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?

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

  1. For the most part, I was really, really happy with my wedding. If I’d had an unlimited budget, I would certainly have found fun things to spend it on (like renting out the entire B&B we stayed at). Realistically though, I can think of a couple things I should have done.

    1. Officiant. I wish wish wish I had given more thought to our officiant and not just gone with the one the B&B hooked us up with. Our officiant was “fine” to everyone except the two of us. We were really disappointed with him. We didn’t have any readings or complicated additions, so I thought there was no way it could get screwed up. It did. So I wish I had remembered we have a family friend who is a pastor and I wish I had had the money to fly him in for the ceremony because he would have made it super fun.

    2. Reception. We had a wedding group of 10 people, so we just went to a restaurant for our reception. Had we had the money and the forethought, I would have requested/rented a private room at the restaurant for our meal. I made sure to ask our guests in advance to be respectful (noise wise) of our fellow diners, but asking people wired on love vibes to be quiet was probably asking too much. The staff was super courteous and respectful, but I could tell we were pissing them off and I felt really bad about it.

    Things I’m glad I spent the money on:
    1. Makeup artist. I’m not a makeup girl. I think I have one lipstick that I bought when I was in undergrad, 5+ years ago. (Come to think of it, I should probably throw that out…) I was planning on going out with my Maid of Honor to pick up some cheap makeup for the wedding and trying to figure out how to wear it. I knew that was a bad plan, so I was stressing over it. My parents stepped up and hired a makeup artist for us girls. I looked great and I looked like ME (amazing what a professional can pull off). As a bonus, my makeup artist became my friend and I’m headed to her wedding next month.

    2. Photography. I could have happily spent more on photography and I’m glad I spent what I did. I cannot imagine not having pictures of that day. The way my husband was looking at me… It was way worth it.

    Things I wish I’d spent less money on:
    Nothing. Everything we spent money on was chosen for a reason and I would have been so sad to cut anything out. Our wedding was pretty darn close to perfect.

  2. I am in the process of figuring out right now what’s important and what isn’t.
    If I had an unlimited budget, I’d have circular treehouses for our guests to sleep in, a $4000 photographer, and would import my favorite beer from Germany for the open bar (I grew up in Bavaria, so good beer is a big deal).
    Alas, we don’t have an unlimited budget, so I’m a bit afraid that the wedding will always be a bit less than what my imagination is capable of.

    In the end, I think we’ll have to be a bit sober-minded and realize that what’s important is spending a great day at a great location, with everyone that’s important to us. Things will go wrong, and there will be things that we wish we had, but we are determined to enjoy ourselves anyways :).

  3. I wish that I had spent less or differently on my bouquet. I honestly almost never had it and as much as I loved the gerbera daisies, if I’d gotten something I could keep, that would have been awesome. We left on our honeymoon so I couldn’t even enjoy the flowers very long.

    At the same time, the pictures look great with the daisies and it isn’t a big deal.

    Overall, I’m good. I’m glad we spent a lot on photography and I’m thrilled my mum kicked in extra for my dress. More on decor would have been nice, to have bigger lanterns, but it really didn’t have any real impact on the day. It was great and my dude and I loved it.

  4. I’m going to say, I’m GLAD I spent as much as I did (almost 1/3 our budget) on Photography, and I wish I would have spent MORE and had some bridals or more couple photos done.

    I don’t wish I’d spent less on anything, we were pretty cheap!

  5. Videography. We didn’t have any, and I didn’t think I wanted one…until my dad gave me the copy of the secret video tape he made from the front row of the church after he ‘gave me away.’ It is adorable and I wish I had a more ‘professional’ video of the ceremony and reception.

  6. I was pleased with the wedding. We dropped a ton of money for the photographer, but I loved our photos. We hired a company that usually does MUCH more costly weddings than ours, but they made ours look just as good.

    I wish we had spent more money on the rehearsal dinner. We ended up having a family-style dinner on the cheap because we have so many in our immediate families/bridal party. But 15 of the 45 people we expected canceled. (The dinner was on a weekday night). So I wish we had got a nicer meal for the people who were able to make it.

    One thing that I wish I had spent less money on was my hairdresser/makeup artist. I had come in for a consultation and she had written down everything I wanted and we agreed on a price, but she was still trying to up-sell to me on the wedding day! That was not very professional. I def. would have hired someone who would not have tried to bully me into giving them more money when I was already stressed out and nervous.

    It is not difficult to find someone who can do your hair and makeup. I would suggest shopping around until you find someone in your price range who can do what you want. Bring a picture of your dream hairstyle with you. And if the price doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

    Also, we spent very little on DIY decorations (non-floral), but I wish we had spent even less. There are craft supplies that I never ended up using that are still sitting around the house.

    Lastly, buy the supplies for your “emergency kit” the week prior to the wedding and save all your receipts. There were so many things that I bought that we did not end up using: anti-static spray, anti-bacterial hand lotion, bug spray, sewing kit, travel sized Tylenol and mouthwash, etc. so I returned them and got back nearly $40 dollars.

  7. I was going to write in and ask exactly this question!

    But I have a follow up … a lot of the photographers I have looked at are in the region of $2,500 plus. And I have read all the comments here that people wish they had spent more but still … I can’t come at that big an expense for photos I am only going to look at periodically. Do you really look at or use your wedding photos?

    • I have looked at and used my wedding photos a lot more than I thought I would. I used them for Christmas presents for parents, made special wedding albums for our parents, and have them in my house and at my office. I go to them whenever I am mad at my H or whenever I am having a bad day. There were so many fun things and crazy things that happened that day that they bring up so many memories of just a happy time and day.

      When I first started wedding planning, I could only find photographer upwards of $2500 but started doing some research on Facebook and found an awesome photographer that had only been doing weddings for about 3 years and scored an awesome price on her work.

      • ditto to everything you said!!!we did framed photos as gifts for Christmas as well as Christmas cards! any time i’m in a bad mood i flip through our album (thank you shutterfly!) and i can’t help but smile 🙂

    • If you re-read these comments, lots of people have mentioned things they wish they’d spent less on. I don’t think photography is mentioned under that category even once!

      So yeah, from those of us who wish we had spent more on it, do it! But as has been already mentioned, make sure it’s someone whose aesthetic you click with, rather than just someone expensive.

      • I gotta agree with Isa that the key is not “find someone expensive,” but find someone you like and pay what it takes, I think. I was happy with the amount I spent on wedding photography, but it was less than $1,000, and I honestly believe my photos turned out better than people who I know spent as much as $3,000-$5,000 (based on what they told me they paid). So I’m in the camp of, I don’t regret how much I spent or think I should have spent less, but I also don’t think I would have gotten that much better had I paid more.

    • I’d like to add that, very often, parents and families are most appreciative of professional photos. Previous generations place greater importance on a ‘proper’ family photo. Also, kids. Children often love to look at pictures of the big, fancy event that happened before they were born.

    • When I think most of us offbeat wives say, “I wish I spent more on photography” who already spent money on professional photography…it’s more like this:

      “I wish I spent money on that extra photographer option”
      “I wish I spent money on that photo package”
      “I wish I had done more research and found the BEST option for us”

      It’s not about spending the most money (because honestly there are plenty of wedding photographers who charge WAAAAAY too much), it’s about spending the time to really find someone you click with who can give you what you want at a price you want. We only interviewed 2 photographers. I wish we had done more just to see our options…even if we did still end up going with our original photographer.

      But people who get professional photographers never regret them (assuming you did your research, interviewed them in person, viewed their hardcopy portfolios, and REALLY made the effort to get what you want).

      My photographer cost us about $2800 at the end of the day. But I DO look at our pictures often. We printed lots for parents and grandparents, and we just completed making a professional photobook (photobookcanada.com) so we have an album now.

      It’s nice to be able to go back and look at the memories, and having EVERY moment there.

    • We have 2 different wedding photos framed in our living room (one small, one large), so we look at those every single day & so do anyone who visits our house. We love them & get compliments all the time 🙂

      While you may not look at all the photos a lot, there will prob. be one iconic wedding photo you do look at frequently. And a good, pro photographer is far more likely to capture that one good photo bec. they have the skill, timing, & experience to do so.

    • my husband and i will be married a year in October and i look at our photos weekly, if not more often. i’m sure this will decrease in frequency as time goes on, but i adore looking at how happy we are with everyone important in our lives all together. there is always the option of hiring an up-coming photographer, someone who has little experience and is building a portfolio, but tread carefully there- my niece has done a few weddings (i’ve helped her with some as well) and doesn’t charge a lot, but her equipment is fairly standard, far from the same as an established professional would have. her shots are good, some are amazing, but i took comfort in knowing we hired (and contracted!) reputable experienced professionals. we were very fortunate, the photographers we used were very reasonable (& they were my favorite!!) i spent hours and hours online looking for someone who’s work i liked & was reasonably priced. it’s totally worth the effort of looking- a lot of photographers i investigated were around the $2500 mark as well, but just keep digging! talk to your other vendors and see if they have suggestions, but my best advice is DO NOT rely solely on word of mouth: meet with them, ask to see examples of whole weddings (beginning to end, not just the “portfolio” highlights). if you’re not comfortable with them outside your wedding, you won’t be with them at your wedding. in the end, think about what you will remember in 10-20 years: the chair covers and matching sashes or the beautiful crystal clear photo of your first kiss? also it doesn’t hurt to ask to customize!! most offer packages of sorts including a set amount of time etc, but be upfront and honest with your photographer: if you love their work, let them know & tell them what your price range is & see if they are able to accommodate it. we had them an hour before the start of the wedding until the toasts then they left. after the toasts most people are partying/dancing, and we felt guest photos would be sufficient (and have been!!) hope this helps!!

    • We’ve been married 4 years, and I totally still look at our photos fairly regularly. Totally worth it. Ours were only $1000, but we ended up with a photographer who kept us relaxed an happy during the wedding and took some amazing photos.

  8. I wish I spent more on my dress! I bought an off-the-rack dress because it was pretty and pretty inexpensive. However, it wasn’t the right style for my plus-size body type and I felt uncomfortable in it the entire evening.

    • i loved my dress, i wish i’d spent less though- or at least, had it altered by the salon i purchased it in: my grandmother’s seamstress altered the top but under the bust was still baggy & bunched up constantly (i didn’t know then, i see it in the photos now 🙁 i wish my MOH would have seen and tugged it down day of)

  9. I love this question!

    I wish I would have spent money on alcoholic beverages for my guests. Me and the mister don’t drink, we had a morning wedding (starting at 10:00 a.m. and had a lunch reception) and had a fair amount of kids/non-drinkers/non-party types, so I figured skipping the bar would be no big deal. But lots of people wanted to drink and bought drinks from the bar at our venue (we got married at a Lucky Strikes bowling alley). If I could re-prioritize, I would have sprung for drink-tickets so our guests that wanted a drink could have had a couple.

    I also second people who said they wish they would have spent more on the honeymoon. We skipped on a few special touches and although we had a wonderful time, it would have been worth it to make it just that much more special.

    I wish I would have not spent as much on guests I invited out of feelings of guilt/obligation, who did not enjoy themselves and who did not add positive memories. I gave in more than I intended on the guest list to keep the peace, but I should have went with my gut. They didn’t want to be there anyway and they made parts of the wedding a little less fun for me.

    I also wish I would have been more thoughtful about how I spent money on the bridal party. We thought paying for hotel rooms/admission to certain wedding events would be more appreciated than other typical gifts like flasks or bracelets (Which are great gifts! Just not for my friends.) But it turned out that they would have preferred that we saved the money on some of this, they just didn’t want to appear ungrateful when we offered to pay for these things. I wish we had put it more like, “I want to give you something special for being there for us on our wedding, like pay for your hotel room, or whatever would be most meaningful to you. What would you like?”

  10. I join in the voices saying I’m really glad we busted the bank on photography. Our professional, wonderful photographers made all my cheap ass DIY look fantastic, and me look fabulous even though I did my own makeup to save money. As such, my wedding looks much more classy than it was, all because she knew what she was doing. We were lucky because his parents agreed to pay for photography, and it was a full third of the total budget. SO WORTH IT!
    I wish I would have spent less on the small stuff. The ribbon wands were cute, but took a lot of time and effort and money, and were such a small part of the overall day.
    I wish I would have spent more time looking for a DJ. My dad couldn’t fathom not having one, so he offered to pay. The one my dad picked was cheap, but that’s all the good I could say about him. We managed to party hard IN SPITE of our DJ, rather than BECAUSE of him.

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