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How to avoid expensive wedding traditions

Just as no two couples are alike, no two weddings should be alike either. Although it might be nice to include some traditions when planning your big day, we also know that not every tradition is right for every couple. The more you hear ‘But, you have to have xyz,’ the more your wedding budget gets expensive. Here are some wedding traditions that you may want to do without.

Cutting the wedding cake

The earliest wedding cakes were actually made from meat! (For real!) As time went on, the idea of a large sweet cake developed. Today’s wedding cakes can be elaborate items costing hundreds –- even thousands — of dollars. Many people spend this money on a cake not because they love wedding cake, but because someone tells them that they have to cut the cake. If you want to have your cake, but eat something else, too, consider ordering a small wedding cake for the ceremonial cutting and serving a sheet cake instead.

The first dance

Ahh, the first dance as bride and groom — a touching moment, except when the groom, who hates dancing, trips over the bride. Let’s face it: a lot of couples don’t dance. But, someone convinces them that they have to dance at their wedding. That one ‘must have’ leads to a band or DJ, flowers for the bandstand, and possibly even a larger reception location. If you don’t want to dance, then don’t. Put some background music on an iPod and go about your reception spending the money on the things you want to spend it on.

The bridal party

Most brides ask their nearest and dearest to be bridesmaids before they actually sit down and figure out their wedding budget. Unfortunately, a large bridal party can put a crimp in your plans. For each bridesmaid (and corresponding groomsman) you’ll probably spend a minimum of $150. The money goes to flowers, thank-you gifts, transportation and places at the rehearsal dinner. Consider having just one bridesmaid or matron of honor and asking your other bffs to take on other, unofficial, and less costly roles. They might enjoy being spared the cost of a bridesmaid’s dress as well.

The wedding program

If many of your wedding guests don’t share your religious or cultural traditions, then a wedding program can be a helpful way to make sure they can enjoy the wedding. On the other hand, if it isn’t needed to help guests understand what’s going on, it may not be necessary. Save a tree, and your budget, by not having programs.

The fancy bridal store

We would never suggest that any bride give up on her vision of a wedding dress. With all the gorgeous dresses available these days, we wish we could wear wedding dresses every day. But, sample sales, resell markets and vintage stores are all ways to get your dream dress without the traditional cost and time of a bridal salon. Whatever you do, don’t let a well-meaning sister, friend, or mother talk you into a big white dress if you don’t want one. Try a few on and see what you think, but remember that in order to look beautiful in a dress, you have to feel comfortable in it.


When it comes to wedding planning people are full of must-dos and must-haves, remember at the end of the day it’s your wedding and your budget.


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