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  • Writer's pictureDown the Aisle YYC

3 Big Things we Pay For, That Guest Don't Even Care For

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

Whether we are wedding planning on a budget or simply practicing smart spending it is important that what we do decide to invest in adds value to the overall wedding day experience. There is no worse feeling than allocating funds for something we think will be a hit but then turns out to be a flop - wasted money, wasted time, not to mention more waste in our landfills.

We have planned countless events (and played guest to even more than that) and we believe that every dollar spent + every ounce of energy invested needs to equate to something meaningful. Meaningful for the couple, Meaningful for their family & friends. Meaningful for the event as a whole. In other words, it needs to have an impact. Yes, yes a wedding is about details but there is a fine line between something that adds value vs something that just adds more fluff, especially if you are working within a budget because let's be honest - fluff doesn't come cheap.

That said, today's post is going to focus on The Big Three that we would suggest you eliminate or at least pare down from your wedding planning. Not only will you save some of your precious time & hard earned money, your guests will not even notice they are missing.

Guest Wedding Favors

Ditch em all together. Free up that line item on your Wedding Balance Sheet and don't think twice about it.

Raise your hand if you have been to a wedding, or any event for that matter, where either you, your date or someone at your table forgot to take their takeaway with them at the end of the evening? Now raise your hand if you have been that poor someone who had to hit 3 Michaels Stores just to get enough pink satin bags to individually wrap a monogrammed trinket for over 100 guests. Favors are so very thoughtful but they are time consuming and add an additional expense that really don't leave much of an impact with your guest.

Favors are a longstanding tradition that some couples may want to maintain. We have seen some really cool things with consumables - for instance friends of ours had chocolate Hershey Kisses as their last name was Hersi and this played great as it was really clever, inexpensive and guests were able to enjoy it that evening. On the whole though, when it comes to guest experience we would recommend investing in things like nice wine during dinner, a signature cocktail, a band / an awesome DJ or a photobooth as these will leave a much stronger impression than that wedding favor that, even though is well intended, is probably bound for the trash bin.

Save the Dates, Invitations, Programs & All Things Print

This is a category that we don't want to scrap but definitely want to pare down on. Remember our goal is to ensure that what we invest in has impact and when it comes to print materials we need to be smart as quality printing & beautiful stationary comes at a premium.

Now the things that we print are intended to communicate something. Naturally we want that communication to look stylish and on theme with our wedding story but the functionality here is communication. Save the Dates & Invitations communicate our wedding announcement + RSVP details, programs relay the schedule of events and then there is the myriad of signage, place cards, table numbers & charts that are intended to direct guests where to go and what to do next. That's a lot. Not only from a cost perspective but also environmentally as let's face it - most of this is also bound for the trash.

A terrific solution is to go digital whenever you can, wherever you can. For instance a digital invite that links to a custom website is a great option as guest can RSVP in real time with their meal preference, song requests and plus one info. A website will also house all the event details, links for hotel / accommodations for out of town guests and serves as a forum for the couple to easily communicate back and forth with their friends and family + there is the added bonus of a link to their social pages and registry. A beautiful thing here is that we can eliminate the need for individual guest programs & menus as this all gets posted on the site. We specialize in website & digital content (yes, a shameless plug, but please check out our Service Portfolio if you are interested) and we have actually had many couples add photo galleries, trivia pages & wedding party bios as an innovative way of connecting with their guests.

Of course there will always be a need for some print material - grandma is not going digital and mom may want something nicer for the family but for the masses a website is awesome. We would also recommend printing one large scale program to have at the ceremony that we can bring with us to the reception and place next to our equally large + easy to read seating chart in lieu of hundreds of place cards - in our experience guests will sit at the appropriate table but move the cards without a moments hesitation. If stationary is important to you, there is always recycled paper options that can work beautifully for both you and the environment, and carried locally at many printing houses.

Floral Decorations

Let me start with this. Absolutely under no circumstances should you compromise your wedding bouquet. When else will you get to adorn an accessory piece as artistically beautiful as bouquet of fresh floral and you deserve this honor + it will showcase in every one of your photos and it should be as stunning as you ... not to mention, what will you do with your hands without one when you make that slow walk down the aisle?

Agreed, we invest in the bouquet - but outside that, a boutonniere for your honey and a wedding arch, fresh floral is a significant expense that you may want to reconsider especially if the floral you seek is not local or in season. Here is a quick list of traditional places where we can get creative without compromising the beautiful look of our wedding day.

  • Flowers Down the Aisle - we can take these out completely or replace with simple mason jars, some twine and baby's breath or fresh greens. If you are planning something more elaborate consider dual purposing these arrangements and use them as part of the centerpieces for the reception. At the end of the day, the focal point of the ceremony is of course at the front where you and your honey will be exchanging your vows and this is the frame that guests will remember + your photographer will capture. Having floral on your arch or on towers around you photographs beautifully + visually it creates a "stage" for guests to focus their attention (added bonus is that it acts as a big piece of the contingency plan if you are planning an outdoor wedding and it rains, but that is a post for another day)

  • Floral Centerpiece - unless it is the head table, these can be simple and even then you may want to consider toning it down. Large, elaborate arrangements can be stunning but they can also make for tough viewing or disturb guests with allergies if the floral is strong and the room is small. If you want an opportunity for a little DIY, Costco does specialty orders in bulk and many florist shops offer workshops on how to create your very own beautiful centerpieces.

  • Bridesmaid Bouquets & Toss Bouquet - keep them simple and never underestimate the power of fresh greens...go on, check out Pinterest and see for yourself :)

Last piece of advice, when you are sorting your budget start with the items that are most important to you (like a great photographer) and the things that will have the greatest impact on guest experience (like great food, great wine, great social) and prioritize from there. Maybe you have a column that is 'Must Have' and one for "Nice to Have' and only start adding in those extras once Must Have is all paid up. At the end of the day, don't stress it will be great and a total success but if you need a little bit of support and some expertise to help you out, Contact Us anytime - we are a message away!

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