5 Wedding Necessities You Don’t Need

March 12, 2018

When planning for your big day, it's easy to think you need everything to make it perfect. That's not true! Avoid these 5 wedding necessities to save money.

I got married a few weeks ago and the days after were filled with compliments from friends and family. People said our wedding felt intimate, personal and “us.” They danced during the reception (from a mix that my husband custom made) and cried during the ceremony, filled with vows we wrote and a sermon from a friend of mine.

Over the course of planning my wedding, I learned a lot about the process. People always say it’s your day, but then they expect you to do the things they did. We decided very quickly we wanted to have the wedding we wanted. Luckily our parents were supportive and didn’t force us to use their ideas.

Here’s what I learned is not important to having a great wedding:

Flowers are not the focus

I loved the flowers in my centerpieces and my bouquet. I spent hours searching for ideas via Pinterest and emailing back and forth with my florist. When it came to the day, I could not care less. Flowers are pretty and unless they’re wilted or smelly, no one will mention them to you. Consider grabbing a few bouquets at Sam’s Club, Trader Joe’s, or Costco and call it good.

Skip the bouquet and garter toss

I’ve only been to one wedding with a garter toss, but I was immediately horrified. Are you telling me your new husband has to put his hands all over you in front of all your friends and family? I was so nervous about telling my then-fiance that I didn’t want him to feel me up in front of my father. Thankfully he felt the same way.

I also skipped the bouquet toss. I hate having to be forced to go on the dance floor and pretend to care about catching the bouquet. After the wedding a good friend asked me if we did the bouquet and garter toss and she had missed them. I told her we skipped them and she said, “THANK GOD.” For the most part, grown women don’t want to be forced to pretend like all they care about is getting married.

You don’t need a beautiful cake

I love dessert more than most people I know. When it came time to decide on our cake, I chose one of my favorite bakeries in town. When the owner asked what kind of decorations I wanted, I asked if we could do a sheet cake. My husband and I didn’t want to do a cake cutting so it seemed silly to spend more money on the exterior of the cake.

Our guests loved our cake – chocolate with ganache filling and American buttercream. Because we didn’t need an intricate design, we didn’t have to use fondant. Fondant is the worst dessert invention of all time, after sugar-free anything.

Another cool option is a donut bar or wall. Take a look at this tutorial from The Budget Savvy Bride.

Matching outfits

I’ve always been shocked at the prevalence of the tradition of matching bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen suits. When it came time to decide what we wanted our bridal party to wear (which always seems so bossy to me), we decided to give them basic instructions and let them choose their own outfits.

I asked my girls to wear purple dresses, any shade, any length. They decided on nude shoes and gold jewelry. As it turns out, dark purple is a flattering shade on most people and my girls looked beautiful the day of. Some chose dresses that cost what most bridesmaids spend ($150) while others snagged great deals for gowns that cost $50. I was happy that they each chose something that made them feel beautiful and that fit into their budget.

My favorite merchants for inexpensive and unique wedding apparel are Etsy and Amazon. Check them out!

Gift registry

While some people still like having a gift registry, so many of us have been “living in sin” with our significant other for much of our relationships. I personally didn’t need another crockpot or bedding set, but I did need to pay off student loans. Therefore, instead of a traditional, consider a “Honeyfund.” Instead of physical gifts, your loved ones can give you cash. Sure, you’ll still end up getting some random presents, but most people are happy to give money over gifts.


If you care about the above things, then you should make them important. By focusing our energy on the things that really mattered to us, we had enough energy to make those decisions well.

No one seemed to notice much or care that we skipped these traditions. People remember how they felt during your first kiss, during the best man’s speech, during your last dance. They remember how easy it was to get to to the venue, if you had affordable hotel blocks, if you offered vegetarian food options.



15 comments so far.

15 responses to “5 Wedding Necessities You Don’t Need”

  1. Beks says:

    My cousin got married last August, and our aunt kept pushing him and his bride to do things they didn’t want to do, like the Groom’s father butting in during their first dance, to the cake cutting smash (which, who invented that? it’s stupid!). I’m also quickly turning against the whole bouquet/garter thing, because I’m one of the older single gals in my family, so I’m usually surrounded by high schoolers. It’s getting a little humiliating, and I didn’t participate at my cousin’s wedding, which my aforementioned aunt felt the need to lecture me on.
    Agree with you on all points here. Should I ever get married, eloping is starting to sound better and better.

    • Shannyn says:

      Right? Eloping sounds like a sweet deal, hahaha! The “cake smash” is actually an old, meaningful tradition to play off your vows of “in sickness and in health,” to gently feed one another, to break bread and demonstrate the idea that from now on, you are in charge of caring for one another, feeding them if they were ill and taking care of their needs…. but of course, it’s kind of gotten out of hand!

      In the early days though, feeding each other a bite of cake was to signify that a couple would care for each other, in sickness and in health! Crazy huh?

    • It’s so hard when people force their own traditions on couples. The idea of “it’s your day” seems to go out the window sometimes when other people get involved. Luckily our family was super respectful of what we wanted to do.

  2. I skipped the bouquet and garter as well! You are SO right!

  3. I completely agree -especially about the garter toss!! That never seemed appealing to me and I had no problem skipping it at our wedding. The other item I would add to this list was wedding gifts for each other. We got married at 22 and 23, I was still in grad school, and we hadn’t even lived on outside our parent’s homes by the time got married – in short, we were (are) poor. When we discussed whether/what we should do for wedding gifts it was a pretty easy decision in our minds that we would much rather have money for our honeymoon and to start our lives together than some gift. Besides, we were already giving each other wedding rings, and getting plenty of special things from our amazing guests.

  4. Michelle says:

    There can be a need or desire to balance out family wishes/navigate family relationships, so ymmv.

    We printed out invitations and gave them to our parents to address and mail (staying out of “who should we invite?” conversations).
    Our friends were mostly invited via email.
    We did not have a wedding cake.
    My husband made flower arrangements in vases I picked up at a discount shop.
    We had a friend take pictures; there were no formal ones.
    We had a potluck and provided wine and beer.
    I walked down the aisle alone and wore no garter. There was a bouquet–I think my mother or maybe my mother-in-law ended up taking it home (given rather than thrown).
    Our one attendee each got to choose whatever they wanted to wear.
    I did not wear a wedding dress and the groom did not wear a tux or a suit.
    We told guests they could wear jeans.

    It was (relatively) inexpensive and people had fun. Tbh, though, I never dreamed of my wedding day. If you’re not interested in traditions very much, and/or are interested in starting your own, there’s no reason a nice wedding can’t be done on a budget!

  5. Lisa says:

    I really needed to read this. As a pf blogger who is planning a wedding, I’m always torn between spending and saving. Florals especially have me on the fence – do I spend more for something I really prefer or save money since no one really cares what I’m holding down the aisle? Thanks for this! I’m going to be re-evaluating some items in our wedding budget.

  6. Vanessa says:

    I’m getting married in October, l having no bridesmaids, no groomsmen, no garter, no flower toss, I’m going to buy cheap flowers from the florist, l am keeping in low key and easy, also making my own invitations.

  7. Kasey says:

    My cousin (male) insisted on doing the garter thing, but he did it right. So right… he reached down there and pulled out a rubber chicken. Tossed it over his shoulder. It was hilarious and it totally suited them,

  8. Thanks for this post. I am getting married next month. Actually we waste time on unnecessary things. You wont believe I wasted around two weeks for searching perfect flowers and still couldn’t figure it out.

  9. Joni says:

    I love this! I am currently planning our wedding, six years after we got engaged. Through the years, our wedding vision has changed so much. From a 65+ person outdoor wedding with the works, to a 20 person indoor wedding at our favourite holiday destination. Even though the destination makes it more expensive, I’m still on a budget. So it’s making us focus on what is truly important to us, eliminating many of the details that it’s easy to get caught up in.

    For us, sharing the day with our closest family members is what is most important. So it’s an intimate ceremony focused on the people, not the decorations, followed by a private dinner without all the traditions. We went with matching outfits and bouquets/boutineers, but using the furniture in the room, and whatever flowers are in season. We are making our own playlists for the day and having a professional photographer, but no buffet (order from the bar menu!) and no cake (order dessert from the menu if you want!), no tosses, and no formal dances. It’s all about what is important to you and what you’ll remember in the years to come.


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