had spent more money on the photographer so that we could have searched around a bit more. And still have a similar package, but with more pictures!
    I also wish we had opted to hire a day-of coordinator since we had all sort of craziness and stuff pop up in dealing with the church etc.
    We actually ended up coming in a bit under budget and definetely found a lot of really good deals and quality service! The one other thing I wish we would have done was to scrap the church plan (a WHOLE lot of stress the 2 months before the weddig and just switched it to the alternative location that we had found. But at least it makes for an interesting story now…

    • Good thing you say that. We are debating right now whether the church plan is actually such a good idea.
      Originally, we’d planned a church ceremony in the late afternoon, followed by the reception at a location about 1.5hrs out of town (the church thing is somewhat important to my MIL). But now I’m debating whether that’s actually a good idea or whether we should just stick with having everything at the reception location.
      It would sure decrease the stress of moving people and equipment around…

      • we got married in a church and our reception was about 25 minutes away- i wished we wouldn’t have had any travel time, it creates an opportunity for things to go astray, ESPECIALLY something that far away. if i were you, i’d try to compromise with your MIL in mind by having the church officiant travel to your reception site to avoid any snafoos 🙂

  5. I would’ve spent less on the dress, less on the venue (it was very pretty, but too small), and more on the honeymoon.

  6. I’m glad we spent money on photography. It wasn’t loads, but it was lovely to know that that side of things was covered, so I could spend the day actually enjoying being with our guests and my partner- rather than trying to take mental pictures of everything, or remember every tiny detail.

    I just asked my partner and he said the thing he was gladdest we spent a chunk of our budget on was the venue. He doesn’t mean it has to be uber expensive or swanky, but he recons spend the money on the venue that you actually want if you can.

    We both think we could have spent less on flowers. We only had a flower arch over the door where we had the ceremony, but while pretty, it wasn’t really necessary and nobody ever mentioned it- whereas they went wild over a cheese board!

  7. I wish I spent more on: invitations. I made ours myself. I hated doing it, and the results were…just OK. (I’m only moderately crafty.) I’d pay extra and save myself the effort.
    Could have spent less on: decor. I’m happy with the look we achieved, but with better planning and a stricter budget, I bet we could have spent less than we did.
    Glad we saved money on: transportation. Our car is reliable, and my husband doesn’t drink. Why overthink it?
    Glad we spent money on: video. I was totally skeptical about this and didn’t plan to have one at all, but we ended up buying the $99 package from Storymix Media, which I found on OBB. Earlier this year, my husband’s mother passed away, and I am so, so grateful to have a video of her and my husband dancing together.

  8. I am glad that I had a DJ. I was originally against it…that’s what an IPod is for. But, on the advice of my amazing photographer, I got one and it was the best decision. We have been married almost 3 years and people STILL talk about how much fun the reception was and how much they danced. My iPod mix, while fine, wouldn’t have left that same feeling with my friends and family.

    I probably would have spent less on decor if I had to go back and do it again.

    Good luck!

  9. Hmm…my wedding happened two years ago, and every once and a while I find myself revisiting this question.

    Wish I Had Spent More Time/Money/Thought On:

    – Ceremony setup. Our ceremony was outdoors, and we didn’t end up doing mics or speakers or anything. A few guests expressed to me after the wedding that they actually couldn’t hear a good chunk of the ceremony. So I wished I had thought of/spent money on that part. Likewise, I wish I had spent less on the ceremony chairs! We were asked how many guests were to attend, and I gave an overcompensated number, which cost us money. I wish I had given a more exact cost to save some dollars.

    – Photography. While our photographer was really great and took amazing pictures…I sometimes wish I shelled out the money for the extra photographer option. Or had managed to find a photographer that was more reliable and located in our city (had to pay for a hotel room, and unfortunately for us…while the photographer we hired had been amazing in the past [we got him on recommendation]…he was a little flaky. He ended up having to leave the wedding 1 hour earlier than expected and we didn’t see our photos for almost 6 months).

    – Day-of Coordinator. Oh man this would’ve just taken EVERYTHING off of my plate the day before and day of. I wouldn’t have had to had those worrying thoughts in the back of my mind (Did mother-in-law remember the water? Is the sound-system at the reception working? Are we on time? Did we pay so-and-so?), or had to be taken away from our party to see to something (payments, timeline, etc).

    Things I Wish I Spent Less Money On:

    – Nothing. We managed to thrift in all the right places…plus we had awesome family and friends who either donated their time/talents, or money to something we really wanted.

    Things I’m Glad I Thrifted On:

    – DJ. We hooked our iPod up to the reception’s sound system and did our own music. We had three lists…Cocktails, Dinner and Dance. We had guests request songs ahead of time via their RSVP card and it worked out amazingly.

    – Cake. We had a friend who used to be a professional baker make our cupcakes. It saved us tons of money and the cupcakes were just as good (if not better) than any bakery. I DIYed my own cupcake stand.

    – Makeup. I did my own. I’m very skilled at it, so I didn’t need anyone doing it for me. But I can see how people who aren’t totally would. I’ve heard of others going up to a cosmetic counter and getting theirs done.

    Things I’m Glad I Shelled Money Out For:

    – Photography. Seriously just do it. Nothing beats professionally taken photographs of your wedding day. Everyone always looks amazing, and if you get the right package (rights to all digital prints), you can make an amazing photobook for yourself. Plus then you don’t have to track down guests for photos, end up with blurry shots, etc.

    – Rings: I had my band custom done with pink sapphires, and my husband ordered a band from Brent & Jess (formerly Fabuluster…OBB vendors). We decided if we’re going to wear these everyday, they better be amazing and exactly what we want.

    That said, we also had a list of what was most important to us, and least important…and then spent money accordingly. Like flowers were really important, so I made sure I went to an awesome boutique to get what I wanted (within our budget of course). And then we looked at ways we could still get the effect we wanted, but spend less (music, wedding outfits, etc). And sometimes we just had to shell out the money.

    In the end, we only went $1000 over budget (which wasn’t that bad given our initial budget).

  10. I wish we’d spent less on flowers. They’re going to die right after the wedding, and you’re probably not going to save it for posterity. I’d suggest going with something that will last, like some of the other non-floral bouquets they’ve featured here (felt or paper flowers, candy bouquet, etc). We told the florist exactly what we wanted several times and got something completely different anyway, so it was very disappointing to have dropped so much money on them. I wish that I had a DIY bouquet that I could still have to remind me of that day, instead of a decayed pile of flowers.

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